I was excited for the Brooks Launch 9 to come out. On any Brooks shoe, the Launch has been one of my more favorites. It is more responsive than both the Brooks Ghost and Brooks Glycerin.
This year Brooks increased the Launch 9 stack height by 2 mm with more BioMoGo DNA. So it will feel lighter and softer with each step.
Brooks Launch 9 Quick Facts:
Weight: 7.1 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 10 mm
Brooks Launch 9 Into:
The Brooks Launch 9 has gone through a lot of transformations. Many people don’t remember, but the Launch was discontinued after model 1 because Brooks didn’t see a market with the shoe. It was so well missed that Brooks brought the shoe back.
What is the difference between the Brooks Launch GTS and the Brooks Launch 9?
Like all Brooks shoes now, it’s important to note that the Brooks Launch GTS and Brooks Launch 9 are not the same shoes. The Launch GTS (formally known as the Ravenna) has stability, so if you need stability, then the GTS is the better option. If you don’t, the Launch 9 is the better option.I think Brooks shot themselves in the foot, renaming all of their shoes (like when they renamed and changed the Moving Comfort Bras)…It isn’t obvious, and people believe the Launch GTS and Launch are the same shoes.
Brooks Launch 9 Fit:
The Launch 9 features a two-color engineered “creel warp mesh upper.” To me, that sounds fancy, but it’s designed to be more breathable than ever before. You can feel how light and thin the mesh upper is. With increasing the stack height but maintaining the same weight, the upper of the Launch 9 has gotten lighter. There is now engineered mesh through the forefoot with side panels and overlays across the shoe. The tongue has been redesigned to be thinner. Brooks mentions it’s a deconstructed tongue that secures your foot into place. I don’t necessarily think it’s better than previous versions. The tongue is fine, but I prefer a more plush tongue.
Brooks also placed more cushion in the heel counter of the Launch 9 to make it more comfortable. It includes an Achilles flare to keep your Achilles happy with no pinching. Finally, the heel counter has enough structure and width to take the pressure off the calcaneus. It’s basically the same as the Launch 8 but with more padding.
I strongly believe that the best running shoe uppers disappear off your foot. The Brooks Launch 9, for the most part, does. Ir feels lightweight and airy, but I occasionally find irritation with the tongue.
I typically wear between a size 10-11 wide in running shoes, and the 10.5 in the Brooks Launch 9 fits well. One thing that Brooks excels at with their shoes is sizing, and there is rarely a shoe that doesn’t fit true to size.
Brooks Launch 9 Ride:
As mentioned, the Launch 9 has gone through an update and now features a 2 mm increase in stack height, but it didn’t get any heavier.
Anyway, about the ride of the Brooks Launch 9: Brooks has placed rubber on the entire bottom of the shoe. This means it rolls nicely from heel to toe. You don’t feel like the forefoot and heel are disconnected, or you’re dropping off an edge like some in the Ghost. This also causes the Launch to feel like clunky than in previous years.
Brooks has increased the rubber in the midfoot (not by much but by enough), so you’ll find it rolls better from heel to toe. You’ll find a more beveled construction in the rear that gives it more support and cushion in the heel.
The Brooks Launch 9 has the most minimal midsole approach of any shoe from Brooks. There isn’t anything extra, and the shoe has just what you need. Of any Brooks shoe, it’s the “least fancy.”
In an age where running shoe technology is evolving, the Brooks Launch has always had a less is more approach. The Launch is usually a safe option if you like a traditional “old school” running shoe.
Traction and Durability: One thing that Brooks does almost the best of any brand is traction. The Launch 9 has plenty of traction, and you don’t have to worry about it on a rainy day. I’ve run through the sand dunes and don’t feel I’m losing traction. I’ve also used them a few times in inclement weather, and they handle well.
I’ve now put over 100 miles on the Brooks Launch 9 and expect them to last 300-400.
I’ve used the Launch for several different types of runs. The increase in stack height has given the Brooks Launch 9 a slightly softer feeling. In previous years and when it had less cushion, it was more of a workout and tempo run shoe for me. Now, the Brooks Launch falls into a daily run shoe. I want more cushion on easy run days but lighter and faster on a workout. It’s a shoe I can put in my car when I don’t know what I want to. I appreciate it’s more responsive than the Ghost, and I can pick up the pace.
Brooks Launch 9 Conclusion:
I like the Launch 9, and for me, it’s been a great daily run shoe. While it’s not a “crazy update,” a few substantial changes make the ride feel different. If you’re looking for a lightweight and old-school trainer, the Brooks Launch 9 is a good option. Plus, it’s one of the cheaper running shoes these days. Other similar options to the Brooks Launch 9 include Saucony Kinvara 12, New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo, or Atreyu Base Model v2.
My Current Shoe Rotation:
You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.
Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.
Questions for you:
Have you tried the Brooks Launch 9?
What is your favorite traditional trainer?