Brooks Ghost Max Review: Spook-tacular Comfort and Support! 👻

Learn everything about the upgraded Ghost, now with maximum cushioning, a stable platform, lower drop, rocker geometry and more!

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If you’re as eager to discover a running shoe that elevates your everyday training as I am (this is basically my lifelong quest as a running shoe reviewer), then you’re going to want to get comfortable for this review because I know these daily training shoes are going to be well suited to a lot of you.

EDIT, DEC 24TH 2023: Since originally writing this post, I ended up using the Ghost Max more and more in my rotation, and have now awarded it an Editor’s Choice Award because of how well it has performed over the last few months, and maintained bounciness for that matter. The Ghost Max is currently my go-to daily trainer!

I don’t believe this is just another shoe, it’s a very well crafted and thought out cushioned, and supportive daily trainer, tailored for anyone who craves comfort without compromise.

I’m pretty confident Brooks knows they have something special here too, why else would Brooks attach their famous “Ghost” name to a new shoe line? A risky move if it wasn’t a shoe that could hold its own against the incredibly popular Ghost 15!

In this Brooks Ghost Max review, I’m going to cover everything you need to know: from the moment you slip your foot in, to how it feels tackling different running workouts, and how it stacks up against other top running shoes right now.

Brooks Ghost Max review 12
Brooks Ghost Max Review by Alastair from Trail and Kale

From recovery runs to long mileage days, I’ve put these shoes to the test, and they’ve exceeded my expectations but with competitors like the On Cloudeclipse and the HOKA Clifton 9 in the mix, how does the Ghost Max stand out? Read on to find out.


Quick Facts about the Brooks Ghost Max

Brooks Ghost Max review 30

Sizing & Fit

Runs true to size, and has a medium width. Also available in: ‘Wide’ and ‘Extra Wide’ fit.

Weight

10.2 oz (289g) for a size US(M)9.

Drop

6mm.

Support

It’s listed as being neutral on the Brooks website but in my experience I find they have pretty good stability.

Cushioning

Maximum cushioning for a Brooks running shoe; they have a really nice plush feel.

Price

$150 at brooks-running.com

Key Features, PROS & CONS

  • 🟢 Maximum cushioning for Brooks
  • 🟢 Great stability thanks to wide base
  • 🟢 Versatile as they’re great walking shoes too
  • 🟠 A little heavier than some competitors but feels light when running
  • 🟠 Bulkier than the Brooks Ghost 15 but only 0.2oz heavier

Usage

Ideal for road running, long runs, and everyday training. These are not just great for running; they also one of the best Brooks walking shoes due to the soft cushioning and wide base for stability.

What’s new in this version?

This is a totally new model!

Closest competitors

Competitors from other brands include the On Cloudeclipse, HOKA Clifton 9, Nike Invincible 3.

➡ If you’re interested to learn how they stack up against other Brooks running shoes right now, read our Best Brooks Running Shoes Buyer’s Guide next.


Fit, sizing, and design (a closer look)

Brooks Ghost Max review 22
they fit well, are comfortable and I think they look good too

Sizing

First things first, let’s talk sizing; the Brooks Ghost Max fit true to size and have a medium width.

If you have wide feet I would recommend you looking at the ‘Wide’ or ‘Extra Wide’ variants which are available on select colorways here; it’s one of our most highly recommended running shoes for wide feet.

Fit

The Ghost Max has a really soft comfortable fit thanks to the soft, thick heel counter and collar walls, as seen in my photo below.

This is something that the Ghost 15 does really well too which you can read more about in my Ghost 15 review, if you’re after a slightly less bulky shoe with less cushioning and a higher drop.

It also has a nice cushioned footbed/insole too which certainly adds to that cloud-like experience.

Brooks Ghost Max review 37
Air mesh upper

The soft air-mesh upper (like the one found in the Ghost 15) does a great job of conforming to your feet as well, and it’s a breathable material so temperature is well regulated within the shoe.

