Brooks Transcend 4

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Editor rating: 8.7 / 10
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Brooks Transcend 4 Review Facts

The Brooks Transcend 4 has seen some significant improvements since its last iteration. The Transcend 3 was already a solid stability shoe, but the updates make the Transcend 4 an even more solid, reliable shoe for runners looking for additional support. Like the Transcend 3, the 4 is a highly cushioned, stability shoe designed for the overpronator.   Instead of Brooks’ popular BioMoGo midsole material, the Transcend 4 features an adaptable cushioned midsole called Super DNA.  Overall, this shoe is packed with a lot of support technologies and as an overpronator who seeks some additional in support in a running shoe, I was eager to try the Transcend 4 and see if it lives up to its reputation.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent stability – great for mild to moderate overpronators
  • Good arch support for flat to medium arches
  • Customized cushioning from the Super DNA midsole
  • Overall plush, comfortable cushioning
  • Great flexibility and responsiveness of the midsole
Cons
  • A bit stiff until well broken in
  • The toe box is a bit narrow
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

Starting with the design, the Brooks Transcend 4 features an Ideal Pressure Zone design, which works effectively to distribute impact. The HPR plus rubber from the previous version has been replaced with the responsive and flexible Flextra rubber compound, which not only allows flexibility but a good amount of traction. Like the Transcend 3, the Transcend 4 also features a blown rubber material in the outsole, which protects the midsole as well as provides another layer of cushioning.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The Transcend 4 features Brooks’ own Super DNA midsole which, for Brooks fans out there, is supposedly 20% more adaptable than their other well-known BioMoGo DNA midsole found in many of their other shoes. The Super DNA midsole is indeed adaptable, conforming to the runners’ foot, making for a super cushioned, customizable experience. The more you use the shoe, the more it adapts to your specific foot type. Not having experienced the Super DNA midsole prior to this shoe, I was in for a real treat. From the first time I slipped on the Transcend 4, I absolutely loved the midsole cushioning. After just a few runs, I could definitely tell that the midsole had, in fact, conformed to my foot. Definitely a sweet technology by Brooks.

Like the Transcend 3, this shoe also features Guide Rails which sit on each side of the midfoot area. The Guide Rails do as the name suggests – they guide your foot, correcting pronation by putting your foot front and center, guiding in a forward motion and prevent excessive rolling inward. As an overpronator, I definitely noticed the Guide Rails. They weren’t uncomfortable but provided a good amount of support. The midsole also features Double Omega Flex grooves that allow for additional flexibility as well as a Profile Sock Liner that adds additional support and a customized fit around your foot.



Upper
Upper

Upper

Like many running shoes, the Transcend 4 features an open mesh material with synthetic overlays that did not inhibit breathability. The overall upper material is very breathable, allowing for good air circulation. The 3D Print technology in the mesh makes for a snug, comfortable, customized fit. The inside lining called, Element Lining, is very soft and comfortable. The upper also features unique plastic overlays. The plush tongue and collar also add another element of comfort.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The weight has gone down just slightly from the previous iteration. The men’s version weighs in at 10.8 oz while the women’s version is 9.1 oz. Again, a little lighter, but overall, these are not considered a lightweight shoe. Stability running shoes, in general, tend to weigh a bit more.

Fortunately, with the cushioned, responsive technology incorporated into the shoe, the weight never made much of a difference during my rooms. The springy feeling actually “fooled” me into thinking these shoes were lighter than they really are.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

In general, open mesh uppers do a decent job as far as air flow, and this one is no different. The mesh material on the Transcend 4 allows for good air flow. The 3D Print technology in the upper provides a snug fit but does not constrict the foot which not only is uncomfortable but could make for a hot foot. The overlays are strategically placed and do not obstruct airflow. The lining does a great job of wicking excess moisture. I was able to run in cool weather as well as warmer weather, and in both conditions, my feet stayed reasonably cool and dry.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

This is one plush shoe. Between the Super DNA midsole material, the plush collar and tongue, as well as the lining all make for some superior comfort. Some reviewers had issues with the toe box being too narrow, but I found that it was pretty decent. My toes weren’t too cramped.

The star of the show would definitely be the Super DNA midsole though. It provides plush cushioning that conforms to your feet, rather than your feet just sitting on top of a bunch of cushions. And though it was comfortable from the first run, it got even more comfortable with more use as it “learned” my foot shape. I would highly recommend this shoe for someone who is looking for a solid long-distance trainer or a shoe that can endure daily training.
Style
Style

Style

Brooks offers some unique, but stylish color choices, that make for one fun running shoe. The color I got to try was called “Bluefish/Peacoat/Purple Cactus Flower”. It’s a little funky without being loud. For the women’s version, it also comes in Peacoat/Iridesium/Lime Punch and is the more neutral of the two. In the men’s version, expect more “super hero” colors including Black/Electric Brooks Blue/Silver and Electric Brooks Blue/Black/High Risk Red. Though there are not many color options to choose from, the color choices are pretty good.
Durability
Durability

