Are Brooks Launch 9 Good for Running?

The Brooks Launch series has become a staple in the running shoe world, providing an affordable, versatile trainer that works for a variety of runners. The Launch 9 is the latest iteration, building upon the successful formula of its predecessors. But how does it actually perform? Is it a worthy upgrade if you already have an older version of the Launch? Let’s take an in-depth look.

Outsole and Midsole Technology

Like previous Launch models, the Brooks Launch 9 utilizes a durable rubber outsole to handle abrasive road surfaces. Segmented crash pads in the heel and forefoot promote smooth transitions as your foot strikes the ground.

The midsole features Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA technology, providing adaptive cushioning that responds to your stride, weight, and speed.

The Launch 9 has made incremental tweaks to the midsole formula, resulting in a softer, bouncier ride than past versions. Runners reported it felt lively and energetic without being overly firm.

This versatile cushioning allows the shoe to handle everything from short runs to longer distances comfortably. The midsole tech also provides durability for extended mileage.

Upper Design and Fit

The newly designed mesh upper on the Launch 9 received praise for providing a secure, sock-like fit. The material is engineered to stretch and move with your foot through the entire gait cycle. Runners with narrow to medium width feet particularly liked the coverage and support.

In the toe box area, the Launch 9 has a roomier volume than past models. There is enough space to allow natural toe splay but it still maintains a snug race-ready fit. This also helps accommodate bunions or swelling that might occur during longer runs.

In terms of sizing, the general feedback is that the Launch 9 runs true to size in both standard and wide widths. However, some runners noted the fit was slightly shorter than expected. Trying them on in-store first is recommended if you are between sizes.


At 9.1oz for men and 7.6oz for women (size 8.5 and 7 respectively), the Launch 9 is an ounce heavier than its predecessor. However, testers said the shoe still feels lightweight and fast during training. The additional weight is likely due to the softer midsole and more substantial upper. The launch 9 hits a nice balance of cushioning and peppiness at turnover.

Performance and Versatility

What sets the Brooks Launch line apart is the versatility it brings – being able to handle a wide variety of running needs at a reasonable price point of $100 USD. The Launch 9 continues that well-rounded tradition.

Testers used the shoe for everything from 5K races to half marathons and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The energetic ride works great for speedwork on the track or treadmill thanks to the responsive cushioning. The transitions stay smooth into higher paces.

Daily trainers also found the Brooks Launch 9 had enough support and stamina to hold up for mid-distance training routes. Heel strikers enjoyed the plush yet stable landing in the rear crash pad. The flexibility upfront encouraged natural foot motion for forefoot strikers.

The balanced cushioning also helps novice runners ease into developing good form, without being too squishy or firm underfoot. The upper securely holds the foot over top of the platform. Combined with the grippy outsole, the Launch 9 promotes confidence in each stride.

Durability is also excellent, with testers logging well over 200 miles on a single pair. The outsole rubber, cushioning compounds, and upper materials all retain their integrity – proving this neutral trainer can stand up to serious mileage.

Ideal User and Suggested Use Cases

The Brooks Launch 9 accommodates a wide spectrum of neutral runners thanks to its versatile design. Here are some suggested athletes and training scenarios where the Launch excels:

  • Beginner runners. The Launch 9 provides a friendly first running shoe that helps build skills and fitness.
  • Runners that like to go fast occasionally but still need daily cushioning. The snappy Launch is ready to turn up the pace when called upon.
  • Marathon and half marathon racers looking for enough cushion to go the distance without sacrificing weight or nimbleness.
  • Gym rats that run, lift weights, take conditioning classes, and more. The Launch transitions seamlessly between functional training and roadwork.
  • Nurses, teachers, and folks on their feet all day that want running shoes which can multi-task beyond just pounding the pavement.

Potential Drawbacks

No shoe is perfect for every foot, so here are a few areas where the Brooks Launch 9 comes up slightly short for some runners:

  • Not enough support for severe overpronators that need stability or motion control features. The Launch is meant purely for neutral gaits.
  • Snug race-ready fit doesn’t work for wide footer runners that prefer a more generous toe box room.
  • Heel and tongue area is on the slim side. Wider ankles or high insteps may experience pressure points.
  • Premium feel and technology is not on the same level as $150+ flagship running shoes in terms of energy return and plushness underfoot.

Brooks Launch 9 vs Launch 8

Comparing the Launch 9 to the previous 8th edition reveals differences in cushioning and upper fit:

  • Softer BioMoGo DNA midsole foam provides better shock absorption and bounce compared to the firmer compound used in the Launch 8. However, the 8 feels slightly more responsive at faster paces.
  • Mesh upper on the 9 allows more forefoot room while still maintaining a secure midfoot wrap. The 8 fits more traditionally from heel to toe.
  • Heel collar and tongue has more padding around the ankle collar on the Launch 9, preventing any digging or pressure points.

Both models are excellent shoes. Go with the 8 if you want a firm, snappy feel for speed days and racing. Choose the 9 if you prioritize everyday cushioning comfort over pure responsiveness. Those new to the Launch line overall are better off starting with the updated 9.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about the versatility, fit, and performance of the Brooks Launch 9:

Are the Brooks Launch good for walking?

The flexible midsole and smooth transitions of the Launch 9 can accommodate walking gaits. However, walking shoes are better equipped with extra shock absorption and arch support features specifically for lower impact walking. Check out crossover shoes like the Addiction Walker or Glycerin GTS 19 for fitness walking.

How do the Brooks Launch compare to other neutral cushioned trainers?

The Launch balances lightweight speed and daily mileage cushy comfort very well. Similar well-rounded options include the New Balance 880v12, Saucony Ride 15, Nike Pegasus 39, and Mizuno Wave Inspire 17. Each has minor differences in cushioning technology but aim for the same versatile feel.

Are the Brooks Launch supportive enough for mild overpronation?

Yes, the midsole geometry of the Launch 9 provides subtle stability which can help prevent inward rolling that mild pronators experience. The upper also securely contains the foot without squeezing. However, moderate to severe overpronators need medical-grade motion control features that the Launch lacks.

What is the best way to clean the upper on the Launch 9?

Remove the laces then hand wash the mesh upper with gentle soap and water. DO NOT put the shoes in a washing machine or dryer – this can damage the adhesive and midsole. Stuff with newspaper and let air dry out of direct sunlight to retain the shape and material integrity.

The outsole rubber can also be scrubbed with an old toothbrush and soapy water as needed.


The Brooks Launch series continues to be a running staple thanks to the versatile performance, comfortable fit, and reasonable price point. The Launch 9 earns its stripes as a reliable daily trainer and long run partner for neutral runners.

An energetic ride keeps things fun for short to mid-distance workouts while the enhanced underfoot cushioning provides versatility for logging training miles.

Smart tweaks to the upper improves accommodation across more foot shapes. Competition remains fierce in the neutral cushioning category but the Launch 9 brings an appealing balance of features to suit most neutral runners. Visit your local running specialty shop and take them for a test jog – the Launch may just become your new go-to shoe.

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