Design

The Brooks Ghost Max stands out as a fusion of curvy modern aesthetics and functional design tailored for runners who crave cushioning under foot whether that’s because you need to keep leg pains at bay, have a larger than average build and need more shock absorption, or you just enjoy the bouncy feeling that comes with running in shoes like this.

Brooks Ghost Max review 32

At first glance, the shoe presents itself as slightly bulkier than its counterparts, but this bulkiness is balanced out with sleek contours and strategic placements of overlays which I kind of really like – thankfully it doesn’t look like the early day super high stack HOKAs which were ‘a bit much’; I’m looking at you HOKA Bondi!

By the way not all HOKAs are like that, and HOKA actually produce some of my all-time favorite running shoes, and walking shoes for that matter!

The Ghost Max’s midsole showcases the plush cushioning the shoe promises which is evident in the visible foam that not only screams comfort but also ensures good responsiveness and stability, a balance many runners crave.

Color-wise, the Brooks Ghost Max maintains a somewhat muted palette (in all 5 of the colorwars offered at the time of writing this review), making it versatile enough for both running routes and casual outings but may not be that appealing to those who like to express themselves with bold colors.

To dive deeper, here’s more information from the design team that worked on creating the Ghost Max.


Here’s a video version of this review too! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more running shoe reviews just like this one!

Brooks Ghost Max review YT thumb

Brooks Ghost 15 VS Ghost Max

Very quickly, before I go on, here are the key differences between the Ghost 15 and the Ghost Max, incase you’re wondering like I was at first.

FEATUREBROOKS GHOST MAXBROOKS GHOST 15
HistoryA completely new model.An iteration of the Ghost series that has evolved since its inception in 2008.
MidsoleHigh Stack maximum cushioning (DNA LOFT v2), providing a plush feel.Medium cushioning with DNA LOFT v2 cushioning for a balanced feel.
Price$150 at brooksrunning.com$140 at brooksrunning.com
Weight10.2 oz (289g) for size US(M)9.10.1oz (286.3g) for size US(M)9.
Drop6mm drop.11mm drop.
StabilityListed as neutral but offers good stability due to its wide base.Neutral stability.
AppearanceBulkier than the Ghost 15, but only 0.2oz heavier. Has engineered air mesh upper for breathability.Less bulky, but comes with a 3D Fit Print. Has engineered air mesh upper for breathability.
VersatilityIdeal for long runs, and everyday training. Also stands out as a great walking shoe because of its soft cushioning and wide base.Praised mainly as a road running shoe, perfect for daily miles but people do also enjoy walking in them.
Sizing & FitTrue to size. Also available in ‘Wide’ and ‘Extra Wide’ fit, along with the standard fit.True to size with a medium width. Also available in narrow, wide (2E & 4E), and a GTX waterproof version.

Now let’s talk about the most interesting features, to me at least…

1. The bouncy DNA V2 Loft midsole and how it performs

Brooks Ghost Max review 35
I really like the curvaceous design!

One of the key attributes of the DNA Loft V2 is its blend of softness and responsiveness. This dual-characteristic ensures that footstrikes are adequately cushioned, reducing fatigue on longer runs.

Brooks Ghost Max review 8
The best way to describe them when running is “Happy miles”

The DNA V2 loft foam doesn’t feel overly mushy or dampened, however, which is what I really like about it; there’s a spring to your stride when you toe off, allowing for quick transitions and an energized running experience.

Despite its plush nature, the DNA Loft V2 doesn’t easily wear out either. It maintains its form for longer than some foams out there (sorry Nike React.. got to call you out here), ensuring that you get the same consistent ride throughout the lifespan of the shoe.

Then there’s the balance between cushioning and weight; while it’s not the lightest shoe on the market, the weight is justified by the level of comfort and protection it offers, especially for those daily training sessions or long, easy runs.

An example of another highly cushioned running shoe that’s lighter but similar in the level of cushioning, support, and overall ride is the On Cloudeclipse; which has managed to keep weight down due to how their Cloudtec phase midsole is constructed (with huge air pockets in it).

See a side by side comparison of the Ghost Max and On Cloudeclipse below:

The midsole design ensures smooth transitions from heel to toe because of how it is shaped; the technical term being that it has a rocker geometry.

