Editor’s Note: We have updated this review with the inclusion of the Glycerin GTS 19. Scroll down for our coverage of the Glycerin 19’s stability equivalent.
The RW Takeaway: Lace up in the responsive and generously cushioned Glycerin 19 and Glycerin GTS 19 for all kinds of runs. Their luscious feel didn’t weigh us down as we pushed the pace during training.
- DNA Loft foam is even softer
- Padded heel collar and tongue provide a comfy and snug fit
- Guide rails in GTS version provides bumper-like support for erratic gait patterns
- Shoes run a bit short in both men’s and women’s sizes
Weight: 10.2 oz. (M), 9.0 oz. (W); GTS, 10.7 oz. (M), 9.4 oz. (W)
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Once regarded solely as a heavily cushioned recovery trainer, the Glycerin has gradually metamorphosed into an everyday, every run workhorse. Evidence for that lies in the feedback we got from our wear-testers, where they raved about the 19’s versatility, and our impressions logged in both long runs and speedwork. One diehard Ghost fan even dared to say the Glycerin knocked that shoe off its pedestal—or at least off her shoe rack.
Brooks Glycerin 19
Brooks Glycerin 19
- Plush interior lining
- Runs a little short
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Within the shoe’s history, this shift began with the 17th iteration. We bounced around the title “the Cadillac of cushioning” when describing the previous models. The 16 maxed out our shoe lab’s cushioning rating, and, like the Glycerins before it, was praised by testers for its luxurious feel. But its ride just didn’t have the fluidity of a daily trainer. Said one tester, “The shoe felt a little bit clunky compared to some of the lighter shoes I’ve been running in lately.” But the
16also introduced DNA Loft foam, which Brooks has tweaked over the years, resulting in a shoe with a lush midsole that can chase hard tempos.
Soft Cushioning With High Energy Return
Brooks put in more DNA Loft foam for an even softer platform. The ride feels smooth and bouncy instead of bulky. “I absolutely loved these shoes,” said a tester. “The Glycerin is a versatile trainer perfect for speedwork and long runs. The shoe doesn’t feel heavy but has the feel of superb cushioning.”
Testers with lingering pain from old running injuries found the Glycerin’s cushioning supportive and beneficial to rebuilding their base. One suffering from mild plantar fasciitis commended the shoe’s comfort and support under her arch. But softness is not sequestered to the midsole alone; the bootie-like interior provides surrounding comfort.
Finding the Perfect Fit
You might want to size up before making a commitment and heading out for your first run in the Glycerin. The shoe felt quite snug, with separate tester evaluations reporting slightly crammed toes, chafing by the Achilles, and a midfoot that was too narrow, causing pins and needles.
“I attempted to test a 10 in Brooks because that used to be my size—but no,” said a tester who ran in the Ghost the previous testing cycle. “It’s a bit too snug, and so a 10.5 would’ve been better. I haven’t run into this problem with other shoes recently, just Brooks, so I'm not sure what they’ve done to their sizing, but that is my main complaint.”
Troubleshooting the correct fit is worth the effort, however. Your feet will feel like they’re running on springy memory foam.
Jeannine R., tester since 2017
Arch: High | Gait: Overpronator | Foot strike: Forefoot
“I LOVE Glycerin. I need a lot of cushion, and I need it to ‘form’ to my foot. My feet are not identical, so I usually end up hating shoes for one foot when the other feels fine. [With] Brooks’s Glycerin I never have that issue. These shoes have a thicker sole for extra bounce. This is helpful for my overpronation and keeps my feet from hitting too hard.”
Stephen K., tester since 2012
Arch: Medium | Gait: Overpronator | Foot strike: Heel
“The stability of this shoe was perfect for longer runs on hard road surfaces. The smooth ride from heel to toe gave the feel of uniform support. The great traction on wet and dry surfaces made it easier to focus on effort than footing. Even on gravel trails the shoes remained responsive.”
Glycerin GTS 19: The shoe formerly known as Transcend
For just a few extra tenths of an ounce, the Glycerin GTS 19 provides stability with Brooks’s holistic guide rails system. Denser foam on the lateral and medial sides of the shoe act as bumpers to lessen erratic knee movement, brought on by overpronation (when your foot tends to roll toward the inside). The extra foam makes the shoe slightly stiffer than its neutral counterpart, but there’s still plenty of give that allows your foot to flex during push off.
Just like the Glycerin 19, the GTS has a DNA Loft midsole, which provides firm cushioning, making it the designated trainer—for wear-testers and test editors alike—for middle distances and running long.
Brooks Glycerin GTS 19
Brooks Glycerin GTS 19
- Guide rails provide stability for overpronation
- Soft midsole and comfy upper
- Runs small
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“Overall I really liked this shoe, particularly for a long run shoe,” said a tester, who logs 40 miles per week at a 7:30 pace. “It was a great shoe all around. It was definitely comparable to the Brooks Transcend 7.”
Ah, but here’s the big reveal: The Transcend is sorta-not-really discontinued.
Brooks recently rechristened its stability shoes with the name of their neutral twin, tagging on “GTS” to differentiate the two. Originally “Go-To Shoe,” the acronym’s meaning has been changed to “Go-To Support.” (The only shoe spared is the Adrenaline GTS, which will forever be the Go-To Shoe—even though it truly is the Ghost GTS). And so, all things considered, the Glycerin GTS 19 is in actuality the Transcend 8.
Another nugget of trivia: The first Transcend, which was released in 2013, introduced an early version of the guide rails system, called Guide Rails 1.0, a.k.a. the “doughnut” prototype, so-called because the foam wrapped around the perimeter of the shoe. Brooks refined the guide rails system in 2018 with the “coupling” concept. Denser foam was installed on the sides to sync knee and ankle movement.
This makes all the difference on longer runs. Our testers appreciated how the guide rails system lended some stability in the later stretch of their run (that point where your gait pattern changes and becomes sloppy due to fatigue).
Though the Glycerin GTS isn’t our first choice for speed sessions or hard tempos, it’s an all-around reliable daily trainer with built-in stability. The shoe is easy on the joints for recovery runs and dependable when you go farther than that turnaround point on your usual trek.
More Wear Tester Feedback
Jeremy G, tester since 2017
Arch: Flat | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Heel
“I would rate this very high! I’ve been running in Brooks Adrenaline GTS for 10 years and this new Glycerin GTS has all the support and stability I love in the Adrenaline, but with more heel cushioning and a slightly softer feel. There wasn’t anything that bothered me about this shoe. I kept to my normal road running routine with runs from 4 to 13 miles. I didn’t do any speed or tempo work, just steady and recovery type runs.”
Kit Fox, tester and former RW editor
Arch: Medium | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot
“This is a good middle-of-the-road workhorse shoe. Not pretending to be fast, over-cushiony. Just a solid, comfortable ride for easy or middle distance mileage. The upper is thick and soft, which was nice in the cold, plus prevented hot spots around my ankle.”
Amanda is a test editor at Runner’s World who has run the Boston Marathon every year since 2013; she's a former professional baker with a master’s in gastronomy and she carb-loads on snickerdoodles.