2019 has started with a new running goal and a new running shoe to hit the road in. For those of you have followed my ‘what’s new’ running shoe posts and know a little about foot function, and the history of the Brooks Adrenaline, I’m sure you will be confused that this is a shoe ‘I’ am personally trialling, with my pes cavis (high arched), low supination resistance feet.
Following on from the other ‘non-traditional ‘support shoe, the New Balance Rubix, which I talked about late in 2018, I am intrigued to be running in another shoe designed for exactly the opposite foot type to mine. Or is it?
The Brooks Adrenaline of the past almost two decades, has been fitted with a ‘tri-density’ medial ‘post’ at the posterior midsole. This was designed to reduce ‘excessive pronation’ during running (particularly shortly after heel strike and early midstance), and to maintain the foot on the straight and narrow, in a forward-facing direction.
Research has been less than convincing that a shoe can control ‘excessive pronation’ and rearfoot eversion, with in-shoe ‘wedging’ and multiple densities of foam, however it seems that the market has been slow to catch on.
Brooks prides itself on being research driven and responsive to the new findings around running form, running biomechanics and injury prevention.
“At Brooks, our goal is to inspire everyone to run and be active. When designing and developing gear for the run, we are focused on creating products that deliver an incredible experience, improve running performance, and reduce the risk of injuries.”
Brooks have produced some interesting information over recent years and with the beginnings (finally) of a shift away from ‘control’ and ‘excessive pronation’, they seem to be committed to putting their money where their mouth is with the New Adrenaline.
“SHOES THAT ALLOW US TO RUN IN OUR NATURAL PREFERRED STATE UNDER THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE… SHOULD PROVIDE THE BEST EXPERIENCE”
With the new Adrenaline there is no ‘control’, no talk about ‘excessive pronation’, only discussion about ‘guidance’, individual ‘run signatures’, and ‘Natural Habitual Joint Motion’ with the aim that the shoe should be there to enhance what the foot is already doing, not to correct it.
So, this then ISN’T an Adrenaline as we have known it for near on two decades! And, from my perspective, I can’t say that’s a bad thing…. It is refreshing to see footwear biomechanics research and literature on the shelves and a (not so) new running paradigm being taken seriously at the consumer level.
However, for runners who have worn the shoe they have known and trusted for years; for the professionals who refer patients and clients for shoes; and for the retailer who needs to get their head around the change and find a way to communicate this to their customer, Brooks have seemingly taken quite a risk. Have they risked losing their loyal existing Adrenaline customer? Or have they gained a whole new following, who understand and embrace the new discussion around healthy biomechanics and function?
I guess time will tell.
My wear test experience of the Adrenaline so far is; firstly, they feel comfortable (there’s that word again) immediately. The upper is seam free, doesn’t ruckle up as the foot flexes for propulsion, the heel counter fits well, the lacing system is secure, the insole underfoot is plush and cushioned. Big tick for feel good features!
The outsole has full ground contact and feels well planted and safe, the pitch (drop/heel-forefoot offset) is 12 mm. This shoe puts itself up against the Mizuno Inspire and Asics 2000, with all three having the same weight, and only the Asics having a 2 mm lower pitch at the customary 10 mm.
Part of me wonders how different this might feel if I was wearing the Brooks Transcend, Dyad, or Ghost? What differences would I feel in the comfort of these shoes?
And to run in?
I am enjoying the forefoot cushioning; I have awareness of the lateral ‘on demand’ support of the GuideRails 2.0, which I find reassuring (given my tendency to ‘pop’ into supination – and the history of lateral ankle (peroneal overuse) I experienced running in the New Balance Rubix). The shoe feels light on foot, (312 g) and relaxing. But does it feel fast? My short (and I mean short!) bursts of speed have felt good and responsive however it seems that the shoe doesn’t dedicate itself to speed. My analogy would be that it feels more like a Range Rover Vogue than a Maserati Quattroporte!
I am interested to pursue the biomechanical theory around ‘strong joint couplers’ and the use of the Brooks Guiderail 2.0 to both reduce rearfoot eversion and abduction, while reducing the coupled internal tibial rotation at the knee.
Regardless, I am happy for this this to be my training shoe for the next few months; the proof will be in the pudding with some timed events in the pipeline.
I look forward to seeing how the Brooks Adrenalin 19 is received by the market and look forward to new and better conversations around foot function, running biomechanics and finding the perfect shoe. Good work Brooks!