The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 isn’t complicated—and that’s just the way we like it.
For the last two decades, the Adrenaline has consistently been one of the most popular running shoes on the market. Thanks to a comfy fit and consistent ride, the newest edition is no exception.
Fleet Feet runners took the latest Adrenaline for a spin to see how it fits, how it rides and how it changed (or hasn’t changed) from last year. Here’s what we thought of the shoe.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20
9.4 oz (women’s); 10.6 oz (men’s)
This year Brooks pared down the upper to its essentials: A slightly stretchy engineered mesh upper wraps the top of the shoe while a few basic overlays add a touch of structure around the midfoot. But even those overlays are kept to just the medial side of the shoe.
And with the exception of the Brooks logo on each side of the shoe and a small reinforced patch on top of the big toe, there’s nothing else to break up the Adrenaline’s smooth silhouette.
Aesthetics aside, Brooks nailed the fit. This iteration of the Adrenaline feels a tad roomier in the forefoot than the previous edition. That change could be thanks to the mesh upper, which stretches enough to give a wider-footed tester a comfortable fit even in the regular-width shoe.
A well-padded tongue sits beneath the laces to help distribute pressure across the top of your foot, and a well-structured heel cup helps lock in your foot.
The Adrenaline doesn’t offer anything wild, like a carbon-fiber plate or featherweight foam composition. But it doesn’t need space-age technology to be an outstanding running shoe because it sticks to the formula that made it great in the past: comfortable, durable support.
Designers outfitted the 20th edition of the Adrenaline with GuideRails—Brooks’ new, holistic answer to stability. While support or stability shoes have historically solved only for overpronation with a medial post, this GuideRail technology shifts the focus of support from your foot to your knee.
Brooks explains GuideRails like bumpers on a bowling alley: A medial bumper guides your foot back to a neutral position if it rolls too far to the inside, while a lateral (or outside) bumper does the same if your foot rolls outward.
In short, they’re there if you need them.
“I didn’t ever notice the GuideRails,” one tester says. “I think that’s a testament to how well they’re designed. They just kind of fade into the background, but the shoe still feels incredibly stable.”
Brooks says it made a small change this year to the way it manufactures the GuideRails in the shoe. Instead of making each part separately and putting them together afterward, the new process creates the midsole and GuideRail components at the same time for a more cohesive guidance system.
The change means a slightly light weight and smoother ride than the previous model.
The Adrenaline 20 is as solid of a running shoe as you’ll find. In an era when running shoe tech is pushing the limits of human performance, the no-frills feel of the Adrenaline won’t surprise you—and that’s exactly why we love it.
Fleet Feet testers say the Adrenaline rides just the way they expect it to.
“The adrenaline felt stable but not stiff,” says another tester. “Sometimes when I wear a stability shoe I'll feel discomfort in my arch, but the guidance here was really comfortable. I didn't notice it.”
There aren’t many differences between the 19th and 20th versions of the Adrenaline, so fans of the outgoing model will find a nearly identical experience in the new one.
The most noteworthy change is the use of overlays. Brooks stripped the midfoot overlays off the 20’s upper for a cleaner overall look.
Last year’s shoe employed oval-shaped perforations to vent heat and moisture out of the shoe; this year’s version has more uniform openings over the forefoot that switch into lines around the midfoot (as far as we could tell from our testing, this is a purely aesthetic update).
Here's how the two shoe compare:
Adrenaline GTS 19
Adrenaline GTS 20
9.6 oz (W), 11.0 oz (M)
9.4 oz (W), 10.6 oz (M)
BioMoGo DNA, DNA Loft
BioMoGo DNA, DNA Loft
The padding on the heel collar has a corduroy-like texture but uses a silky fabric to minimize any rubbing that could occur with a coarser fabric. Despite the change, our testers didn’t notice any substantial difference between the two heel cups or padding.
Underneath, the shoes are identical.
Both the Adrenaline 19 and Adrenaline 20 use a combination of BioMoGo DNA foam and softer DNA Loft foam to cushion the ride. Brooks packed the DNA Loft foam into the Crash Pad, which sits under the heel and wraps around the outside of the shoe, and used BioMogo DNA foam everywhere else for a responsive and durable ride.
Just like the midsole, the outsole didn’t get any appreciable alterations. Both models have the same overall pattern and use the same flex grooves for a natural heel-to-toe transition.
Fans will also notice different shoelaces. The laces in the 19 were flat with a slight bit of stretch, but the laces threaded through the 20 are tubular and noticeably stretchier—they’re the same laces our testers loved in the Brooks Ghost 12 review.
The uncomplicated Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 is back and as good as ever.
The shoe is stable without feeling clunky, and the clean new upper gives it a polished look. Fleet Feet testers praised the shoe’s staying power as one of the most reliable stability rides around
A stellar fit combined with a reliable ride make the 20th edition of the Adrenaline the go-to shoe you’ll lace up again and again.
Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.
By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.