Saturday, April 11, 2020

Running Shoe Review + Sports Bras: adidas and Brooks

I recently had the opportunity to add four new running shoes to my rotation. RoadRunner Sports has been gifting me a new pair of shoes each month in exchange for sharing them with my Instagram followers. They did not ask me to formally review these shoes on my blog, but I enjoy reviewing shoes, so I am going to do that anyway.

RoadRunner sports also sent me two new sports bras. I will review those at the end for the pure love of reviewing gear! I will be reviewing:
  • The adidas Adizero Adios 5
  • The adidas Ultra Boost 20
  • The Brooks Glycerin 18
  • The Brooks Ghost 12
  • The Brooks Dare Crossback bra
  • The Brooks Dare Scoopback bra
These are all neutral shoes. I chose adidas and Brooks shoes from RoadRunner sports because even though I had never worn these particular models, these brands work for me based on fit and heel drop. For example, I would never try a Hoka or a Saucony shoe because they don't make shoes with a heel drop higher than 8mm. I need a drop of 10-12mm due to my history with achilles tendonitis. Asics and New Balance shoes tend to be too wide for me. 

Adidas Adizero Adios 5 Review
  • Current mileage: 28.5
  • Number of runs: 3
  • Sizing: Runs 1/2 size large compared to Brooks and Mizuno.
  • Biggest benefit: light and fast
  • Biggest drawback: feet hurt after 8 miles of racing
  • Current Price: $139.95 ($125.96 for VIP members)
  • Link at RoadRunner Sports
Of the four shoes I am reviewing, this is the only shoe that would be used for speed work or racing. This shoe is lightweight and responsive. It has a good amount of energy return, and it used to be what many of the elites wore for marathons until the rise of the Nike Vaporfly. 

adidas Adizero Adios 5
Previously, I had worn the Adios 3 and 4, so I was excited to get my feet inside the new model. According to the website, this new model is "now even lighter with a full-length Celermesh upper inspired by sprint spikes." However, when I weighed the shoe on a kitchen scale it was slightly heavier than a brand new pair of the adios 4. Both shoes were the same size. The color options are kind of boring: you can choose from black or grey. I love black with white stripes (for obvious reasons) but it would be nice to have a more colorful option.

I wore this shoe for a 10K race and the Virtual Cherry Blossom 10-miler last weekend. The shoe performed really well during the the 10K, but I didn't like it for the 10-miler. The bottoms of my feet began to hurt at mile 8. To contrast, I wore the Adios 4 for the One City Half Marathon and my feet felt awesome the entire time.

Ultimately, I prefer the previous model of this shoe (version 4). That said, I still do like the Adios 5 because it's a lightweight, fast shoe that fits me well. I will continue to wear it for speed work, but probably on days where the total run is less than 10 miles.

Adidas Ultra Boost 20 Review
  • Current mileage: 31.2
  • Number of runs: 4
  • Sizing: Runs 1/2 size large compared to Brooks and Mizuno.
  • Biggest benefit: plush comfort
  • Biggest drawback: heavy and bulky
  • Current Price: $143.95 ($129.56 for VIP members)
  • Link at RoadRunner Sports
The adidas Ultra Boost was a new shoe for me. I had not worn any of the previous models and I didn't know what to expect. I know that this shoe has a reputation for being a premium model, as the
adidas Ultra Boost 20
price when it first came out was $180. It also seems that this shoe has a cult-like following. Based on the reaction I got on my Instagram, there were some die-hard Ultra Boost fans. 

The minute I put this shoe on I noticed that it was super luxe and cushioned. Walking around felt amazing. It took a little time to get used to running in the shoe, though. It's bulky and heavy and even though I sized down by half a size, it still felt a little big on me. But the more I ran in it, the more I liked it. I think it's the perfect shoe for recovery runs because it forces you to go slowly. At least, that's how I feel in it. I've found that I really enjoy wearing the shoe because the ride is so plush and smooth, and if I am also listening to a mellow song, I just coast along and everything feels great.

