Brooks Ghost 15 VS Hoka Rincon 3: What Should I Buy?

The Brooks Ghost and the Hoka Rincon are two of the most popular neutral running shoes on the market. The Ghost 15 is the latest iteration of Brooks’ beloved daily trainer, while the Rincon 3 refines Hoka’s unique lightweight cushioning.

But how do these running staples really stack up? Let’s dig into the key differences between the shoes to help you decide which one is the better fit for your needs.

Similarities And Differences Between Brooks Ghost 15 And Hoka Rincon 3:

FEATURESBrooks Ghost 15Hoka Rincon 3
Stability:NeutralNeutral
Flexibility:ModerateFlexible
Sizing:Men 7-13 <br> Women 5-11Men 7-13 <br> Women 5-11
Weight:9.9 oz (men’s) <br> 8.7 oz (women’s)7.8 oz (men’s) <br> 6.7 oz (women’s)
Cushion:HighHigh
Out Sole:Rubberized EVARubberized EVA
Mid Sole:DNA Loft v2PROFLYTM <br> dual-density foam
Upper Sole:Engineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price:$140$125

Feature Comparision

Material

Both shoes use engineered mesh uppers that provide breathability and flexibility. The Rincon 3 features a redesigned upper that is more durable than previous versions.

The Ghost 15 also has a redesigned upper, using a mono-mesh fabric that shaves weight compared to the Ghost 14. Underfoot, the shoes have significantly different midsole foams. The Ghost 15 uses DNA Loft v2, Brooks’ springy and durable cushioning foam.

Brooks Ghost 15
GHOST 15

rincon 3
RINCON 3

This gives it a highly cushioned and supportive feel that is consistent throughout the shoe. Meanwhile, the Rincon 3 uses Hoka’s signature PROFLYTM foam, which has a firm heel and softer forefoot to facilitate smoother transitions.

The outsoles also reflect key differences, with the Ghost 15 using hard rubber in high-impact areas and blown rubber in other spots for added traction and durability.

The Rincon 3 has strategically placed rubber pads for traction and flexibility, but runners report durability issues with the thin outsole foam quickly wearing down.

Durability

The Ghost 15 comes out ahead in durability due to its more substantial build. The engineered mesh upper holds up well to abrasion, and the DNA Loft midsole retains its lively feel for over 300 miles.

Runners are also pleased with how the reinforced outsole rubber fends off wear in key spots. Hoka made efforts to improve Rincon 3’s durability with a more abrasion-resistant upper and increased outsole coverage compared to the Rincon 2.

However, the thin foam outsole still tends to show signs of wear quicker than many trainers. So while the Rincon 3 will last over 200 miles for many runners before showing significant midsole breakdown, the Ghost’s beefier build gives it a clear edge in going the distance. Those wanting a shoe to last over 500 miles would be wise to pick the Brooks.

Fit

With their anatomical shapes and secure heel counters, both shoes provide a locked-in fit for neutral runners. The Ghost 15 has a roomy toe box that accommodates wider feet better than past versions of the Ghost, while still providing ample midfoot and rearfoot volume for secure lockdown.

Brooks Ghost 15 TOP VIEW
GHOST 15 TOP VIEW

rincon 3 top view
RINCON 3 TOP VIEW

The Rincon 3 has a more curved shape from heel to toe to allow smooth foot flexion, though some testers note the toe box runs slightly narrower than the Ghost’s.

Weighing fit percentages, more runners report dialed lockdown with the Ghost 15. However, the Rincon 3 will work for those wanting a slimmer, more foot-hugging ride. Just beware if you have wider feet or bunions.

Overall, for the most adaptable, glove-like fit the Ghost 15 is the best choice, fitting more foot types securely right out of the box. But don’t rule out the Rincon 3 if you like a curved, close-to-foot sensation, especially if you lean narrow or have high arches.

Stability

Designed as neutral shoes, both models provide stability by securing the foot over their cushioned platforms without restrictive posts or plates. Testers rate the Ghost 15 as ultra-stable at all paces thanks to its wide platform and balanced cushioning.

The DNA Loft foam sets lower than some shoes, promoting grounded transitions without losing softness. And the midsole walls support the periphery of the foot for confidence on uneven terrain.

