Brooks Transcend

The Brooks Transcend is one of Brook's most well-cushioned shoes. There's a little bit of controversy over whether it should be called a neutral or stability shoe. The Transcend doesn't have the typical medial post. In stability shoes, this post is meant to prevent excessive inward rolling. The shoe, instead, features a great deal of cushioning which acts to support the wearer.  In the context of this review, we'll work under the assumption that it's a neutral shoe. With the Transcend, Brooks has clearly sought to enter the maximalist market. The shoe is highly cushioned and this cushioning provides a supportive base for the wearer. It's a smart option for runners recovering from injury as it offers great padding underfoot. Runners who are logging high mileage each week or heavier runners might also find the Transcend to be a good daily trainer.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Very highly cushioned
  • Supportive
  • Snug and secure fit
  • Very comfortable
  • Cons
    • Toe box could be wider
    • Rather inflexible and rigid underfoot
    • Key Features
      The Brooks Transcend's outsole is composed of carbon rubber. The rubber that makes up the sole of the shoe is quite soft. The full-contact outsole is wide enough to provide stability and deliver excellent traction. The lugs featured on the outsole are a bit flat but they are made of a sticky substance which enhances grip. The outsole works well to provide traction when running on dry pavement.

      Also featured in the outsole are grooves which enhance the shoe's ability to flex with the foot. These Flex Grooves ensure the shoe has some give so the runner can experience a smooth ride. The shoe also features a crash pad in the rearfoot area.

      The Brooks Transcend is a very well-cushioned shoe. The midsole of the shoe contains a single layer of high-density foam. Additionally, the midsole also contains Super BioMoGo DNA cushioning. This "super" material can respond to the needs of the wearer. With each footfall, the amount of energy return is adjusted depending on the wearer. The cushioning material also offers a lot more padding than Brook's regular cushioning material.

      Most reviewers felt that the midsole cushioning was extremely comfortable without having too much give. The midsole cushioning is a touch rigid to ensure runners are moving forward upon a supportive platform.
      The Brooks Transcend upper fits snugly around a runner's foot. This is achieved with the mesh overlays and via the lacing system.

      Most reviewers were pleased with the fit of the shoe and, in particular, the upper. Some runners found the toe box was much too tight and commented that the fit felt "pointy", with toes squishing together uncomfortably. Toe blisters are likely to be a major issues when the toe box fit is too tight. Inside the shoe, there is a removable BioMoGo insole. The comfortable sock liner can be removed so a custom orthotic can be used instead. Runners can also go without socks in the Transcend thanks to its comfortable and seamless interior.
      The Brooks Transcend weighs in at 12.8 oz for the men's size 11 version. The shoe certainly looks a bit clunky, but when worn runners found it didn't feel as heavy as they expected it to be. The shoe does not feel heavy when running in it. Most runners felt that the Transcend actually felt fast. It's obviously a chunkier shoe - Brooks isn't billing the Transcend as a lightweight racer. But it doesn't feel obtrusive on a run. Runners won't feel like they have a weight hanging off their foot on the run.
      The Brooks Transcend features a mesh upper which offers a good amount of breathability. The mesh overlays are numerous. These overlays are composed of a flexible material, so there's some give to the upper. Some runners did find the toe box was much too cramped. They commented by saying that the pointy toe box compromised ventilation. Most reviewers were very disappointed with this aspect of the shoe. The shoe fits pretty tightly elsewhere but not uncomfortably.
      The most impressive aspect of the Brooks Transcend's is that it's an extremely comfortable shoe.

      Reviewers praised the plush midsole cushioning that worked to pad underfoot, even on long-distance training runs. Even towards the end of a run, the shoe's DNA cushioning provided long-lasting energy-return.

      The inner sock liner can be removed to accommodate an orthotic but used on its own offers its own kind of comfort inside the shoe.

      A few reviewers did have some fit issues, but moving up a size usually solved this problem for most runners. The toe box could use a revamp since a high percentage of runners found it was cramped and uncomfortable. The rest of the shoe, though, offers supreme comfort.
      The Brooks Transcend features a variety of flashy, loud colors. Adding to the aesthetic of the shoe is a big Brooks logo featured on the side of the shoe. The shoe's marketing originally featured a lot of space-age imagery. The design itself looks almost space-age too. The shoe looks like it came from a NASA lab! This is not a shoe that will blend into the ether. The numerous overlays provide support and add an attractive design element.

      The shoe is quite chunky, thanks to its maximally cushioned midsole. When worn, the shoe feels lighter than expected but the look of the shoe looks a bit clunky. You might feel as if you have clown shoes on for your first few runs in the Transcend.
      The Brooks Transcend is a quality shoe in the Brooks running shoe lineup. The tough outsole of the shoe is meant to protect the sole from withering away. The upper, made of mesh material, is also tough enough to withstand tearing. The midsole cushioning continues to offer a responsive ride, even after miles of use.

      The Brooks Transcend is a good choice for beginner marathoners looking for a dedicated training shoe.

      Reviewers had nothing much to say in terms of the shoe's durability. The shoe can definitely handle a fair bit of pavement pounding. It's a more expensive shoe but it's also a shoe that should last you a long time.
      Protection comes in many forms with the Brooks Transcend. The outsole, made of carbon rubber, covers the entire sole of the shoe. The fully covered outsole is tough enough to handle high-mileage running without tearing apart. The midsole cushioning offers another layer of protection. The highly cushioned midsole provides padding for the wearer. The cushioning can absorb shock and ensure a comfortable run.

