Shoe Review: Brooks Launch 4

Brooks Launch 4.jpg

By Takia McClendon

If you've been following along the City Fit Girls blog, you know that I've done my fair share of informational posts about running shoes. Whether you're looking for trail runners or exploring brands like On, our website has been a great resource to learn about running shoes. 

I think our website would also be a great place to review individual styles of shoes to help guide you through your selection process. Although I will be reviewing MY experience in each shoe, this post (and others to come) are not endorsements for any brand or shoe model. Even if I LOVE a shoe, it may not work well for your foot type, gait or running/fitness needs. For that reason, all shoe reviews on this site will be informational and not recommendations.

The best way to find out if a shoe will be a good fit for you is to get sized and try on different options from different brands until you find a comfortable fit. If you're new to running shoes, you may want to start here: How to pick your next pair of running shoes.

Brooks Launch 4

Launch 4 feature.jpg

Disclaimer: I was seeded the Brooks Launch 4 through my job at Philadelphia Runner. I do not work for Brooks and I am not an endorsed Brooks running athlete. 

Shoe Details:

  • Category: Neutral
  • Midsole Drop: 10mm
  • Shoe weight: 7.5 oz
  • Cushion: Lightweight, firm DNA cushioning system  
  • Suggested Retail Price: $100

The Brooks Launch 4 is an awesome update from the 3rd version and a great shoe for runners looking to go the distance in a light-weight option. I've been running in the shoe since returning from injury and I have mostly positive feedback about my experience.

After running in the Brooks Launch 3, I was looking forward to running in the 4 because I heard Brooks did a great job with the update. The rumors were true. The shoe is lighter, more flexible, more breathable and more forgiving in the toe box.

Brooks Launch 3 on left and Brooks Launch 4 on the right

Brooks Launch 3 on left and Brooks Launch 4 on the right

Examination of the outer soles on both editions. You can see the added flex grooves on the Brooks Launch 4. 

Examination of the outer soles on both editions. You can see the added flex grooves on the Brooks Launch 4. 

The outer sole: Brooks added more blown rubber to the forefoot which makes toe off feel springy. It also features more flex grooves which makes the shoe more flexible and comfortable. The heel uses a "U-Groove" to provide additional support but doesn't impact the stride of neutral runners. 

The midsole: Brooks uses a firm DNA midsole technology that allows for a snappy ride. As you can see above, I removed the original liner and replaced them with insoles to for extra support after dealing with a case of tendonitis. I have run in the shoes with the standard liners and thought the shoes felt great without additional support. 

The Brooks Launch 4 has a breathable upper. 

The Brooks Launch 4 has a breathable upper. 

The upper: The mesh fabric is breathable and more forgiving in the toe box but it does feel a little tight during longer runs. Because of an injury on my left foot, I had to adjust the lacing (see above) so that the tongue doesn't put too much pressure on my tendon. Luckily, this adjustment didn't impact the fit of the shoes. 

Durability: The Brooks Launch is typically a lower mileage shoe and breaks down relatively quickly. If you're looking for a shoe that will last for 500 miles, you may want to consider other options. I like to use this shoe in rotation with others. 

Best used for: Although I prefer to use it for casual group runs, the should is pretty versatile and would be a great option for tempo runs, workouts and race day. I used it for 2/3 legs during the Ragnar Relay PA alongside the Hoka One One Clifton 3. 

Final thoughts: I really enjoy running in the Launch 4 and I plan to keep it in rotation until it breaks down or a new version is released. 

Have you run in the Brooks Launch 4? If so, let us know what you thought in the comments.  

Takia McClendon is the co-founder of City Fit Girls. She's a shoe expert and manager at a running store in Philadelphia and a Certified Level 1 USATF Coach. Follow her online at @takiamcclendon. 

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