The lower-drop Rincon 3 isn’t as outright stable, though the embedded sidewall “rails” on the PROFLY foam offer subtle stability for neutral runners. Transitions feel smooth but testers report lack of midfoot support can lead to some wobbling on technical trails.

For confident stability at easy paces and up to marathon distances and speeds, the Ghost 15 is the top choice. But the nimbler Rincon 3 suffices for neutral gaits up to half marathon/10K race pace, albeit with some midsole sink possible.

Cushioning

Both shoes shine for responsive, ample cushioning over long distances. The Ghost 15 provides sublime comfort with its plush DNA Loft v2 foam, which testers describe as “like running on clouds.”

The full-coverage cushioning retains all the shock-absorbing qualities runners love from previous Ghosts while having a bouncier feel. And the geometric design inside the foam adds to the smooth, pillowy transitions.

By contrast, the Rincon 3 offers a unique sensation of soft cushioning in the forefoot combined with firm impact protection in the heel, courtesy of the PROFLY foam.

This makes for energetic toe-offs while preventing harsh landings. So those wanting consistently ultra-plush or supportive cushioning are better served by the Ghost 15. But for a fast feel still kind to legs over the long haul, don’t overlook the distinctive ride DNA of the Rincon 3.

Value

At $140, the Ghost 15 offers tremendous comfort, support, and longevity that make it feel like a bargain for high-mileage trainers. Meanwhile, at the reduced price of $125, the Rincon 3 delivers unique cushioning DNA in a go-fast package, though durability still falls short of the Ghost 15.

Weighing overall performance per dollar, the Ghost 15 still provides more well-rounded excellence across training scenarios that justifies its competitive cost. For reliable speed, the $125 Rincon 3 gives lots of responsive peps.

But most runners are still better investing in the Ghost 15 as their daily driver or marathon companion thanks to its unmatched combination of cushion, security, and longevity that outperforms its price point.

Performance Comparision

Walking

Both shoes provide ample cushioning for comfortable walking, but the Ghost 15’s DNA Loft foam and full-ground contact outsole make it uniquely cloud-like underfoot over long strolls.

The DNA Loft compresses easily and then rebounds instantly for enjoyable walking feel-good. Brooks turned the Ghost 15’s transition specifically to facilitate an easier heel-to-toe roll while walking compared to other neutral trainers.

So for cruising the neighborhood for exercise or running errands on cushy clouds, the Ghost 15 can’t be beat. The Rincon 3 puts up a sprightlier walking pep but doesn’t quite match the pillowy joy of the Brooks.

Running

When picking up to faster speeds, the nimble Rincon 3 starts to close the gap versus the Ghost 15. Testers find the Rincon’s energetic forefoot foam makes uptempo workouts and tempo runs a breeze by promoting snappy toe-off.

The embedded heel keeps landings stable into the transition. But at paces up to marathon distance, the Ghost 15’s smooth rollover never feels sloppy or bogged down. So those wanting one shoe for everything from easy long runs to marathon distance should still pick the Ghost 15.

However, if you split your training into dedicated speed and daily mileage shoes, the Rincon 3 gives lots of versatile speed to shorter road races and interval sessions. The Ghost 15 still offers a responsive ride at faster clips, just with slightly less pop.

Plantar Fasciitis

The Ghost 15 is the top choice for plantar fasciitis relief thanks to its soft yet stable cushioning platform. Testers struggling with PF report the DNA Loft midsole absorbs shock impressively while supporting the arch and avoiding overpronation stresses on sensitive heel tissue.

Some find the Rincon 3 initially comfortable but lacking reinforcement to prevent arch strain over multiple miles compared to the confident stability of the Ghost 15.

Standing All Day

Similar to walking, the Ghost 15 is a cushioning comfort champion for all-day wear compared to the thinner, firmer Rincon 3.

Healthcare workers stand on their feet for 12+ hours comfortably in the Ghost’s DNA Loft “clouds,” reducing lower body fatigue and pain versus other nursing shoes.

The Rincon 3 puts up plucky cushion pep standing still but can’t match the Ghost for fatigue relief over long hours on hard surfaces.

Final Verdict:

The Brooks Ghost 15 is the better all-around choice for most runners thanks to its superior cushioning, support, durability, and versatility across training paces and distances.


However, the Hoka Rincon 3 offers a nimble, responsive ride at an affordable $125 price point for those focused on faster road races up to half marathon distance.

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