I would definitely recommend this shoe for recovery runs for that reason. It feels really good and reminds you that you are in recovery mode. Also it looks really sleek and comes in some nice color options. 

Brooks Glycerin 18 Review
  • Current mileage: 8.1
  • Number of runs: 1
  • Sizing: True to size, but I got the narrow width
  • Biggest benefit: plush comfort
  • Biggest drawback: not responsive
  • Current Price: $149.95
  • Link at RoadRunner Sports
The Brooks Glycerin was another shoe that was completely new to me. I had not worn any of the previous models. However, I knew that Brooks shoes generally worked for me if they were available in a narrow width (2A). If you generally wear Nike, Mizuno, and adidas because you have a narrow foot, you'll want to buy the narrow width in Brooks. 

The only drawback with the narrow width is that you only get one color choice. It's usually a decent choice, but also kind of boring. I like a lot of variety in my footwear and it's such a tease to see all the fun color options that Brooks offers for the non-narrow widths! 

I found this shoe to be very similar to the adidas Ultra Boost 20. It was on the heavier side, plush, and difficult to pick up the pace in. I have only worn it once-- for an easy 8 miler. I found that when I started to pickup the pace and run under 8:40, it was not so easy to do. But that's okay, because this shoe is meant for easy runs! Similar to the Ultra Boost, I will probably only wear these shoes on recovery days, or for easy runs when I am feeling like I want to be on the slower end of my easy range. 

One issue I noticed with the Brooks Glycerin was that my posterior tibialis tendonitis (arch pain) started bothering me about 5 miles in. And I felt it for nearly two miles. To me that indicates that this shoe has no stability (which it's not supposed to because it's neutral) and lacks arch support. The Ultra Boost, on the other hand, did not bother my arch whatsoever.

Brooks Glycerin 18 vs. Adidas Ultra Boost 20: I found these shoes to be equally as plush and cushioned. You'll have to grab the Ultra Boost on sale in order for the price to match the Brooks, though. The Glycerin is a little bit lighter and fit my foot better. However, the complete lack of arch support makes me want to keep this one out of the rotation until the summer when my injury has been behind me for longer. 

Brooks Ghost 12 Review
  • Current mileage: 74.7
  • Number of runs: 11
  • Sizing: True to size, but I got the narrow width
  • Biggest benefit: a versatile shoe: comfort + responsive
  • Biggest drawback: narrow widths should come in more colors
  • Current Price: $129.95
  • Link at RoadRunner Sports
Brooks Ghost 12
The Brooks Ghost has been part of my rotation for over a year now. I was first introduced to the Ghost at the end of 2018 and fell in love with the Ghost 11. I added this shoe to my rotation because I needed a highly cushioned shoe for my easy days that was also responsive and not too bulky. I had been wearing the Mizuno Wave Inspire for 5+ years and I stopped wearing it because it was too firm and the bottoms of my feet would hurt after 8 miles. I also had a gait analysis done and I learned that I was now a neutral runner. 

Anyway, the Ghost 12 is a great update to the 11 because it's virtually the same. Don't mess with a good thing. According to the website the new version has a "newly engineered mesh and 3D Fit print upper". I don't really know what that means, but I like the shoe a lot.

Brooks Ghost 12 vs. Brooks Glycerin 18: To me, the biggest difference is that the Ghost 12 is "easier" to run in. It's responsive, it allows me to pick up the pace, and it's nicely cushioned. The Glycerin is more luxe. It feels better to go walking in. That would explain the extra $20 in cost-- there's more cushion in the Glycerin. Some runners might prefer the Glycerin because it's plusher and softer. I will continue to use the Brooks Ghost for my easy runs, and save the Glycerins for recovery runs when I know I will be coasting along slowly.

