Brooks has always been a name synonymous with quality and performance in the running community. Their Launch series is a testament to Brooks’ commitment to delivering reliable running shoes, and the Launch 9 is the latest offspring of this legacy.
As always, I’ve done the research on its features, customer feedback, and Brooks’ own claims, and after a thorough examination, I must say it all paints a promising picture. The Launch 9 invites both the casual jogger and the seasoned marathoner to give it a spin, promising a blend of lightness, responsiveness, and a smooth ride.
Now, what sets the Launch 9 apart in a crowded market of running shoes? And more importantly, is this the shoe that will stand by you mile after mile? Whether you are chasing a personal record or just the horizon, the right pair of shoes can make all the difference. If a balanced, straightforward running shoe is what you’re scouting for, the Launch 9 might just pique your interest.
But hey, let’s stride through the features and specs of the Brooks Launch 9, assess its merits, and see if this pair deserves a spot in your running repertoire. Here is our Brooks Launch 9 review.
Brooks Launch 9 Full Review
First Impressions & Feel of the Brooks Launch 9
At first glance, the Brooks Launch 9 seems to be a shoe that doesn’t scream for attention, yet exudes quiet confidence. The design is understated, hinting at its no-nonsense approach to providing a solid running experience. The fit is snug, with a toe box that is spacious enough for a comfortable wiggle, a promising sign for those long runs where comfort is king.
The cushioning strikes a balance between softness and responsiveness, a crucial blend for that ideal running experience. The heel cup design offers a secure fit, for a stable ride through varying distances.
This shoe doesn’t parade flashy gimmicks — rather it focuses on performance and comfort. It’s like that quiet teammate who may not always grab the headlines but is always there, delivering solid performances day in and day out. Of course, the proof is in the pudding — or in this case, the pavement. Shall we delve deeper to see if the Brooks Launch 9 lives up to the expectations?
BioMoGo DNA Midsole: Brooks’ signature BioMoGo DNA midsole adapts to your stride, weight, and speed to provide a cushioned ride that doesn’t compromise on responsiveness. It’s an innovation tailored to ensure that your feet stay comfy while you maintain that zest in your step, every step of the way.
Blown Rubber Outsole: The outsole, made of blown rubber, promises durability and traction. It’s engineered to endure the wear and tear of countless miles while providing a reliable grip on a variety of surfaces. It’s not just about longevity; it’s about maintaining a steady footing, whether you’re sprinting on a track or conquering a trail.
Air Mesh Upper: The upper is crafted from air mesh material, ensuring a breathable, lightweight experience. It’s about keeping your feet cool and comfortable, regardless of the distance or the pace.
Segmented Crash Pad: The segmented crash pad is a standout feature, designed to adapt to each footfall no matter how your foot lands. This translates to smooth transitions and a stable ride, essential for maintaining your rhythm and reducing fatigue over long distances.
Flexible Forefoot: The forefoot is designed with flexibility in mind, allowing for natural foot movements. It’s about giving your feet the freedom to move naturally, a feature that can be particularly beneficial as your feet splay upon impact.
The Brooks Launch 9 isn’t about reinventing the wheel—it’s about refining it. It’s equipped with features that aim to enhance your running experience without over-complicating things. It’s about striking the right balance, and from the looks of it, the Launch 9 seems to have hit a sweet spot. With a blend of proven technologies and thoughtful design, it’s a shoe that looks ready to support your running endeavors, whether you’re a weekend warrior or a marathon maven. Shall we trot along to see how these features translate to real-world performance?
- Responsive Cushioning: The BioMoGo DNA midsole ensures that the cushioning is not only comfortable but also responsive, which is vital for maintaining a lively step throughout your run.
- Durable Outsole: With a blown rubber outsole, the Launch 9 is built to last through many miles, making it a reliable choice for runners who are out on the roads regularly.
- Breathable Upper: The air mesh upper provides good breathability, ensuring your feet stay cool and dry, an essential for comfort and reducing the risk of blisters.
- Smooth Transition: The segmented crash pad is engineered to provide smooth transitions from heel to toe, contributing to a more fluid and natural running experience.
- Flexible Forefoot: A flexible forefoot allows for natural foot movements, which is particularly beneficial for maintaining comfort and efficiency, especially during longer runs.
- Understated Design: The no-nonsense, understated design appeals to runners who prefer their shoes to be straightforward and focused on performance rather than flashy aesthetics.
- Wide Toe Box: The spacious toe box allows for comfortable toe splay, which can be a boon on longer runs when feet tend to swell.
- Lack of Additional Arch Support: Runners requiring extra arch support might find the Launch 9 lacking in this department.
- No Significant Updates: If you’re coming from the Launch 8, you might not find groundbreaking updates in the Launch 9 which might be a letdown if you were expecting major upgrades.
- Potential Sizing Issues: The Launch 9 runs smaller than other Brooks models and it’s advisable to size up.
