If you’re looking for a cushioned, comfortable neutral trainer which will get the job done, the Ghost 15 will be a great purchase. It fails to excite in the ride department but it gets full marks for quality and execution.
If you’re looking for a bouncy, unique or modern ride, the Ghost 15 is not the trainer for you. It’s perhaps the most traditional riding daily trainer on the market and excels in its simplicity.
The Brooks Ghost has 2 main, defining features: its luxuriously comfortable upper and its high heel-to-toe offset. These 2 features are what set the Ghost apart. The plush upper makes it feel like you’re getting bang for your buck while the high 12 mm drop doesn’t stress the Achilles of beginner runners.
The Ghost is only on version 15 and in this relatively short period, it has matured to be one of the most popular running shoes on the planet. It is popular with runners just starting out as well as seasoned, sub-3-hour marathon runners.
I’ve now run in 4 different versions of the Ghost to date and what I’ve noticed is that the difference between each Ghost version is more minimal than any other running shoe series on the market. This means that you know what you’re going to get when you buy a Ghost and also what you’re not going to get because it’s so predictable.
When I tested the Ghost 14 last year I found it to be a really dependable workhorse with excellent stability. For me it excelled most on relaxed long runs. I find it interesting that most of the comments under our review of the Ghost 14 are negative 1 or 2 star reviews.
Customers have complained of knee pain, blisters, and low durability issues. Even on Running Warehouse, the Ghost 14 has a lower rating than the latest versions of the Pegasus, Cumulus, 880 and Ride (Saucony & Skechers).
In the mid-range, daily trainer category, most of the brands have come to the party this year. The Nike Pegasus, Saucony Ride, and Skechers Ride have all been excellent with the Skechers Ride 10 being the standout performer for me so far.
The traditional mid-range daily trainer (such as the Ghost) is also under threat from the modern, lightweight trainers which can be used for daily mileage: trainers such as the Rebel v3, Mach 5 and Novablast 3 all have cushioned, engaging rides and are lighter than the average daily trainer. They are also similarly priced.
This year’s Ghost 15 has a brand new DNA Loft v2 midsole foam which they state is a combination of air, rubber and EVA. It weighs 10.1 oz (286 g) which is 0.2 oz (6 g) heavier than the Ghost 14. Unfortunately, its price has gone up by $10 and it will now set you back $140 which is on the higher end for a mid-range, neutral daily trainer.
The first time I saw the Ghost 15 was at a Brooks preview event about 5 months ago and when I tried it on at the event, it felt almost exactly the same as the Ghost 14. The thing that I was most excited about were the striking new colourways.
My first run was an easy 22-kilometre Sunday long run, exactly 1 week after I had run the Kuala Lumpur marathon so my legs were not fully recovered yet. The Ghost 15 still felt great on that first run: it felt well-cushioned, smooth, and natural.
The first couple of kilometers, I could notice the high 12 mm drop but after a while, I got used to it and stopped noticing it. The only difference was the ride- it felt ever so slightly firmer than the Ghost 14.
The upper of the Ghost 15, as usual, was comfortable from the get-go and cocooned my feet with pillowy softness throughout the run.
The upper is the Ghost 15’s strength and not much has changed from version 14. It has the level of quality that you usually get from a much higher priced, max-cushioned trainer and this is one of the main reasons why the Ghost is so popular.
The heel tab, collar and tongue are all generously padded so comfort around the ankle and Achilles is top notch. An internal heel counter and a new soft, thin external one provide excellent heel lockdown.
There’s still no gusseted tongue which is the only improvement that can be made to the Ghost 15’s upper. It’s also a warm upper which absorbs sweat because of the padding so it’s not ideal for running in high temperatures.
The Ghost 15 fits true to size with an accommodating midfoot, forefoot and toe-box. There are reflective patches on the sides of the toe-box as well as on the heel counter for better visibility when it’s dark.
