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Shoe Review: Brooks Ghost 12

An array of Brooks Ghost 12 running shoes on the ground

We’ve long been fans of the Ghost for its great fit and easy ride, and the new Brooks Ghost 12 doesn’t let us down.

The Brooks Ghost 12 is a minor update to a classic Brooks running shoe, which means it still boasts the roomy fit and smooth ride that we love. Designers shaved a little bit of weight from the shoe and tweaked the upper, but the main hardware didn’t change.

We put the shoe to the test to figure out how it fits, how it rides and how it compares to the previous version. Here’s what we found.

Tech specs Brooks Ghost 12
Price $130
Weight 9.3 oz. (women's); 10.4 oz. (men's)
Drop 12 mm
Use Everyday trainer
Category Neutral
Surface Road, track

Brooks Ghost 12 Fit and Materials

A runner wears the Brooks Ghost 12 during a run

Premium materials and an accommodating fit make the Ghost 12 ideal for people who want a comfortable, reliable running shoe.

Like the Ghost 11, Brooks gave the Ghost 12 an engineered mesh upper. The soft, pliable mesh is comfortable from the moment you step into the shoe. It has enough stretch to mold to the widest part of your foot, and it doesn’t restrict your movement.

The mesh makes the forefoot and midfoot feel roomy and comfortable, even for wider feet. Printed overlays on the mesh help maintain the shoe's shape and add a touch of subdued styling to the already minimal look.

One feature that shines is the heel cup. Brooks used an internal heel counter on the Ghost 12, which lends rigidity and structure to the back of the shoe. One Fleet Feet runner loved how it locked in his heel.

“My heel never budged in this shoe,” he says. “I love how the heel cup holds on to my foot. It makes the whole shoe feel secure.”

Adding to the comfort, Brooks coated the ankle collar and heel in a soft fabric to mitigate any rubbing that could lead to chafing and blisters.

To tie it down, Brooks kept things classic. There’s no guesswork with the straightforward lacing pattern, and there’s an empty eyelet at the top of the shoe for runners who need it to lock in the fit.

One (small) thing testers loved about the new Ghost 12 is how smooth the tubular laces are. They're soft to the touch and slide nicely through the eyelets when you cinch them down. It’s a small detail, but, like a leather-wrapped steering wheel on a car, it gives the shoe a premium feel.

Brooks Ghost 12 Ride and Performance

A pair of runners wearing the Brooks Ghost 12 during a workout

The Ghost 12 rides just like you expect it to.

DNA Loft foam runs from the heel through the midfoot on the lateral side. The extra soft foam makes landings easier for heel strikers and adds cushion into the transition onto your forefoot.

The soft landings are enhanced by the Ghost’s buttery transitions. One Fleet Feet tester loved how the shoe rolled seamlessly onto the toe to get him off to the next step.

“I don’t have anything bad to say about the new Ghost,” he says. “They just work, and I don’t have to think about them once I put them on.”

Brooks attributes part of that smooth feeling to the outsole. Designers used what they call a Segmented Crash Pad and Flex Grooves in the forefoot.

Brooks says the Segmented Crash Pad is like a row of little shock absorbers built covertly into the outsole. Each one works independently to adjust to the landing of your foot, whether you’re a heel striker, forefoot striker or anything in between. Add up the effects of all those shock absorbers, and you get a smooth ride.

Once you reach the toe-off phase of the transition, the three forefoot Flex Grooves let you bend your foot naturally so you can roll easily toward your next stride.

All the Brooks technology packed into the shoe works together to deliver an outstanding ride.

Brooks Ghost 11 vs Brooks Ghost 12

A side-by-side comparison of the Brooks Ghost 11 and Brooks Ghost 12

Any fan of the Brooks Ghost 11 will feel right at home in the new model because Brooks didn’t change much from the outgoing model to the incoming one.

One difference between the two shoes is the look of the upper. Brooks redesigned the mesh pattern and the printed overlays, which was only an aesthetic change—the fit and ride feel the same between the two shoes.

Credit the identical ride to the shoe’s midsole. Both the Ghost 11 and the Ghost 12 use DNA Loft and BioMoGo DNA foam in the midsole, so the feel didn’t change from that iteration to this. You still get a ride that’s soft but not mushy, responsive but not hard.

Brooks also shaved some weight from both the men’s and women’s models: The men’s shoe is down half an ounce, and the women’s dropped .2 ounces, according to Brooks.

Underneath the shoe, Brooks slightly altered the outsole pattern, but the main components are the same: burly rubber resists abrasion from the pavement, and the three main Flex Grooves let the forefoot flex naturally as you roll off your toe.

Conclusion

The Brooks Ghost 12 is the whole package.

The cushioned ankle collar and padded tongue give it a soft step-in feel, and the two-foam midsole combination make it ideal for lots of miles. We loved the Ghost 11, and Brooks didn’t change much from that version, so it’s not a surprise that we love the Ghost 12, too.

If you’re looking for a classic, comfortable running shoe, look no further. The Brooks Ghost 12 is exactly what you need.

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.

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