Durability

As of now, I’ve put about 40+ miles into the shoe and have seen no premature wear. The outsole is made from very durable materials including the flexible, but strong Flextra rubber compound as well as the classic blown rubber. The upper is a solid, durable mesh material and the Super DNA midsole will provide cushioning for mile after mile.
Protection
Protection

Protection

As stated before, starting with the outsole, the Flextra rubber and blown rubber outsole offer some serious protection underfoot as well as disperse impact, which protects joints from the constant pounding. The super DNA midsole also offers a joint protection from the high impact of running. Also worth noting is the Pebax External Heel Counter which locks your heel into place and reduces unnecessary foot rotation, protecting you from potential injury. This shoe is made for the road, so don’t expect it to protect your foot from highly technical, rough terrain.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

There are many features in this shoe that allow the shoe to be a solid stability shoe, but also some good responsiveness. Both the Flextra outsole and the Double Omega Flex Grooves allow for flexibility and natural foot movement. The lower than standard drop also plays a factor in the shoe’s responsiveness, giving a little bit better ground feel. However, I would not consider this a highly responsive shoe. It provides adequate responsiveness, but not surprisingly, many of the stability features make the shoe a bit stiffer and thus, decrease the overall responsiveness.
Support
Support

Support

This is what the shoe is known for. It offers some great support for runners with flat to medium arch types as well as overpronators. It provided enough arch support that I had no need to switch out the insoles for my usual Super Feet ones. The Guide Rails do an excellent job of keeping the foot in place and promoting a more natural, stable transition. The Super DNA midsole offers not only customized cushioning but support, cradling the foot rather than the foot merely sitting on top of the cushioning. The Pebax External Heel Counter also locks the heel into place to reduce excess rotation and heel slippage.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This shoe is meant for the road and track. Just flip the shoe over and take a look at the Flextra outsole. No lugs here. I did take them on some light trails (buffed out dirt and gravel) and there were no issues as far as traction. However, I do not suggest them for technical trails. To get the longest life out of these shoes, keep them on the pavement.
Price
Price

Price

Coming in at $160, these are a bit pricey. But like most stability shoes, with all their fancy features, you pay for what you get. Between the customizable Super DNA midsole, the Guide Rails, Pebax External Heel Counter… well, let’s just say there is a price for all that stability and support. For those looking for a supportive, long lasting shoe, the price might just be worth it.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The first day I received these shoes, it rained. That wasn’t going to stop me from testing them out and I am happy to announce they did great on wet pavement. The outsole provides solid traction on both wet and dry, smooth surfaces. They wouldn’t fare well on muddy trails, but for the surface they were intended for they provide great traction.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

This is not a flexible shoe. It is a stability shoe and be it as it may, will not provide a super flexible, natural ride. Reviewers have commented that the shoe required a break in period or felt stiff, and honestly, it is a bit stiff. But Brooks wasn’t trying to make this a super flexible shoe. There are many features that allow for some flexibility, and I found that those features made the shoe not as stiff. The Flextra outsole and the Double Omega Flex Grooves in the midsole provide the most flexibility. The upper, on the other hand, is quite flexible. The 3D print technology allows for a snug fit, without being too constricting. However, if you are looking for a super flexible shoe that allows for a lot of natural movement, look elsewhere.
Stability
Stability

Stability

With all the features mentioned above, this is one great stability shoe. Mild to moderate overpronators will appreciate the Guide Rails, the Pebax ExternalHeel Counter, as well as the Super DNA midsole, keeps the foot supported and promote a natural, steady foot cycle. However, all these lovely stability features might be too much for the neutral runners. They also won’t provide enough support for runners with high arches. Both for those who need a little extra support for pronation issues, this is the shoe for you.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The drop of the Transcend 4 did not change from its predecessor. It still features an 8 mm drop, which is slightly lower than standard. However, this drop ensures you are getting some good heel cushioning while promoting a natural gait cycle.
Key Features of the Brooks Transcend 4
Key Features of the Brooks Transcend 4

Key Features of the Brooks Transcend 4

• Super DNA Midsole
• 3D Print technology in upper
• Pebax External Heel Counter
• Guide Rails
• Flextra and blown rubber outsole
• Double Omega Flex Grooves in the midsole
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Overall, I really enjoyed running in these shoes. They are a bit pricey, but for all the stability features packed into this shoe, I strongly believe the price is justified. The Super DNA midsole cushioning was extremely comfortable and only got more comfortable, the more I ran and walked in the shoe. I was worried that the Guide Rails would make for a rigid, constricting support, and though I could clearly tell it was there, it was not uncomfortable and provide the guidance I needed to prevent excessive overpronation.

Between the cushioning and the stability features, this shoe was especially comfortable on long runs. The only downside to the shoe was that it is a bit stiff. I have found many stability shoes are. However, I did not find the rigidity of the shoe to be uncomfortable. The flexible, breathable mesh upper and all the plush features in the lining and underfoot made for a super comfortable ride. Anyone searching for a stability shoe should definitely check out the Transcend 4.