Brooks Running Launch 5 Shoe Review
Read our Brooks Launch 5 review to learn why this shoe is a ‘lightweight performance shoe at an affordable price point.’
What Activity Were These Shoes Used For?
Fat Dog 70 mile 2019
True To Size?
The Brooks Running Launch 5
After an exciting year of trail races and ultramarathons, I’ve been looking forward to getting back to shorter road runs and a little track time in order to improve my speed for next year’s race calendar. I spent my 2018 running trails in Hoka and Columbia, with the odd road run in a Nike Pegasus. My strength training has all been done in an old trail shoe I retired last year, so I was excited to test a road shoe that could potentially perform just as well in the gym as it did on the road and track. The lightweight Brooks Launch 5 promised to be that shoe.
Right out the box the Brooks Launch 5 struck me as either a lightweight performance shoe or a cheap compromise. My first test run in the Brooks Launch 5 made it clear which. After lacing up I appreciated how the upper formed comfortably over the top of my foot. The lace setup didn’t create any discomfort or hot spots and made me feel secure in the shoe. I have a slightly-wider-than-average foot, however, the snug fit of the upper at the forefoot was accommodating enough and not too restrictive. Not everyone will like this snug fit though. As the Brooks Launch 5 only comes in a D width for men (B width for women) you may have to look elsewhere if you have a wider forefoot.
Brooks has done well to develop a shoe with cushioning in the places only where you need it most. At the rear of the shoe, the heel cushioning was generous enough that those inclined towards heel striking will feel supported. Up front, the forefoot was quite flexible and allowed a responsive toe-off. To top it off, the colour combinations are subtle and will likely appeal to most buyers.
Testing It Out
I didn’t intend for my first test run to be a particularly fast 5 km. However, the lightweight Launch 5 allowed a fairly effortless turnover. After my first 2 km, I realized if I pushed a little harder I could probably manage a new personal best for 5 km. Brooks has definitely produced a shoe that works with the runner rather than against. At the completion of my 5 km neighbourhood run, I had definitely achieved a new 5 km PR. Despite running so fast on concrete, the best part was that neither my knees nor my ankles hurt.
My strength training sessions revealed what I already suspected about the Brooks Launch 5. The wider, low profile base and durable, close fitting upper allowed me to perform a majority of my exercises without feeling unstable or like the shoe was wandering underfoot. In one session, I spent about 40 to 45 minutes attempting a number of Olympic lifts. While the Brooks Launch 5 didn’t disappoint me, it’s obvious the 10mm pitch of the shoe is not intended for lifting.
If you struggle with knee pain, are carrying a little extra weight, or simply require more cushioning underfoot, then I’d suggest trying a higher cushioned shoe like the Brooks Glycerin. Otherwise, the Brooks Launch 5 is definitely a shoe to consider adding to your rotation. This shoe is a fantastic little performer for track sessions, quick 5-10km runs, and even strength sessions. Depending on your build and training background, I’d even recommend the Brooks Launch 5 up to a half marathon distance. Keep in mind that this may be a gym shoe, but it is not a ‘lifting’ shoe. If you’re thinking of working on your Olympic lifts, perhaps consider a lower platform like that offered by the Nike Metcon.
Launch 5 is a lightweight performance shoe at an affordable price point.