Brooks shoes (or any other recommendation) and... - Couch to 5K

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Brooks shoes (or any other recommendation) and also shoe fitting


I'm seriously considering a new pair of trainers/running shoes.

I've head my head turned by the Brooks offering, but would consider another brand.

Do you really need a size up?

I run up to three times a week, mostly road, but some off road too. I've only recently started getting ouchy toe nails (think one will be dropping off in the not too distant future) and a couple of blisters when I do more than 10k.

Any advice and recommendations would be very well received!

I'm in france with no access to a gait analysis shop. I will be ordering the shoes online.

Thanks in advance!

40 Replies

I have Brooks and when I got them fitted by Sweatshop they recommended a full size up for me. They look huge on my feet and although I have plenty of wiggle room in the toe area, I have had absolutely no problems with them and no sore toes, etc.

The recommendation is half a size up I believe but I think it's hard buying any type of shoe without trying them on. Have you got the option to send them back if they don't fit?

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to Irishprincess

Hi IrishPrincess. Yes, I have the option for returning them. Bit of a faff, but that's how it is lol

My current running shoes have served me well, no shin splints etc and I've had them for about a year I guess, but they are "my size" ie not up a half or a whole size. I didn't know about doing that when I first embarked on this running malarkey! Im thinking of going up a half size. I Know it goes against the grain buying shoes online, unknown (must be mad) but at least I can send them back.

which Brooks do you have? I'm eyeing up the Glycerine and the Adrenaline.

IrishprincessGraduate in reply to Rupertlebear

I have Adrenaline. Why don't you stick with what you know but go a half size up?

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to Irishprincess

Couple of reasons - my shoe was a previous season shoe when I bought it over a year ago and it's not available anymore.

Running shoes are expensive here - I can get a good branded shoe from the UK for the same price as an everyday trainer here, so I'd like to upgrade to a better shoe

I want to treat myself to something a bit better

My current shoe is majority white in colour! I know it's a bit girly but I want a different colour!

Would you recommend the Adrenaline?

IrishprincessGraduate in reply to Rupertlebear

Certainly for me they've been fab. I'm sure I've seen others here say they have Adrenalines so hopefully you'll get more recommendations.

Nothing girly about wanting a different colour. Mine are mostly white but with pink and orange too ( I hate orange) although at the minute they are a fetching shade of mud!

I'd say go for them. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to Irishprincess

Thanks IP for your advice. Much appreciated.

I have to say, the more I think about it (can be dangerous to think too much!) the more I feel inclined to wait until I make a trip back to the UK and go and have a gait analysis, get a proper fitting. Running and me are here to stay, so I ought to do it properly.

Food for thought.

Good luck with the mud!


I have Brooks Ghost 7. They are size 8.5, my normal shoe size is 7. They are really comfortable and absorbe the shocks really well. Very pleased with them.

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to Zev1963

They do look super comfy. That's quite a jump in shoe sizes! But if they fit, they fit. It's very interesting. Do you do road work in them?

Zev1963Graduate in reply to Rupertlebear

My running is about 50/50 tarmac and gritty/sandy track. I've done 100% road run on tarmac around Draycote Water, and they were good for that. My normal run is along the north bank of the Loire which is a path suitable for walkers, runners and cyclists, some tarmac, some mud, mainly grit/gravel path. They work fine on all of that. I did a Parkrun in Leamington in them, and that is partly tarmac, some gri path and some grass. That was fine too :)

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to Zev1963

Ah, so you're in france too. Have you had similar trouble finding shoes here?

You're really selling the Ghost to me!

Zev1963Graduate in reply to Rupertlebear

Yes, I'm in France. I found plenty of running shoes in Decathlon (huge French sports store) and I got my first shoes from there when I started C25K. They are Addidas (they say RunStrong inside). They were fine but I decided I wanted to get my gait checked so went to Runners Need in birmingham when I was back fro a hliday, just after comleting C25K. I didnt have a problem with the addidas shoes but wanted to avoid injury as much as possible as my runs got longer. The Brooks are definately more comfy and better at absorbing the shocks :)

I bought a pair of Brooks Glycerin in January after a visit to Run4it Aberdeen, where they recommended them after checking my Gait etc. The shoes were really comfy and great to run in but they did not last long, 4 holes appeared on the upper part of the shoe, at the base of the toes after about 3 months of use.

