Let’s talk a bit about Brooks as a running shoe brand. Known for their consistent quality, Brooks has built a reputation as a reliable choice for runners. They’ve been one of the more consistent brands out there, delivering shoes that runners can trust to perform. They generally stick with what works (not always a bad thing). Though there are TONS of great and beautiful Limited-Editions – like their holiday and Run Proud options – they aren’t seen as innovative (on a year-by-year basis) as some others out there.
Enter the Brooks Aurora-BL and Hyperion Max. Those shoes turned heads and bucking that trend. Brooks stepped out of their comfort zone with these innovative models, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. The Brooks Ghost Max (releasing October 1, 2023) joins this group as well, proving that Brooks can combine their signature reliability with fresh, groundbreaking features.
The Brooks Ghost Max effortlessly fuses contemporary and classic aesthetics, making for a shoe that catches the eye with its understated yet striking design. Its subdued beauty is apparent at first glance, offering a departure from the typical minimalist approach often associated with Brooks. The Crystal Gray / White / Tuscany colorway is a masterstroke, embodying a sense of accessible luxury.
While Brooks shoes often lean towards the simpler end of the spectrum, this version exudes a certain charm that’s hard to ignore. While not overtly flashy, the Ghost Max possesses a distinct flair that adds a touch of uniqueness to its overall appeal, carving a niche for itself in a world where footwear designs often scream for attention.
For what it’s worth, we think the female colorway vastly outdoes the male Grey/Black/Sharp Green version.
The Ghost Max’s upper is where comfort meets style. Crafted from engineered mesh, this upper is a breath of fresh air for your feet. It’s not just about the breathability, but also the adaptability that makes a difference. The material embraces a variety of foot shapes, and the padded heel collar adds another layer of coziness. It’s a testament to how a shoe can be both performance-driven and visually appealing, making it a versatile choice whether you’re hitting the track or simply stepping out for a casual outing.
The midsole of the Ghost Max is where the magic truly happens. With its DNA Loft v2 cushioning, this shoe elevates your running experience to new heights (literally and figuratively) with its 39mm stack. The cushioning strikes that perfect balance between luxurious softness and responsive bounce. It’s a shoe that offers that sought-after “walking on clouds” sensation while still providing the energy return that’s crucial for more intense runs. The midsole isn’t just about comfort; it’s about propelling you forward and keeping your stride smooth. And the Ghost Max does it well.
The outsole performs admirably and, thus there isn’t a ton to talk about here. It’s solid and should last the miles ahead.
The Ghost Max’s fit is where comfort and performance unite seamlessly. The engineered mesh upper stands out for its exceptional breathability and adaptability. No matter your foot shape, the upper embraces it, providing a snug yet non-restrictive fit that’s a welcome relief for those who’ve experienced discomfort from ill-fitting shoes. The stack height, which deviates from the typical Brooks style (hence the “MAX”), actually enhances the shoe’s overall performance.
Rather than sacrificing responsiveness for cushioning, the Ghost Max manages to strike a balance between the two. This means that while it might not be the lightest shoe out there, its weight contributes to a more substantial and durable feel – perfect for daily training sessions that prioritize comfort, stability, and resilience.
In an arena where Brooks has established its reputation through consistency, the Ghost Max emerges as a refreshing deviation. While it is not as light as some of its competitors, this is a consequence of the deliberate choice to prioritize stack height. While it might not be the featherweight option designed for speed, this extra weight is in line with the Ghost Max’s identity as a dependable (and comfortable) daily trainer.
While the brand is known for delivering reliable shoes, this model proves that Brooks is not confined to its own conventions. The Ghost Max showcases that Brooks is capable of breaking molds and embracing innovation. It seamlessly blends comfort, performance, and a touch of novelty, resulting in a shoe that’s not only functional but also stylish.