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Brooks Ghost 16 Review: What's the Traction Really Like?


The Brooks Ghost 16 is the latest addition to the popular lineup known for its overall reliability and balanced support. It is a versatile road-running shoe built to deliver a consistent experience for virtually anyone. 

With a 12mm drop, a segmented crash pad, and an enhanced mesh upper to ensure ventilation, this shoe works hard to create a harmonious running experience.


The Ghost 16 delivers a smoother running experience, making it seem like your feet are floating. Although that changes the impact you experience, limiting some of the rebound action, it still offers a nice option for those looking to train regularly on the road. 

Four width options are available, along with standard sizes, to ensure most runners can find the perfect fit. Several colourways will help you express your specific style.

Here are the specs to review if you’re interested in the Brooks Ghost 16.

  • Over two-thirds (67.3%) of the upper is constructed from recycled materials, diverting 4.3 plastic bottles per shoe from landfills.
  • With the GlideRoll rocker, you receive a softer landing and an easier transition, even as a heel striker.
  • The cushioning is based on the DNA LOFT v3 product, which Brooks infuses with nitrogen to deliver soft comfort.

Overall, the goal of the Brooks Ghost 16 is to deliver a balanced experience that provides a custom running experience each time you slip on the shoes. I feel like they’ve done an excellent job here in creating a feel-good fit.

How the Brooks Ghost 16 Compares to Similar Models

The cushioning levels you’ll find with the Ghost 16 are what you can see in previous releases from this lineup. However, if you want the most support for your foot, the Ghost Max is the shoe for you.

The 16s, with their enhanced upper and supportive structure, are perfect for street runs and walking. If you like to run in the rain, a better option would be the Ghost 15 GTX. For runners who need help with assisted transitions or want something fashionable that stays comfortable all day, the Ghost Max is an excellent solution.

The 16s are the lightest shoes in this series, coming in at just 269g. The Ghost Max is 283.5g, while the 15 GTXs are nearly 290g.

All the shoes in the Ghost lineup are meant for runners with a neutral gait. If you need more support because of pronation, the Glycerin or Adrenaline designs from Brooks are likely a better choice.

Pros and Cons



The upper delivers a breathable experience without compromising the security you feel when putting the shoes on for a run.

If you’re a mid-foot striker, these shoes might feel like they’re too high for you. That can lead to some awkward transitions.

Brooks gave these shoes a RoadTack rubber outsole to deliver a durable product with strength and resiliency.

The visual impact of these shoes is somewhat plain, even when considering the various colourways.

The materials used in the construction of the 16s allow for a carbon-neutral running experience.

These shoes are designed with the neutral runner in mind, so they don’t provide as much structure as other designs.

This design is suitable for a recovery run, daily training, or all-day casual wear.

The response can feel a little lacklustre because of the foam placement, which might turn away some runners who prefer fast-paced workouts.

There is enough foam to provide a comfortable experience without contributing to a heavier shoe.

It is not a specialised trainer, so the 16s are not ideal for those wanting a maximum level of cushioning or support for racing speeds.

The Fit and Feel of the Brooks Ghost 16

As I put on the Brooks Ghost 16s for the first time, I was immediately drawn to how snug they felt on my feet. The feeling isn’t restrictive. If anything, it’s like getting a firm hug from a trusted friend.

The shoes are designed to conform to your feet to deliver an all-around supportive experience.

With the midsole's support, each stride feels smooth and supportive. You notice the improved balance immediately, which is quite helpful as you progress through an extended run on the road. 

It is a reliable and familiar feeling that doesn't go away as you keep running. If anything, breaking in the shoes reinforced the positive vibes I received when slipping my feet into the shoes for a training session.

I will say that running in the 16s does feel a little different if you’re used to some extra responsiveness. The “bounce” with your step and transition is not as noticeable, especially if you’ve tried running in the Glycerin series.

It wouldn't be fair to say that the Ghost 16s are agile, much less an exciting product, but they do deliver a supportive experience for paced running. If you like to train at higher speeds or require something for fast transitions, a design with specific support for those activities might be a better choice.

For me, I feel like Brooks has offered us an excellent shoe that delivers comfort and reliability within a durable framework. It may not be as energetic as other choices, but the product isn’t designed for someone wanting a better energy return.

Traction Dominates the Conversation

In terms of traction and durability, the RoadTack rubber outsole, with generous rubber coverage, ensures firm grip and wear resistance. That makes these shoes suitable for the long runs you take on roads or even the occasional light trail.

I personally like how the crash pad is segmented, delivering a predictable transition as you train. It gave me a better running flow, allowing for a natural gait and reducing impact on my knees and hips.

Brooks gave the Ghost 16s a generous coverage of rubber for the outsole. The traction capabilities might not rise to what wet weather demands, but I found the shoes still perform well if the conditions change while you’re out there.

Does it Live Up to the Hype?

I felt that these shoes were an excellent addition to my collection. Although there are certainly some potential issues to navigate, the experience for me was quite positive.

As someone who is a neutral runner, trending toward underpronation, I felt there was enough support to feel stable with each step. Perhaps some additional structure would be helpful for other runners, but this shoe is built for someone like me.

It gave me a consistent performance that felt familiar from the first moment. That impression is likely why this series has been one of the best-selling shoes for Brooks over the years.

If you want a shoe that can work in multiple situations and still function as a trainer, I think you’ll love the Brooks Ghost 16. It is an excellent all-around product.