- Lacks a Premium Feel: While it’s a solid, workhorse of a shoe, it might lack that premium feel or additional features that come with some higher-end models.
Who Is This Shoe For?
- Neutral Striders: The Brooks Launch 9 is tailored for runners with a neutral gait. Its design promotes natural foot movement, making it a suitable choice for those who don’t overpronate or supinate.
- Road Runners: With its durable blown rubber outsole and responsive cushioning, this shoe is a reliable companion for runners who pound the pavement, whether it’s a short daily jaunt or a long weekend run.
- Long Distance Enthusiasts: The combination of responsive cushioning and a comfortable fit makes the Launch 9 a potential match for those who are into long-distance running and need a shoe that can go the distance.
- Runners Seeking a Balanced Cushioning: If you’re after a shoe that strikes a good balance between cushioning and responsiveness, the Launch 9 has got you covered.
- Runners Who Prefer a Wide Toe Box: The spacious toe box is a bonus for those who need that extra room or simply prefer a less restrictive fit.
Who Is This Shoe NOT For?
- Overpronators: If you tend to roll your feet inward while running, the lack of specific support for overpronation in the Launch 9 might not suit your needs.
- Trail Blazers: While it’s capable on light trails, the Launch 9 may not provide the grip and support needed for more technical or rugged trail running.
- Runners Seeking Extra Arch Support: If you have high arches or require additional arch support, you might need to look for shoes with more focused arch support features.
- Those Seeking a Plush Cushioning Experience: If you’re in the market for a plush, ultra-cushioned ride, the balanced cushioning of the Launch 9 might not meet your expectations for plushness.
- Runners Looking for Significant Upgrades from Launch 8: If you were a fan of the Launch 8 and are seeking a shoe with major upgrades, the evolutionary changes in the Launch 9 might not satisfy your craving for something drastically new.
Upper Design of the Brooks Launch 9
The Brooks Launch 9 has a design that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Here’s what stands out:
Air Mesh Material: The Brooks Launch 9 sports an air mesh upper that’s designed to provide a breathable and comfortable environment for your feet. This material promotes airflow, keeping your feet cool and dry, which is crucial for those long runs or hot summer days.
Comfortable Fit: The fit is snug yet comfortable, thanks to the accommodating design that cradles your foot without feeling restrictive. This is a shoe that’s meant to be your companion for miles on end, ensuring comfort every step of the way.
Spacious Toe Box: The toe box is roomy, giving your toes the freedom to splay naturally. This is a feature that many runners will appreciate, especially during longer runs when feet tend to swell.
Secure Heel Cup: The heel cup design provides a secure and supportive fit, keeping your heel in place as you pound the pavement. It’s a small but crucial aspect that contributes to a stable and comfortable running experience.
Simple Looks: It’s simple and unassuming, aligning with the no-nonsense approach of the Brooks Launch 9. It’s a design that says, “I’m here for the run,” without screaming for attention.
Reflective Details: The upper also incorporates reflective details which enhance visibility in low-light conditions. It’s a thoughtful touch that underscores the practical, runner-centric design of the Launch 9.
The upper design of the Brooks Launch 9 isn’t about being flashy or over-the-top; it’s about providing a reliable, comfortable fit that stands up to the demands of serious running.
Midsole Design of the Brooks Launch 9
The midsole is where the magic happens in any running shoe. It’s the bedrock of cushioning, support, and responsiveness. Here’s a closer look at what the Brooks Launch 9 brings to the table:
BioMoGo DNA Cushioning: The crown jewel of the Launch 9’s midsole is the BioMoGo DNA cushioning technology. This adaptive cushioning system is engineered to provide a responsive and comfortable ride by adjusting to your unique stride, weight, and speed. It’s not just about absorbing shock; it’s about propelling you forward with each step.
Segmented Crash Pad: The segmented crash pad is a thoughtful inclusion aimed at ensuring a smooth heel-to-toe transition. By adapting to every foot strike, this feature minimizes the jarring impact that could reverberate up your legs, making for a smoother, more comfortable run.
Midfoot Transition Zone: This shoe is designed with a Midfoot Transition Zone to aid in quicker transitions from heel to toe. It’s about keeping your stride efficient and fluid, which can be a game-changer, especially in races or fast-paced workouts.
Sleek Profile: The midsole maintains a sleek profile that isn’t bulky despite the cushioning it provides. It’s a testament to Brooks’ design ethos of providing necessary cushioning without compromising on the shoe’s aesthetics or adding extra weight.
Energy Return: The BioMoGo DNA isn’t just about cushioning; it’s also about energy return. It’s designed to rebound quickly, ensuring that you get that spring in your step, which is essential for maintaining a lively pace.
Durability: Durability is key in a midsole, and the Brooks Launch 9 seems to have nailed it. It’s built to withstand the rigors of daily training while still retaining its cushioning and responsive properties.