Maybe my expectations were too high but personally I feel for the price of the shoes, which was around £130 at the time, that they should have lasted longer. Especially as it was winter and 95% of the running I had done in them was indoor/treadmill work.

Picture I took at the time


RupertlebearGraduate in reply to OlsBean

Gosh, that is disappointing. I agree that that's a lot of money - one would expect it to last a bit longer than that! Did you complain?

OlsBean in reply to Rupertlebear

I did not get a reply from Brooks, after a couple of attempts I got a reply from the shop I bought them from who said to bring them in for them to see but the problem is that I live quite a way from Aberdeen and it's difficult for me to get there so I was unable to.

To be honest I am still using them for indoor work, the soles have worn well, but the uppers are right through on both sides on both pairs now (that photo was taken at the time).


gosh thats tricky as I think you would really benefit from Gait analysis. Is there an online shop where you can draw round your feet and send that in??? or something like that? Its so important to get the right shoes....

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to ju-ju-

I like the idea of the foot drawing! I've not come across that - you ought to patent the idea! Lol

I really am coming round to thinking that I should wait until my next jaunt over the Channel. A while ago one could get the gait analysis done in the shop I got my current shoes from, but when I visited them last week, the treadmill has been removed and they don't offer the service anymore.

Oh the disappointment of buying the shoes unseen and them not being comfortable or worse ie damaging.

I'd be rather interested to have the analysis done in any case :-)


I have bought running shoes which seemed to fit quite well in the shop -- BUT obviously my feet swell when I run so they can become much tighter when running depending on the weather.

I have been very pleased with my Nike free 5.0's - I had to purchase 3 pairs before I finally got the fit right . I also have a pair of Saucony Kinvaras -- which I have only recently started wearing. I am very disappointed to see wear showing under the shoe after only a few runs in them. My Nikes show no wear at all after hundreds of klms!! Nikes are well known for being a little narrow across the midfoot area .

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to Bazza1234

I think feet swelling is the issue I have too with my current shoe. When I first started running, I obviously wasn't running that far, but now I have the bug and run further, they are causing problems with my toe nails.

Thanks for the Nike and Saucony info - heard of the former, but not the latter. But disappointing to hear that they are wearing already. Will you be able to take them back do you think? Or have you had them too long?

Bazza1234Graduate in reply to Rupertlebear

Nah - had them for a while without wearing them - and they made no promise about how much they would or wouldn't wear. I have learned a lesson - if you can mark the sole of a running shoe in any way with your fingernails ( which are reasonably sharp) , they aren't going to last long when pounding asphalt and concrete!!

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to Bazza1234

Top tip there Bazza about the finger nails! We could do with a special section on buying shoes on this website - every one of us use them after all.


Ok, let's be scientific about it. What shoe do you wear now, that you've had no problems with?

I'm like Zev, I have Ghosts. My first were ghost 4, size 5.5, but a bit small when I started going further. My replacements were men's ghost 6s in size 6, 2 pairs (with a pair of new balance in between). I go for the gent's shoes for the extra width these days, ladies shoes are too narrow for long distance comfort. I'm a size 5 apparently (last time I was measured in Clarks the chap said I was 4.5 EEE and offered me 'granny' shoes as the only ones in the shop that 'fitted'). BUT the Brooks Ghost are neutral shoes.

The Brooks Adrenaline are for overpronators, the Glycerin are neutral. So you need to find out what sort of shoes you have that have played nicely so far, if they're neutral then the ghost or glycerin would seem a good choice; if they're supportive then the Adrenaline would be better suited.

