Nothing really tests a new pair of running shoes like a weeklong atmospheric river. I received the new Brooks Launch 9 on the rainiest, windiest, and most Portland day we had seen in a while. I thought about waiting a day or two, so I didn’t ruin that beautiful (neon) shine that comes with new running shoes, but then I thought, “you never know how much you love (or don’t love) a shoe until you really test them”. And test them I did.
Now bear in mind I am a devoted Brooks follower – but I have been struggling with their choices for “shoe updates” in the last year or so. Recent changes in the Levitate (my go-to shoe to many years) for example is the reason why I came to the Launch. Last year I purchased the Launch 8 – which I have zero complaints about – and they proved to be a great switch from the Levitate. And when I was given the opportunity to try out the 9’s – my answer was obviously a YES!
Now, I’m in the middle of marathon training so I am putting a lot of miles on my shoes, and I need them to be light, fast, durable, COMFORTABLE – and not feel like they are slowing me down at all. Before I get into my thoughts on the Launch 9’s, I should let you know that I also have a beloved pair of Brooks Hyperion Tempo’s for speed work (I told you, Brooks enthusiast over here), which I would wear all the time, but the support in those just doesn’t hold up during long runs.
The Launch 8’s although great for mid-or-longer runs don’t really give me that reaction I need and get from the Hyperion’s for speed work. So, my dream shoe would of course be to have the Hyperion and the Launch combine into a super shoe. Well, look no further my friends!
From the moment I put the Launch 9’s on I felt like I dropped 30 seconds off my pace. I also am generally not a fan of pink, but these definitely give off a vibe and I’m loving it. My first run was just a couple miles through the atmospheric river to my gym. I got there in record time. I wore these for a gym workout, and then ran the couple miles back home. They certainly got the full treatment on day 1. It was certainly a gamble to take them out on a long first date like that, but they performed phenomenally.
My second and third runs were 4-5 miles around the neighborhood, also in torrential rain (and hail!) and they still had me bounding through puddles and hitting a couple PR’s on my Strava segments. The final, and arguably most important run was my long run on Saturday. I debated if I should wear these since I’ve only worn them a few times and I had a 20 miler in the cards. I took a chance, and it went off without a hitch. They performed great and I felt great. I’ve had a strange hip flexor thing going on the last few long runs and it never presented itself on this long run.
Somehow through rain, mud, and general city grime they have maintained their bright personality. What is this magic? They have these little reflective nodules on the sides of the shoe – you hardly notice it until the sun starts setting. It’s a great subtle feature. Similar to the Launch 8, these have a really nice shape that allows for some extra room in the toe box and a supportive heel. The slight upturn of the front toe also helps you rock off of the heel better while propelling you forward. This upturned front toe is one of the understated features that has me continually coming back to Brooks.
Okay TLDR here are the fast facts (and more on the Brooks site)
- The Brooks website calls these a burst of speed in a lightweight package – fully agree
- 10 mm midsole drop
- Weight: 7.1 oz for women, 8.2 oz for men
- Lace type: non-elastic
- Increased lightweight cushioning – the BioMoGo DNA cushioning helps with a responsive ride
- Creel Warp mesh helps with enhanced breathability
- Redesigned midsole and Green Rubber Outsole to help move quickly from the heel to toe transition
My two cents:
- One big note from me! Go a half size up if you’re in between or you have wider feet. I’m a 5.5 wide ideally and almost never a 6. I ended up with a 6 in these and they fit perfectly.
- These shoes are simultaneously fast feeling – with a great reaction/responsiveness and spring to them like the Hyperion – while also comfortable for longer distances.
- Short run approved
- Speed run approved
- Long run approved
- Gym HIIT workout approved
A glowing review for these shoes. Get it…?
These shoes already hit the shelves on March 1, 2022!
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Products & Price:
- Brooks Launch 9 ($110)
Thank you to Brooks for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.