This is one of several reviews that I have been meaning to write since this summer. It has been a crazy busy summer and fall for me and I’ve also published an academic book (my day job is professor of history and department chair) and reading galley proofs, securing photo rights, and taking care of final edits took priority.
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I’ve worn more pairs of Brooks Ghosts than any other shoe. From 2010 through 2013, the Ghost was for me a perfect shoe. Neutral, but with enough shoe to support me as I fatigued on long runs. Cushioned, but not so fluffy that you feel like you’re sponging into the ground. I could train in it daily, do speed work at the track, and race marathons in it. I never considered other shoes because the Ghost was my home.
I started wearing the Ghost with their 3rd iteration. I probably had 3-4 pair of each version from the 3 through the 5. But the 6 didn’t feel right. On a tempo run one summer morning in 2013, my legs felt spongy, wobbly even. They felt the same way when I had tried the Saucony Guide a year earlier. I felt like my foot was landing on a wobbly plank. I ran a few more times in the 6 and then bought a few pair of the Ghost 5 for the marathon that I was training for.
I skipped the Ghost 7, having found Saucony Rides and Mizuno Precision 13s and a pair of Mizuno Riders (the 17 that I didn’t care for at all, still need to try the 18) to get me through this shoe homeless period.
But this summer Brooks sent me a pair of the Ghost 8 for review after my friend Mike (Dirtdawg) reported the Ghost 7 and now the 8 had been really nice updates for the shoe that has become a Brooks staple.
The Ghost 8 is what I remember about the Ghost of my past. It is everything that kept me coming back, pair after pair, to the shoe that got me through more of my 13 marathons than any other shoe.
Out of the box
Brooks hasn’t done a lot to change the design of the Ghost. There are some slight stylistic changes, but nothing that serves as click bait: “Brooks changed the design of the Ghost, but when I opened the box I never thought I’d see this!” The colorways are pretty nice: there’s black and red, the silver and toxic yellow (Brooks calls it lime) that I have, there’s a New York edition for the NY Marathon, and a blue and orange that is my favorite.
Brooks has always fit true to size for me. Of course, true to size is relative to the runner. But I’ve worn 11.5 D in all Brooks shoes with no issues. No difference here. Good fit and comfortable from the first mile on. In my review of the Saucony Ride 7 I noted that it took me about 25 miles for the shoe to feel “good.” The Brooks as ready to go out of th box.
I have 200 miles on these shoes. I could go at least another 100 in these shoes.
My only issue is that Brooks stays true to overlays on their shoes, while other brands seem to be moving on, and the Ghost 8 is no different . The toe overlay on this shoe rests just above my big toe. If I don’t wear sufficiently thick socks, something under the overlay (these overlays are welded not stitched) irritates and even causes a small blister on my toe. I am sure this is unique to my pair and not a model-wide thing to worry about. But it is something to watch for if you get a pair.
From the Brooks press release, their crash pad is now full-length, the overlays are welded and not stitched, and the upper has been updated to allow for more flexibility in movement.
To quote former Minnesota Vikings football coach, Dennis Green, who once said of an opponent: “They are who we thought they were!” (google this quote and you’ll see what I mean): The Ghost is what I thought it was. Dependable. Solid. Like a warm blanket on a cold winter’s night: comfortable and dependable.
Go get a pair.
Brooks sent these to me gratis. My evaluation is my own words and opinion.