brooks ghost vs glycerin: Check 10 Differences before Buying

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or looking to get your first pair of running shoes, Brooks is the way to go! Renowned as one of the world’s most popular running shoe brands, there’s no doubt that Brooks is well-loved in the running community. Amongst all their available models, there are two that reign supreme: the Brooks Ghost and the Brooks Glycerin.

Both options are neutral running shoes, meaning they provide more neutral foot balance and promote natural foot movement. About 50% of runners have a neutral running style, making these models extremely popular. But, with so many versions of each model, how will you know which one’s the right one for you? 

In this article, we’ll be focusing on the Brooks Ghost 15 and the Glycerin 20s. Both have similar features, but they also have some distinct differences that could make or break them for you. We’ll be going through all of their main features, differences, and considerations to make when deciding which one is the best fit for your needs.

Brooks Ghost 15 Main Features

The Ghost 15s are mid-tier, mid-priced neutral daily runners that are perfect for people who are working with a budget. Priced at $140, they’re slightly more affordable than the Glycerin 20s. While they aren’t super plush, they’re still nicely cushioned, with firm, supportive, and responsive padding around the heel and tongue. You won’t feel like you’re walking on clouds, but you’ll feel cushioned and supported enough that you won’t feel any discomfort while in motion.

Because of their precise cushioning, they’re also very lightweight which makes them great for tempo runs, especially if you’re looking to cover longer distances at faster paces. The shoe is made of a mesh upper and has a roomy toebox, which when paired together, make for an extremely comfortable running shoe that provides lots of flexibility and stability. The high 12mm heel-to-toe drop also makes running really easy on your Achilles tendon.

There’s no doubt in my mind that these are durable shoes that will easily last you a couple of years, even as your daily driver. Having tried them myself, I can say that these are one of the most comfortable running shoes I’ve ever tried, and the affordable price point makes you get so much bang for your buck. 

Brooks Glycerin 20 Main Features

The Glycerin is Brooks’ flagship trainer. The Glycerin 20s are marketed as their premium, neutral daily trainers that boast their most innovative technology. Priced at $160, they’re quite pricey, which could be a dealbreaker for many. But, rest assured, their price point is well justified. With their softest cushioning yet, you’ll feel like you’re running on pillows. It’s super soft and supportive on your feet, making running longer distances feel like a breeze. However, I’ve also noticed that these are on the heavier side, probably due to the hefty cushioning.

The upper of the shoe is also impeccably made, with air mesh that keeps you cool even on hotter days. It has a standard 10mm heel drop, so you won’t notice it much while on a run. The soles are also very grippy and have great traction even on wet surfaces. Lastly, I’ve also noticed that they aren’t super flexible or responsive, which isn’t very good if you’re looking to go on a faster-paced run. 

In the end, I, and many others, can agree that these are the most comfortable running shoes you can put on, especially when going on longer runs. Though they’re on the higher-end side, they compete very well against other high-end shoes, so I can safely say that the price tag is definitely worth every penny.

Brooks Ghost 15 vs Glycerin 20: 10 Differences

Now, at this point, you might be even more confused about which pair to get because they really do share a lot of similarities. To make things easier on you, we’ll be getting into 5 major differences in the characteristics of each shoe. We’ll also be getting into 5 more differences in performance and feel right after, so keep reading!

brooks ghost vs glycerin Check 10 Differences before Buying

1. Weight

While both shoes are relatively light, I’ve found that the Ghost’s are lighter than the Glycerin’s. And that goes for almost every version of each model. The Ghost 15 weighs about 278 grams, while the Glycerin 20 is at about 301 grams. So, if you’re looking to run at a fast pace or if you’re a lighter build, then I’d recommend the Ghost 15s as they won’t make you feel like you’re getting weighed down. 

2. Cushioning

Both runners are highly cushioned variants, but, as established earlier, the Glycerin’s are extremely plush. The Ghost 15 features soft and lightweight DNA Loft v2 cushioning, while the Glycerin 20 is infused with Nitrogen DNA Loft v3 cushioning, which is Brooks’ softest cushioning available. It’s also worth noting that the softness of the cushioning makes it so the Glycerin’s doesn’t offer much stability as compared to the Ghost’s.

When it comes to heel-to-toe offset, the Ghost 15 has a higher heel drop at 12mm, while the Glycerin is at the standard 10mm. The 12mm heel drop isn’t uncomfortable, but if it’s your first time trying a high-drop shoe, then you’ll be able to feel the difference during the first couple of miles of your run. 

