I bought the Books Ghost 12 because I needed of a new pair of road running shoes to add to my rotation. I normally try and keep 3 pairs of road runners ( and 2 pairs of trail shoes) on the go at any one time.
As is the norm for me I searched online for 'good deals’ on last season's shoes. Because I'm not interested in having the most recent version of anything to be frank. Plus I'm a bit of a scrooge and love to save a bit of money wherever I can. Or maybe put another way - I have no interest in paying a premium just to be one of the first to own or try something.
I'd also prefer it if someone else has done the 'testing' and proved the product to be worthy of my shekels before I put my hand in my pocket.
So, if you're like me and tend to hunt around for last season's models to save a few pennies. But still want to know whether the shoes that have caught your eye are worth a punt. Then this review could be for you - especially if you wear a neutral running shoe.
Brooks are a decent brand and have a great reputation for producing quality running shoes. I’ve had several pairs of Brooks shoes in the past and really like them. I've run my last two marathons in Brooks shoes. I even managed a third place finish in a local trail race wearing Brooks. Don't get too excited - I don't mean third place overall - just in my old farts age category!
The main reason that I opted for the Ghost - was the 12mm drop and plentiful cushioning. I've tended towards running in a less cushioned shoes with a much flatter profile over the last few years. Not always out of choice - it's the direction most manufacturers are headed.
Though I'm old enough to remember when there were many more shoes with a 12 mm drop available. So from time to time I get a sentimental hankering for a pair.
I'm also currently getting back into running following a soleus injury - picked up during a mishap on a trail run in the Summer.
I feel I need to take some pressure off my lower legs for the time being. So the larger heel drop and plush cushioning should help do that.
For my shoe reviews, I've decided upon a scoring system that has a maximum achievable score of 50. Derived from 10 different factors - each having a maximum score of 5. Those factors are:
- Build Quality
- Price (Value for money)
I'm generally more concerned with the function of products rather than what they look like. I'm most definitely not a follower of fashion of any kind. Including running gear. I'll pretty much wear just about anything. Especially if it works really well.
That said, I quite like how these shoes look. I think they're not bad to look at and I like the fact that they're all black. Maybe because it matches the colour of my very soul...
Well actually it's more because black will go with just about anything. So I never have that nagging thought that my kit is a bit of a mish-mash of assorted garish colours that may make innocent by-standers eyes bleed.
I score them at a 4 out of 5 for looks
Obviously aesthetics are very subjective and your own opinion may differ widely from mine.
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The Books Ghost 12 seem really well made and are constructed of quality materials.
There are a couple of elements of the design that I think are worth mentioning:
- They have soft, stretchy laces.
- BioMoGo DNA cushioning to the forefoot and upper part of the heel
- They have a segmented heel crash pad. With DNA Loft cushioning. To help keep the ride smooth.
- Flex grooves in the forefoot grip section. These help with flexibility and also grip for ball of foot and toe-off.
- Engineered mesh upper with 3d Fit printed overlays for a soft and secure fit.
- Extra material/reflective section - where the big toe could poke through (nice touch).
Summary of quality here I give them 4.5 out of 5
Why did I dock a half point?
I found it very difficult to find any faults in the build quality. These are really well made shoes. Being slightly picky, I don't like the eyestay overlays around the lace eyelets. That just seems like it will start to detach at some point in the future. But I could be wrong.
The only other potential issue I can see is the material around the collar and heel counter. It's very soft, well cushioned and comfortable. But I see it as an area that is likely to wear. Time will tell if I'm right.
Straight out of the box the Ghost 12s felt spot-on and certainly true to size. As I chose a 2E wide fit there is plenty of room in the toe-box too.
Overall I give them a 5 out of 5 for fit
They feel more like a favourite pair of slippers than running shoes when I lace up for a run. Great.
From the first moment I slid my feet into them I could tell that the Ghosts were going to be just fine. When I initially walked around the house in the Ghosts - to decide if I was going to keep them or send them back. It didn't take long to decide that they were 'keepers'.
