Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline

There are times when comparing shoes feels like splitting hairs.

It seems like every company is advertising the latest midsole technology, the most responsive outsole rubber ever invented, or some other design feature setting their shoe apart from anything ever done before. 

But at the end of the day, you ask yourself: Are they really that different from rest?

So when I started my research on Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline, I thought I would be looking at two shoes that are basically the same, just pitched in a different light by their company.

However, when it comes to these two flagship lines from Brooks, the differences are rather distinct.

The Glycerin is the clear choice for those runners wanting to log easy miles and have a comfortable pair of shoes to wear on a daily basis, while the Adrenaline is a premier stability shoe that will keep runners’ ankles, knees, and hips moving safely along their normal path of motion during training sessions.

For a more detailed breakdown, keep reading to discover everything there is to know about how the Brooks Glycerin stacks up vs the Brooks Adrenaline!

Brooks Running Shoes At A Glance

Founded in Philadelphia in 1914, Brooks Running is one of the most established and well-respected names in the running shoe industry.

With a motto of “there’s no right way to run,” the company has a comprehensive line of sneakers to back up this claim.

Brooks believes that every runner has a habitual motion path (HMP) that is unique to them. They call this their “Run Signature.”

With countless hours of scientific research studying thousands of Run Signatures, Brooks created their innovative GuideRails midsole stability system to keep runners flowing smoothly along their HMP. The company has also invested heavily in its DNA Loft midsole foam and more performance-minded BioMoGo midsole foam as well. 

Simply put, when you buy a pair of Brooks running shoes, you are guaranteed to get some of the most cutting-edge technology on the market to keep you running comfortably and injury-free.

Two of their flagship running shoes that put this technology on display are the Glycerin and Adrenaline.

Brooks Glycerin: What Are You Getting?

Introduced in the late 1990’s and inspired by the song “Glycerine” by Bush (a neat little trivia fact for any other 90’s alternative junkies out there), the Glycerin has gone decades as Brooks’ luxury high-cushion road racing shoe. 

Its latest iteration is equipped with the company’s DNA Loft v3 midsole foam. Infused with nitrogen to enhance the effects of the DNA Loft foam, it provides Glycerin wearers the softest, lightest, and most responsive midsole option possible.

In addition, the Glycerin features a Fit Knit upper to enhance breathability and flexibility of the foot and an external lacing system to ensure that laces never rub against the foot and create a distraction during sessions.

Here’s a look at some of the most common “pros” runners note about the Glycerin:

  • A heel grip in the upper that keeps the foot from sliding around
  • A plush, secure fit that keeps people of all foot widths comfortable
  • Outstanding for guaranteeing comfort for every mile of long-distance runs
  • Sufficient traction and responsiveness from the outsole

All in all, when you choose the Glycerin, you are making a commitment to one of the softest and most comfortable–yet durable–running shoe solutions on the market. 

Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline

Brooks Adrenaline: What Are You Getting?

As you have probably gathered from reading about Brooks GuideRails technology, the company is highly focused on ensuring stability and support that keep runners on their HMP.

This commitment started in 1996 with the introduction of the Adrenaline.

As the flagship product in what the company described as “motion-control shoes,” early versions of the Adrenaline were actually a bit too restrictive, causing a bit of overcorrection in getting runners back into their normal stride.

In time, as the company perfected its GuideRails system, the Adrenaline became its leading product for providing smart support and smooth transitions, limiting overpronation without creating a restrictive running experience.

Like the Glycerin, the Adrenaline features DNA Loft midsole technology to help guarantee comfortable strides and soft landings. It also sprinkles in some of the company’s more responsive BioMoGo foam for performance. 

It is also known for its Segmented Crash Pads in the outsole, which improves responsiveness and takeoff with each transition. 

