Shoe Review: Brooks Launch 6

The Brooks Launch 6 Shamrock edition

The Brooks Launch is a favorite shoe among Fleet Feet runners because it mates an uncomplicated fit with premium performance, and the newest version doesn’t mess with that formula.

Designers made minor aesthetic tweaks when they released this version, so the new Brooks Launch 6 looks and feels very much like the shoe we know and love. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to get excited about.

Brooks uses the Launch 6 as a canvas to celebrate iconic races, holidays and events by painting it with different colors and patterns. The first special version this year is the Shamrock Edition Launch 6, which our Fleet Feet testers got to test out.

Get to know the new Launch 6, and read what our testers thought of the classic road shoe:

  • Heel-to-Toe drop: 10 mm
  • Weight: 8 oz, women’s; 9 oz, men’s
  • Category: Neutral, road
  • Price: $100
Brooks Launch 6 Shamrock edition

Launch 6 Fit

The Brooks Launch 6 is built to fit a wide range of feet. Fleet Feet testers with different foot shapes and sizes found it worked for them: The regular-width shoe was roomy enough for a male tester with a wider-than-average foot but snug enough for female testers with average-width feet but different sized heels.

“The Launch 6 is just as comfortable and dependable right out of the box as every Launch I’ve ever worn before,” one tester says. “It’s an excellent, no fuss shoe.”

Two testers who ran previously in the Brooks Launch 5 say the new version feels a bit roomier than the outgoing model, but it never felt sloppy.

Brooks didn’t change anything about the lacing system, so you can still cinch the shoe down over your midfoot or loosen it up in places to customize the fit.

The one-piece mesh upper is light and airy, so your feet don’t feel swampy on warm days, and an internal bootie hugs your foot well. None of our testers noticed any hot spots or uncomfortable stitching inside the shoe.

“I loved that I didn’t have to think twice about how it fit,” another tester says. “It conformed to my foot but never felt constricting or uncomfortable.”

Launch 6 Ride

The Launch 6 is unobtrusive, so you almost forget about the shoe once it’s laced up. That forgetfulness comes from the shoe’s smooth ride and feathery weight.

Brooks packed the shoe with the same BioMoGo DNA foam found in other Brooks running shoes, which is soft and responsive but also has an environmental focus. Brooks says the cushion includes organic, non-toxic additives that degrade 50 times faster than standard EVA foam when they hit the landfill.

The lightweight mesh combined with the BioMoGo foam keeps the shoe’s overall weight down. The women’s shoe weighs about 8 oz, and the men’s shoe comes in at 9 oz, though the weight will vary as you size up.

One Fleet Feet tester marveled at the weight-to-cushion ratio, finding it was soft enough to work as an everyday trainer but light enough for speed workouts.

“The Launch 6 has a soft, cushioned feel, making it perfect as a lightweight trainer,” she says. “I’ve used a few lightweight shoes that are so thin on the cushioning that they barely feel new out of the box. The Launch 6, on the other hand, offers a nice cushioned, new-shoe feeling without too much bulk.”

Brooks Launch 5 vs. Brooks Launch 6

A comparison of the Brooks Launch 5 and the Brooks Launch 6

The differences between the Brooks Launch 5 and the Brooks Launch 6 are mostly aesthetic, but they give the new shoe a refreshed look.

The engineered mesh upper underwent the most noticeable change from old to new. Engineers changed the pattern of the mesh from dozens of oval-shaped holes covering the toe box and midfoot to a main vent over the forefoot surrounded by smaller perforations around the sides and up toward the collar.

Both shoes use Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA cushioning, so the Launch 6 has the same springy feeling as last year's shoe.

The outsole shows some minor layout differences when compared to the previous model. Brooks added a bend to the flex grooves under the Launch 6 to give it an arrow-like pattern that points toward the toe, and the X-shaped Midfoot Transition Zone extends farther toward the front of the shoe than the on the 5.

Brooks left the laces alone: Six eyelets run up each side of the shoe with a seventh at the top to let you change up the lacing to meet your needs. One Fleet Feet tester with a narrow heel says she used marathon lacing to lock her foot in place.

The similarities between the Launch 5 and Launch 6 were a good thing for one of our testers.

“I have run a lot of long miles in the Launch 5, and, thankfully, these feel similar. I plan to put a lot of miles on them, too” she says. “They’re an excellent all-around shoe that you can grab for a long, hard effort or something quicker.”

A comparison of the outsoles on the Brooks Launch 5 and Brooks Launch 6

Conclusion

The Launch 6 doesn’t make lofty promises, and it isn’t designed for an exclusive segment of elite runners. Instead, Brooks made the Launch to fit well, perform how you need it to and celebrate the simple joys of running.

In short, the Launch 6 does everything we want it to and nothing we don’t. And at just $100, it outperforms its price point.

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.

Keep Reading