After having been on several runs now and put about 50 miles of running into them. I can safely say that they're still very comfortable and a joy to run in on the roads.
So I score them 5 out of 5 for comfort.
The combination of different foam/rubber materials in the midsole. The well padded tongue, collar and heel counter. Just make these feel so good on my feet. I just love them.
The material of the upper definitely breathable. In fact I'd go further and say they're more breathable than many of the other shoes on my shoe rack. Especially at the fore-foot, where there are no overlays
I score them a 4 out of 5 for breathability
The sole of the Brooks Ghost 12 has a decent pattern and a generous depth to the lugs. In fact when I first looked at pictures of them - I thought the depth of grip/lugs looked more like an off-road trail shoe than a road shoe.
From my experience the grip on these shoes is really good. I didn't experience any issues with lack of grip at all. I've run in wet conditions, over wet leaves and across grass, mud and light gravelly trail.
So I give them a 4.5 out of 5
Even though they're designed as a road shoe. I think these perform well enough to take them on some off-road escapades too. Not a full-on mud-fest fell run. But they should eat-up some light trails no problem at all.
The Ghosts feel quite spongy underfoot. As you'd expect from a shoe that has the amount of cushioning that they do. But that said, they do have a certain bounce quality too. And are not dull and unresponsive. But they're no racing flat.
Some of the other cushioned shoes I've had in the past have felt a lot spongier. These are certainly better and I could easily see myself doing a faster paced interval session or tempo run in them - no problem.
I give them a 4 out of 5
More responsive than some of my other cushioned shoes. Make these quite a versatile shoe. Very capable for long, easy paced runs and also faster paced workouts as well.
I run in a UK size 9.5 in wide fit 2E. I weighed the Ghosts when I first got them and they clocked up 312g or 11oz. Which considering that they're a wide fit and very well cushioned shoe is not at all bad. For comparison, they're a bit lighter than some of my other similar road shoes. As you can see in the comparison table below:
Brooks Ghost 12
Brooks Aduro 5
Brooks Revel 2
Considering that these shoes are not designed to be a stripped down racer and the level of cushioning they provide. They're surprisingly light weight in my opinion. But again nothing to get super excited about.
So I give them a 4 out of 5
Because they're marginally lighter than my other shoes of a similar ilk.
If I'm honest, I see these as a "work-horse" of a shoe, that I want to use for long easy paced road runs. So weight isn't a major consideration.
The sole/grip in particular seem very durable and after running for over 50+ miles in them now - mostly on the road. They're not showing any real signs of wear at all.
The materials in the upper also seem pretty good quality and robust. I think these shoes are definitely built to last and stand up to some serious punishment in all weather conditions.
So I give them a 4 out of 5
The only reason for docking a point is the couple of issues I mentioned in the build quality section.
I paid £89.99 for them online - including the cost of postage. Which if I'm honest is more than I usually fork out for my road runners. And I could have got the normal width fitting shoe much cheaper. But as I decided that I wanted the wide fit - that wasn't available at the cheaper price.
So I give them a 3.5 out of 5
Even at full recommended retail price of £119.99 they'd be an average buy for a shoe of this quality.
If you opt for the standard fit, then you should be able to find a pair for around £70 to £75. That I'd say is a very good price for this shoe and you should snap it up without hesitation.
Where I bought them
I got my Brooks Ghost 12 from northernrunner.com at the discounted price noted above.
I'm very happy with the Brooks Ghost 12.
42.5 out of a max of 50
They’re solidly built, fit really well and are so comfortable. They also seem very durable and are quite responsive. The grip/traction is also good. Add in the fact that mine are a wide fit and I think they offer good value for money.
I've no doubt that these road running shoes will last well and I've very much enjoyed the runs that I've done in them so far. These have already become my new favourite choice for my road runs. Especially for my longer, slower, easy-paced runs.