Gear Guides



Shoe Review: Brooks Glycerin 21

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Ben Kaplan

There's a reassuring firmness to the new Brooks Glycerin 21, an anecdote almost to the big foam, giant cushioning which has become the latest running shoe trend. Tied tightly at a series of mile repeats at 10K, half marathon and blitzkrieg speeds, the Glycerin 21 almost took on an anthropomorphic characteristic—they felt like wolves on my feet.
The Glycerin series, first launched in 2002, is arguably the flagship shoe from Brooks, the Seattle-based company that surpassed Nike in women's running shoe sales in 2021 and touts "Run Happy," as their inspiration slogan. Through the years, the Glycerin has morphed and adapted—a wider toe box, a fitted tongue, various innovations in foam—and this new model, sleek and aerodynamic, soft and fast—marks a major step forward of a legacy product.  
Weighing 9.8 ounces with a 10mm midsole drop, the Glycerin 21—white, black and grey with aqua blue accents in the pair that I tried—out-performed many of my other shoes on the track. During my first set of 2-mile repeats, I felt the shoe not only steady me, but provide excellent energy return. The Glycerin 21 features nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3, innovative cushioning, and midsole propulsion. 
After completing the bulk of my mileage, my race team approached a series of 800s to practice speed work on tired legs. I had the sensation the shoes were working with me. At $200, a racer could be forgiven for thinking they were running on a carbon-plate. Shoe technology has made radical innovations since 2002 and the long tail behind this great Running Boom is that your average mid-price sneaker offers value, comfort and speed. It's hard in 2024 to buy a bad pair of shoes. 
I wore the Glycerin 21 again on my Sunday long run and found the flexible fit withstood the extended kilometres. Again, I felt like I had wolves on my feet—a powerful mental exercise which acted, to me, as an endorphin. 
With expert support and durable softness, the new Glycerin 21 by Brooks is one I'd be happy to recommend.

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