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Brooks Levitate vs Ghost – Which Is Best for You?

If you’re a fan of Brooks and it’s time to buy a new pair, today we’re looking at the Brooks Levitate vs Ghost.

Which is best for you? What are the biggest differences? What are the problems or concerns?

We’ve compared the two shoes to give you a quick overview and help you choose between these two popular shoes.

Main Differences

These two shoes may look similar at first glance, but they have some stark differences.

First, the Ghost 15 is a neutral shoe and isn’t suitable for those who need support for overpronation.

The Levitate 5 comes in both a neutral shoe option and a motion control/support shoe option, so it covers everyone.

Also, the Levitate comes with a choice of two different uppers, the classic or the Stealth. Casual runners may not be able to pick up on much difference, but those who pore over every detail of their shoes will notice it.

The Ghost, on the other hand, has only the stock standard upper.

Finally, these two shoes have totally different midsoles for a different running feel and level of responsiveness.

Upper

Levitate 5

Fans of the Levitate 5 can now choose between two different uppers. The more traditional mesh upper or “classic fit”, which is structured but flexible, soft, and breathable.

On this upper, there are extra eyelets that make the shoe highly adjustable for a more personalized fit. The detached tongue is padded and soft, so you don’t have to worry about chafing or irritation. A lightly padded, firm ankle collar provides a snug fit while limiting movement and keeping your feet in place.

On the other hand, the Levitate StealthFit 5 has a Fitknit upper that’s sleek, lightweight, and offers a bit more stretch and compression. This provides you with a closer, more adaptable fit that’s not only low-profile but also moves with your foot.

The breathable, booty-like upper molds to the contours of your feet. Both the tongue and collar are integrated into the upper, which ensures a snug fit that adapts to every move that your foot makes.

The Levitate StealthFit’s lacing system features double eyelet rows that form a zig-zag shape, providing enough pressure for a secure, locked-in fit.

If foot aesthetics matter to you, the Levitate 5 StealthFit may make your feet look more narrow when you put them on!

Ghost 15

The upper of the Ghost 15 has smooth, streamlined engineered mesh that feels like it’s thinner than usual. It provides a supportive and comfortable fit. The upper molds to the contours of your feet, but there’s still plenty of wiggle room for your toes.

3D Fit Print technology works with the flat lacing system to give the shoe more structure and allow for a bit more stretch. This facilitates a more personalized and secure midfoot feel.

The tongue is nicely cushioned and there’s plush padding around the collar and heel tab for comfort and support.

The Ghost 15 does have a slightly stiffer heel counter than the previous version, but it provides a comfortable locked-in feel.

To help make you visible in low light, there’s also reflective detailing on the toe box and the sides of the heel counter.

Midsole

Levitate 5

The Levitate “classic” and Stealthfit shoes both have the same midsole cushioning made with DNA AMP foam.

Chances are you’ll either love or hate the DNA AMP midsole cushioning. It gives the shoe an old-school running feel, and you’ll have to focus harder on your running form to get a great run out of them.

While the newest Levitate has 3mm more foam than the previous version, it still gives you a lot of ground feel when running. The midsole cushioning feels dense and firm, while offering a subtle bounce. The Levitate 5 does, however, provide excellent shock absorption.

The DNA AMP foam is wrapped in a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) skin which prevents the foam from expanding laterally, so the foam has no choice but to expand vertically. This puts the “spring” into every step you take.

That being said, some may find that this shoe lacks the type of energy return they were hoping for. Also, because of the responsive, close-ground feeling, it can cause your feet to fatigue on long runs.

If you choose the GTS version of the shoe, you’ll find GuideRails on the inner and outer external heel portion of the shoe. They’re easy to see, featuring a lined pattern that’s a visual representation of the support they offer.

Ghost 15

The Ghost 15 has a thick layer of full-length DNA Loft midsole foam, which protects your feet while providing a medium soft, cushioned feel.

Even though the Ghost has a thick layer of foam, it’s not extremely plush. You can pick up the pace easily with these on your feet. It’s also great at absorbing and reducing the shock of impact.

