Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shoe Review: Brooks Launch

Update: I just ran the R&R Seattle Marathon in 3:12 (a 3 minute PR) in the Launch. They performed exactly as they did in my last race, the Lake Youngs Ultra, described below.

I put the Brooks "Launch" on Friday night and I didn't want to take them off. This is a very comfortable and soft shoe. I did some heavy lifting, loading up the trailer for the Lake Youngs Ultra. Being the Race Director I had a ton of things to do but tried to get to bed early, make that before midnight.

I was up before 4:00 am loading the perishables and heading to the start (wearing the Launch). I helped my volunteers set up and check in all the runners and at 7:00 we all started running. The race is mostly on dirt and gravel roads that aren't much softer than asphalt. I wore the Brooks Burn 3 last year but I had to switched to a trail shoe after 20 miles because my feet were getting bruised and sore from all the rocks. That didn't happen on Saturday. I ran the whole 29 miles in the Launch and my feet felt great when I finished. No blisters, no bruises, no soreness. I normally have some shin pain after running this race which did not develop this year.

The traction is not as good as the other Brooks road shoes but it's way better than the Brooks ST 4. The fore foot is well cushioned but the heel might have a little too much cushion. When my form broke down from fatigue, I did some severe heel striking and this shoe is not made for that. They transition from Heel to Toe very nicely and if you consider yourself someone that runs on your toes then you will like this shoe.


The shoe is very breathable and light. If you are a neutral runner this shoe will be your new favorite. If you are a severe heel striker I think it will wear out faster than your other shoes because it's so soft. If you pronate a little you may have to work this into your shoe rotation slowly so you can built up your pronation controlling muscles, ankles, knees, IT band, etc. or you could find yourself injured from a muscle imbalance.

I ran a short recovery run in a pair of Glycerin 6 this morning and compared to the Launch they felt heavy, hard, and the heel toe transition wasn't very smooth. If the shoes could talk they would tell you that they feel like the ugly stepsister.

I've been trying to come up with some "Cons" to go with all these "Pros". I'm having a hard time. You might not like the color, they are pretty bright. And I question the durability because they are just so darn soft. That usually means the shoe isn't meant to last.

Bottom line go try on a pair at your local running store and you will know right away if the shoe is for you.

I will be running the Rock & Roll Marathon in 2 weeks in the Launch. I'll post an update on how the shoe preformed.










Here's a little video from Brooks.


video

Let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment.

6 comments:

shawn said...

Gawd, I couldn't even read the review, I'm frickin blinded. My eyes!

King Arthur said...

Funny Shawn! The girls shoe is a different color.

Johnny Hammond said...

Great review - I run with the Brooks Launch too mainly for my long distance runs and also found them to be really light and responsive, and soft when the legs start to tire. I've ran over 100 miles in them so far, and still minimal signs of wear.

I've also written a review about them http://runninggear.org.uk/blog/brooks-launch-lightweight-and-quick-distance-trainer

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