I was told today that Brooks shoes are known for being a wider fit, that's why I bought my first pair of ghosts, I tried those and some others in the shop and found the others to be a tighter fit widthways. So are your feet narrow, wide or 'normal'? All considerations you would need to take into account. Decide which you want, if you can't go to a shop and try them on, order from Sweatshop with their month's return policy and see if they suit.

Hope that helps.

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to Beads

Thanks Beads - what a lot of really useful info to consider. I really am considering holding off until I next go to the UK so I can go and get the analysis done and see what is recommended for the feet I have.

When I bought my current pair, I just those the colour I wanted, tried them on, they felt nice so I bought them! For the start of my journey into running, they were just the job. Maybe I was lucky. But now I want to run further and maybe over different terrain, I want something better which also seems to equate to something more expensive (that's ok) and I want to get it right.

Like your term of Granny shoes - I know exactly what you mean!


Decathlon is French so I would have thought you could get gait analysis there. Saucony is French as well so I feel sure it's something you can access over there

I saw some lovely Saucony shoes today at the race meet. They were my faves on offer. I preferred those to the Brooks from the perspective of appearance though rather than by anything else.

My Brooks and Nikes are a half size up on my normal shoes size. I just got my Brooks off the internet and fortunately it turned out well and they are the bees knees

Good hunting!

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to misswobble

I've been in a couple of Decathlon local to me, but no gait analysis and to be honest, a really poor selection of shoes - lots of fashion trainers though. There is a new, huge Decathlon in a city an hour an a half from me, which I've not had the chance to go to yet. Perhaps after christmas I will have the opportunity to do so.

It's a strange thing - there are lots of keen runners in france and triathlons seem very popular, but there isn't the abundance of retail offerings like in the UK. Not where I live anyway! I went to around 5 sports shops last week and apart from lots of fashion trainers, they had a poor selection of what I call a proper running shoe. And those that they had were very very expensive.

I'm sensing a retail opportunity!

Which Brooks do you run in?

I've not heard of the Saucony shoes. I must Google them.

Thanks for your advice!


When I went to Sweatshop for offroad shoes, they told me that the gait analysis doesn't really inform the choice of trail shoe.

If it is difficult for you, don't get too hung up on gait analysis and personal fitting anyway. Sweatshop fitted me with a shoe which I loved in the shop. When I ran in it my knees knocked together and I couldn't feel the ground. Fortunately I could return them, muddy, and I love the ones I swapped them for.

The Runnersworld website has some interesting shoe finding tools - 'shoes like mine' and a shoe choosing tool. (Interestingly it comes up with wildly different suggestions for me using each of those! But 'shoes like mine' if you like your current shoe seems like a good bet.

New running shoes top of my Christmas wishlist.

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to GoogleMe

Ooh - I'll take a look at the Runners World search thingy. Thank you.

When you say your knees knocked together, do you think that was because they fitted you with an over pronation shoe?

What shoe is on your Christmas list?

I had a quick look at Sweatshop. I see they have quite a few branches. One in Kent, which would be handy for a visit coming from the Channel tunnel! Do they have the same sort of discounts in the shops as they do online? They seem to have some amazing deals.

GoogleMeGraduate in reply to Rupertlebear

It was a trail shoe so no particular gait features. I started C25K wearing lightweight walking boots, then got Brooks Green Silence which I loved but they did get a big hole above my big toe very quickly (as did the Adizero XT4s which I have now but it has taken 2 years for other bits to start going) but when the winter brought more mud it was cramping my style. Essentially I like my shoes minimalist or at least lightweight and the Salomons were just no good for me.

Running Like a Girl wisely says pink is just a colour and to get over it but I do hate girly looking shoes - sadly the new XTs are just that. Fancying New Balance Minimalist 1010s in gloriously bright green and blue. I don't know if it applies to overseas orders, and unlike an in-store Sweatshop purchase, you can't try them in the mud and then reject them, but other than that NB have a smooth free returns process (and at the moment 10% off and free p&p - usually on orders over £99 but you can easily exceed that trying for size). Worth factoring in travel costs to get to a shop - I did 4 hours driving to get sorted last time because I had to make that extra trip to swap them. I have a second pair as I usually get wet - Vivobarefoot trails which were £20 so definitely worth a punt cf full price. Just need to hope Father Christmas thinks I've been very, very good.