This makes the shoe more flexible and a bit less responsive, with a bit of energy return. But the Ghost 15 is a versatile daily trainer that provides plenty of foot protection.

Outsole

Levitate 5

The Levitate 5 has a generous amount of firm, full-length rubber that extends from the heel to the toe underneath the shoe. With 3.5mm underfoot, there will be little sign of wear after running many miles.

An arrow-point pattern on the sole helps you to transition from heel to toe quickly while allowing your foot to glide easily throughout your gait cycle. Flex grooves are built into the midsole, and they’ll help you pick up the pace while your foot moves naturally through the toe-offs.

The shoe provides excellent grip on the road, even if there’s a bit of gravel. But you may want to be more cautious on wet surfaces, as the outsole can be a touch slippery.

Ghost 15

The Ghost 15 has a robust outsole with 5mm of rubber. There’s soft, blown rubber on the forefoot, with a durable carbon rubber on the heel. The outsole is textured and the forefoot grooves are partially filled with rubber.

This helps to make your transitions feel more snappy while providing flexibility and stability. More rubber was added to the medial side of the shoe, which provides a bit more support.

The Ghost 15 features a segmented crash pad that helps to absorb the shock of impact while adding a bit of energy throughout your gait cycle.

The generous amount of rubber on this shoe provides excellent grip and traction on a variety of surfaces.

Other Features

Stiffness/Flex

Levitate 5

While the Levitate 5 does offer more ground feel, the combination of the DNA AMP foam and rubber outsole don’t allow for much flexibility.

The shoe is stiff, firm, and doesn’t have a lot of energy return. It does, however, have a subtle bounce and provides great shock absorption.

Ghost 15

The Ghost 15 is medium-soft and while it’s firm, it has a touch of responsiveness to it as well.

Thick rubber on the outsole makes the shoe firmer, and the wide platform not only gives you a balanced ride, but more support underfoot.

The DNA loft foam isn’t super springy. But it is on the dense side, and you won’t have to worry about losing the cushioning too soon.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

The Levitate 5 has an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, while the Ghost 15 features a more traditional 12mm heel drop. Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to heel drop. It’s a personal thing.

Typically, the lower heel-to-toe drop reduces pressure on the forefoot and gives a closer-to-the-ground feel. But most runners won’t specifically notice that 4mm difference unless you truly do have a preference.

Weight

Levitate 5

Although they’re technically the same shoe, there’s a difference in weight between the Levitate 5 “classic” and the Levitate 5 StealthFit, which is a bit lighter.

The Levitate “classic” shoe for men weighs 10.4 ounces, while the women’s shoe comes in at 9.6 ounces.

With the StealthFit upper, the men’s shoe weighs 9.8 ounces and the women’s shoe weighs 8.6 ounces.

Half an ounce to an ounce can make a big difference on the road!

Ghost 15

The men’s Ghost 15 weighs 9.9 ounces, and the women’s shoe weighs 9.0 ounces. A touch lighter than the Levitate, but not significant enough to make one shoe stand out over the other!

Price

At the time of writing, there’s a $20 dollar price difference between the Levitate 5 and the Ghost 15.

The Levitate 5 is priced at $150, while the Ghost 15 will set you back $130. Worth it? Well, it truly depends on you and your preferences.

Ultimately, it’s hard to justify a $150 price tag on the Levitate unless you really like the feel of the stiff DNA AMP midsole or the sleek look of the stealth-fit version.

The Ghost 15 seems to be the better buy, thanks to its cushier midsole and springier energy return for a more reasonable price.

Summary

In the end, it truly comes down to personal preference. However, we can say upfront that those who require a stability shoe would be better off choosing the Levitate 5 GTS for its GuideRails support.

The Ghost is marketed as a more versatile, all-purpose shoe that can go for a nice-feeling run, walk through the store, hit the road in a training session, and see you through a race effectively.

The Levitate is a speedier shoe, with less cushion and a closer-to-ground feel. It’s better for those who want a faster shoe, or who prefer a lower heel-to-toe drop.

Shanna Powell

Shanna Powell

Shanna is a writer who runs... And cycles, jumps rope, and lifts weights. She lives in beautiful South Africa and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with other avid athletes.

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