Brooks Glycerin 20 review

The Brooks Glycerin 20 is a comfortable, responsive running shoe.

a photo of the Brooks Glycerin 20
(Image: © Future/Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Brooks Glycerin 20 is arguably the best Glycerin yet, with a new midsole foam for a lighter, poppier, more responsive underfoot feel.

Pros

  • +

    DNA Loft V3 midsole foam

  • +

    Comes in a standard, or GTS model

  • +

    Comfortable

  • +

    Fits true to size

Cons

  • -

    There are cheaper everyday running shoes on the market

  • -

    Not the coolest-looking shoe

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For a shoe to be on its 20th iteration, it’s doing something right. The Brooks Glycerin has a solid fan base — it’s one of Brooks' most cushioned running shoes, and it’s a firm favorite for beginners and marathon runners alike. I ran my first marathon in a Glycerin, and always recommend it to runners as a solid, reliable running shoe. 

Specifications

Weight: 9.1oz (women), 10.1oz (men)
Drop: 10mm
Type: Road
Neutral/Stability: Can be both
Widths: 3 — medium, wide, narrow

With the Glycerin 20, Brooks has tweaked the midsole, which now features the brand’s nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3 foam. The result? In my opinion, the best Glycerin yet. But how does it compare to some of the best running shoes on the market for everyday miles? Read my Brooks Glycerin 20 review to find out more. 

Brooks Glycerin 20 review: Price and availability

The Brooks Glycerin 20 was released in the UK in May 2022 and is expected to be released in the U.S. in July. It retails at $190/£155, which is around the same price as other cushioned everyday running shoes like the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run and the New Balance 1080v12

The shoe is available as a neutral shoe or in a ‘GTS’ version, which contains Brooks’ GuideRails to add extra support and prevent overpronation. This is rare in the running shoe world and something that really makes Brooks stand out in my opinion. The Glycerin 19 is available in three different widths in the neutral version: medium (which is the standard), wide, and narrow. In the GTS version, the shoe comes in two widths — medium and wide. 

Color-wise, in the neutral version, the shoe comes in seven different colorways in the female shoe and six in the men’s shoe. In the support version, the shoe comes in three different colorways for both men and women. 

Brooks Glycerin 20 review: Design and fit

During testing, I found the Brooks Glycerin 20 to be true to size. It fits well and has a good amount of cushioning around the collar and tongue to sit comfortably on the foot. It’s roomy, but this isn’t an indicator to size up — you definitely want some room in the toe box to allow for your feet to swell as you run (confused? Check out our guide to buying running shoes here). 

Design-wise, the Brooks Glycerin 20 doesn’t look like the coolest shoe on the market. It’s a little clunky and a little old-school, but don’t let this put you off. The best-looking shoes aren’t the ones you want on your feet at mile 21 of a marathon — the most comfortable ones are.  

a photo of the upper on the Brooks Glycerin 20

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

Upper 

Determined to give runners all the options they could possibly need, the Glycerin 20 also comes in a ‘Stealthfit’ version which has a lighter upper, which is more bootie-like. We tested the regular version for this review, but Brooks says the Stealthfit version has a more adaptive, distraction-free fit. 

For the regular version, the upper has been tweaked slightly from previous iterations. It’s more lightweight and breathable (the Glycerin 20 is lighter than previous versions, which weighed in at a half-ounce more), without feeling too sock-like. It does everything you’d expect, and during testing, we had no issue with rubbing or hot spots. 

a photo of the midsole of the Brooks Glycerin 20

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

Midsole 

The midsole of the shoe is where we see the biggest difference between the Glycerin 20 and previous iterations. Brooks has replaced the DNA Loft midsole foam with the DNA Loft V3, a lighter, poppier, nitrogen-infused midsole foam that Brooks first brought to market last year in the Aurora-BL. 

With DNA Loft V3, Brooks said it was able to fine-tune where you feel the softness underfoot. The foam is designed to react to your stride and where you need cushioning. It’s definitely a cushioned shoe, but you don’t sink into it when you first put the shoe on. Compared to the likes of the Nike Invincible Run, it doesn’t feel too cloud-like when you’re walking in it, although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it’s still cushioned and has a good amount of responsiveness. 

a photo of the outsole of the Brooks Glycerin 20

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

Outsole 

The outsole of the Glycerin 20 is built for road running or a light trail. There’s not a great amount of grip, but I had no issue during testing, even when running on wet sidewalks. That said, Brooks has made the midsole and outsole of the shoe slightly wider in the Glycerin 20 to allow for a smoother transition and toe-off on the run. 

Brooks Glycerin 20 review: Performance 

I’ve found the past few iterations of the Glycerin a little ‘meh’, but all this has changed with the Glycerin 20. It’s an excellent shoe for long, easy training miles, and definitely allows you to finish with enough in the bank, as it doesn’t lose its bounce over the course of a run. While the shoe is comfortable when you step into it, the DNA Loft V3 definitely takes a good few miles to break in, as I mentioned above, it’s not overly plush from the get-go. 

A photo of the Brooks Glycerin 20

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

That said, no shoe is perfect, and while I loved the Glycerin on long runs and easy runs, I wished it had a little more of the DNA Loft V3 for faster sessions. It’s not an overly versatile shoe, and there are definitely better running shoes on the market when it comes to picking up the pace. That said, if you’re a beginner or you already have one of the best carbon fiber running shoes, I wouldn’t let this put you off.  

Brooks Glycerin 20 review: Verdict 

In my opinion, this is one of the best versions of the Brooks Glycerin yet. It’s responsive, it’s cushioned and it has the pop you want underfoot in the final miles of a long run. That said, I wish it had a little more foam underfoot and was that little bit more reactive to allow me to grab this for progression runs. Compared to the Aurora-BL, the Glycerin feels a little more sluggish and heavy. 

That said, there’s no reason why you can’t do speed sessions in this shoe. It’s a perfect marathon training shoe if you’re looking to only buy one running shoe, and it’s durable enough to get you through most of your training. 

It is on the expensive side for an everyday running shoe, and if you’re looking for something cheaper, check out the Nike Zoom Air Pegasus 39 or the Saucony Ride 15. That said, if you’re a Brooks fan or a Glycerin fan, this is a fantastic upgrade to an already reliable running shoe.  

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

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 five 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.