They Say – The men’s Glycerin 14 neutral running shoe is the ultimate in super-soft cushioning, and comes equipped with everything you could ever want to glide through your run in supreme comfort.
- SUPER DNA MIDSOLE - provides 20% more adaptable cushioning than BioMoGo DNA
- IDEAL PRESSURE ZONES - disperse impact for an effortless ride
- 3D STRETCH PRINT - applies strategic stretch and structure for a perfect fit
- CONFORMABLE SADDLE - wraps the foot for a secure fit
We Say – I was looking for a pair of shoes that were going to be up to an extreme job, that is, the job of getting me through the epic 7 day long Marathon des Sables in Morocco.
For those who don’t know about the race it involves over 150 miles of running through the Sahara desert whilst carrying all you needed to survive for the week on your back (except your tent and a weeks’ worth of water).
I’ve been using Brooks shoes all last year for my road and trail racing (I’d been turned onto them by the fact that they were vegan shoes and because of the companies’ connection to Scott Jurek, an athlete I admire and trust) so was well used to them, but I was open minded as to what brand I’d use in this sort of extreme stage race, which was going to be a completely new experience for me.
I searched around online for advice on footwear, reading blogs by people who’d run the MDS before, and found this page which after a good look seemed ligit to me - http://www.runultra.co.uk/Reviews/Running-gear/Multi-stage-races/Marathon-Des-Sables . The following sentence really stood out to me;
“Hokas are a bit like marmite, you like them or you don’t. A lot of people run in Asics, and of the very few people canvassed who didn’t get blisters (during the MDS), they were wearing Brooks or Salomons.”
So, since I like marmite but not Hokas, and my Salomon’s have tended to fall apart way too easily in the past, I decided to stick with Brooks and test out a couple of their new shoes, the Mazama trail shoe and this Glycerin 14 road shoe, with the race in mind. I didn’t know which would suit me for the MDS – the terrain will be mainly hard desert but sometimes sand and veterans of the race say there’s no need for a trail shoe if you’d rather wear a road shoe, it’s entirely up to the individual – but after putting a 100 odd miles on each pair I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the Glycerin 14 for me. And here’s why.
Most importantly, they’re very comfy. My feet are wide, and this shoe is available in 3 widths (Narrow, Normal and Wide). I tried the wide, which is a superb fit. I’ll need to get a size and a half larger than my usual to allow for swelling in the heat of the desert but otherwise the fit is as good as it gets for me.
It’s worth mentioning here that even if you plan to run in cooler climates you’ll still likely need a half size bigger than you usually wear as Brooks do come small. Best to try them on in a store if you can before you buy, or if you have to order online, go for that half size bigger than you usually take.
They also have stretchy silicone-like overlays screen-printed onto the mesh around the front end. These allow the shoe to swell a little and accommodate your feet as they enlarge during longer distances, which is perfect for my purposes (and for anybody who is going to run an ultra in a warmer climate). And they’re super light, just 10.6oz, with a good depth to their sole which is essential, I’m told, during the MDS, as you need to either velcro or glue sand gaiters onto your shoes to prevent having to stop every few minutes to empty your shoes out.
The first time I wore these shoes I ran 32km on the treadmill with no issues at all. No blisters or hot spots, just a slight ache in the right ankle as I’m weak there and the shoes were understandably more rigid in the tongue than my well broken in older shoes. That feeling was gone though by the end of the next run, which was a marathon.
I then ran 3 marathons and 1 half marathon over the next 4 days and had no issues at all with the shoes. I was very impressed.
I’ve found the cushioning to be excellent, my arches or balls of the feet haven’t hurt, neither have my calves/knees.
Judging by the amount of wear so far, these shoes are good for between 4 and 500 miles I’d say, which is what you expect from a modern running shoe.
When it’s really cold out, minus 10 or below, I don’t wear these. They’re lightweight and the cold penetrates, as you’d expect, so I wear heavier trail shoes then, but for the gym, or when the temperature hovers around zero, or above, I think they’re ideal.
Naturally when you embark on a race as testing as the MDS you have to have great confidence in your gear. I’m happy to be taking these Brooks shoes, I’m certain they won’t let me down.