You can always go in a shop, try the shoes you fancy and then "decide" they are not the right one so you'll think about it, or find out at the till you forgot you wallet at home.... and go home to order them on the internet.

Sneaky, I know, but at least you'll know which size to order!

Happy running

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to frannyfran

That's wise that sneaky! I had had that very idea in my mind last week when I went to some sports shops here. I had hoped to find a Brooks (or something else) that I realky liked, hoped to try it on, then come home and order on the Internet. I just didn't see any good running shoes. Plus, the shop where I bought my current pair, who offered gait analysis before (over a year ago) now doesn't offer it.

I like your thinking anyway!

Just come back from a run, it most certainly does make me happy :-)


If you are running trails you need a trail shoe. I have brooks cascadia and they are pretty wide in the toe box but nice and snug round the heel. They are very comfy and i've veen very pleased with them

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to misswobble

No, I mainly run on roads, with just a bit off road (very occasionally) I may like to run more off road next year, but I think I'd consider a different shoe for that. I'm surrounded by kilometre after kilometre of forest trails, but with steep gradients, so it's a future plan. But for now, it's deserted roads with hills a plenty and green paths linking villages.

I've entered a race in the Alps for next summer which is part road, part off road, so I'm working towards that.

I'll have a look at the Cascadia. Thank you.

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to Rupertlebear

Just had a look - ok, I see that they are for trail running. Nice shoe. What sort of terrain do you run over?


Did you get your shoes Roop?

I wear the cascadias on the country trails. Nothing extreme.

Been a while now so what did you get?

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to misswobble

Hi Miss W

Oops, I should have updated this post. Sorry!

Well, after much deliberation and and internet trawling for reviews and advice, I decided to buy some snazzy Hoke One One shoes - the Clifton - my oh my, they are FABULOUS! No kidding. I love them. They are extremely comfortable, bouncy, light as a feather, tough as old boots. I've been running so much better with them. No blisters, no black toe nails. I've just pollished off a 14k of varying terrain (90% off road, 10% on) with no ache's or pains. Ive run in the snow with them. Down hill, uphill. 100% Tarmac etc etc etc. So far, so good.

I ordered them online, from the UK (they were in the sale) with the option to return them, but they were good to go, so I've kept them.

I went for a half size up from my normal shoe. Perfect.

In between buying these and not wanting to wear my old shoes, I bought a pair of Asics gel Phoenix, here in france, in the sales and they were/are pretty good. Very comfortable. So I'm using them for walking the dogs, but they do feel very heavy compared to the Hokas.

Must admit I'm still keen to try a Brooks, so next time I'm in the UK I'm going to have fun in a sports shop to scratch the itch!

Thanks for thinking about me! 😀


You're welcome!!!!! I fancy some Brooks Glycerines. Tomorrow I'll fancy some Nike Pegasus. LOL. I'm a riot of indecision. Then there's Saucony Triumph. Oh and those Hoka's of course. My head is spinning! LOL

I need to do something quick as the soles of my feet hurt post run, and during come to think of it. I'm waiting for pay day. Sigh

RupertlebearGraduate in reply to misswobble

I have one word for you - HOKA!!

I can't rate them high enough.

I rather like the Brooks Glycerin too .......

Now what about On Running shoes MissW They are the bees knees. Going to try a pair of those too :-)

Some great shoe reviews on YouTube by Ginger man (or something like that)

Off to google the Sauconys now ..........

Ive just checked and have Brooks Ravenna, bought from specialist shop. Im new runner and had no problems. I usually wear size 6, mine are 6.5. So half size up

P.S. Got my shoes from Alexandra Sports in Portsmouth, they were really helpful and specialist running. Just checked and they do online service, with options on returns etc. So maybe worth talking to them

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