This is particularly beneficial for runners who seek a shoe that doesn’t interfere with their natural stride but rather complements it.

Given its balanced nature, the DNA Loft V2 midsole makes the Ghost Max suitable for various running scenarios. Whether you’re out for a leisurely jog, longer marathon training sessions, or even walking/standing around all day, this shoe has got you covered.

2. The upper has been thoughtfully designed

Brooks Ghost Max review 16

The Ghost Max uses a breathable engineered mesh upper which helps ensure the shoe is lightweight yet robust. It provides a snug, glove-like fit that helps secure your feet throughout the run.

This works because it’s stretchy where it needs to be, allowing for a natural splay of the toes, and snug in areas where you need that additional support.

I really love the well-padded tongue (see image gallery below) as it keeps the top of your feet protected against any lacing pressure and adds a premium touch to the shoe’s overall feel.

This padding also exists in the ankle collar and heel counter too; this gives a cushy embrace to your ankles, preventing any unwanted chafing.

Brooks Ghost Max review 38
So much plush cushioning around the collar and heel counter 👍🏼

The shoe also features a traditional lacing system that is easily adjustable, allowing you to find the perfect fit with ease.

There’s also a supportive heel cage, or as some might call it, the “supportive heel wrap” at the rear. This is an integral part of the shoe’s design as it cradles the heel, providing lateral support and ensuring the foot remains centered over the midsole.

Brooks Ghost Max review 24
The supportive heel wrap

This feature enhances stability, especially during foot landings and push-offs.

3. The outsole is wide and grips well

Brooks Ghost Max review 40
Brooks Ghost Max outsole

The traction is very good on the rubber compound used in the outsole tread (the green parts in the photo above.

And the other thing that’s great about the outsole is how broad, or wide it is. This width gives you additional stability when running.

What would I like to see in the Ghost Max 2, next season?

Well to be honest, I really really tried to pick this shoe apart to find some features that didn’t work that well but in all honestly all I could come up with is the weight and bulkiness of them, and that’s really not even a big deal when you look at performance and comfort overall.

So, I’d like to see some weight shaved off the next version to make it even more appealing, and I’d love it if Brooks could release some more colorways soon.

Now, regarding the bulkiness, that’s just what comes with owning a highly cushioned daily training shoe / long run shoe. Heavier runners or those with a larger build will really like these because of how much shock they absorb, all while keeping you stable during a run; they’re also available in two different wide versions which is a win!


Brooks Ghost Max review 14
Don’t forget to stretch before and after a run! Here are our favorites: The Best Stretches For Runners | Do These Before And After Every Run

Where to Buy

The Brooks Ghost Max is available for $150 at brooksrunning.com, and that to me is excellent value for money for such a highly cushioned and supportive daily training shoe.

Great value for money is just Brooks all over really, and that why I love them, because they make running so accessible through their well designed, fairly priced running shoes.

Alternatives to the Brooks Ghost Max

If you’re weighing up your options and looking to discover other comparable plush running shoes from other top running brands I recommend looking at these three shoes:

All of which have a similar feel and are for the same types of running, which is daily runs, long runs, recovery runs, half marathon training and marathon running.


Brooks Ghost Max Review Summary

The Brooks Ghost Max is a comfy, stable, and stylish daily trainer; with its DNA Loft V2 midsole, you get an ideal mix of cushioning and responsiveness.

Brooks Ghost Max review 13
Brooks Ghost Max Review by Alastair from Trail and Kale

It fits true to size, breathes well, and offers a snug fit. Yes, it’s a tad bulkier and weightier than some, but still great for long runs and heavier runners who really love super cushioned shoes like this prefer a slightly heavier shoe anyway.

One of the Ghost Max’s strengths is how they allow me to keep running and training even after high-intensity run days, making recovery faster and more enjoyable.

At $150, its comfort and stability are well worth the price, so if you’re a road runner valuing comfort in your everyday training, the Ghost Max could be your go-to – I know I’m hanging onto my pair for the foreseeable. Happy running! 🙂


Brooks Ghost Max Review Image Gallery

Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.

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