Brooks Glycerin 16

Brooks’ lineup of Glycerin styles has made it all the way to number 16. It’s rare that a shoe makes it all the way to sweet sixteen. Trends come and go, and styles go in and out of fashion. But, a tried and true running shoe like the Brooks Glycerin just seems to get better and better. Like a fine wine, the shoe has been tweaked and updated over time. Each little change is improving the Glycerin. Numero seize is an ultra-luxurious design perfect for long runs on the road. The 16 features the same outsole but has an updated midsole and upper. If you don’t mind running in a heavier shoe, but you don’t want to sacrifice cushioning, the Glycerin is the trainer for you. Whether you’re already a fan of the Brooks shoe or a runner looking to make a footwear swap, there are countless reasons to consider adding the Glycerin to your shoe closet.

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Pros & Cons
  • Generous cushioning for long runs
  • Protective midsole material
  • Responsive
  • Comfortable
  • Durable 
  • Cons
    • Heavy
    • Key Features
      Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. Nothing new to report for the bottom of this Brooks shoe. The Glycerin 16 has the same outsole as before. It’s made of HPR Plus rubber. The HPR is located at the rear of the shoe and consists of anti-abrasion rubber that enhances durability and provides grip. In the forefoot section, blown rubber offers responsiveness, traction, and some flexibility.

      According to reviewers, the outsole performs well on various surfaces, even wet ones. It’s also substantial enough to handle light trail running. The sturdy design will no doubt allow you to get in plenty of miles.

      The Glycerin 16’s got lots of cushioning, that hasn’t changed. The same soft and plush feel runners love is back. The midsole feels slightly softer than before and contains a brand new foam called ‘DNA Loft.’ It’s even more luxurious than the previous midsole cushioning and yet it’s just as responsive and durable. The soft cushioning helps contribute to the plush ride feel and the transition zone design ensures that moving forward in the Glycerin feels natural.

      Reviewers loved the new midsole foam and appreciated that the softer cushioning didn’t skimp on energy-return.
      The 16th edition of the Glycerin dons a very different upper design. A whole new full-wrap sock liner provides a snug hold and a thick, luxurious interior feel. The fit is improved, too, though many reviewers still found themselves sizing down half a size. The sizing isn’t a big issue, though. Runners liked that the toe box was wide and most said that sizing up was required mostly to get the right shoe length. Reviewers noted that the shoe felt wider than before and thus more stable. Instead of 4-way stretch air mesh, the Glycerin 16 features a new 3D print upper and dual mesh design. The result is increased ventilation and a much more durable construction. Two layers are indeed better than one! A sturdy upper doesn’t equal a stiff and uncomfortable one, though. The mesh is stretchy and accommodating. It’s also made of a softer material than that used in previous Glycerin designs. Like the previous Glycerin, the ankle and tongue are well-padded adding to the overall plush feel of the shoe.
      There are no two ways around it, a very well-cushioned shoe isn’t going to feel featherlight. But that doesn’t mean a lot of padding has to feel clunky. You don’t need to get used to wearing clown shoes if you want a lot of protection and comfort underfoot. The Glycerin 16 does a good job when it comes to weight. There’s no doubting how comfortable it is and wearing it doesn’t make you feel like you’ve accidentally laced up a brick to your foot. A few reviewers complained that the shoe felt heavy, but most users were far more focused on how comfortable it felt. The women’s version weighs just over 9 ounces, and the men’s edition weighs about 10.5 ounces. We’ll bet if you try the Glycerin, you’ll be so distracted by its exceptional ride feel and comfortable interior, that you’ll pay little attention to its weight. In fact, thanks to its plush cushioning and responsive midsole, you’ll likely feel faster running in the Glycerin 16.

      The fit is essential in order to maximize breathability. The right fit ensures your foot has room to breathe and isn't being squeezed in tight. A shoe that’s too tight will cause pressure points and leave you feeling numb after several miles. It’s no way to experience a run. But, even the perfect fit might not counteract a poorly designed upper. The wrong materials can cause waterlogging, poor drainage, and overheat. It’s why nearly every running shoe upper features some kind of mesh component. Mesh allows air to circulate, so even if you’re sweating profusely (yes, feet do sweat), that moist environment won’t last forever.

