We Tested Brooks’ Line of Nitrogen-Infused Sneakers—Here’s How They Performed on Walks, Runs, and More

You don’t need to be a runner to know that Brooks stands out in the running space. Its popular sneakers are beloved for their comfort and support, be it on the treadmill, trail, or in a trendy fitness class (which is where Jennifer Garner regularly wears her, apparently.)

But if you are a runner, then you’ve likely heard that if there’s a Brooks shoe to get your feet into, it’s one from the ultra-plush Brooks Glycerin line. Sleek and shock-absorbing, each shoe features nitrogen-infused cushioning for a light, plush feel that’s most ideal for road-running (which is what it’s designed for) but is also great for walking, Pilates, HIIT, and more. Compared to the popular Brooks Ghost 15 ($140) and Adrenaline GTS 22 ($140)—which both offer mid-level cushioning—all four Glycerin shoes offer maximum cushioning and were re-engineered to feel more lightweight and breathable than ever before.

Before you *run* to the closest Brooks store and stock your carts, read this first. Four Well+Good staffers hit the pavement with their Brooks Glycerin shoes to see how they held up on real feet. Below, you’ll find their honest thoughts on these nitrogen-infused sneaks. (Spoiler alert: They live up to the hype.)

Betty Gold, senior food editor

Shoe tested: Glycerin 20

The Brooks Glycerin 20 road-running sneakers are known for their pillow-y midsoles that deliver supreme softness, stride after stride—all with a closer-to-foot fit.


brooks glycerin 20

Brooks, Glycerin 20 — $160.00

Sizes available: 5-12, in half sizes and two widths

“I absolutely loved these sneakers for both running and walking. They provided a ton of cushion, support, and spring during both low- and high-impact activities like walking, Pilates, running, and HIIT, which is a rare (and highly elusive) combination. The material is lightweight and breathable, too—they’re completely clunk-free. I often experience pain in my arches and/or shins after going for a long run in new shoes, but had none of that with these sneaks. My only wish is that they were a tad more chic… if they were, I’d probably live in them.”

Colors: 17

Midsole drop: 10 millimeters

Weight: 9.1 ounces

Cushion level: most cushion

 

Pros 

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Great for low- and high-impact activities

Cons

  • Not as stylish

Kayla Hui, commerce writer

Shoe tested: Glycerin GTS 20

The Glycerin GTS 20 offers more support compared to the standard Glycerin 20. Another great road-running companion, the GTS is better for those who have high or fallen arches, or just prefer a more stable shoe.


brooks glycerin gts 20

Brooks, Glycerin GTS 20 — $160.00

Sizes available: 5-12, in half sizes and wide widths

“I’ve been running since the sixth grade, so years of wear-and-tear have done a number to my shins. Because of this, I need a supportive running shoe that’s going to absorb shock and help me clock in the miles. With this in mind, I went for Brooks Glycerin GTS 20 road-running shoes.

After jogging and sprinting on the treadmill for 15 minutes, I felt comfortable and didn’t notice any shin splint pain. That’s all thanks to DNA Loft v3, the brand’s foam cushioned footbed. While I did appreciate the shock absorption that the foam offered during runs, I found the footbed to be too cushion-y during weightlifting. On the weight room floor, I found myself wobbling doing Bulgarian splits, so I prefer the GTS 20 for running and walking.

The shoe also boasts a rocker-like design. I find that during sprints, I can easily propel myself into the next step. As someone with a bunion, I absolutely loved the wider toe box. In terms of fit, I’m normally a 6.5 in running shoes and found the ankle area to fit on the looser end, so I opted for thicker socks during workouts.

Overall, how did I like the Glycerin GTS 20? I’ve tried every major running shoe brand and can attest to how comfortable and supportive these shoes are. I would recommend them for walkers and novice, pro, and outdoor runners.”

