Hands-on Gear Review

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 - Women's Review

Editors' Choice Award
Price:  $120 List | $109.57 at Amazon
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Pros:  Comfortable, responsive, supportive
Cons:  Not as light as some other contenders
Bottom line:  The Adrenaline GTS 18 is an outstanding all-around shoe that finds the balance between all metrics.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight per shoe (ounces):  8.3
Sizes Available:  5 - 13
Upper Material:  Engineered mesh
Manufacturer:   Brooks

Our Verdict

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 lives up to all the hype and easily took home our Editors' Choice Award, no questions asked. This shoe defies the odds by being both comfortable yet responsive, lightweight yet extremely supportive. Making for an excellent one-shoe quiver, we'd do everything in the Adrenaline, from speed workouts to long-distance jogs and everything in between. While the Ghost 10 had been our longstanding winner, we appreciated the Adrenaline's lighter design, bouncier step, and more supportive frame.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Lauren DeLaunay

Last Updated:
Tuesday
January 30, 2018

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Bumping the Brooks Ghost out of its usual place at the top of our lineup, we found the Adrenaline to be a bit more responsive, a tad lighter, and significantly more supportive, earning it our coveted place as the 2018 Editors' Choice.

Performance Comparison


The Adrenaline GTS 18 is outstanding all-around running shoe.
The Adrenaline GTS 18 is outstanding all-around running shoe.

Landing Comfort


Some metrics in this review are noticeable right away, and some take a little more digging. We noticed the cushy sole of the Adrenaline as soon as we put them on, but only after racking up the miles did we appreciate what these shoes could do. Only out-cushioned by the HOKA Bondi, this shoe was among our favorites for its superior comfort and cloud-like landing.


With a whopping 9/10, the Adrenaline is tied with the Brooks Ghost, Brooks Glycerin, and HOKA Clifton for fantastic landing comfort. With top-notch padding, we had no problem spending long days in these shoes, putting in serious mileage. This is one of the major factors that put the Adrenaline in the running for our Editors' Choice Award.

We love exploring the Sierra's wide open roads with the always comfortable Adrenaline GTS.
We love exploring the Sierra's wide open roads with the always comfortable Adrenaline GTS.

Despite being wonderfully padded, this shoe is still appropriate for the average runner who doesn't need a highly cushioned model like the Bondi. We appreciate when shoes let us forget we even have them on, and the Adrenaline does just that. These were our go-to shoes for everything from walking into town to run errands to long runs around Yosemite Valley.

Responsiveness


Typically, responsiveness and landing comfort come at the cost of one another. And while the Adrenaline GTS wasn't the most responsive shoe in this review, we were surprised at how bouncy it was while still being so soft. A highly responsive shoe isn't perfect for everyone, and we felt that the Adrenaline's 8/10 score was perfect for most runners.


Unlike other products we've tested, running shoes are highly personal, and a high score in one metric often denotes a lower score in another. Not everyone wants a highly cushioned or highly responsive shoe, and we picked the Adrenaline for our Editors' Choice Award because of its sweet spot between the two characteristics. We felt this shoe was slightly more responsive than the Brooks Ghost and significantly more sensitive than the Brooks Glycerin or HOKA Bondi and Clifton.

The Adrenaline GTS fit in perfectly on Yosemite's paved loop trail.
The Adrenaline GTS fit in perfectly on Yosemite's paved loop trail.

Upper Comfort


Once again, the Brooks designers have knocked it out of the park. All three of their models we tested have superior upper comfort, and the Adrenaline is no different. We love its comfortable interior and soft materials, and we found its only match to be in the Ghost which also earned a top-scoring 9/10.


We immediately noticed the tongue on this product for how vast and plush it was. Compared to the flimsier tongues of the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante and Altra Escalante, the Adrenaline is unbelievably comfortable. It is adequately padded around the sides and heel, as well, and we loved the comfortable heel, similar to that of the Ghost. The Brooks Glycerin is nearly as comfortable, but we gave the Adrenaline added points for the breathability not found in other Brooks models. We loved the lighter material of the upper and found it better suited for long workouts and hot days.

We loved the comfortable heel and tongue of the Adrenaline GTS.
We loved the comfortable heel and tongue of the Adrenaline GTS.

Our testers also found this shoe to be very breathable, more so than Glycerin, but not as much as the Escalante or Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. Its all-around comfort and decent breathability make it an excellent choice for the majority of runners who want a reliable product to get them through whatever sort of workout they may endure.

Stability


According to the manufacturer, the Adrenaline GTS is a stability-focused shoe ideal for runners who over-pronate or anyone who wants a little bit more of a secure fit. With a Progressional Diagonal Rollbar in the midfoot to help maintain proper alignment, even our neutral runners appreciated this shoe, though it may not be the perfect match for every runner.


Brooks markets this shoe as a balance between stability and comfort, and we have to agree. It was a solid fit for both pronating and neutral strides, and the snug heel and printed overlay make for excellent support. We think that this design is more widely user-friendly than the minimal design of the Altra Escalante which, while very light, provides no midfoot reinforcement. This could be a major selling point for runners looking for a more stable position, and we don't think it loses any points for neutral runners either.

The Adrenaline has excellent lateral reinforcement.
The Adrenaline has excellent lateral reinforcement.

Weight


We believe that, as far as running shoes are concerned, weight should be considered on a secondary basis, after metrics like comfort and stability have been accounted for. We couldn't help but give the Adrenaline some extra credit, however, for shaving a few ounces off our old favorite, the Ghost.


At 8.3 ounces, the Adrenaline is right in the middle of our lineup, and we believe that most runners will appreciate this balance. Shaving too many ounces leads to an overly minimal shoe like the Escalante, while too many ounces start to add up and take away from the shoe's bounciness and ability to be used for speedy missions. The Adrenaline is the perfect balance.

Enjoying the sunny California winters with the Adrenaline
Enjoying the sunny California winters with the Adrenaline

Best Applications


Our Editors' Choice Award is given to the shoe that receives the highest overall score, making it the most well-rounded of anything we tested. The Adrenaline GTS is just that: balanced and suited to any runner. We would happily use this for a short jog or a marathon. Its supportive yet comfortable, bouncy yet stable design makes it an excellent choice for nearly any runner, especially for ones looking for a little extra support.

Great for long and short runs  the Adrenaline is our favorite all-around running shoe.
Great for long and short runs, the Adrenaline is our favorite all-around running shoe.

Value


Ringing in at $120, the Adrenaline is right in the middle of the pack, and as our favorite shoe in the entire review, we think this makes it a great bargain. We loved this shoe regardless of price, but its great value certainly helps sell it. Compared to the $150 price tag of the Glycerin, this shoe has a friendlier price point that helps solidify as the best option for most runners. Unless a serious amount of cushioning is your thing, the Adrenaline strikes an awesome balance of every metric we tested.

Conclusion


The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 is an excellent, well-rounded shoe and great for nearly any runner. We love its comfortable upper, cloud-like sole, supportive design, and bouncy step. This shoe let us forget we ever put it on, one surefire sign of a great design. All these factors combined make it an awesome choice for nearly any mission you could dream up, and we're happy to award it our Editors' Choice Award.

Showing off the Editors' Choice Award winner  the Adrenaline GTS 18
Showing off the Editors' Choice Award winner, the Adrenaline GTS 18
Lauren DeLaunay

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Most recent review: January 30, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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