3. Upper

Both pairs have mesh uppers, just made of different patterns. The Ghost 15 has Air Mesh, which is perforated, allowing for better air circulation. Even if you’re out on a hotter day, your feet will still stay cool. The Air Mesh is also very flexible, it’ll hug your foot without making you feel restricted.

On the other hand, the Glycerin 20 has a double jacquard mesh. It keeps the shoe breathable while also having a little give. It’s flexible and locks your feet in without applying pressure. They also have no synthetic overlays, which gives the upper a smoother and cleaner appearance.

4. Outsole

The rubber outsole of the Ghost 15 is thicker than other Brooks models. Many have also stated that the outsole rubber on the Ghost 15s is softer than average, making your landings feel more cushioned. I find that these work best on long, slow runs because of this. It also has flex grooves that run the entire width of the shoe, making them extremely flexible and responsive.

When it comes to traction patterns, these have a smooth transition and are more stable. However, due to the softness of the rubber, these shoes wear out a lot faster than average. You’ll also notice more wear on the outer lateral heel because of the high heel drop.

The outsole rubber on the Glycerin 20 is slightly less thick. But, don’t worry about that, because I’ve found that the thinner rubber and blown rubber outsoles improve foot landing. Plus, the supreme padding on the inside more than makes up for it in terms of cushioning impact. The flex grooves only run half of the width of the shoe, which takes away from its flexibility in exchange for better traction. You’ll still be able to confidently run on uneven or wet surfaces because of it. 

The Glycerin 20s are very sturdy and durable, even if you use them as a daily driver for your long runs. This pair will last you a long time and won’t show signs of wear as fast as the Ghost 15. 

5. Notable Features

With its segmented crash pad, the Ghost 15 has a very smooth transition when rolling from heel to toe. It also adds to the shoe’s overall flexibility. The segmented crash pad is made to make any foot landing as comfortable as possible. To add even more to your comfort, the shoe features a roomy toe box, allowing lots of your space for your toes to splay. The roomy toe box also makes this model a great option for people with wider feet.

The Glycerin 20, though, features an OrthoLite insole, which comfortably cushions and hugs your feet regardless of sock thickness. Additionally, the inside of the shoe feels incredibly luxurious and plush. Many runners have confirmed the softness and overall plushness of the Glycerin 20 are hard to rival.

Glycerin 20

6. Cushioning and Comfort Differences

Overall, the Glycerin is softer and more plush than the Ghosts. If you’re someone who prioritizes comfort over all else, then you’ll probably be happier with the Glycerin 20s. You can definitely feel and understand the high-end price point when putting these shoes on because of how luxurious they feel on your feet. 

However, this doesn’t mean that the Ghost 15s are uncomfortable. The Ghost 15s feel firmer and provide a better road feel. The firmer cushioning on the Ghost 15s makes it a better option for runners who like to go for easy pace runs. Additionally, these may feel more comfortable for you if you’re of a lighter stature because they’re lighter than the Glycerin. The 12mm heel drop also makes this shoe good for runners who like to heel strike.

7. Responsiveness

Both models provide smooth transitions and comfortable rides, there’s no doubt about that. However, since the Ghost 15 has segmented crash pad technology, it gives you a more responsive toe-off. The Ghost 15s also gives you better energy return, because instead of your foot sinking into the plush-ness, the firmness of its midsoles will push you forward better than the Glycerin.

8. Fit and Sizing

Many have found that both models fit true to size, meaning you typically won’t need to size up or down, given that you’ve got normal feet. You can go with your usual size and won’t regret it. It’s good to note that the Glyverins will fit a little more snugly due to the cushioning. 

But, if you’re looking for a shoe that has more sizing options for you, then you might prefer the Ghost 15s. The Ghost 15 model comes in Narrow, Regular, Wide, and Extra Wide versions, making it extremely accessible for all shapes and sizes of feet. The Ghosts also have naturally wide toe boxes, even if you decide to go with the Regular version. Glycerin, on the other hand, only offers Regular and Wide versions. 

I would recommend going with the Ghosts if you’ve got wide feet because of the naturally wide toebox and extra-width size options. But, if you’ve got narrow feet, then the Glycerin might be better for you because of its snug fit that will hug and contour to the shape of your feet.

9. Ideal Uses

Many runners have found that the Glycerin performs best when on longer, slower-paced runs. It’s extremely comfortable with its softer midsoles, so even if you go for a 30km run, or if you’re on your feet all day, you’ll still feel good. 

But if you’re looking to go on tempo runs or pick up the pace, then you’ll find the Ghosts more comfortable. They’ll also feel more stable on your feet because of how firm and supportive they are. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear them on longer runs, though! Many marathon runners actually prefer them because of their stability and extremely supportive ride.

