Brooks Glycerin 12 vs. New Balance 1080v4 review

Brooks Glycerin 12 delivers a very plush ride and close fit to heavier runners. New Balance 1080v4 is a neutral cushioning running shoe that adds a bit of stability to your runs.

NEW! Brooks Glycerin 13 vs. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080

The Brooks Glycerin 12 and the New Balance 1080v4 are both neutral cushioning running shoes that are supposed to be each other's counterparts and serve heavier runners, so they should match up well against each other.

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The uppers of the Brooks Glycerin 12 and the New Balance 1080v4 are very much alike in that they consist mostly of no-sew overlays that are meant to provide a comfortable fit without many irritation points.

However, the New Balance 1080v4 does not have stitched-on overlays around the midfoot, while the Brooks Glycerin 12 has some stitches in the overlays that wrap the midfoot, so should also provide a bit more support than the New Balance 1080v4 in that area.

In addition, the no-sew overlays on the Brooks Glycerin 12 have been printed on, which is a process that is a little bit more expensive but more precise than the welded-on overlays on the New Balance 1080v4, so the Brooks Glycerin 12 should also give you a better fit.

However, while the New Balance 1080v4 is meant to be a running shoe for neutral runners, it has some stability features, one of which is an asymmetrical heel counter at the back of the shoe.

This heel counter is higher on the medial side than on the lateral side to help keep your ankle from rolling too far inward. The Brooks Glycerin 12 does not have such a feature; it just provides standard support behind the heel.

All in all, while the Brooks Glycerin 12 might be a bit more supportive around the midfoot and should provide you with a closer-to-foot fit, the New Balance 1080v4 adds stability to your runs with its heel counter.

The midsoles of the New Balance 1080v4 and the Brooks Glycerin 12 provide heel-to-toe cushioning, but in different degrees.

The New Balance 1080v4 has a mixture of three types of cushioning in its midsole, ranging from cushy to somewhat firm.

For example, the Absorb crash pad under the heel that runs till the midfoot is cushy and meant to soften your landings, while the N2 burst cushioning under the forefoot is somewhat firm and meant to give you a responsive feel.

The Brooks Glycerin 12 does not have a mixture of cushioning, but rather one type, Super DNA, that is meant to provide 25% more cushioning that standard BioMoGo DNA cushioning. This allows the Brooks Glycerin 12 to provide you with a super soft ride.

And indeed, running shoe lab tests have shown that the Brooks Glycerin 12 really outcushions the New Balance 1080v4 in both the heel and the forefoot and for both men and women. In fact, the cushioning of the New Balance 1080v4 turns out to be on the firm side.

The New Balance 1080v4 continues with stability features in its midsole with the addition of the crash pad under the heel and a midfoot shank. So as far as stability goes, the New Balance 1080v4 provides much more of it than the Brooks Glycerin 12.

The rubber outsole of the New Balance 1080v4 differs from that of the Brooks Glycerin 12 in that it has a midfoot shank between the rearfoot and the forefoot, in addition to having a hexagonal pattern. The Brooks Glycerin 12 has a more linear separation and provides full ground contact.

Both outsoles are well-separated for good shock absorption and dissipation. However, the outsole of the New Balance 1080v4 displays more separation especially between its rubber pods.

Separation also helps with flexibility and running shoe lab tests have shown that the New Balance 1080v4 is the more flexible running shoe of the two.

The women's version of the New Balance 1080v4 weighs approximately 8.3 oz (235 grams) and the Brooks Glycerin 12 for women weighs about 8.7 oz (247 grams).

The men's versions of the shoes weigh 10.0 oz (283 grams) and 11.0 oz (312 grams), respectively, with the New Balance 1080v4 being the lighter one.

Both the Brooks Glycerin 12 and the New Balance 1080v4 can be worn by heavier runners, but if soft cushioning is what you are after, then the Brooks Glycerin 12 would be the one to look further into.

And if you are a neutral runner looking for somewhat firmer cushioning in a somewhat lighter running shoe that also adds a dose of stability to your runs, then the New Balance 1080v4 might be the one for you.

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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