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Shoe Review: Brooks Ghost 13

A pair of Brooks Ghost 13s balanced on a bench

The Brooks Ghost 13 is here, and it delivers everything you’ve come to expect from one of the best selling Brooks running shoes year after year.

Brooks this year made one major change to the Ghost: more DNA Loft foam in the midsole. The proprietary foam composition is a mix of EVA foam, rubber and air—and it’s among Brooks’ softest cushioning.

The soft midsole lends the Ghost 13 an easier ride than ever before, but it maintains the same do-anything attitude and accommodating fit that made it a stalwart in your stable of training shoes.

Fleet Feet runners reviewed the Brooks Ghost 13 to see how the updated midsole changed the feel and to find out how well it lives up to the Ghost name. Here’s what they thought.

Tech specs

Brooks Ghost 13

Weight

8.8 oz (W), 10.1 oz (M)

Drop

11.5 mm

Category

Neutral

Midsole

DNA Loft

Use

Everyday training

Surface

Road, track

Brooks Ghost 13 Fit and Materials

A runner wearing the Brooks Ghost 13 running shoes

Your everyday training shoes have to be comfortable because you’ll be wearing them for the majority of your miles. So, Brooks built the Ghost 13 for all-day (and all-run) comfort.

Designers draped the Ghost 13 in an engineered mesh upper. The one-piece mesh wraps around the entire shoe seamlessly, which helps mitigate any hot spots or irritation that might develop.

The mesh, which Brooks calls Air Mesh, is smooth and pliable with some printed overlays throughout the midfoot, and it has a touch of stretch to help accommodate different foot shapes. One Fleet Feet reviewer who has a wider forefoot says the Ghost fit him well.

“I felt like my foot was really secure without being restricted,” he says. “I thought it was going to be too narrow at first, but it loosened up within the first few steps.”

Dozens of perforations in the mesh create a vent over the toe box to let excess heat and moisture escape. Testers didn’t experience any clamminess even during humid summer runs.

Part of the Ghost 13’s secure feeling comes from the heel cup. Brooks inserted an internal heel counter in the shoe to create structure that helps lock your foot into place. Testers didn’t have any slippage or movement in the heel once they laced up the shoe.

A little bit of extra padding lines the heel collar for a plusher step-in feel, and a soft tongue is comfortable on top of your foot. Add to that a cushioned (and removable) insole, and the Ghost 13 feels plush all around.

Brooks says the Ghost 13 weighs 8.8 oz for women and 10.1 oz for men, making it an average weight running shoe.

Brooks Ghost 13 Ride and Performance

A runner wearing the Brooks Ghost 13 shoes

Running shoes are trending softer, and the Brooks Ghost 13 is no exception.

Over the last couple years, many major brands shifted flagship running shoe models toward cushier foams that deliver softer rides. That’s where Brooks took the Ghost 13.

DNA Loft foam is the softest cushion in Brooks’ lineup. It made its Ghost debut on the Ghost 11 and continued in the Brooks Ghost 12 where it was paired with a pad of firmer BioMoGo DNA foam in the forefoot.

The Ghost 13 keeps the same combination of DNA Loft and BioMoGo DNA but in different proportions.

Designers extended the DNA Loft foam out from the heel, through the midfoot and into the forefoot where it partially overlaps with the BioMoGo DNA. The heel-to-toe DNA Loft gives the Ghost 13 a consistently soft feel all the way through the transition.

“The Ghost 13 felt softer right when I stepped in,” one Fleet Feet tester says. “But it’s still super smooth and easy going on the run. Classic Ghost.”

One thing testers loved about the Ghost 13 is its ability to blend into a run. The Ghost isn’t heavy or bulky; it isn’t turbocharged with carbon-fiber or reduced to its absolute minimum weight.

It’s a comfortable running shoe that works for most people—and that’s all it needs to be.

“For me, the Ghost is great because it does everything well,” one reviewer says. “It’s comfortable, it’s soft, it’s light. I love it because I know I won’t have to think about it once I start running.”

Another tester noted the generous amount of rubber on the outsole but still lauded the Ghost’s flexibility.

“Even with the amount of rubber, it is not stiff because of the amount of flex grooves providing flexibility in the perfect areas to match your natural foot motion,” he says.

Brooks Ghost 12 vs. Brooks Ghost 13

A side by side comparison of the Brooks Ghost 12 and Brooks Ghost 13

There are a couple key differences between the Brooks Ghost 12 and Brooks Ghost 13 when you compare them side by side, but many of the essential elements haven’t changed.

Both models have very similar engineered mesh uppers. The designs and patterns changed a little bit from the 12 to the 13, but Fleet Feet testers didn’t notice any performance difference between the two.

The lacing system remains the same—six standard eyelets with an empty seventh at the top—and the outsoles are very similar. Brooks changed the traction pattern on the rubber, but the overall shape and coverage didn’t change.

The big change this year is the extended DNA Loft foam in the midsole. In the Ghost 12, Brooks contained the softer DNA Loft mostly to the heel, with a slight extension into the midfoot. This year’s model takes that extension farther into the forefoot.

As a result, the Brooks Ghost 13 feels a little softer through the entire transition. It remains a very smooth, very capable everyday running shoe that you can depend on mile after mile.

Tech comparison

Brooks Ghost 12

Brooks Ghost 13

Weight

9.3 oz (W), 10.4 oz (M)

8.8 oz (W), 10.1 oz (M)

Drop

12 mm

11.5 mm

Category

Neutral

Neutral

Midsole

DNA Loft, BioMoGo DNA

DNA Loft, BioMoGo DNA

Upper

Engineered mesh

Engineered mesh

Conclusion

A runner wearing a pair of the Brooks Ghost 13

With a light feel and smooth ride, the Brooks Ghost 13 remains one of the best Brooks running shoes (and one of the best running shoes for beginners) you can find.

New this year is a bigger role for Brooks’ DNA Loft foam. Designers stretched the softer foam all the way from heel to toe to create a cushioned, consistent transition.

But the Ghost’s comfort and reliability didn’t change. Fleet Feet testers love the Ghost’s easy ride and the effortless way it blends into a run. Whether you’re running to clear your head or training for a marathon, the Brooks Ghost 13 lets you focus on the miles ahead.

According to one tester, Brooks did it again.

“Year in and year out the Ghost has been a dependable solution for many runners, and Brooks delivered on that consistency again this year,” he says.

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 shipping on orders over $99 and 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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