Brooks Launch 4

9.3
9.3 score
[Editors rating (9.3)] = (TheGearHunt) score (9.3)/10


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Editor rating: 9.3 / 10
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Brooks Launch 4 Review Facts

Brooks takes their runners and creates a base model, and if popular continue the line up numerically. They will take the initial design and improve on it rather than upgrading it and giving it a new name, they will take their runner and improve it under the same label. This takes some of the confusion and frustration out of attempting to figure out if the new version is similar to the runner’s old runner. If the consumer finds something that works for them and they need to buy something similar, Brooks usually has just updated the shoe and upgraded the number on the shoe. Some of their runners are in the double digits now proving that Brooks has continued to improve their products over the years and also shows that they are a reliable company that has been around for a while.

This article is on the Launch 4. There has since been a 5 that has come out however consumers are saying that they actually prefer the 4 over the 5 due to some tightness experienced in the upper of the 5. Improvements made to the 4, listed on their website, are supposed to be lighter weight, a more springy step due to some added in blown rubber and an updated ‘U-Groove’ design in the heel which is supposed to help improve accuracy and efficiency during runs. The 4 has been highly praised as the best runner that Brooks has come out with. In this article, we go through why consumers liked this product.  We look at the strengths and weaknesses of the shoe, what consumers liked and didn’t like, the materials used to make it, as well as the construction of the shoe and it’s overall durability, breathability, and design. We looked at consumer reviews to see what the most common benefits and weaknesses came up and we looked at what makes this runner different from the competition. So without further adieu, this is our review and analysis of the Brooks Launch 4. We hope this article helps you with your next runner’s purchase.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Adds more 'spring to your step'
  • Very breathable
Cons
  • Requires half size up
  • No waterproofing

BREATHABILITY

The top of the shoe has the classic mesh on the upper. It runs a little longer into the toe to give more access to airflow when stepping down. The toe bumper looks smaller than most runners. The mesh would also help improve the overall weight of the running shoe considering how lightweight mesh is. Those who purchased this runner said that the shoe kept their feet cool and dry during their run. Those who purchased this shoe were everything from light walkers to marathon runners. There were no complaints about their feet not breathing. The shoe is extremely lightweight and this was the most common comment about the shoe. From what is being stated and the upper having such a large area of mesh, your feet should stay cool and dry. Sweaty feet, outside of the obvious discomfort of having hot feet, become more of an issue when there is moisture buildup. Moisture buildup will not only cause blisters and calluses but could potentially cause slipping, as well as cause faster deterioration of the shoe. Keeping feet cool and dry is a must, especially when running in them.

COMFORT

The second most common comment, behind their lightweight feel, is the comfort of this runner. Those who wore it were amazed by how comfortable they are. The upper on the shoe fits well but it was the added in 'blown' rubber insert that really shined. The lightness of the runner adds to the overall comfort of the shoe, this will also decrease foot and leg fatigue, but those who wore the shoe were very impressed by the arch support and the added cushioning which helps energize their run. Marathon runners said that they could wear the runner for an entire marathon and still walk around in them after without wanting to take them off. They have a 'BioMoGo DNA' midsole which not only helps cushion the foot but also helps with the runners rebound. And the company added an improved 'U-Groove' designed heel which is supposed to find better natural fit to the runner around the heel. This also is supposed to help with a better natural alignment and therefore help with the accuracy of each step. Those who wore this shoe confirmed that this was one of the most comfortable they have ever worn and have since gone back for second and third pairs which says something.

WATERPROOFING

As with most runners, this product has nothing listed for waterproofing. This is pretty common in running shoes because they aren't really meant for more rugged or wet terrains (even if the city streets are wet). They do have a fairly large mesh area included on the upper which would help with general airflow of the shoe, drying it if it gets wet. The mesh area, however, does allow water to enter the shoe easily and without a waterproof layer, this could cause the feet to get wet much easier. They aren't meant for areas of high moisture and it should be avoided, however, with the ventilation, if feet do end up wet, they should dry fairly easily during the run.

INSOLE

The insole of this product has an improved fit, fitting more like a running sock than a runner. The heel is improved to better shape the ankle and offer better accuracy when in motion. Those who wore this shoe praised the company for how comfortable it is. The only real complaint about the runner is that it fits a little tight and may require a sizing up. The arch support of this runner, discussed in a little more detail below, is medium to high which is good for those with average to higher arches. The shoe has proper support, fits tight to the foot and offers better accuracy in each step.