Also I should note that the Ghost as a 12mm drop and the Glycerin has a 10mm drop. This could explain why my arch wasn't as happy in the Glycerin: a shoe with a relatively lower drop that's also extremely soft will provide no support for the arch. 

Shoe review conclusion
Adidas Adios 5 for speed work 8 miles or less
Adidas Ultra Boost 20 and Brooks Glycerin 18 for recovery runs
Brooks Ghost 12 for easy runs

That pretty much sums it up. These are all high-quality shoes that I will wear until they are worn out. Once they are retired, I will probably keep the Ultra Boost for walking around in, because they are simply delightful for that and I like the white color. The Glycerin would also be a good candidate for a walking shoe.

Now onto sports bras. . . 

The Brooks Dare Crossback Sports Bra Review
  • Sizing: Runs small
  • Biggest benefit: No hardware: all softness
  • Biggest drawback: runs small; not much coverage for a size D cup.
  • Current Price: $59.99
  • Link at RoadRunner Sports
If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I am constantly on the hunt for the perfect sports bra. The most perfect sports bra of all time was made by Athleta and discontinued two years ago. Nothing has ever compared to it, but some have come close.

As for the Brooks Dare Crossback bra, which is a completely new bra in 2020, I really like it! I love that this bra comes in actual bra sizes rather than small through large. I’m a size 32D so I got the size 32 C/D. I think this size would fit C cups much better because my girls don’t have a lot of coverage but it was still really comfortable.

The bra has no hooks or hardware of any kind. You can’t adjust it but I didn’t feel the need to adjust the straps. The crossback design allows you to easily slip it on and off. When I first wore this bra with the intention of reviewing it, I forgot I was wearing it. The bra wasn’t even noticeable for 2 miles! That’s how a sports bra should be. Very supportive and comfortable. It would recommend this bra for its style and comfort. If you wear a D cup or larger, there’s not a lot of coverage so you might not wear it without a shirt over it.

The Brooks Dare Scoopback Sports Bra Review
  • Sizing: True to size
  • Biggest benefit: Smooth flexible fabric; no rigid parts
  • Biggest drawback: Might be less supportive if wet or drenched in sweat
  • Current Price: $69.99
  • Link at RoadRunner Sports
This Scoopback bra is essentially the same as the Crossback bra I reviewed above. It's made from the same material: very silky and soft with no rigid parts. The main differences are that the Scoopback bra has adjustable straps and adjustable back clasps. The back clasps have 4 different settings! Also, the Scoopback fits my D cup much better than the Crossback. I got both bras in a size 32C/D, but the Crossback one seems to be made for a C cup, whereas the Scoopback seems to be made for a D cup. Thus, I prefer the Crossback.

I wore the Scoopback bra for a 7-mile run in cool weather, so I didn't really put it to the test. Will it chafe at longer distances? Will it lose its structure if I was soaked in sweat in the summer? I love that it's not rigid, but the negative aspect of that is that it could lose its supportiveness when wet. This is the challenge of finding a good sports bra! As you can see, this one fits me better. I feel like I am kind of popping out of the Crossback above, and might not go running in it without a tank top over it. 

Brooks Dare Scoopback Bra
With sports bras going on and off the market, I think the Brooks Dare Scoopback, the Nike Fe/Nom Flyknit, and the Anita Air Control Padded sports bras are the best options for D-cup runners today.


  1. I'm noticing, since my little posterior tibial tendon tear, that some shoes are more aggravating than others. For the most part, I am doing fine, but a longer run in the New Balance Zante creates a little soreness. You're right, it's probably an arch support thing - the Zante seems to be pretty flat at the arch. Good reviews, thanks for putting the time in - I love gear reviews!

    1. Yeah, it's weird how an injury can be totally gone, but then magically start to ache in the wrong footwear. My PT said arch support is good for the PTT, so maybe I am not ready for the Glycerin yet, but I will be in a few months.