Brooks Levitate 6 VS Glycerin 21: What Should I Buy?

If you’re a runner searching for a comfortable, responsive daily trainer that can go the distance, the Brooks Levitate 6 and Glycerin 21 are two great options to consider.

Both neutral shoes offer soft cushioning and a smooth ride, but they have key differences when it comes to flexibility, weight, and intended use. This in-depth comparison highlights the pros and cons of each to help you decide which might be the better fit for your running needs.

Similarities And Differences Between Brooks Levitate 6 and Glycerin 21:

SpecsLevitate 6Glycerin 21
Launched In20222024
StabilityNeutralSupportive and stable
FlexibilityModerateModerately flexible
SizingMen’s 7-15, 17 / Women’s 5-12Men’s 7-17 / Women’s 5-12
Weight10.9oz (Men’s 9) / 9.2oz (Women’s 7)9.30-10.50 oz
CushionDNA AMP v2 (soft, responsive)Plush and comfortable
OutsoleSegmented rubberDurable rubber
MidsoleDNA AMP v2DNA Loft
UpperEngineered mesh or Stealthfit knitEngineered mesh
Retail Price$150$160

Features Comparison:

Materials:

The outsoles on both shoes use durable rubber for traction and resilience, with the Levitate featuring segmented grooves while the Glycerin opts for a traditional outsole layout.

Inside, the Levitate 6 houses Brooks’ DNA AMP v2 foam in the midsole, which aims to provide a very soft yet energetic feel underfoot. This foam incorporates air pockets for bounce-back and silicone for extra durability. The Glycerin 21 features DNA Loft cushioning instead, focused more on softness than speed.

Brooks Levitate 6
LEVITATE 6

GLYCERIN 21
GLYCERIN 21

In the upper, the latest woven mesh on the Levitate 6 brings a secure, sock-like fit that breathes well. An alternative version uses engineered mesh for a more traditional feel.

The Glycerin 21 also includes an engineered mesh upper with plenty of padding around the collar and tongue for next-level comfort. The Glycerin may edge out the Levitate in plushness and cushioning, while the Levitate feels lighter and springier by design.

Durability:

The Glycerin 21 may have a slight edge in overall long-term durability thanks to its DNA Loft foam and extra upper padding. Reviewers don’t report signs of midsole breakdown in the Glycerin even over 500+ miles of wear for some runners. The outsole rubber also holds up well over time and challenging terrain.

However, the Levitate 6 puts up solid performance in durability too; most testers feel the energetic DNA AMP foam retains its lively feel and bounces for at least 300-400 miles. The grooved outsole also doesn’t show premature wear. So while the Glycerin aims to go the extra mile, both are built to last in their own right.

Fit:

In terms of fit and sizing, the Levitate 6 gets mixed reviews depending on which upper version you choose. The engineered mesh model fits true-to-size for most, with a decent midfoot lockdown and roomy toe box. However, sizing in the StealthFit knit version runs small, and some find the stretchy upper allows too much lateral foot movement.

Brooks Levitate 6 Top View
LEVITATE 6 TOP VIEW

GLYCERIN 21 TOP VIEW
GLYCERIN 21 TOP VIEW

The Glycerin 21 offers a more precise fit, with added midfoot support from the firmer DNA Loft foam preventing sliding. The engineered mesh upper adjustment straps also let you customize the fit.

For narrower feet, the Glycerin 21 provides better wrap and security overall. Wider-footed runners may appreciate the Levitate’s roomier options but should try both models on in-store first.

Stability:

As neutral trainers, neither shoe includes dedicated stability mechanisms for pronation control. However, testers note the Glycerin 21’s firmer, supportive midsole and secure upper do provide an inherent stability that could benefit mild overpronators.

The DNA Loft foam doesn’t compress excessively, allowing a better ground contact feel compared to maximal shoes like the Levitate. The Levitate 6 lacks medial support and has more bounce than control, leading some to find it too wobbly for rougher terrain.

Both absorb shock well to avoid fatigue, with the Glycerin better suited for heavier runners needing that extra stability. For those requiring correction for moderate to severe overpronation, add-on orthotics or a dedicated motion control shoe would be better options.

Cushioning:

Cushioning and softness go to the Glycerin 21 according to most reviewers. The plush feel from ankle collar to toe box surrounds feet in pillowy comfort, while still providing responsive toe-offs.

The DNA Loft foam transports that soft sensation mile after mile. However, some testers did find the Glycerin cushier than ideal for faster training days or races.

