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Brooks Glycerin 19 review

The Brooks Glycerin 19 is a brilliant shoe for beginners and first-time marathon runners.

Brooks Glycerin 19 side profile on feet
(Image: © Brooks)

Our Verdict

The Brooks Glycerin 19 is a brilliant shoe for beginners and first-time marathon runners.

For

  • Super plush, super cushioned running shoe
  • More foam than previous iterations
  • Available in a number of colorways
  • Plush, padded collar and tongue is very comfortable

Against

  • Not the fastest shoe out there
  • Sizes run small
Brooks Glycerin 19: Specs

Weight: 289g (M), 255g (W)
Drop: 10mm
Type: Road
Neutral/Stability: Shoe available in both
Widths: 3 

The Brooks Glycerin 19 is one of the best running shoes on the market for beginners and marathon runners alike. It’s super-plush and comfortable, thanks to the midsole which contains Brooks’ ‘DNA Loft’ cushioning and is available in both neutral and stability versions. It’s built for all-day comfort, not speed, but it can still pick up the pace when it needs to. 

The Glycerin has always been Brooks’ most cushioned shoe, often reserved for easy or longer runs. Over the past few years, Brooks has made some tweaks to the Glycerin, which is now just as plush as ever, but has more snap for speedier sessions, making it a brilliant everyday running shoe, whatever the distance. In our Brooks Glycerin 19 review, we look at the fit, feel, and appearance of this popular Brooks running shoe. 

Brooks Glycerin 19 review: Price and availability   

The Brooks Glycerin 19 was launched in the March 2021 and costs $150. The Glycerin 19 comes in a number of different colorways to suit every style of runner - from plain black, to some special edition versions, including leopard print and holiday styles. 

In the women’s version, the shoe runs from a U.S. 5 to a U.S. 13 and comes in three different widths — medium, wide and narrow. In the men’s version, the Glycerin 19 starts in a U.S. 7 and runs to a U.S. 15 and is available in a medium and a wide width. 

The Brooks Glycerin 20 is due to be released in January 2022. It’s likely to be similar to the Glycerin 19, with some tweaks here and there.

Brooks Glycerin 19 review: Design and fit

A photo of the Brooks Glycerin 19, one of the best running shoes 2021

(Image credit: Brooks)

While the Brooks Glycerin 19 definitely isn't the coolest shoe on the market, it's definitely not unattractive. It's a running shoe that is designed to cope with high mileage, and high mileage runners need a good amount of cushioning underfoot. Compared to the Glycerin 18, the 19 is a little softer underfoot and fits a little better around the arch. The toe box is also a little shallower in the Glycerin 19, designed to help keep the foot more secure in the shoe. 

Midsole

While some hardcore Glycerin fans out there miss the old-school cushioning of previous iterations of this shoe, the modern DNA Loft foam is super-plush, while still being responsive enough to make this a shoe you reach for day after day. For beginners, the DNA Loft is wonderfully soft and bouncy underfoot — you won’t be able to feel the pavement, but equally, you won’t feel like you’re unstable around corners. Many runners head back to the Glycerin when returning from an injury, as it's soft and reliable, while still offering a decent amount of support underneath the arch. 

Upper

Again, the upper of the Brooks Glycerin 19 screams comfort. The mesh on the upper of the shoe is designed to be lightweight and breathable, and it really is, even in warm conditions. Brooks has also made the collar and tongue of the shoe padded and plush, to avoid any rubbing or hot spots. 

Brooks Glycerin 19 top view

(Image credit: Brooks )

Outsole

This is very much a shoe designed for roads. While the outsole has a good amount of grip for slippery, wet pavements, I wouldn’t recommend taking this on any tougher terrains. 

For some reason, the Glycerin 19 does come up short in the foot, so you might find you need to size up half a size. If you can’t get to your local running shop to try them on for size beforehand, it might be worth using Brooks’ size guide to check or ordering two pairs to try on from home. Brooks has a 90-day return policy even if you’ve run in the shoe, so if you’re not sure, you can swap it or get your money back. 

One of the great things about Brooks is that it makes stability versions of its popular running shoes, so you don’t have to opt for other pairs should you need some extra support. The GTS (go-to-support) versions of its neutral shoes include Brooks’ ‘Guiderail technology’, where denser sections of foam are added to the sides of the shoe to prevent the foot from collapsing inwards when you run. This in turn offers better ankle, knee, and hip support.

The GTS version of the Brooks Glycerin 19 has the same DNA Loft midsole foam, but with the addition of Guiderails to keep excess movement in check. Some runners who only mildly overpronate opt for a support shoe for longer distances, as running technique can often falter as the body tires. If you’re not sure whether you need a neutral or a stability shoe, it’s a good idea to head along to your local running shop and have your gait checked by a professional. 

Runner wearing Brooks Glycerin 19

(Image credit: Brooks)

Brooks Glycerin 19: Performance

For more experienced runners, the Brooks Glycerin will cope with everything from long, easy training runs, to shorter, snappier tempo runs. If you’re aiming to qualify for the Boston Marathon, you’ll probably want something faster and more lightweight, like the Brooks Hyperion Elite, but for most middle-of-the-pack runners, the Glycerin will be a reliable training partner. 

I was able to run in these straight out of the box and didn’t experience any problems with them in terms of fit or blisters. They are definitely on the plush side; not as soft as say, the Hoka One One Bondi 6, but still with a pillowy feel under the foot. The shoe is made for comfort, and it shows in everything from the upper, to the midsole. 

Brooks Glycerin 19: Verdict

Unless you're trying for a Boston qualifying time, you should find the Brooks Glycerin 19 to be an excellent running shoe. Still, there are others to consider that are slightly less expensive.

Another popular Brooks running shoe is the Ghost 14, which is another plush, all-rounder that uses the same DNA Loft foam. On the surface, the two are very similar, but the Ghost 14 is a slightly firmer ride, with less foam in the midsole, making it better for faster miles. It’s also $20 cheaper than the Glycerin, so if you are on a budget, it might be a shoe worth considering.

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 is $30 cheaper than the Glycerin 19 and is also a brilliant all-rounder. When looking at the shoe side-by-side, the Pegasus is definitely firmer, but in many ways, this makes it more versatile, as it would cope better with faster runs than the Glycerin 19 would. 

If you do opt for the Glycerin 19, you can expect a comfortable running shoe, that will get you round comfortably, without any complaints. It might not be the lightest or the fastest shoe on the market, but trust me, it’s comfort you’ll care most about in the final minutes of your race. 

Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past four years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.