Originally posted on: April 25, 2014
Yep - it is that time again, I have put over 50 miles on another pair of running shoes and am going to write about my experience with the Brooks Launch.
Let’s be up front about my relationship with Brooks Running.
I do not have any.
I purchased the Brooks Launch's with my money from Dick's Sporting Goods in Augusta, Maine.
The comments in this post were a result of actually wearing and running in the Brooks Launch’s and are my own experiences.
For a pair of running shoes, that I described a while back as “I could wear this shoe, but it just didn’t excite me.", I am sure enjoying running in them, no they still do not excite me all that much, but they just work, which is much more important.
When I look at what shoes I am going to wear, I choose the Launch for longer or recovery runs. However, I don't like them for faster-paced runs, they don't feel like a fast shoe for me, they are a bit too cushioned.
According to what I have read the Launch have basically remained the same shoe they were when they were released back in 2010, supposedly the only changes have been to the colorways. This is one of the reasons that I decided to give them a chance in my rotation. It also helps when a lot of runners think so highly of a shoe that they forced Brooks to take them off the chopping block.
The Launch do not have a lot of fancy marketing hype, jargon or high-tech features - they have been and are a solid light-weight cushioned trainer that becomes a workhorse for those who finally "discover" them.
I have done most of the types of runs that I typically do in road running shoes, except for speed work, although I did a 5K race in them, so I have a pretty good idea of how they work for me at faster speeds. I run comfortably in them, which is the most important thing in my opinion. It has gotten to the point where I put them on, tie them up, stop thinking about how the shoes feel and just run.
These shoes have become my high mileage shoes of choice, they just feel - well comfortable.
I bought a pair of size 9 and I have just over a thumb's width in the toe box, which is just about perfect. The width in the toe box if fine and even with my narrow heels there hasn't been any slippage.
For me the uppers are a big part of the fit and they do not have any overlays or stability straps that aggravate my feet
Blisters – None, nada, zero blisters.
Cushioned Feel – After running in Pearl Izumi EM line shoes most of the winter, the Brooks Launch are a much more cushioned shoe, which is what I wanted in my daily running shoe rotation.
Lightweight – They are under 10 oz (the Brooks Running website lists a size 9 at 9.5 oz), and are more of a traditional light-weight trainer than I have run in lately. They are not racing flat light, but light enough to run long distances without feeling heavy at the end of the run.
Sole – I like the outsole and how it performs while running in a variety of conditions i.e. tar, side of the roads, medium trails, or wet roads. The sole has enough cushioning to not be bothered by running over rocks or roots, but I do not believe that they would do well in running in muddy or sharp rock trails.
Wear - There is not any noticeable wear on the sole of the shoes after 50 miles.
Rock collectors - The Launch do not have too many issues with picking up rocks, which is a consideration for where I run.
Quiet – They are not as quiet as the GoRunRide2's (which I measure all of my shoes by), but the Launch do not slap the ground when I am running efficiently, although due to the tread design there is a bit more noise from the shoe. When I notice/hear myself slapping on landing, it is a reminder to ease back on the heel striking and run more efficiently.
Color ways – I like the hi-vis yellow-blue color way that I got at Dick's, however, when I look at the Brooks' site, the colorways there do not excite me. I know that I shouldn't care that much about colors if a shoe works for me, but I prefer to have running shoe that a bright and just a little, even a lot "Loud" in appearance.
Replacement Cost – I got these on sale at Dick's and their regular price is around $100.00 which is towards the lower end price for many running shoes seem to be. Yeah, that's right $100.00 is the low-end price for quality running shoe - scary isn't it.
I left them completely stock for the first 50 miles.
Not anything major.
I would not use the Launch to chase a 5K or 10K personal record, in my experience while they are a comfortable shoe, they are not a "fast" shoe for me.
While the heel-to-toe transition is very good and I don't have any issues with flexibility, I still tend to scuff/drag my heels when walking or running slower.
Shoe Laces - They are a bit long and I can feel them rubbing against my other foot while I am running. Yes, I can tuck them into the laces or change them out to LockLaces, so this is a really minor thing.
The Brooks Launch are a more traditional lightweight cushioned trainer with about a 10mm drop, it took me a bit to get used to again - after running primarily in zero or 4mm drop running shoes over the past couple of years.
Yes I did run a 5K race in the Brooks Launch
Notice that I put in bold the word cushioned. The Launch are a cushioned traditional light-weight trainer and that is what I was looking for as my higher mileage shoes in my rotation.
So the first 20 miles in these shoes I had to do some adapting to the higher drop, but now that I have gotten re-acclimated to that style of shoe, they are disappearing on my feet and I am just running in them.
I can't give a pair of running shoes any higher praise than that after 50 miles.
No I am not going to go all gaga about the Launch with only 50 miles on them and it will be interesting to see how I feel about them at the 200 mile and 400 mile marks. Yes I am thinking they might make it that far.
I have also heard rumors that Brooks is preparing to update the Launch to the Launch 2, so it will be interesting to see what they do to "improve" this shoe. I hope that they don't try to fix, something that ain't broke. Many runners who run in the Launch, have run in them because the Launch meets their needs just the way it is.
No, the Brooks Launch are not a sexy new running shoe with all kinds of bells and whistles that will supposedly help you run better, instead they are a solid shoe that runners, just run in.
Now to see how the next 150 to 350 miles go.
What do you think of the Brooks Launch? What changes would you like to see Brooks do to make it a better running shoe?