A 100-year-old company, Brooks has been exclusively making running shoes since 1977 which helps it compete with much bigger brands in terms of price and technology. The Brooks Ariel is the female version of the Beast which was introduced way back in 1992. The popularity of the shoe is such that it is still available in Brooks’s line and is lauded by fans as one the most stable shoes throughout the years. Since 2017, Brooks started using a softer midsole foam in their shoes thus competing in the soft running shoe category.
The newest improvements to the shoe are the new and improved fit with the upper, the updated external heel counter and a brand new last. Brooks listened to all the comments from the previous Ariel 16 and really amped up the width of the shoe with this new model.
You can also find the Flextra indentations present in the forefoot. These flex grooves are personalized in each version of the Brooks in line with the gender and weight of the runner. The second layer consists of the HPR Plus in the midfoot and rearfoot of the shoe. This is a standard material found in most Brooks outsoles. In comparison with the HPR Green, the HPR Plus is sturdier and is resistant to high abrasion thus making the outsole more durable than previous models.
Around the entire shoe is the full-length segmented crash pad which gives a smooth heel to toe transition when you’re on long walks or runs. It helps absorb a lot of shock on the crash pad.
All of these features have been laid out in a scientific MC Pod Configuration which stabilizes the midsole and offers an efficient heel-to-toe transition. The ultimate sockliner adds cushioning for a plush in-shoe feel. A feature carried on from the previous shoe, the Caterpillar Crash Pad helps the MC Pod configuration by allowing customized cushioning.
To increase torsional rigidity, this shoe includes a DRB Accel, a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane unit) in the midsole. This boosts support in the heel while not affecting the movement of the foot in other areas.
The new fit with the engineered mesh gives you a lot more space for your toes with a very nice spacious toe box. This helps with a natural toe splay to prevent your toes from squishing inside the upper.
The upper of the shoe wraps around your feet better than the previous version, which reduces the chance for hot spots. And last is the shape of the shoe and the updated last of the Ariel 18 which mimics the shape of the foot and also gives a lot more space in the forefoot. This helps gives you a natural motion when you’re on your walk or your run.
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Style takes a backseat in this shoe with a focus on stability and support for overpronators. It offers a slightly lower profile than the previous shoe which one reviewer liked as this helped in keeping her socks up.
There is ample thick padding that wraps the ankle securely and also reduces friction while running. The engineered mesh in the upper also provides moisture management and provides protection from various elements that you might encounter when you run. All-in-all, the shoe provides good protection that is required from a daily trainer.
Most of the shoe’s responsiveness comes from the Super DNA midsole which is a non-newtonian fluid engineered to work like nano-springs. In combination with the Super DNA midsole, it brings a moderate level of energy return. The crash pad helps mitigate the shock of impact and making the heel to toe transition easier.
-HPR Plus in the midfoot and rearfoot of the shoe
-Super DNA midsole
-Engineered mesh upper
-Extended Progressive diagonal rollbar in the outsole
The Ariel 18 makes good on its marketing promises. It offers amazing stability that is amongst the best in motion-control shoes and has great cushioning capabilities packed inside the midsole. If you can get past the price and the sizing inconsistencies, this shoe will give you a plush and soft ride. While the price is more than average, the shoe justifies it by using soft and quality material that gives the shoe a premium look and feel.