I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for the Brooks Ghost Max to be released since I first learned about them in August.
I don’t quite know why the UK seems to be the last location for the Ghost Max to be available (or why the colour options are so different to North America – more on this later…) but they are finally here.
Last week in the US I picked up a pair so this is a first impressions review having taken them out a couple of times compared to the hundreds of miles I’ve logged in the Ghost 15s.
But first impressions are good.
I love a cushioned shoe. To be honest, the more cushioned the ride, the better. For my easy runs, I want to feel like I’m wearing slippers…but bouncy ones. And these are nearly there.
But not quite…
Ghost Max vs Ghost 15
I’ve run plenty of miles in the Ghost 15 and whilst I prefer them to the 14 I still don’t think they are quite as amazing as my fave ever 12. And spoiler alert, I don’t know if the Ghost Max will outshine the Ghost 12 either, yet anyway.
My first thoughts about the Ghost Max are that they are seriously comfortable. I changed into them after cheering the NYC Marathon for 8 hours in another pair of trainers and it was a relief to have more space in the toe box and generally more room in the shoe. The base is actually broader than the 15, giving you a more stable ride.
However, running in them I have found them to feel a little loose and had to stop to tighten them on my most recent run. I do wonder if runners with narrow feet might find them too wide, especially in the toe box. For those with wide feet, the Max comes in medium, wide and extra wide.
The Ghost Max feels more lightweight than it looks although is marginally heavier than the Ghost 15. These aren’t super lightweight racing shoes, they are max cushioned everyday shoes. They are simple, stable and do the job they were designed to do.
The Ghost Max has a higher stack height at 39mm vs the 35mm of the Ghost 15 – this basically means you get 4mm more cushioning in the max.
Heel to Toe Drop
Whilst the stack height is higher in the Ghost Max, the design of the sole means the heel to toe drop is half that of the Ghost 15. There is also a gentle rocker shape in the Ghost Max, boasting Brooks new Glideroll Rocker, designed to propel you forwards for a smoother ride.
As a heel striker, I feel like the larger drop in the Ghost 15 might suit me better for my everyday runs than the Max but I’ll have to reserve judgement until I’m able to increase the mileage in the Max!
Both shoes are made with DNA Loft v2 midsole technology to add cushion on landing and help reduce food pressure underneath. And whilst there is plenty of cushioning in the Ghost Max, it doesn’t feel too soft, in fact the feel underfoot is somewhat firm. You can definitely feel that there is a big midsole underfoot although you don’t sink into it as much as you’d expect. Rather you seem to lightly bounce off the top.
The uppers are pretty similar and have typical Brooks comfort in mind. There is plenty of padding in both shoes, especially around the collar and tongue (and they seem to have changed the material to stop the issues of the heel collar rubbing down in previous iterations of the Ghost). After trying the Max a little tighter, they fit well, although I did find the Ghost 15 a little more secure in the heel.
Visually, I don’t think the UK colourways of the Brooks Ghost Max does itself any favours. I’m not a massive fan of the look of the Max, although I do think the bright pink colour does help in the pair I bought in USA, and I quite like the beige/gold pair that has been seeded in North America. What do you think of the colourways and look of the Max?
Ghost Max – £140 (although its currently on sale for £112 at RunActive)
Ghost 15 – £135 (on sale at RunActive for £108)
What should you choose?
If you’re looking for an easy, recovery run trainer or a shoe that you might have to wear for a long time after you’ve finished your run – then the Ghost Max is the one. If you want a tried and tested Brooks Ghost that will work for slightly speedier short runs with a little more pop, then stick with the Ghost 15.
I want to put more miles in the Ghost Max before giving my absolute preference. I think the Max are likely to be my post long run, recovery shoe, and I’m also tempted to buy a pair of the all black versions to wear to work!