Brooks Launch 4

Looking for a lightweight daily training shoe? Definitely give the Brooks Launch 4 a try. The 4th generation of the Launch series continues its tradition of providing runners with a lightweight and responsive ride during each and every run.

The Launch 4 brings updates such as deeper flex grooves and a greater amount of blown rubber to provide more flexibility and responsive cushioning than its predecessor, the Launch 3. Keep reading to see what other updates were made to the Launch 4, as well as my wear-tested opinion about what this shoe can bring to your run.

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Road Runner Sports Link
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Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Responsive
  • Affordably priced
  • Good traction and grip
  • Cons
    • Runs slightly small
    • Needs a thorough breaking in period
    • Key Features
      Outsole
      At first glance, the outsole of the Launch appears to be nearly identical to that of the Launch 3. Although they are both made of the DNA material for which the Launch series is known, there have been changes to the 4 that make it its own shoe. The latest version has a greater number of flex grooves, improving the flexibility of the shoe. This is especially true in the forefoot area. Additionally, the flex grooves are deeper to serve the same purpose- increased flexibility.

      The Launch 4 also has a greater forefoot surface area. This iteration of the shoe provides more flexibility than its predecessor and greater ground coverage, which provides for a toe off that is smoother and more energetic than in the previous version of the Launch. The outsole is mainly constructed blown rubber and just a small bit of carbon rubber. This not only increases the durability of the outsole but also lightens the shoe overall.
      Midsole
      Like its predecessor the Launch 3, this updated version has a midsole made of BioMoGo DNA. This material provides superior cushioning and flexibility when compared to other types of midsole materials. This is especially important for not only keeping your feet comfortable, but also preventing pain and injury to joints that are highly impacted by running, such as your ankles, knees, and hips.
      Upper
      Although the upper of the Launch 4 is similar to that of its predecessor, there have been some significant changes to make this version's upper superior. First, the upper material is much softer than in previous versions. Not only it is more comfortable to wear, it is also more flexible as a result, which helps keep your foot comfortable and encourages your natural gait.

      The material used in the upper, called Air Mesh Fabric, is also highly breathable and allows air to flow through your shoe so it dries quickly and prevents moisture-related issues like blisters and hot spots. There are fewer 3D overlays in the Launch 4, and the remaining overlays have been moved into new positions on the shoe. This has made the toe box more flexible, which for some users, has provided greater comfort. Although the tongue is thick, the laces are also thick and help to keep the tongue in place. The tongue also helps to prevent chafing caused by lacing that is too tight.
      Weight
      For such a well-cushioned shoe, the Launch 4 is incredibly light. The average weight of the shoe is 9 ounces. While running in this shoe, it felt much lighter than the outsole and midsole made me think it would weigh. These shoes definitely didn't drag me down or tire out my legs.
      Breathability
      The upper of the Launch 4 is made of a highly breathable material called Air Mesh Fabric. It allows air to flow freely through the shoe, so your feet are well ventilated. This helps moisture to evaporate and minimizes the risk of blisters, hot spots, and foot odor and fungus. Additionally, after running with these shoes through the rain, they dried quickly after taking them off, so they were ready for my run the following day.
      Comfort
      The DNA midsole material that characterizes the Launch series does not disappoint in the fourth generation of this shoe. The Launch 4 is a well cushioned, lightweight daily trainer that keeps your feet comfortable and protects your ankle, knee, and hip joints from the impacts of a ground strike. The comfort extends beyond running though, to walking and cross-training workouts as well.
      Style
      The Launch 4 has a low profile and sleek design that make it look fast and light (which, it is, by the way). The women's version is available in 13 color schemes, and the men's version is available in 10. The designs are eye-catching but not obnoxious. This is because Brooks combined a more neutral color, like black or blue, with a pop of brighter colors, like neon pink or bright orange. In addition to being stylish, but not too teen-like, the bright colors increase your visibility, which is great for evening or early morning runs.
      Durability
      One area where the Launch 4 improved over the previous version is durability. This is especially true of the outsole. The Launch 4 has a greater amount of blown rubber, which is more durable than carbon rubber, of which there was a greater percentage in the Launch 3. A greater amount of more durable material, in this case, blown rubber, means the shoe's durability overall is increased. This is a great improvement considering this is a daily trainer and will get lots of miles and cross-training use.
      Protection
      The DNA midsole of the Launch 4 offers the greatest amount of protection not only to your feet but to your joints. It absorbs the impact of the ground strike, helping to greatly soften the blow to your ankle, knee, and hip joints. The well-fitted upper keeps debris out of your shoe, and the padded tongue protects the top of your foot from chafing that can be caused by shoelaces.
      Responsiveness
      Cushioned running shoes are not always known for being the most responsive. However, when you create a cushioned running shoe out of lightweight materials, the responsiveness increases greatly, and this is just what Brooks did with the Launch 4. The blown rubber outsole and DNA midsole are light and flexible, so you can feel the ground beneath your feet. Yet, they also respond to your gait and providing cushioning with every ground strike, regardless of terrain.
      Support
      Although a lightweight shoe, the Launch 4 supports your foot in a variety of ways. First, the DNA midsole provides cushioning that absorbs the shock of every impact, which protects your joints. The U-Groove heel keeps your foot in place but is not so snug that it restricts natural movement. This makes this shoe more friendly for neutral runners. The 3D fit print creates a stretchable structure that molds to your foot shape, creating a more personalized fit that minimalizes slippage.

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      Terrain
      The Launch 4 is a shoe meant for roads, tracks, and any other paved surface. However, this is not to say it can't handle a light gravel trail, but it is definitely not a shoe intended for technical trails. It also holds up well on a finished surface, like a gym floor.
      Price
      The MSRP of the Launch 4 ranges from $100 to $110, depending on the design you select. This price is slightly below average for similar shoes that are lightweight and well-cushioned.
      Traction
      The blown rubber outsole of the Launch 4 provides great traction on paved surfaces like roads and tracks. This is true wether the ground is wet or dry. This shoe provided me with great traction during rainy day runs and even through puddles.

      Flexibility
      The Launch 4 has deeper and a greater number of flex grooves in its outsole. This is especially true of the forefoot area of the shoe. More and deeper flex grooves mean increased flexibility and natural foot movement. It also promotes a speedier and more fluid toe-off.
      Stability
      The stability of the Launch 4 is increased by the X band in the transition zone of the shoe. It provides slightly rigid torsion, but this increases the support and stability provided by the shoe. Some users noted that this created a less smooth transition at times, which they felt slowed them down. Users also noted that they felt this feature was very helpful on long distance runs.
      Drop
      The drop of the Launch 4 is 10 mm. This makes this shoe a great choice for midfoot strikers but is definitely not a minimalist shoe.
      Key Features
      - DNA midsole
      - Increased blown rubber in the outsole
      - X band provides stability
      - Lightweight
      - Cushioning
      - Low profile design
      - Eye-catching color schemes
      Bottom Line
      The Launch 4 is a great choice for a daily trainer for runners of any distance. It provides notable traction, support, and flexibility that make your run smooth and enjoyable. It also performs well during cross-training activities on gym surfaces. Increased flexibility through deeper and more numerous flex grooves promote your natural stride and increase the responsiveness of the fourth generation of the Launch series.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
      See Deal
      rei.com Link
      See Deal
      Road Runner Sports Link
      See Deal
      By Taren Weidaw
      Last updated:
      Marko
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

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