Brooks Beast 12 vs. New Balance 1540 review

Brooks Beast 12 and Brooks Ariel 12 provide support, comfort, and a smooth and cushioned ride. New Balance 1540 delivers the ultimate in motion control and stability. Learn more...

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The Brooks Beast 12 and the New Balance 1540 are giants in the world of motion control running shoes. If you are in serious need of tons of support, these two shoes should deliver what you need.

While this running shoe review compares the Brooks Beast 12 against the New Balance 1540 for men, the same comparison would apply to the Brooks Ariel 12 against the New Balance W1540 for women.

The first obvious difference between the Brooks Beast 12 and the New Balance 1540 lies in the outsoles. The outsole of the New Balance 1540 consists largely of blown rubber with durable rubber in high-wear areas, while that of the Brooks Beast 12 consists largely of abrasion-resistant rubber.

The blown rubber in the New Balance 1540 supplies some flexibility that is missing, because the outsole is flat without many flex grooves. But blown rubber wears down faster than rubber that has been fortified against friction.

The outsole of the Brooks Beast 12 is more segmented and has more flex grooves to deliver flexibility in the forefoot and shock attenuation in the rearfoot.

The Brooks Beast 12 is definitely more suitable as a running shoe for people who land on the outsides of their heel and then transition inward. The Beast/Ariel 12 should deliver a better transition from heel-strike to toe-off than the New Balance 1540, and not affect your stride that much.

Having said that, the New Balance 1540 would be the more stable one of the two, since it has a wide platform and provides full ground contact, whereas the Brooks Beast 12 has a midfoot shank separating the heel and the forefoot, which are also broad by the way.

The midsoles of the New Balance 1540 and the Brooks Beast 12 both have a Rollbar to reinforce the midsole and increase its stiffness to provide support and pronation control, although they are meant to perform slightly different functions.

The New Balance 1540 has a Rollbar on the lateral side and on the medial side of the shoe. So the New Balance 1540 controls both pronation and supination, while the medial post in the Brooks Beast 12 only controls pronation.

When your foot hits the ground, the lateral post in the New Balance 1540 should prevent your foot from rolling outward (supination), and then when your foot rolls inward (pronation), the medial post in the New Balance 1540 should prevent it from rolling too far inward.

The Rollbar in the Brooks Beast 12 only prevents your foot from rolling too far inward after you strike the ground. Instead of a lateral post to control supination at heel-strike, the Brooks Beast 12 has a crash pad to soften the landing and smoothly start stopping the pronation process that takes place soon thereafter.

Both should get the job done, although they might feel different under your foot, and the New Balance 1540 might be better at stabilizing and preventing rearfoot movement.

The midsole of the Brooks Beast 12 consists of biodegradable material with Brooks DNA cushioning running along the entire length of the shoe. The New Balance 1540 has an Acteva Lite midsole with supportive and durable Encap cushioning.

Because of the full length cushioning in the Brooks Beast 12, it should feel softer than the New Balance 1540 under your foot.

The uppers of both the Brooks Beast 12 and New Balance 1540 consist of a combination of breathable mesh with synthetic overlays. The New Balance 1540 has stitched-on with no-sew overlays in between, and the overlays are more plentiful than on the Brooks Beast 12.

The overlays on the New Balance 1540 tend to be broader, thicker, and cover a larger percentage of the upper compared to the overlays on the Brooks Beast 12 / Brooks Ariel 12.

This means that the New Balance 1540 should provide a much tighter and supportive upper than the Brooks Beast 12. But you could also see this as the Brooks Beast 12 allowing your feet to move more freely and naturally with the upper while you are running.

The shoe you choose depends largely on your preference for the feel you want to achieve. They both wrap your feet well around the midfoot and provide support behind the heel, but if you want more room for bunions and your small toes, the Brooks Beast 12 might give you that.

The running shoe weight difference in the women's version of these motion control running shoes is 0.3 oz (9 grams) with the Brooks Ariel 12 weighing approximately 12.3 oz (349 grams) and the New Balance W1540 weighing approximately 12 oz (340 grams).

The running shoe weight difference in the men's versions of the sneakers is 0.8 oz (23 grams) with the Brooks Beast 12 weighing 14.0 oz (397 grams) and the New Balance 1540 for men weighing 14.8 oz (420 grams).

Both the Brooks Beast 12 and the New Balance 1540 are pretty heavy compared to other running shoes on the market.

If you are a heavy runner who needs lots of support and motion control, either running shoe would do. However, if you are looking for a motion control running shoe that is pretty flexible for its category, provides great cushioning and shock absorption, and does not smother your foot, the Brooks Beast 12 for men or Brooks Ariel 12 for women fits the bill.

If you want a shoe that is not exclusively for running, but which provides great motion control, has a flat, broad, and stable platform, a decent amount of cushioning, and hugs your foot well, then the New Balance M1540 for men or New Balance W1540 for women might be worth looking into.

Note: The weight of a running shoe depends on the size of the running shoe, so any weights mentioned in this review may differ from the weight of the running shoe you choose to wear. Running shoes of the same size were compared for this review.

The two links above will take you to Amazon.com where you can read more about the running shoes.


This review falls under: Brooks | New Balance

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