Brooks Launch 10 & Launch GTS 10 Review
This week due to popular request we’ve finished up our Brooks Launch 10 review. The Brooks Launch 10 is a lightweight trainer or racer/trainer designed to be versatile enough for your faster running but cushioned enough for slower everyday runs. It is available in both neutral and a version that offers some anti-pronation support, the Brooks Launch 10 GTS. All Brooks running shoes that have the suffix GTS offer support.
When running, your foot hits the floor and the arch compresses to absorb the shock. If it doesn’t re-shape quick enough, your knee rolls inwards and you push off from the inside of your foot, instead of straight down the end of your big toe. This means that all the joints up your leg (ankle, knee, hip and lower back) are all slightly out of alignment. As running is a repetitive action, you will repeat this motion with each step and are likely to experience blisters along the inside of the foot, hard skin on the inside of the big toe, pain up the front of the shin, pain under the kneecap or pain down the outside of the thigh. Shoes like the Launch 10 GTS have a Guiderail. This is a stiffened piece of midsole designed to guide the foot to toe off from under the big toe, if your foot rolls against it. This reduces the chance of getting over-pronation symptoms as described above. Not all Brooks GTS running shoes offer the same level of pronation support. The Brooks Beast and Brooks Addiction offer the highest level of overpronation support and are suitable for those that pronate a lot, but most are for mild to moderate overpronation.
Shoes with a Guiderail still allow your feet to function inside the shoes. There is no shaping in the arch of the foot, so the arch can still compress and reshape as normal, and they will get stronger over time. With foot exercises and leg strengthening exercises it is possible to train your feet and legs to not overpronate. It will reduce the wear and tear on your legs and feet whilst running and allow you to run quicker. The advantage of using shoes with support when you overpronate is that it allows you to run pain free whilst you work on strengthening your feet and legs.
Brooks Launch 9 vs. Brooks Launch 10
The main difference between the Brooks Launch 9 and the Brooks Launch 10 (including the GTS versions) according to Brooks is the upper. The Launch 10 has a more breathable upper, which I found noticeable when running. This was during the UK’s mini heatwave, so the temperature was approaching 30°C. The Launch 10’s new upper also feels roomier. The mesh is more open and has a bit more stretch but the upper also doesn’t have any supports coming over the foot. The knitted upper of the Launch 9 had thicker knitted sections that pulled the upper around the foot. When clocking up some review miles, I felt that my feet could noticeably spread and function better in the Launch 10 than they were able to do in the Launch 9. As with the Launch 9, the Brooks Launch 10 allows for a straight big toe line and isn’t pushed inwards like it is in a shoe with a pointed toe box. From above the toe box looks slim and narrow but it feels roomier when on your feet.
The heel fit of the Launch 10 is like most other Brooks running shoes. The heel tab curves away from the Achilles and the internal plastic heel cup has a good enough hold of my heel to prevent any slipping or lifting. The tongue is like that used in the Launch 9. It is thin, with light padding. I find that this is adequate protection from the laces.
The midsole and outsole of the Launch 10 is the same as the previous version. The heel to forefoot drop is 10mm and the midsole is made from Brook’s DNA foam. The Launch 10 is similar to the previous version in weight. The women’s is 209g in a UK5 and 221g in the GTS version. The men’s is 235g in a UK8 and 243g in the GTS version. The GTS version is slightly heavier as it has an extra layer of denser foam, which comprises the Guiderail.
Although the midsole and outsole is the same as the previous version, I do find the Launch 10 feels different to run in. It feels a lot smoother. I am a midfoot striker and prefer a heel to forefoot drop of 6mm or lower, otherwise I find that the heel catches a bit when running down hill or the midfoot of the shoe is a bit stiff and the shoe tries to ‘pull me’ onto my heel. In the Launch 9 I could happily land on my midfoot, but I was aware of the height and it did catch every now and again. The Launch 10 has no such issues. They just feel a lot smoother. The upper also allows my foot to spread more easily too.
My daughter felt the same. She has happily run in Launch 8, 9 and 10 in the GTS version and felt like the Launch 10 GTS was a lot smoother. It could be that the changes to the upper have allowed better foot function, with a quicker transition and as such you are less aware of the high heel to forefoot drop.
The Brooks Launch 10 is versatile enough for everyday slower training runs, but in my experience is best used when running a bit quicker. For a run up to 90 minutes most runners will probably be fine, but if you aren’t light on your feet or your long runs are pushing 2 hours and more you might benefit from a shoe with more cushioning.
Hoka Mach X: A higher stack height and softer deeper cushioning. The Pebax plate gives a bit of extra push together with the curved/rocker shaped midsole. The feel is less natural as the shoe is controlling the gait more but, the cushioning level would make these a bit more versatile in that you could use them for longer runs and slower easy runs. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-mach-x-review/
Hoka Mach 5: More nimble and less controlling than the Mach X. Toe box is more pointed than the Launch and the shoes are less flexible with less feel for the ground. So, they don’t feel quite as nimble and responsive. Available in two widths Men’s and Women’s. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-mach-5-review/
Topo Specter: A broad rounded toe box allows more foot function. The rocker helps improve cadence. The cushioning level is higher but, like the Mach X they are a less nimble more controlling shoe. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/topo-athletic-specter-review/
Altra Escalante 3: A broad rounded toe box and zero drop. A much more natural feeling shoe. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/altra-escalante-3-review/
Brooks Hyperion Max: If you want a Brooks shoe that has a bit more bounce and helps you run quicker but, still has enough cushioning to be versatile enough for steady runs then the Hyperion Max is worth considering. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/brooks-hyperion-max-review/
Scott Pursuit Ride: Like the Topo Spector and Mach X there is a bit more shoe here than in the Brooks Launch. So, they are versatile enough for long runs and slower easy paced runs. They lack the feel for the ground and zip of the Launch but, would be a more durable training shoe. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scott-pursuit-ride-review/
New Balance Tempo v2: A lot softer and more flexible. Suits those with a more natural running style and doesn’t feel as smooth through the gait cycle as the Launch for me. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/new-balance-fresh-foam-x-tempo-v2/