Brooks Defyance 9

The ninth iteration of the Brooks Defyance continues to improve upon its best-selling Adrenaline GTS. The Brooks Defyance 9 is a neutral road or track shoe that is made for heavy and everyday runners alike. This shoe is ideal for a runner that wants a supported, cushioned experience without sacrificing miles. It helps runners add speed while remaining supported. In this upgraded option, Brooks designed the Defyance 9 with comfort and support in mind. The shoe provides balanced cushioning and a smooth ride on a neutral platform. With Brooks’ Biomogo DNA Midsole cushioning, a heel segmented crash pod and reliable mesh upper, runners not only have a streamlined experience, they also have a plush underfoot feel. Brooks takes this shoe to the next level in terms of innovating technology by continuing to make the shoe lighter from previous versions. While there were some reviews from heavy runners who felt that the shoe needed better durability and flexibility, the Defyance 9 is a strong option for those looking for a supported, cushioned running shoe.

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners.

Where to Buy
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Where to Buy
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Pros & Cons
  • 30% more cushioning than standard midsole materials
  • Made for heavy and every day runners
  • Cushioning adapts to create a more customized feel
  • Helps create a more efficient running experience
  • Very comfortable
  • Cons
    • Some runners felt the shoe lacks flexibility.
    • Heavy runners were concerned with durability.
    • Key Features
      The outsole helps to support the foot from underneath. The outsole of the Defyance 9 utilizes typical Brooks technology to enhance the experience while running. The outsole helps deliver strong protection against wear, adding to the shoe’s durability. Brooks uses blown rubber on the forefront section, adding durability, responsiveness and flexibility, while also adding a bit of cushioning. The blown rubber also helps protect the foot from impact. The shoe also has Omega Flex grooves to optimize flexibility. This helps make toe-offs stronger. The Defyance 9 also uses Omni Grooves, typical of Brooks shoes, to help deliver added flexibility by making the sole unit more following the natural foot movements. Finally, the Flextra runner outsole piece provides an additional form of support with enhanced flexibility.
      The Defyance 9 uses Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA, a high-quality material that provides midsole cushioning. The DNA technology allows the midsole to adapt to every step. The BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning is an innovative cushioning system that adapts to each foot. By adapting to each runner’s unique features, the technology is able to provide a customized cushioning experience and adds to the spring in each step. While traditional cushioning takes a one-size-fits-all approach, Brooks has found a way to customize the shoe’s cushioning. The shoe also has a segmented crash pad. With this crash pad, transitions from heel to toe are made smoother. While one reviewer felt that the cushioning was not adequate enough, most runners feel that the cushioning provides a smooth experience. These features add to the shoe’s responsiveness, flexibility, and overall support.
      The upper on the Brooks Defyance 9 is made of mesh that provides moisture management and breathability. Many of Brooks’ wearers think it is a strong feature of the brand’s shoes. Adding to the shoe’s flexibility, the mesh upper still keeps feet cool and dry. The features provide an element of support by keeping the foot in place. Brooks uses a technology called Element mesh that is not only moisture-wicking but also soft and durable. The shoe uses saddle construction to keep the foot in place. There are also synthetic overlays that help maintain the structure of the upper and keep the foot where it belongs. There is also the element lining, which is a soft material that helps control moisture, allowing runners the ability to not wear socks with the Defyance 9. Topping off the upper is a padded tongue and collar which add to the shoe’s comfortability level. Overall, the shoe’s upper ranks high with runners who need breathability.
      With a weight of 10.5 ounces for men and 9 ounces for women, the Defyance is about average when it comes to running shoes. Noticeably lighter than previous versions, Brooks is continuing to use innovative technology to actively decrease the weight of its shoes and provide runners with a more streamlined experience. The shoe, which still offers a strong amount of cushioning and support, manages to create a lightweight experience for runners. One runner was pleasantly surprised by the shoe’s flexibility and light weight.
      Breathability does not seem to be an issue with the Defyance 9. The shoe has many features designed to keep feet cool and dry. The mesh upper uses ventilated mesh on the upper to help with the shoe’s moisture management and breathability. The design of the upper also reduces irritation, adding to the comfort level of the shoe. The shoe’s element lining that is beneath the main upper is a soft material that also helps keep the foot dry, while as a means of prevention from blisters that runners often have to deal with.
      As mentioned in many of the featured sections, comfort levels for the Defyance 9 are high. The shoe’s cushioning is one highlight that adds to the comfortability of the shoe. The Defyance 9 has 30% more cushioning than the average midsole, making the impact much more comfortable for runners. The Defyance 9 also has a plush underfoot, a breathable mesh upper and element lining all contribute to the overall comfort of the shoe. One runner even stated that it is their go-to shoe because of the comfort, cushioning and neutral fit. The only issue reviewers had was sizing, in that the shoe is sized smaller than previous versions, which could impact comfort. Brooks recommends ordering a ½ size up for this model. Overall, though, the Defyance 9 rates high on comfort.
      With colorful running shoes more prominent lately, the Brooks continues to lag a bit on the style side. While there are still color options, including blue, black, and pink, much of the shoe is overwhelmed by grey and white, rather than much color. However, if you are looking for a simple style with just the colored logo, this is definitely the shoe for you.