UPPER

The upper of this shoe is noted as being superior to the upgraded version of this shoe (the Launch 5). The upper has a fairly large mesh area, as mentioned above, which is better for better ventilation and airflow. Those who wore the shoe said that the shoe fits well both at the insole as well as at the upper though same did say that they had to size up between the 3 and the 4 because the 4 did fit a little snug. Once sized up, though, this runner is supposed to be extremely comfortable with a light and tight fit. It seems that the reason they have to be sized up is not necessarily the width of the shoe but the narrow toe. The upper of the runner needs to be both tight to the foot and breathable in order to be a good upper. Tight to the foot will stop the foot from sliding around as much as well as offer better accuracy when stepping down (improving the overall run as well as protects the foot and the ankle). As mentioned above, not having proper mesh/ventilation will also cause issues during a run. This runner offers both which makes us comfortable with giving the shoe a positive review.

MIDSOLE

The midsole is another major highlight. This shoe is supposed to add energy to the run. Because the insole and midsole are so springy, those who wore this shoe found that the shoe elevated their runs/workouts. The blown rubber not only gives the runner a better bounce and cushion but will also decrease any impact the bones and joints might feel from running. Running is a great workout but is very hard on the knees and hips. Having decreased impact on the joints due to better cushioning is a must when purchasing a running shoe. The midsole of this product offers a mid to higher arch support which would be particularly helpful for those with average to higher arches. It also offers a better shape and 'U-Groove' design which is supposed to offer a more natural alignment. Overall, those who reviewed this shoe praised it for having a superior midsole and effective cushioning. They are able to withstand a casual walk as well as a full marathon plus some. For those reasons, we have full confidence in this runners ability and support.

TRACTION

The traction on this shoe was improved to work in-line with the midsoles improved cushioning and fit. The traction is supposed to offer a faster transition along with the midfoot transition zone reshaping. The combination between the better grip and the energizing cushion offers better assistance for those looking to improve performance. This shoe would probably be a better choice for those looking to break times like racing and marathons. The tread of the shoe, though superior to competitors, would not be ideal for rougher terrains, however. It is not listed as working well in areas with higher moisture. The shoe is a street shoe and is meant for city streets. That said, those who wore the shoe found that they had more precise movements and better control over the shoe with each step. Traction helps propel a runner further due to better grip on the pavement. For that reason, traction is especially important in competitive sports.

STYLE

This runner is not only incredibly supportive and cushioned but is also quite attractive in design. It has a more narrow toe which gives the shoe a sleeker appearance, however, this does require some sizing up by a half size for those who wore the 3. The product comes in 3 different colors and is offered in both men and women options. They are quite a bit brighter in color options which is common in sportier shoes, however, may not be ideal for those who prefer less flash. They have the classic Brooks swipe on the side and the model name running diagonally along the side of the heel. They are ergonomic and the design shapes the foot well. The opening of the shoe has a nice thin cushioning and the tongue is tight to the foot which looks better but also will look better if worn with wider legged pants. Overall, the shoe is quite stylish in design and could be easily transitioned between sports and daily wear which is positive.

PRICE

This runner is actually quite inexpensive in price. They are designed well, there were very little, if any, complaints about the durability of this product. They are very comfortable, offering better cushioning than comparable products while also offering better tread. Those who wore these shoe ranged anywhere from everyday walkers to marathon runners. The energetic nature of the shoe allows for a more enhanced workout which those who wore them complimented. They are attractive in design and can be easily worn as a workout shoe to an everyday walking shoe. They are not meant to be worn in areas of higher moisture due to their tread and their lack if waterproofing, however, are praised as being incredibly breathable and lightweight. And the shoe is inexpensive. They would work for those on a budget or just those who may go through runners a little faster than other. Overall, they are quite inexpensive considering all their positive features.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The bottom line is this is a really good shoe. There were tons of really positive comments available during our online research. They are especially lightweight and springy which improves the overall activity that the wearer is participating in. They are highly praised as being the most comfortable shoe that runners have worn, many people going back for second and third pairs. They are attractive in design and the price is right. Some reviewers went to the 5 and weren't as happy with the fit of the 5 and went back down to the 4. The primary areas of concern about this shoe is the need to size up which really isn't an issue. Those who sized up only had to do so by half a size and then the shoe fits comfortably. The shoe is so easily versatile in that they can be used by an everyday walker to a marathon runner to simply wearing around town. We rated this shoe in line with consumer reviews which in general were pretty high. Overall, we like this runner and at this price, the product is definitely worth a try.