Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 Review
It has a super-cushioned midsole that adds a spring to your step, and the minimalistic forefoot allows you to pick up the pace without being weighed down by heavy and bulky materials. Overall, the Adrenaline GTS 21 is the perfect marriage between a neutral trainer and a stability trainer. This shoe is great for overpronators, heel strikers, and those looking to put hundreds of miles behind them!
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the improved features that make this one of the best distance trainers out there on the market.
Omega flex grooves for added flexibility
Stability trainer that is perfect for speed
Great for overpronators
Lightweight for a stability trainer
Perfect for running long distances
A high 12 mm drop is not ideal for some
Extended break-in period
Limited padding in the forefoot
There are few shoes out there that are quite as durable as Brooks’. This design is able to hold up to around 500-600 miles before they need to be replaced. Even after the 50-mile marker of breaking in a new pair, I noticed that the outsole of this shoe still looks brand new!
It is able to achieve high durability thanks to the quality of blown rubber and segmented crash pads that are insanely durable and promote even transitions that extend the life of your sneakers.
The upper is composed of a blend of breathable mesh materials and synthetic overlays. The breathable mesh helps to move hot air up and away from your foot to keep them cool and dry on those very long runs on hot days. I love that the synthetic overlays are placed in key areas of the foot to help cradle your foot in place for excellent lockdown.
The 3D print of this upper also helps to really contour to the shape of your foot for a personalized fit that grips your foot without feeling too tight.
I also love that the heel collar and tongue offer modest cushioning. The padding on the collar cuts down on the initial break-in period and won’t rub your ankles raw, even on those initial runs. It also has a padded tongue that locks in place and won’t shift around as you move. The laces on this design are composed of stretch materials for an enhanced fit that holds the shoe snugly in place.
I love the materials used in the midsole of this design. It offers a soft and squishy ride without being overly soft. What makes the Adrenaline GTS 21 slightly different when compared to other trainers in the Brooks lineup is the strategic placement of the DNA LOFT Crash Pads and BioMoGo DNA foam cushioning.
The BioMoGo DNA cushioning is pretty thick and bulky, which is why the Adrenaline utilizes a higher density of foam along the heel with a lower density along the forefoot. By keeping the density of foam in the forefoot lower, this trainer has a higher level of flexibility and movement as compared to other stability trainers from Brooks. It’s rare that a stability trainer can also work for speed, which is why this trainer is so unique.
Of course, the minimalist forefoot is not for everyone. Some runners can really feel the difference in the forefoot and notice higher levels of fatigue when running long distances. However, when you run at even a modest pace, the lower cushioning isn’t as noticeable as when running at a more casual pace. If you are looking for the rare stability trainer made for speed- this is a great option.
Overpronation, simply put, is when your gait is uneven. For most, this means that you place more weight on the inside of your foot rather than disperse your weight evenly on your foot as you move through your natural gait cycle. The addition of guide rails works to even out your gait naturally.
These guide rails work by placing higher concentrations of foam and stiffer materials along the sides of the shoe. When your gait starts to become uneven, your foot rubs up against the hard edge of the shoe, forcing you to switch your weight as you run. It may seem like a simple solution to a complex problem, but as an overpronator myself, I found that these guide rails really work!
Stability trainers often gain a reputation of being stiff and boxy. While that may be true in some cases, that is certainly not true with this design. One of the features that runners love most about the upgraded Adrenaline GTS 21 is that it is far more flexible than other designs in the Brooks lineup.
It is able to achieve higher flexibility by limiting the cushioning found in the forefoot. The addition of the Omega flex grooves also boosts the overall flexibility of this shoe, crafting a perfect marriage between stability and speed.
There’s a lot more going on than meets the eye when considering the outsole of this design. The outsole is composed of blown rubber (which I have already noted can last upwards of 600 miles!). It has modest lugs that help to really grip the ground under your feet and is perfect for sidewalks and treadmills. What I love about the modest lugs in this model is that it is also great to take out on trailheads and dirt paths without losing stability or control.
What makes this outsole truly special is the addition of Omega flex grooves. These small grooves in the base of the outsole are what make this shoe so flexible. Many stability trainers often feel stiff and bulky, but the small grooves in the blown rubber allow for a fuller range of motion. When your foot is free to flex naturally, you can really pick up the pace as needed.
If you love the styling of one pair of Brooks trainers, you are bound to love them all. Brook’s doesn’t take a lot of chances in the style department, which is why all of their shoes look very similar. This design has a lot of similar characteristics to the Ghost, and also comes in a wide variety of color options. For those that want something more neutral, it is offered in basic black or white designs.
I personally love the sleek red and black design that doesn’t look like anything else out there on the market. If you love bright and punchy colors, you may be a little disappointed.
Overall, this trainer runs in the middle of the pack in terms of price. These are by no means the more affordable trainers out there on the market, but they are far from the most expensive. If you are looking to upgrade your budget-friendly trainers to something used by serious athletes and marathon runners, this is a great place to start. Plus, when you consider the overall mileage that you can get out of this shoe, it really is an amazing value.
Comparisons to Previous Versions
One of the biggest upgrades made to the Adrenaline GTS 21 is the addition of the guide rails. While guide rails exist in other styles of Brooks trainers, this is the first time they made an appearance in the Adrenaline lineup.
Smaller changes include differences in synthetic overlays, a lighter weight (the 21 is 5 grams lighter than the 20), and less padding in the forefoot for added flexibility and speed.
For me, it was a perfect choice. I personally feel that there is no such thing as too much cushioning, and I also need something to help with my overpronation issues. This trainer hits all of the boxes of what I want out of a good stability shoe, and comes in at a price point that I find to be quite reasonable, especially when you take into consideration the overall durability of this shoe!