The new DNA Loft v2 midsole foam feels remarkably similar to foams of previous years. Whether it’s DNA Loft v1, v2 or BioMogo in the Ghost 10, five years ago, the foams all feel 95% similar to each other.
DNA Loft v2 in the Ghost 15 provides a very cushioned, medium-soft ride which is padded but not at all bouncy. The dense foam doesn’t compress very much so there isn’t much rebound compared to some of the other midsole foams on the market. This characteristic makes the Ghost 15 not suited to tempo runs when you are trying to run fast.
The foam is a little firmer than last year so it feels a bit more efficient than the Ghost 14. It also doesn’t feel as comfortable on long runs because the ride is less plush, however it’s still an excellent long, slow-run shoe because of how much cushioning it has.
The ride of the Ghost 15 is perhaps the most traditional of all the daily trainers. It’s not a shoe that I get excited to run in because it doesn’t have an exciting ride. It has a very simplistic, no-frills ride which gets the job done, comfortably.
I found that I didn’t like the Ghost 15 for easy paces and I enjoyed it a lot more at (slightly faster than easy) moderate paces between 5 minutes and 5:30 per km (8:03 – 8:52 minutes per mile). I would prefer the midsole foam to be slightly softer for my easy paces. I thought the Ghost 14 had the perfect balance when it came to cushioning softness.
I never run in high 12 mm drop trainers except when I’m testing the Ghost or the Wave Rider but I have to admit that I enjoy the high drop. It feels like the shoe is assisting me through transitions, making runs feel easier than lower-drop shoes. I’m a heel striker so the high drop works with my mechanics but I think that midfoot/forefoot strikers might find the 12 mm drop annoying.
The Ghost has an extremely supportive ride due to how little its midsole compresses so even slight overpronators will find the Ghost 15 stable enough. Of all the daily trainers, the Ghost is probably the most stable.
Most of the outsole of the Ghost 15 is covered with thick, soft rubber. There’s only a very small part of the midfoot and the centre of the heel which are not covered. This is what weighs the Ghost 15 down.
The outsole rubber of the Ghost 15 is softer than the average, so landings feel more padded than other daily trainers. The rate of outsole wear is also higher than the average daily trainer because of its softness. After 80 kilometers of testing, I’ve noticed significant wear on the outer lateral heel. This is also a result of the high 12 mm drop.
I wouldn’t say that the Ghost 15 is an improvement over the Ghost 14. I actually prefer the 14 because it had a softer ride which felt better on easy runs. The Ghost 15 also weighs more and costs more than the 14.
I think that fast runners who can run a sub 3-hour marathon will prefer the Ghost 15 because their easy pace is below 5 minutes per km (8:03 minutes per mile) so the Ghost 15 will feel more efficient, however I think the majority of runners will prefer the softer 14 over the 15.
A lot of runners complained that their knees hurt after running in the Ghost 14 but the Ghost 15 has an even firmer ride so I think there will be even more complaints. If I worked for Brooks, I would be a little worried about the user reviews of the Ghost 15.
I didn’t experience any pain while running in the Ghost 15 and it’s still the most supportive ride with the most comfortable upper on any mid-range, neutral daily trainer but for me, its ride is lacking energy and cushioning softness. If Brooks adds the supercritical DNA Loft v3 to the midsole of the Ghost 16, that will make a big difference to the ride.
As it stands, the ride of the Ghost 15 is outperformed by other mid-range daily trainers and I would recommend another lighter, versatile trainers such as the Rebel, Mach, and Novablast over the Ghost which are the same price or cheaper.
3 months ago
Tired the 15 felt firmer and deader to me. As you said, the build quality is there, but the midsole is a step backwards. I would say that if you are a Ghost wearer buy up the 14’s.
4 weeks ago
Agree 100% I have religiously worn ghosts, but I can’t run in these.
2 weeks ago
I agree. I find the 15 feels very different from the 14. It feels softer to me, and less built up, if that makes sense. It fees like there was more underfoot with the 14. The softness of the 15 gave me knee pain as well.