The midsole design of the Brooks Launch 9 is a solid blend of cushioning, responsiveness, and durability. It’s clear that Brooks has focused on creating a midsole that not only cushions your steps but also enhances the overall running experience by ensuring a smooth, energetic ride.
Outsole Design of the Brooks Launch 9
The outsole is the unsung hero of any running shoe, making direct contact with the ground and providing the traction and durability needed for varied terrains and conditions. Here’s what the outsole of the Brooks Launch 9 has to offer:
Blown Rubber Material: The outsole of the Brooks Launch 9 is crafted from blown rubber, a material known for its durability and traction. It’s also lighter compared to traditional rubber, which is crucial for keeping the shoe’s weight down.
High-Traction Zones: The outsole features high-traction zones strategically placed to provide grip where it’s needed most. Whether you’re navigating a sharp turn or pushing the pace on a downhill, the Launch 9 aims to keep you steady on your feet.
Flexible Grooves: Flexibility is key for a natural foot movement, and the Brooks Launch 9 has incorporated flexible grooves in the outsole to promote a more natural flex and toe-off. It’s about working with your foot’s natural mechanics, not against them.
Midfoot Transition Zone: The Midfoot Transition Zone extends to the outsole as well, aiding in creating a fast heel-to-toe transition. It’s an under-the-hood feature that can make a noticeable difference in the rhythm and efficiency of your stride.
Durability for Miles: The durable construction of the outsole is engineered to withstand the wear and tear of many miles of running. It’s a workhorse that’s ready to take on the challenges of daily training.
Road-Ready Traction: The outsole provides solid traction on road surfaces, ensuring you have the grip needed for both dry and wet conditions. It’s ready to tackle the urban jungle, mile after mile.
The outsole design of the Brooks Launch 9 appears to be a thorough consideration of what a runner needs on the road — reliable traction, durability, and the right amount of flexibility.
Weight and Stack Height of the Brooks Launch 9
Weight — Men’s: 230 g / Women’s: 200 g
Stack Height — Heel height: 36 mm Forefoot height: 26 mm Heel-to-Toe Drop: 10 mm
The stack height provides a moderate level of cushioning, which could offer a comfortable yet responsive feel underfoot. The heel-to-toe drop of 10 mm is fairly standard, aiming to offer a balanced and natural stride to a broad spectrum of runners, but not the greatest for forefoot strikers like me.
This lightweight, moderate cushioning, and balanced heel-to-toe drop positions the Brooks Launch 9 as a versatile choice that could cater to a variety of running endeavors, from daily training to longer races.
Support of the Brooks Launch 9
The Brooks Launch 9 is tailored more towards runners with a neutral gait, offering a level of support that complements natural foot motion. Here’s a delve into its support features:
Midsole Construction: The midsole’s design aims to provide a supportive yet flexible platform, encouraging a smooth transition from heel to toe with each stride. The cushioning is ample to absorb shock while maintaining a responsive feel underfoot.
Heel Counter: A well-structured heel counter in the Launch 9 assists in locking the heel in place, providing a secure fit and adding to the overall stability of the shoe.
Flexible Outsole: A flexible outsole enhances the natural foot movement, providing both traction and flexibility to adapt to different terrains and phases of the running gait cycle.
The Brooks Launch 9 aims to provide a balanced level of support suitable for neutral runners. It’s not tailored for individuals who require corrective support for overpronation or supination. The shoe’s design emphasizes promoting natural foot dynamics while providing a stable and supportive platform for a range of running endeavors.
FAQs about the Brooks Launch 9
How does the cushioning in the Brooks Launch 9 fare for long-distance running?
The cushioning in the Brooks Launch 9 is balanced to provide a blend of softness and responsiveness. It holds up well for long-distance running, providing a comfortable ride while maintaining energy return.
Is the Brooks Launch 9 a good choice for daily training?
Absolutely! Its lightweight design coupled with adequate cushioning makes it a solid choice for daily training. It’s built to provide a comfortable and efficient running experience, whether you’re hitting the pavement or the treadmill.
Can I use my custom orthotics with the Brooks Launch 9?
Yes, the Brooks Launch 9 comes with a removable insole, allowing you to replace it with your custom orthotics for a more personalized support and fit.
Final Thoughts on the Brooks Launch 9 Review
The Brooks Launch 9 embodies a simplistic yet effective approach to running shoe design. It doesn’t offer flashy gimmicks but sticks to what matters most to runners — comfort, support, and performance. With a moderate heel-to-toe drop, a balanced level of cushioning, and a lightweight frame, it aims to cater to a wide array of runners, from the casual jogger to the dedicated marathoner.
While the Brooks Launch 9 may not cater to those requiring corrective support for overpronation, it shines in its domain of providing a stable, cushioned, and responsive ride for neutral runners. The flexible outsole and the snug yet comfortable fit, add to its appeal, making it a versatile choice for various running endeavors.