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Brooks Ghost 13 vs 12 Comparison Shoe Review

by Sportitude
17 Jul 2020

Josh reviews and compares the neutral Brooks Ghost 13 running shoes with the Brooks Ghost 12, pointing out the similarities that stay true to what loyal fans love about this popular running family as well as the updates that put it ahead of the pack.

Being a lighter road shoe in the Brooks high mileage category, it’s a versatile ride for clocking up the Ks as well as lacing up for those quicker tempo runs when you’re seeking a change of pace.

Alike the previous model, the outsole features strategic zones of harder wearing and softer rubber, protecting the heel strike zone without compromise to the springy sensation on toe-off. The Ghost 13 runs softer than the Ghost 12, so Brooks have increased the rubber placement beneath the midfoot to balance out that plushness with a touch extra stability.

The midsole is where the Brooks Ghost 13 shines and where your customer feedback really comes into play.

What was traditionally a road shoe engineered for heel strikers has been upgraded to meet the demands of heel strikers, midfoot strikers and forefoot runners by extending the DNA Loft cushioning from heel to forefoot. No matter how your foot strikes the pavement, you get the full-length cushioning and protection you need to run the extra mile.

An Engineered Air Mesh upper wraps your foot in a blend of breathability and strength, security and freedom. Multiple width offerings allow you to find your ideal fit in the Brooks Ghost 13.

Check out the review with full transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh here from Sportitude and today it’s shoe review time and we’re doing it on the Brooks Ghost 13, a very popular running shoe for the Brooks family. There’s been a couple of different changes in this shoe from where it's come from with the Brooks Ghost 12 which we’ll get into in today's review.

Like all my reviews we start from the ground and work our way up so I'm going to talk all things outsole, midsole and upper. We're going to profile the runner that can consider this shoe and their foot type. We’ll cover whether you can add this to your shoe rotation for long distance running or your shorter, quicker tempo or interval runs. Without further ado let's get stuck in.

Runner Profile

First things first, I want to profile the foot type that could consider this shoe. This is a neutral shoe so on the medial side there's no additional arch support or dynamic support system that comes into play. In theory we're looking at a foot type that has a slightly higher arch. The navicular pitches up a little bit and when you sit on a flat surface there's a little bit of space between the ground and the arch.

When we're looking at a neutral or under pronated (supinated) foot type, generally the pressure is on the outside or the lateral border of the foot. When the foot comes down on heel strike to midstance, the pressure sits on the outside as you get ready to toe-off out of your gait cycle.

That being the case, like some stable neutral shoes out there we have successfully put in mildly overpronated foot types inside of this series of shoe. We're very selective when we do that because we need to make sure that that runner can tolerate a little bit wider range of movement and maybe change the velocity of movement through their pronation cycle going through their gait.

Generally, a slightly overpronated foot type in comparison to a neutral foot type will have a flatter arch which splays out through the midstance phase. When this runner comes out down from heel to midstance, the arch will every so slightly favour towards the medial side.

Why is it OK to put a foot type like this inside a Brooks Ghost? More or less it comes down to the comfort of that runner. Some runners out there like myself have a foot type that looks very similar to this.

I find that often my foot fights with the support system which brands have on offer on the medial side, be it dual density foam or dynamic support system like the GuideRails from Brooks.

I can run in them, I don't mind it, but I would prefer to run in something that's more stable and neutral. That's why we would look at that specific foot type with this shoe.

We're going to get stuck into the Ghost 13 and the features that have been introduced into this shoe. I'll get the Brooks Ghost 12 and compare it to the Brooks Ghost 13 to see where the changes are.

Outsole

We’re going to look at the outsole of this shoe. You're probably thinking there's not a whole heap that's changed.

Essentially Brooks have used the same rubber underneath the foot but they’ve every so slightly tinkered with the outsole placement. On the outsole of the Brooks Ghost 13 on the medial side they've created a bit more of a Trusstic system.

On the outsole of the Brooks Ghost 12 you can see on the medial side purple rubber that finishes around the midfoot section. In the Ghost 13 the rubber is a little bit further back. Brooks have increased the rubber at the midfoot to cover more area of the midfoot transition space.

Why have they done that? It’s simple. They've created a softer foam underneath the foot, so the shoe rides a little bit softer, not only on that first point of contact but through midstance to toe-off. Due to it being softer, they need to make it a little bit more supportive and create a slightly more stable midstance section with the execution of that outsole.

They're not going to go back to a Trusstic system which they used to run in Ghosts and what they currently do with the Brooks Defyance. That’ll just make this shoe a little bit too stiff.

You need to keep it pretty similar to where it was previously, otherwise you run the risk of losing a few faithful Ghost runners.

Just touching on a couple of the features, the outsole has harder wearing rubber on that lateral border at the heel like they used to in the Ghost 12. That's a slightly more durable rubber designed to take more impact on that first point of contact with the ground.

As you come through to the forefoot the rubber is softer. It’s blown rubber that gives extra spring and bounce as you go through midstance to toe-off. 

The Brooks Ghost 3 has standard flex grooves through the forefoot, nothing different to what we had previously. It's just that ever so slight tinker with that midsection.

Midsole

Coming to the midsole of this shoe, that is where most of the magic in this shoe is happening. Traditionally with the Ghost series they used to place that strategic soft cushioning system in the heel which is clearly designed for a heel striker.