      Finally, the upper also features reflective components. These reflective bits allow runners to be seen even in very low-light conditions.
      The Brooks Transcend does an okay job when it comes to responsiveness. The midsole's Super DNA BioMoGo material offers a fair bit of rebound but not enough to beat out other shoes in the same category. Brooks offers other models that are much more responsive, like the shoes in the PureProject line.

      Despite this, the shoe does offer a bit of rebound thanks to the midsole material and the soft rubber outsole. The Transcend does a poor job when it comes to ground-feel. Runners won't be able to detect much of anything going on beneath them. This is the tradeoff for getting maximum cushioning, though.
      The Brooks Transcend is a mildly supportive shoe.
      The upper fits snugly around the foot to provide some support. The fit is adjustable thanks to the shoe's lacing system.

      Another element of the Transcend that provides some support is the Guide Rails. The side rails stop overpronation in its tracks. The midsole also offers some degree of support. The firm cushioning ensures runners have a stable platform to run on. The outsole of the Transcend also helps to keep runners grounded since the rubber material covers the entire sole to provide the best traction.

      The Brooks Transcend's outsole is made of fairly tough carbon rubber. The material covers the entire sole and helps to provide traction to the wearer. The shoe is not meant for surfaces other than pavement (except indoor running or track running). The flat treads do not provide enough grip for runners to use the shoe on technical trails. The shoe can handle running on the roads just fine, but when the weather takes a turn the grip is just not as good. The lugs underfoot, although they are outfitted with sticky material, have trouble when it comes to wet surfaces.
      The Brooks Transcend is one of the pricier shoes in the Brooks lineup. Close to $200, the shoe is not a good choice for beginner runners. While it delivers ample cushioning and a good deal of support, it's probably too much for most newbies. It's pointless to pay for that much cushioning if you're just running 5Ks. You simply don't need that much padding unless you're going long or you're someone who is always dealing with injuries.

      If you're a heavier runner or just a veteran runner who wants a bit more cushioning than usual, the Brooks Transcend might work for you. It's an even better choice if you're looking to run a marathon for your goal race.

      The Brooks Transcend's outsole is made of carbon rubber. The soft rubber material ensures runners get a decent amount of grip. The shoe performs best in nice weather conditions. The sticky tread underfoot ensures runners are stable when out for a training run.

      Runners who prefer to run or find themselves running in mostly rainy weather may not be happy with the grip provided by the Transcend. The shoe performs particularly poorly on icy surfaces but it's pretty hard to find a shoe that can handle the winter. It seems almost easier to just stay inside!

      The Brooks Transcend's outsole has prominent Flex Grooves which enhance the pliability of the shoe. The grooves don't do a good enough job, though, since the shoe is still pretty stiff overall. The rigidity of the shoe comes from the firm midsole material. To help with this stiff construction, Brooks has rounded off the heel of the shoe. This is meant to help enhance the smoothness of the shoe's ride by encouraging a rolling forward motion. The upper is probably the most flexible part of the shoe. It's snug fitting but there's enough room to breathe so the shoe is still comfortable. Some reviewers did comment on fit issues. Going up a half size seems to eliminate any potential fit issues.
      In our intro, we commented on the confusion regarding the Brooks Transcend's status as a stability shoe. There are varying opinions floating around but there's no debating the fact that the shoe doesn't have a medial post. Does this mean it's definitely a neutral shoe? Let's not jump to conclusions!

      The shoe does have a fair bit of very rigid midsole cushioning which acts to support the wearer. Also important, in terms of stability, are the shoe's Guide Rails. These rails ensure that runners do no pronate excessively.

      To be sure, the Transcend isn't a good choice for serious overpronators. It really only offers mild support. In addition, you won't find much in terms of support for the arch in this shoe. But the upper definitely locks down the wearer's foot and keeps the ankle stable.
      The Brooks Transcend features an 8mm drop. The drop is pretty standard in the running shoe world. Most reviewers didn't have a problem with the drop. Brooks does offer shoes with a lower heel to toe drops, for those interested. Reviewers found the drop, along with the unique rounded heel aided with a natural rolling movement of the foot when running.

      Key Features
    • Soft Carbon Rubber Outsole

    • Flex Grooves help with flexibility

    • Heel crash pad

    • Super BioMoGo DNA Cushioning (25% more cushion than regular BioMoGo)

    • Guide Rails help with overpronation

    • Removable insole

    • Rounded heel promotes natural footstrike

    • Bottom Line
      The maximally cushioned Brooks Transcend falls into the neutral category. Despite this, it still offers some impressive stability features, though does not have a medial post. The responsive midsole material works with the runner to provide support, rebound, and protection from impact. The futuristically designed shoe is perfect for runners looking to train for long-distance races. It will work equally well for injury-prone runners needing a bit of extra cushion.

      The shoe does feel a bit rigid underfoot and lacks the flexibility to ensure a very smooth ride. Brooks has chosen to curve the heel to help with this but it does not make up completely for the shoe's inflexibility.

      Regardless, the Transcend offers more padding than most runners will ever need and can handle high-mileage long-distance training.
      Where to Buy
      By Steph Coelho
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 24. 2021

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