Here is a roundup of some “pros” that users note about the Adrenaline:

  • Premier midsole stability
  • Tongue that stays in place
  • Outstanding responsiveness during transitions
  • Adequate upper comfort and ventilation

At the end of the day, while the Adrenaline is undoubtedly one of the premier stability running shoes on the market, Brooks’ modern innovations guarantee that it does not sacrifice performance along the way.

Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline

Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline Design Comparison

A detailed look at how the Glycerin and Adrenaline stack up along key design points.

Upper

The Fit Knit upper of the Glycerin is a unique combination of breathable mesh and synthetic overlays to create a soft, comfortable fit for the runner. The shoe also features an OrthoLite sock liner that enhances the soft sensation you get when putting on the shoe.

The Adrenaline uses a simple 3D fit print mesh upper. A one-piece upper with no points of irritation, it maintains its form while also being flexible, mile after mile. 

Midsole

As one of the premier comfort running shoes on the market, the Glycerin takes its midsole cushion to the next level. The nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3 midsole foam is the lightest, softest version of the proprietary midsole technology used by the company, and the Glycerin has it in spades.

The Adrenaline uses standard DNA Loft midsole foam. It also strategically places some of the company’s performance-focused BioMoGo foam in the midsole as well. While not as pillowy as the Glycerin, this is still more than adequate for ensuring comfortable, responsive landings. Obviously, the GuideRails are what the Adrenaline midsole is known for. Strategically placed foam bumpers on both the medial and lateral sides of the midsole, the patented GuideRails prevent overpronation and allow your hips, knees, and joints to move along their HMP. This promotes stability without the need for the typically cumbersome and uncomfortable midsole posts found in most stability running shoes. 

Outsole

The Glycerin features a combination of standard blown rubber and high performance rubber (HPR) in the outsole. Located in the forefoot, the blown rubber in the Glycerin promotes flexibility and durability in ideal pressure zones, helping ensure long-lasting performance. With HPR concentrated mainly in the rearfoot, the outsole is better equipped to fight against abrasion in heel strikes and provide elite traction.

The Adrenaline is known for its Segmented Crash Pad outsole. It uses a “caterpillar” like network of fully-integrated shock absorbers along the outsole to promote flexibility, improve landing efficiency, and create smooth transitions. 

Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline

Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline Feature Comparison

Now that you know a little bit about how these two leading Brooks shoes are designed, let’s see how they compare in regards to some key performance features. 

Durability

Although both shoes are a bit specialized in their design approach–the Glycerin as a neutral, high-comfort running shoe and the Adrenaline as a premier stability product–neither sacrifices durability in the process.

There is ample rubber in each outsole to guarantee that they hold up on a variety of terrains. In addition, while the uppers are both flexible and breathable, there is enough overlay material to ensure that active toes do not start breaking through the surface prematurely.

At the end of the day, expect to log the standard 400 to 500 miles in either the Glycerin or Adrenaline.

Winner: Push

Fit

Many runners note that both the Glycerin and Adrenaline both run true to size.

The Glycerin, with its light, breathable upper and OrthoLite sock liner, does fit snugly around the foot. Users also note that the padded heel and gusseted tongue make for an even more cozy (in a good way) fit. Many runners really enjoy the seemingly glove-like fit of the Glycerin. As a neutral shoe, it also tends to be a bit more comfortable for people with normal arches.

The Adrenaline also has a comfortable upper that allows for flexibility in the forefoot. If there is any complaint about the fit, it is that some users feel that it gets a little tight in the toe box, making toe splaying a bit uncomfortable and constricting people with wider feet. 

Winner: Glycerin

Cushioning

As is the case with most running shoes from the big name brands these days, there really is no such thing as a poorly cushioned shoe. Modern innovations have perfectly blended the lines between comfort and performance, and that is certainly the case with Brooks’ DNA Loft and BioMoGo midsole technology. 

With that said, the Glycerin is clearly the more cushioned of the two shoes here. Marketed as Brooks’ luxury comfort product, the nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3 is the latest and greatest the company has to offer in terms of lightweight cushioning. While the Adrenaline does have plenty of the standard DNA Loft foam and a spattering of BioMoGo performance foam for responsiveness, it is just not quite on the same level as the Glycerin in terms of softness. 