Here the Levitate 6 shines as a more versatile, “Goldilocks” cushioning option. The energetic DNA AMP foam delivers a noticeable yet moderate squish during impact, protecting joints without feeling bogged down.

Many appreciate the Levitate as a cushioned trainer that retains a naturally smooth, floaty transition quality at quicker paces. For recovery days and sheer step-in comfort though, the Glycerin 21 can’t be beat.

Value:

At $160 retail, the Glycerin 21 costs $10 more than the equally well-constructed Levitate 6. Considering its plush feel, durable materials, and versatility as an everyday trainer, most runners find the Glycerin well worth its premium price.

Of course, some expect more responsiveness given the cost compared to competitive models like the ASICS Nimbus or Saucony Triumph.

The Levitate 6 puts up strong value too as a durable, supportive trainer packing innovative DNA AMP foam at $150. sale prices around $120 also add to its value quotient. In the end, it comes down to preferences.

if you want the pinnacle of cushioning and foot-pampering, the Glycerin warrants its extra cost. But for energetic mid-level softness in a lighter package, the Levitate gives you plenty to love for $10 less.

Performance Comparision:

Walking:

For walking and casual wear, the Glycerin 21 again tailors to comfort seekers who want memory foam levels of cushioning with every step. The DNA Loft midsole and padded upper sink feet into supreme softness, reducing fatigue from longer walks. That said, some may find the Glycerin almost excessively squishy for all-day wear.

Here the Levitate 6 offers a pleasant medium – it absorbs heel impact without feeling mushy and unstable. The roomy toe box also allows natural toe splay while walking.

For the ultimate in walking comfort with support, the Glycerin 21 is the top choice. But the Levitate 6 works well for lower-cushion walking too.

Running:

As neutral trainers, both models can handle a variety of running paces and distances. However, testers notice clear strengths and weaknesses when evaluating running performance. On recovery jogs and long runs where cushioning matters most, the Glycerin 21 stands out as the obvious pick.

The supremely soft feel underfoot maintains runner happiness and reduces overall muscle fatigue over 10+ mile distances. Yet for tempo runs, speedwork, and races, various reviewers report the Glycerin feels overly padded and unstable when pushed – the extra cushion gets in the way.

Here the moderately cushioned Levitate 6 fits the bill, offering cushioning that adapts better to a runner’s pace. The springy DNA AMP foam provides bounce on each step without forcing an exaggerated softness, keeping turnover smooth even during faster strides.

Plantar Fasciitis:

The Glycerin 21 wins out as the top choice for plantar fasciitis and foot pain relief. Reviewers note substantial heel and arch cushioning from the DNA Loft foam that absorbs shock evenly across the foot, rather than isolating impact at the heel.

This helps prevent over-straining the plantar fascia. The Levitate 6, while still supportive for neutral feet, has less overall underfoot padding. Its segmented crash pad focuses more pressure at the heel, which could irritate the plantar fascia over time – especially for runners already dealing with inflammation and pain issues.

Standing All Day:

Cushioning also plays a key role in all-day standing comfort. Here the Glycerin 21 again provides exceptional support, with one tester wearing them comfortably during 12-hour nursing shifts. The plush collar, tongue, and DNA Loft foam keep feet feeling fresh even after hours of little movement.

The Levitate 6 puts up decent standing performance as well though, especially for those who don’t require intense arch support. The energetic DNA AMP cushioning bounces back after long periods of stationary compression to re-invigorate feet.

So for those logging extra long shifts on their feet, the Glycerin 21 optimizes comfort. But the Levitate 6 has enough cushion and bounce to get most stand-all-day folks through a workday as well.

Final Verdict:

Overall, the Brooks Glycerin 21 takes the top spot for runners prioritizing comfort and plush cushioning. The Glycerin 21 features supremely soft DNA Loft foam that provides exceptional cushioning and shock absorption mile after mile.

The padded upper also pampers feet to prevent hotspots and rubbing. This makes the Glycerin 21 the ultimate shoe for recovery runs, long distances, walking, and foot pain issues like plantar fasciitis.


However, the abundant cushioning can feel overly soft and unstable during faster paces. This is where the Brooks Levitate 6 shines – its energetic DNA AMP midsole provides a springy, responsive ride that adapts well to both slow jogs and tempo miles.

While not as cushy as the Glycerin, the Levitate 6 offers plenty of cushioning for most in a lighter, more versatile package. So for plush comfort with no-compromise softness, choose the Glycerin 21.

But if you want cushioning that works across training paces, go with the Levitate 6. Both are quality neutral shoes but cater to different cushioning preferences.

Leave a comment