Colors: 6

Midsole drop: 10 millimeters

Weight: 9.4 ounces

Cushion level: most cushion

Pros 

  • Available in wide widths
  • Lightweight
  • Shock absorbing
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Not ideal for lifting

Gina Vaynshteyn, editorial commerce director

Shoe tested: Glycerin StealthFit 20

Stretchy and adaptable, the Glycerin Stealthfit 20 sneakers are for runners who want a soft landing without feeling like anything is on their feet.


brooks glycerin stealthfit 20

Glycerin, Stealthfit 20 — $160.00

Sizes available: 5-12, in half sizes

“I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit skeptical of the Glycerin StealthFit20 about five minutes into my jog. They felt a bit too compressive (this is where the ‘Stealth Fit’ name comes in) even though I’d ordered a half-size up (8.5). But it was my first time wearing them, and every shoe deserves some break-in time. Fast-forward to an hour later, and I’d earned my highest Splat Points (in Orangetheory, it’s the HIIT-style class’s way of gamifying your workout, combining stats like heart rate and calories burned) of all time. The next day, I got another high score. And two OTF classes and two 45-minutes dog walks in, I felt more comfortable in the fit.

Some highlights: The sole offers a lot of soft, impact-absorbing cushioning, which I attribute to the distance I was able to log (without the accompanying fatigue—which is huge for me as a new jogger!). While the cushioning was pillow-y enough for the treadmill (and walking on pavement), it wasn’t too much for the weight room floor. I was able to do my regular circuit (include jack squats, deadlifts, lunges, and more) while staying and feeling really staple. The style of the shoe is sleek enough to use on the rower, as well.

Another thing to note is that the StealthFit20 has a sock-like fit, so it’s really easy to slip on and off (though it does have laces), but this means that it’s more compressive than a traditional style that tends to be more padded. Like I said, it took me a couple days to get used to this! Another note? It’s more narrow than what I’m used to, and I have medium-width feet (it also makes your foot look longer).

Overall? This is a comfortable—though more compressive—sneaker that’s great for road running and absolutely fine for other gym activities like weight lifting and rowing. It’s clearly built for performance, which is not surprising for a Brooks shoe! You can’t go wrong.”

Colors: 4

Midsole drop: 10 millimeters

Weight: 8.4 ounces

Cushion level: most cushion

Pros

  • Offers stability during weightlifting, runs, and walks
  • Cushioned footbed
  • Stylish

Cons 

  • May feel too compressive for some
  • Runs narrow

Amelia McBride, editorial assistant

Shoe tested: Glycerin StealthFit GTS 20

Enhanced with the brand’s Smart Support technology, the supportive GTS keeps your body aligned while you run and aid your knees, hips, and feet with every stride.


brooks glycerin stealthfit gts 20

Brooks, Glycerin Stealthfit GTS 20 — $160.00

Sizes available: 5-12, in half sizes

“As a plus-sized running newbie (and professional ankle-roller), I need shoes that are supportive and well-cushioned. I recently moved to a large, walkable city, so finding something that can double as a walking shoe would be a huge plus. With these things in mind, I decided to try Brooks’ Glycerin StealthFit GTS 20 model.

My wide feet tend to disagree with small toe boxes and slim silhouettes, so I was thankful for the wide set shape of the GTS 20. These stretchy sneakers pull on with absolutely no effort at all—a huge contrast to my go-to lifting sneakers, which require a great deal of pulling and adjusting. In fact, I didn’t need to break them in at all. The knit upper was super stretchy and soft; once they were completely laced, they felt like a second skin. The ankles of low-rise running shoes usually dig into my heels, but since these were lined with stretchy knit fabric, I hardly noticed them.

Immediately after beginning my first jog, I felt as though they were way too loose around the ankle. I was worried this was because of the comfy knit fabric, but thankfully, tightening the laces up a bit got rid of the falling-off sensation.

During my run, I felt totally supported and super stable. My ankles have a tendency to roll outward, but the large base of these sneakers provided my feet a wide platform to stay in line. The cushion is real; despite being a heavier runner, I felt like I was jogging on clouds.

I decided to wear them all day after finishing my run in order to see how long the comfort would last. I spent the day walking to and from the subways and felt supported all day long. I can’t attest to how well these will suit experienced long distance runners who might prefer a sleeker, tighter fit, but for an absolute beginner, these provided the stability and comfort I needed.”

Colors: 2

Midsole drop: 10 millimeters

Weight: 8.7 ounces

Cushion level: most cushion

Pros 

  • Requires little to no break-in time
  • Supportive
  • Cushioned footbed

Cons

  • Can be loose around the ankle

Close
Menu