Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Brooks Launch 4

- published February 2017

87

2017

RATINGS

Fit
6
Comfort
7
Responsiveness
9
Ride Quality
8
Speed
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
87

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$100.00
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THE GOOD

  • Great midsole responsiveness
  • Strong outsole grip
  • Snappy energy return

THE BAD

  • Toebox too narrow for wide feet
  • Steep heel-toe doesn’t favor midfoot strikers

THE VERDICT

The Brooks Launch 4 is a favorite of our test group, and is one of the best all-purpose lightweight trainers we’ve tested. They have a light and crisp feel for uptempo training, but are durable and supportive enough for everyday training and high mileage efforts. Our testers like the energetic midsole bounce and the comfortable uppers, although the overall fit may be narrow for wide feet. 

FULL REVIEW

Fit
The Launch 4 fits true to size. Our testers found the redesigned upper shape to have a much more precise fit, and the toe box has generous height to prevent hot spots on top. However, the width will feel slightly impacted for those with wide feet. The moderately padded tongue and traditional lace system keep the midfoot in place very effectively. 

Comfort
Lightweight padding around the ankle collar and a soft interior liner provide a soft feel across the entire foot. The mesh uppers breathe well in hot conditions and dry quickly after being wet. The underfoot stack height and cushioning provide a comfortable ride and diminish road impact quite dependably.

Responsiveness
Brooks sticks with its versatile BioMoGo DNA midsole material that adjusts its energy return based on your speed and impact forces; when you’re cruising slowly, it’s a softer ride, and when you’re accelerating, the resistance is firmer. Our testers loved the energy return through the midsole, and expanded outsole rubber underfoot improves grip and further improves the responsiveness from foot strike to toe spring. 

Ride Quality
A couple of design changes in the midsole are intended to improve the transition from heel to toe. One is the reshaped underside cutout in the heel area, intended to help the heel find a neutral position (not too far lateral or medial) more quickly upon heelstrike. Another is the U-groove that wraps around the backside of the heel, which helps transition impact forces in a forward direction more quickly. In our testing the Launch 4 provided one of the smoothest rides among our test group – but with a 10mm heel to toe drop, the ride technologies in the Launch 4 are better suited for heel strikers than midfoot strikers.

Speed
The Launch 4 comes in right in the middle of our weight range with the current testing group, and is lightweight enough to allow quick leg turnover. Responsiveness and ride quality combine for a snappy feel during speed work or racing.

How We Tested It

The shoes in this test covered approximately 80 miles of running in Monterey County CA, predominantly on asphalt and all-weather track surfaces, in wet and dry conditions, with about 20% of mileage on dirt roads.  Longest single run was 24 miles.  

For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our other lightweight road running shoe tests, road running shoe tests, trail running shoe tests, and other related running gear tests

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

About the Author

Donald Buraglio

Donald Buraglio

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

Shop for the Brooks Launch 4

MSRP
LOW PRICE

$100.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$100.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Fit
6
Comfort
7
Responsiveness
9
Ride Quality
8
Speed
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
87

Specs

  • Heel Height: 25mm
  • Forefoot Height: 10mm
  • Heel Drop: 10mm

Weight

10.2 oz

Weight

Manufacturer's Stated Weight

9.0

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