      The Brooks Defyance 9 has average durability for most wearers. While heavy runners noticed some wear and tear after about 10 months, most runners felt that the shoe is durable. The rubber outsole adds to the shoe’s durability by offering protection throughout areas that often experience high wear.
      Brooks Defyance 9 has many features that contribute to the shoe’s protection quality. With a large amount of cushioning throughout the shoe and the rubber outsole, there is an added level of protection on tough surfaces. The HPR Plus helps resist wear and tear throughout foot impact. The crash pad also contributes to the foot’s protection by accommodating foot impact. One reviewer felt that the outsole is efficient because it delivers protection and traction. Overall, the Defyance 9 offers a strong amount of protection.
      The Defyance 9 offers average responsiveness. The shoe provides support and balance to the foot, allowing a smooth transition from heel to the forefront. This helps create a much more efficient running experience. The midsole cushioning, which utilizes the Brooks’ DNA technology, adapts to each runner’s steps. The crash pad also contributes to the shoe’s responsiveness by accommodating the foot’s landing and supporting the heel-to-toe transitions. Overall, the shoe’s responsiveness helps maximize stability and efficiency throughout each step.
      Support is above average for the Defyance 9. Brooks has created a supportive, neutral shoe with features that help create a supportive foot atmosphere. The shoe is made to support heavy and everyday runners alike. The extensive cushioning that utilizes Brooks’ BioMoGo technology, shapes to the runner’s foot creating a support system that is unique to each runner. The crash pod flexes with the foot, providing an added level of stability. The sockliner also helps support the foot. One wearer was surprised by the amount of support the Defyance 9 provided, while still being comfortable. Other runners felt that the arch support was above average. Overall, the shoe does a great job of supporting each runner’s feet.
      The Defyance 9 is designed primarily for runners on the road and/or track. While the shoe has added cushioning and support, the Defyance 9 should not be used on rough trails. The outsole and grooves provide an added level of protection that could be suited for mild trails that are not overly hard or rocky. The shoe is also not waterproof. Overall, as long as runners remain on the road or track, the shoe will perform well.
      The price is slightly high, coming in at $120 for a pair of Brooks Defyance 9. However with the added support and cushioning, and the streamlined design for avid runners, this shoe is worth the price. The question concerning durability comes in with the price, and overall durability doesn’t seem to be an issue for everyday runners. It could potentially be an issue for heavy runners though. However, overall, this price seems to be average or just above average for comparable running shoes.
      While the shoe is not made for trail running, it still has a relatively strong grip that does well on road surfaces. The HPR Plus rubber on the outsole protects the shoe from high wear. This helps with traction on road surfaces and a longer time for the tread to wear. The Omega flex grooves also continue to the traction that the shoe provides to runners that may be in situations where slipping could occur. Overall traction seems to be average.
      Shoes with added support and cushioning often don’t provide a flexible running experience. While there were a few wearers that felt the flexibility could be improved, most feel that the shoe is relatively flexible. Brooks’ Omega flex grooves contribute to the shoe’s flexibility by making sure that the foot can move naturally and that the shoe’s foam is able to flex. This also helps with the shoe’s responsiveness, since it means smoother transitions. The shoe’s upper also helps create a flexible shoe, ensuring that the foot is able to move comfortably, while still being supported.
      The Brooks Defyance 9 offers a cushioned design that helps the foot feel more stable. The shoe’s comfort eye row ensures that there is a closer-to-foot fit. This contributes to the shoe’s stability, along with a strong, breathable upper. While stability is a strong point for this shoe, the Defyance 9 is still a neutral shoe. This means that if stability is a key element in the purchasing decision, it would be best to explore the options in the Motion Control category of shoes.
      Brooks Defyance 9 has a drop of 12mm. This is typically a drop recommended for runners who require additional cushioning or beginner runners. The 12 mm drop helps to support the heel of runners with added cushioning. As the drop gets lower, cushioning tends to be more evenly spread throughout the foot and is not as much in the heel.

      Read also about best women's running shoes for beginners.
      Key Features
      • BioMoGo DNA technology is highly adaptable and provides added cushioning
      • The heel segmented crash promotes smoother transitions
      • Moisture-wicking mesh uppers help maintain temperature and dryness
      • Comfort eye row ensures that there is a closer-to-foot fit
      Midsole drop 12mm
      Bottom Line
      The Brooks Defyance 9 is a neutral shoe with extra cushioning to create a soft, comfortable running experience that many beginners, every-day, and even heavy runners, often need. The shoe is designed to adapt to each runner’s unique fit with a strong focus on comfort and support. Great for road running, the key features combine to not only offer a comfortable, smooth run, but the shoe is also designed to make runners more efficient. While most runners feel that the shoe is above average when it comes to cushioning, flexibility and comfort, some reviewers had issues when it came to smaller sizing and flexibility. Overall, though, the Defyance 9 is a shoe that is highly versatile and a strong shoe for those looking for a cushioned running shoe.
      Where to Buy
      Road Runner Sports Link
      See Deal
      By Erin
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 27. 2021

      Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

      Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.