A plush, cushioned shoe that wraps your foot in all the right places
The Brooks Glycerin 18 is a comfortable, cushioned everyday running shoe made for neutral pronators focusing on distance or recovery runs, not speed.
- Extremely comfortable and well-cushioned
- Smooth and soft ride
- Plush glove-like feel
- Excellent traction
- Tight toe box
- On the heavy side, but not too noticeable
The Brooks Glycerin 18 is the newest model in the Brooks Glycerin series. This shoe falls into the high-cushioned, neutral road running category.The Glycerin 18 is all about comfort. You may be tempted to wear this shoe all the time, outside of just running.
I’ve taken these shoes out for runs on a variety of surfaces, and they always perform well and keep my feet happy. If you are a fan of the Brooks Glycerin series, the 18th version will not disappoint! The shoe is comfortable but doesn’t feel too soft. You still get a lot of cushioning, but your feet don’t feel too heavy.
With the amount of cushioning the shoe provides, the responsiveness is not the best. I prefer these shoes for longer runs, as they perform extremely well absorbing impact. It’s worth noting the smooth transition from heel to toe for easy-pace long runs.
At 10.2 ounces for men and 9 ounces for women, the Glycerin 18 is slightly heavier than your average shoe, but they don’t feel that heavy when you run with them.
The material on the upper portion of the Brooks Glycerin 18 is sleek double jacquard mesh with a great design. The mesh upper has two layers, giving you extra durability.
The top layer is 3D printed, allowing for a stretchy fit that remains breathable, while the interior liner is stretchy to adapt to your stride. At the same time, the patterns of the mesh are striking and noticeable.
With many women’sand men’s colors, you’ll be sure to find a color scheme you can get behind. Personally, I love the white sole and black upper. The available colors are stylish and eye-catching without being gaudy.
Even with the double layer of mesh on the Glycerin 18, the shoe is very breathable. Many runners compliment the breathability even on hot days.
I still feel plenty of ventilation regardless of the temperature. The Glycerin 18 is a great shoe for managing moisture on hot days.
Shape and fit
A top priority in any running shoe is comfort as the miles accumulate, and the Glycerin 18 has a very comfy fit right out of the box.
The added sockliner feels plush and is an upgrade from the previous model. Your foot seems to slide into the shoe when you put it on thanks to the new liner.
A 10mm drop helps with cushioning by lowering the stress on your calves. The shoe fits more snugly, both in the midfoot and the toe box, than some of the other Brooks models, specifically the Ghost. I would describe these shoes as fitting like a glove.
Some runners have noted that the toe box felt bigger than other models. Great news, if you like some room for your toes to wiggle around.
The Glycerin 18 is also heavier than some of the other Brooks models, but this is due to the luxurious cushioning.
In the women’s model, the ankle and heel can be a little loose, which may require tighter lacing to get a snug fit. Fortunately the laces that come with the Glycerin 18 are long enough to ensure that you can lace through the extra eyelet if you want.
I love the soft midsole on the Brooks Glycerin 18 series. This is all thanks to the DNA Loft cushioning, which Brooks introduced in 2018. The full-length DNA Loft midsole included in the shoe keeps the feel soft and most of all, plush.
So what exactly is DNA Loft? It’s what Brooks calls the cushioning in the newer Ghost and Glycerin lines. Brooks combined EVA foam, rubber and air to create not only a light and soft step, but also long-lasting durability.
The Glycerin 18 also has out grooves on the sides of the midsole and heel of the outsole helping to create a soft landing. Everything about this shoe shows that Brooks designed it for comfort.
Runner’s World calls the Brooks Glycerin 18 the “cushiest of trainers,” and I agree! The cushioning extends throughout the heel and midfoot, giving you a soft ride for your entire run.
While it’s still a soft, plush shoe, some long-time Glycerin runners have complained it’s not quite as soft as prior models.
In most shoes, there is a trade-off between cushioning and responsiveness – soft shoes aren’t that responsive, and responsive shoes aren’t that soft. Brooks has tried to lessen that trade-off with its DNA Loft foam, and the effort is largely successful. This a balanced shoe, offering good cushioning, decent responsiveness, and noticeable energy return.
With the cushioning across the entire midsole from heel to toe, the Glycerin 18 has an extremely comfortable feel, making it a very appealing shoe.
Many runners compare the feel to that of memory foam. At the same time, you still keep a somewhat responsive bounce and smooth transition. I like slipping the Glycerin 18 shoe on as the snug fit of the mesh feels almost cozy on my feet.
The outsole utilizes Brooks’ IDEAL pressure zones to make sure that striking pressure is evenly distributed across the shoe. This even distribution leaves you with a very smooth ride.
The outsole has a flat tread composed entirely of rubber between the flex grooves in the bottom of the shoe. The rubber gives the shoe additional cushioning without sacrificing durability.
Brooks also created a “Plush Transition Zone”, which refers to the area on the bottom of the shoes where the outsole has been removed. By removing the outsole from a small section towards the outside portion of the shoe, you get an even smoother ride.
I really like the fact that, along with the other previous Glycerin models, the 17’s tread doesn’t pick up road debris, and the traction is impressive.
Perhaps this is another reason why I choose these as my go-to shoes for longer recovery runs.
No matter what terrain you run on, these shoes will hold up. From wet pavement to snow to dirt and packed gravel, you’ll feel confident in your footing.
A lot of times when shoes are designed for comfort, they sacrifice flexibility. This is not the case with the Glycerin 18.
The grooves on the outsole create natural flex areas on the bottom of the shoe. Combine this with the upper mesh, and you get both structured stability as well as flexibility.
Overall, the ride and transition of this shoe is extremely smooth. I can put on these shoes, go out, and lose myself to the run.
The flexibility and blend of cushioning with responsiveness make these a great neutral running shoe.
Runners seeking a shoe that will leave you pain free after both casual paced runs and long runs would do well to check out the Glycerin 18.
Brooks Glycerin 17 vs Glycerin 18
Honestly, not much has changed between the Glycerin 17 and 18. There are new colors and the upper has been slightly modified, but overall these are very similar shoes.
The biggest changes appear to be a slightly wider toe box in version 18. While it seemed like the Glycerin 17 was a bit more soft and cushioned.