      A little wider than the previous version the 16 offers a roomy, generous fit, particularly in the forefoot area. The new mesh upper with 3D print overlays provides excellent ventilation and air circulation for maximum breathability. The shoe is perfect for summer runs but protective enough for colder weather training. We wouldn’t slog through slushy snow in the Glycerin, though, unless we were wearing the right socks.
      Reviews of the Glycerin 16 use the same term to describe the shoe over and over again: “ultra comfortable.” The comfort factor is all thanks to a plush midsole and an exceptionally perfect upper fit that’s supportive yet breathable. For some, the Glycerin might feel a bit too soft, but if you’re looking for maximum cushioning, look no further. It’s hard not to use the term ‘cloud-like’ to describe the Glycerin, but it honestly does feel pillowy underfoot, say reviewers. In addition to an ultra-soft midsole, the shoe features a pillowy ankle collar and tongue, so even the tops of your feet are carefully cuddled. The shoe is true to size and features an upper with a nice bit of stretch. The new upper construction is just as breathable as before without sacrificing fit and hold.
      The Glycerin comes in several fresh new color options. In all, there are six brand new designs for men and seven variations for women. Some of the men’s styles include black with orange accents, navy with neon accents, dark teal with neon accents, and blue. Women can choose from some of these options: black with pink accents, teal, dark purple, and pink. Reviewers liked the wide array of colorways available. We agree, there’s definitely something for everyone.
      The 16 is the same reliable shoe as before. It remains just as durable as the previous version even with its new midsole material. Reviewers commented on the shoe’s impressive longevity. Heavy mileage is no match for this trainer. The outsole is sturdy, the midsole is made of tough, resilient materials, and the upper’s double mesh design won’t tear on a whim. In general, foam tends to break down pretty quickly, but the 16’s midsole is incredibly long-lasting according to reviewers.
      If you’re looking for a shoe that can minimize impact forces, the Glycerin is an excellent choice. The highly cushioned midsole offers maximum impact protection and is designed with an Ideal Pressure Zone Construction. The shoe is capable of evenly distributing impact to reduce jarring forces on the body. Even if you’re running hard, the impact is absorbed accordingly. The upper offers protection against overheating. The new 3D print design provides better air circulation, so heat build-up is prevented.
      Why even change the Glycerin? It’s been around for so long, at this point is there anything left to improve? Shoe companies are continually attempting to improve the feel and performance of their shoe models. The challenge is usually in finding a way to balance weight and cushioning. In heavily cushioned shoes like the Glycerin, combining impact protection, comfort, and energy-return is tough without adding on excess weight.

      The most significant improvement ushered in with the 16 is ride feel. The 16 is far more responsive than ever before. Even with an entirely new midsole, the shoe delivers excellent energy-return. Reviewers commented that they liked the improved energy-return delivered by the 16. The highly cushioned trainer is surprisingly energy-filled. Typically, more cushioning (especially if it’s soft), means a reduction in responsiveness. That’s, thankfully, not the case with the Brooks Glycerin.
      The new engineered mesh upper delivers a supportive fit thanks to its snug sock liner wrap design. The heel locks into the shoe and sits in a heel collar that’s soft yet flexible. Runners can expect moderate support in the midfoot area suitable for those with medium to high arches. You can always use an insole if you find there’s not enough support, though, but reviewers didn’t seem to find the support lacking.
      Nothing different in terms of terrain handling for the new Glycerin. The shoe has the same outsole design as before. The Brooks shoe is suitably designed for non-technical trail running and training on roads. Avoid single track and highly technical terrain. This isn’t the shoe for such adventures. If you’re heading on a dirt path in your suburban neighborhood, though, you shouldn’t run into any problems. We’d be careful on wet grass and mud, however.
      More cushioning and better performance translate to a high price tag. The Glycerin 16 hasn’t increased in price, but it’s still a high-end shoe. Even if you’re not comfortable spending such an amount on a running shoe, that doesn’t diminish the fact that the Glycerin offers top-notch value. You get a shoe with a whole lot of cushioning ready for high-mileage training. If you’re going to be putting time into training, it makes sense that you would invest in a good quality pair of running shoes, right?
      Wet or dry pavement is no match for the super grippy dual rubber outsole. The bottom of the shoe is covered in two types of rubbers that both deliver superior traction. Nothing’s changed about the outsole since the last version and reviewers agree that the outsole is incredibly grippy.
      The outsole is soft, which adds a bit of extra padding, but it’s not very flexible. Overall, the shoe’s transition feels stiff. Most reviewers, though, didn’t find the rigidity worth mentioning.
      For a neutral trainer, the widened design really helps provide adequate stability. A few reviewers called the 16 slightly less stable than its predecessor, but overall, there’s no reason to believe that you’ll be wobbling around in this shoe unless you’ve got significantly narrower feet than the rest of the population.
      Here’s where some runners might be disappointed. The drop height has increased slightly from 10mm to 11.8mm. Brooks lists the drop height at 10mm, but Runner’s World’s measurements clock it higher. That’s a steep drop. It’ll please heel strikers, but others might find the angle a little severe.
      Key Features
      - Neutral
      - 11.8 mm drop
      - HPR Plus rubber outsole
      - Blown rubber outsole
      - NEW DNA Loft midsole
      - NEW wrap bootie interior
      - NEW dual layer mesh
      - Transition zone midsole design
      - IDEAL pressure zones for a smoother ride
      - 3D Fit Print upper design
      Bottom Line
      Brooks took a reliable, already well-designed shoe and made it even better. The Brooks Glycerin 16 lives up to the hype. The shoe offers maximum cushioning in a not-too-heavy package and delivers a ride feel that’s somehow both lively and plush. The very durable Glycerin is perfect for long runs and high-mileage training. Slow runners who spend more time on their feet and heavier individuals who need more protection underfoot will appreciate the qualities of the 16. It’s also an excellent choice for runners looking for a pair of recovery shoes for easy days when their feet are feeling unusually tired. We have no doubt that the Glycerin will be around for a long time to come.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
      See Deal
      Holabird Sports Link
      See Deal Link
      See Deal
      Road Runner Sports Link
      See Deal
      By Steph Coelho
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 26. 2021

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