Brooks Ghost 11 Running Shoe Review

Brooks’ amply-cushioned all-rounder aims to please all-comers

Brooks Ghost 11 running shoe
(Image: © Brooks)

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“If Goldilocks ran, this would be her shoe,” is how Brooks rounds off its description of the Ghost 11 running shoe, a neutral daily trainer that aims to hit the sweet spot between cushioning and responsiveness, making it an equally good pick for easy runs and tempo efforts.

Of course Brooks is not the only manufacturer aiming for the Goldilocks zone with their best running shoes – it’s been a bumper year for all-rounder running shoes. We loved the cushioning on the Saucony Ride ISO, while the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo blew us away with its soft, responsive ride, and the Asics Dynaflyte 3 shone over long distances.

However, there’s a reason the Ghost line has long been one of the most popular in this bracket. The 11th edition of the shoe is keeping pace with the fierce competition and even makes a compelling case for being the best cushioned daily trainer out there.

The first time I ran in the Ghost I switched to it halfway through a 10K training run, having covered the first 5K in Brooks’ highly-cushioned Glycerin 16. I love the plush comfort of the Glycerin 16, but as soon as I swapped it for the Ghost the Glycerin’s speed-related shortcomings were made clear. The Ghost is no lightweight racer, but it has a speedy heel-to-toe transition and feels far more responsive than the Glycerin, which is purely designed for comfort.

That said, the Ghost is still on the cushioned end of the daily trainer range. The Nike Pegasus and Pegasus Turbo are lighter and feel better suited to races and fast training sessions, as does the Saucony Ride ISO. The Ghost feels lighter on the foot than its 300g-plus weight, but I wouldn’t reach for it ahead of a 5K or a track session, while the Pegasus Turbo in particular is a responsive all-rounder that shines on race day.

What it loses on that front, however, the Ghost makes up for when it comes to easy running, with ample cushioning and a smooth ride, I suspect that’s especially true for heel strikers like myself. Heavy, slow runners will be well supported by the Ghost on long runs, and runners of all stripes will feel comfortable racking up big mileage in it at a range of speeds.

Brooks Ghost 11 running shoe

(Image credit: Brooks)

The mesh upper offers a close fit without being at all oppressive, and for those who truly hate wet feet there’s a waterproof version of the Ghost with a Gore-Tex upper. Just remember that waterproofing will quickly turn against you if you splash through a puddle deep enough that the water gets into your shoe via the ankle.

In a year stacked with impressive all-rounders, where you rank the Ghost 11 among them will depend heavily on your running style. Lightweight runners constantly lining up for races might find it a mite too sluggish compared to other options, but as a comfortable shoe for everyday running that is also fit for tackling the occasional race and speed session, it’s an excellent pick.

Buy men’s from Brooks | Buy women’s from Brooks | £120

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.