10. Versatility and Durability.

The firmer midsole in combination with the soft cushioning makes the Ghost 15s a very versatile shoe as you can use it for short-tempo runs or longer-distance runs. However, the blown rubber on their outsoles makes them less durable than the Glycerin. 

To quantify it, the Glycerins will probably last you about 400 miles before you start to see signs of wear and tear. But for the Ghosts, you will start to see some signs of wear and tear at the outer lateral heel after just 50 miles, likely because of the high heel drop. 

Key Considerations When Choosing Running Shoes

Before settling down and selecting which model to get, there are some major personal considerations that you need to factor in. We can’t just choose our running shoes based on design and colorway, even if that would make things so much simpler. 

You need to understand your running style and needs. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself: Are you someone who likes to run on dirt roads? Do you like faster or slower-paced runs? Do you overpronate? What shape are your feet? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many things that can impact the compatibility of a running shoe with your feet. When in doubt, it’s best to visit a specialty store or a professional so they can help you figure out which type of shoe will suit you best.

Next, it’s also important to analyze what type of shoe cushioning and support you need. Cushioning is an essential part of your running shoe. They work to minimize the impact on your knees and feet, since when you run, your feet will have to catch about 2 – 3 times your body weight in impact — that’s a whole lot of pressure!

Having a supportive shoe with good cushioning will also help prevent common injuries while running because your shoe will be able to grip and support your feet better while in motion. There are plenty of different types of models that offer varying degrees of support, from highly supportive cushioned shoes to shoes with evenly distributed cushioning. Trying on a couple of different models in person will help you decide which one to get.


Which Shoe Is Better for Beginners?

Based on overall comfort, price point, cushioning, and versatility, I’d definitely recommend the Ghost 15s for beginners. They’re a well-loved model in the running community — and for good reason! You won’t go wrong by grabbing a pair of these as they’re suitable for short and long-distance running, and you can typically go at any pace and still feel comfortable. 

They’re also great for daily running. Plus, the more affordable price point also makes it more viable for beginners to purchase because most newbie runners won’t really want to shell out a lot of money for something they’re just getting into. 

What Are Brooks Ghost Shoes Good For?

They’re great for a variety of things! As we’ve touched on earlier in the article, this is a very versatile shoe. They’re great for walking, running, or just staying on your feet all day. It’s moderately cushioned, giving it the perfect amount of softness for everyday wear and training.

By my recommendation though, I found that they’d work the best for tempo runners or runners that like to go on faster-paced runs. 

What is the Hoka equivalent to Brooks Glycerin?

I’d say that the Hoka Bondi 6 would come the closest to the Glycerin. Many people using the Bondi 6 have found that the softness of those shoes is amazing for staying on your feet all day. Though, you might notice that they do run a little stiffer, many runners have found that they actually prefer the better stiffness as it feels more supportive when running. They’re also very light and feature a wide toebox. 

Overall, though, I personally still prefer the Glycerins because they’re sleeker and are made of more luxurious materials.

Which Brooks Shoe Is Best for Overpronators?

Honestly speaking, you may find that neither shoe will be comfortable. Neither of the models offers pronation control due to their neutrality. Of course, you’re encouraged to try the shoes yourself, but just in theory, you won’t like either of them. 

If you’re looking for overpronation support, it would be better to look into stability shoes like the Adrenaline GTS model. 

Is the Glycerin Good for Walking?

Absolutely! The super soft cushioning of the shoe absorbs impact really well and makes it great for walking. The heels are very supportive as well. Not to mention, they’re really durable and are totally suitable for daily wear. However it’s good to keep in mind that these shoes aren’t very flexible, so if you’re looking for something that flexes really well, then you might want to consider something else.

Is the Ghost or Glycerin Better for Plantar Fasciitis?

Either shoe would work well. However, the Glycerin’s extra cushioning may reduce any heel or arch pain that you’d feel. Overall, both models absorb shock and impact really well and will do wonders in diverting any discomfort you might feel. You’ll be able to stay on your feet all day with either shoe. 


To wrap things up, both running shoes are amazing choices. They’re both neutral running shoes that feature good support and soft cushioning. The biggest difference for many runners would lie in the price point and weight of the shoe. Consider your feet shape, running gait, and your intended use of each shoe, and be sure to refer to our article to help you decide which one suits you better. 

If you’re still unsure, the best thing to do would be to head to a specialty store and get properly fitted. That’ll also give you a chance to put each shoe to the test before ultimately deciding which one will be heading home with you. But no matter which shoe you choose, just know that you’ll be getting great quality shoes that will make your running even more enjoyable.

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