Another major advantage to the highly cushioned Glycerin is that heavier runners who need a little more forgiving landing to take the stress off of their joints rave about how great they feel when logging high mileage in the Glycerin. 

Winner: Glycerin

Stability & Support

Although the Glycerin is not necessarily a bad choice for stability and support, it just doesn’t stack up to the Adrenaline in this regard.

After all, the Adrenaline line was created with the purpose of motion control in overpronators. In fact, you will notice that the Adrenaline comes with the letters “GTS” following its name. That stands for “go-to-shoe” or “go-to-support” for overpronators.

Simply put, the innovative GuideRails in the midsole of the Adrenaline makes them the perfect shoe for people with high arches and  whose feet tend to roll inward during strides. This keeps runners comfortably moving along their HMP and greatly reduces the risk of sprained ankles, peroneal tendonitis, and other associated injuries caused by overpronation. 

Winner: Adrenaline  

Cost

Neither of these shoes are economy running shoes. They are engineered with specific purposes in mind, and you can expect to pay a premium to get the associated results.

As the company’s luxury running shoe, you will likely notice the Glycerin carrying a slightly higher price tag on most outlets. Generally speaking, be prepared to give around $150 for a pair of either shoe, with inventory and promotions swaying this a few dollars in either direction. 

Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline

FAQ – Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline

A selection of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Brooks Glycerin and Adrenaline.

Can I Use the Glycerin or Adrenaline for Casual Wear?

Yes, in addition to being a premier comfort running shoe, the Glycerin is also a very popular casual wear option. It comes in a wide array of colors to match any type of outfit, and users note how the soft, highly cushioned design of the Glycerin keeps their feet feeling fresh all day when walking.

The Adrenaline is also a good choice for casual wear and similarly comes in many colors, but it is not quite as popular as the Glycerin in this regard. 

Is The Glycerin or Adrenaline Lighter?

The Glycerin checks in at 10.1 ounces and the Adrenaline at 10.2 ounces. These figures qualify both shoes as lightweight but not quite “ultralightweight.”

Does the Glycerin Also Use GuideRails?

Yes, there are some versions of the Glycerin that include GuideRails. Just look for the products that say Glycerin GTS. This shoe evolved due to the demand by runners for the ultra-soft cushioning of the Glycerin who also needed the GuideRails support offered in the Adrenaline. 

Is It Okay to Buy Both the Glycerin and Adrenaline?

While purchasing two separate products from the same company may seem like a waste of money, there is actually some merit to having both the Glycerin and Adrenaline in your closet. Some runners with overpronation issues like the Adrenaline for training sessions and prefer donning the Glycerin for more casual walks.

The Final Word On Brooks Glycerin vs Adrenaline

Although it may seem like many running shoe companies try to sell the same product with a different name, this is clearly not the case with the Brooks Glycerin and Adrenaline. While both shoes adhere to the high standards of innovation for which Brooks is famous, they each have very distinct usages. 

The nitrogen-infused DNA Loft midsoles of the Glycerin make for one of the most highly cushioned shoes on the market, the perfect option for people who want to log some easy miles or heavier runners who want to take some stress off of their joints. On the other hand, the innovative GuideRails in the Adrenaline provide the utmost in stability for runners with overpronation issues, combining this with ample DNA Loft to guarantee that the stability does not come at the price of comfort.

If either of these scenarios hit the mark for what you are looking for in a sneaker, take a closer look at the Glycerin or Adrenaline today and get to moving!

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AUTHOR

Tucker Lane

Tucker Lane is a freelance content creator. He is a former Academic All-American wrestler at the University of Nebraska. Following his competitive career, he coached at The Citadel for three years, followed by another three-year stint at the University of Northern Colorado. Upon retirement from wrestling, Tucker has adopted running as way to fill his passion for competition and exercise.

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