The feedback to Brooks was that there's a lot of midfoot runners and forefoot runners that still enjoy and run in this shoe. To cater for them what they decided to do with the Ghost 13 was increase the cushioning the whole way through to the forefoot.

Using a DNA Loft cushioning system you've got that luxury of a nice plush purchase with the ground not only under the heel for the heel striker, but your midfoot runner and your forefoot runner can benefit from that softer cushioning system as well which is a great feature.

The engineering behind the Brooks Ghost 12 is designed to run for a heel striker but we have seen over the last couple of years a lot of midfoot and forefoot runners enjoy it.

We have a lot of people that work with us that are midfoot and forefoot runners that have enjoyed the Ghost franchise over the last few years and nothing has changed with the Ghost 13. The early feedback from our staff members is they may like it even more which is exciting.

Touching on the midsole we have a 12mm heel-to-toe gradient. Nothing has changed there from the previous models, so keep that in mind.

A 12mm offset is pretty generous in the whole scheme of things. What we’re tending to see now with a lot of brands is they’re playing either or around that 8 – 10mm heel-to-toe drop. There are a few shoes that are still on offer in that 12mm heel-to-toe offset, so keep that in mind as well.

Upper

Nothing has really changed in the upper of this shoe in terms of the fit and width on offer. It's true to size where it's been in the Ghost 12 and Ghost 11. If you have been a specific size and width in previous generations, I will confidently say you are going to be of the exact same size and width in the Ghost 13 as well.

There's been no changes to the fit, depth or width. It feels the same which is great. It’s nice and consistent year in and year out.

To dive into the features, we have an internal heel counter at the back. Inside of this heel system there's a plastic wedge which gives the foot a lot more security. For the foot type that comes down heel first or even midfoot or forefoot, keeping that calcaneus or heel nice and stable inside the back this shoe is really important. That's where that internal counter comes into play and does its good work.

As you're coming through to the midfoot it's a nice combination of strength, security and freedom. You have a decent lockdown from the lacing system.

There's nothing that’s been added to the engineering of this shoe such as loops that come down to the midfoot to generate that extra lockdown. They don't need to do that because they have widths on offer. Runners have the ability to select the correct width to make them comfortable inside the running shoe. It's a pretty simplistic upper.

Coming through to the forefoot there’s engineering mesh on offer which is breathable and durable. It’s still early days yet and I’ve only done three runs in my Ghost 13. It's a cool climate now being winter in Australia, however I found the shoe to run very nicely and plush.

My breathability inside the shoe was nice and stable. I could run with a thick sock or thin sock and I found the fit and comfort to be bang on which is fantastic.

Widths

Let's talk about the widths on offer because it's a really important factor when considering buying your running shoe. You need to make sure the length and width is spot-on. I tip my hat again to Brooks and brands that are going the extra mile and creating widths which is really important.

You might be scratching your head at home thinking, shouldn't all brands do it? No, they don’t. Not all brands will make widths on offer in their key franchised shoes. When a brand does it, that to me says they’re going to back the engineering of the shoe and they're going to make it a more accessible shoe to a lot more runners.

When we’re talking about widths we have in the ladies’ a 2A which is slightly narrower, a B which is classified as a standard width and a D which is a little bit more generous. When we’re talking about men's we have a standard width first up which is a D, a 2E which is a little bit wider and then the extra wide 4E.

That width call-out is fantastic. It makes sure that if you found the right shoe in engineering features, getting the right width will make everything easier and more comfortable when you get on the road and start pushing out the Ks.


It is a high mileage running shoe. It's not quite as soft and plush as the Brooks Glycerin 18 which is on offer now, however it's not targeting the same runner. Being a little lighter, you can change it up in the Brooks Ghost 13 quite comfortably.

The feedback from a lot of our staff members and the runners we've fitted in early days with the Ghost 13 has been like the Ghost 12 - that they could run tempos, intervals and longer runs in it as well.

I recommend having two shoes on rotation if you're taking your running seriously and have a decent running program, to help the life of your shoes but also to help you as a runner.

For those runners that want to buy the one shoe and get it to do nearly everything, this is certainly one to consider. It has enough cushioning underneath your foot for those longer, slower runs but it’s also light, springy and responsive enough for some interval training.

That is the Brooks Ghost 13, a fantastic update to where it's been over the last couple years and I can't see this shoe going backwards any time soon. It is still a very popular shoe, not only here in Australia but globally. Brooks are really doing this shoe justice.

If you haven't subscribed to the Sportitude YouTube channel please do so. If you have any questions that are related to the Brooks Ghost 13 please contact our Sportitude shoe experts. If you've tried it on and have any thoughts on this shoe let us know.

Until next time happy running and we'll see you soon.

FEATURES

  • Support: Neutral
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Midsole: Brooks DNA Loft, Brooks BioMoGo DNA
  • Heel Height: 24mm
  • Forefoot Height: 12mm
  • Offset / Drop: 12mm

Men

  • Weight: 286g / 10.1oz
  • Widths: D (standard), 2E (wide), 4E (extra wide)

Women

  • Weight: 249g / 8.8oz
  • Widths: 2A (narrow), B (standard), D (wide)