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Brooks Beast/Ariel '12

*Est. $130
Reviewed
December 2012
by ConsumerSearch
Brooks Beast 11

Best motion-control running shoe

Pros
  • Good cushioning for a motion-control shoe
  • Suited for heavier runners
  • Wide, stable base
  • Impossible to overpronate, according to reviews
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Relatively bulky
Where to Buy
 

Bottom line

The Brooks Beast '11 (and Ariel '11 for women) were favorites of severe overpronators in need of rigid support. The Beast '12 and Ariel '12 remain largely unchanged, save for a cosmetic redesign that reviewers love. The Beast is relatively bulky compared to shoes not designed for motion control, but the wide base and stout medial supports make this a good pick for those who need true motion control to run efficiently and injury-free.

Fit and flexibility

True comfort for heavy runners. Everything about the Beast '12 and its counterpart for women, the Ariel '12, caters to larger-framed runners who say these shoes are great for reducing shin pain, knee pain and plantar fasciitis. Owners don't have much to say about the Beast 12's flexibility just yet, although previous versions of the Beast received surprisingly good feedback for flexibility considering they are made for motion control.

Reviewers say the Beast '12 and Ariel '12 tend to run about a half-size short in length -- typical for Brooks shoes -- and either true to width or just a little narrow. Comments about the fit of the newest Beast and Ariel models are mostly positive. "The new Beast is the best fit yet," writes one man posting to BrooksRunning.com. Unfortunately, user reviews do not cover many specifics; they're more interested in writing about the shoe's overall comfort and how well it works to prevent aches, pains and injuries.

This shoe's aesthetics have been its only real sore point over the years, but the '12 models are already drawing praise for a "faster-looking" redesign, and at 14.0 ounces for a typical men's shoe (12.3 for the Ariel), they're a few tenths of an ounce lighter than the 2011 version.

Comfort and cushioning

It's in the DNA. Both the Beast '12 and the Ariel '12 have Brooks's exclusive DNA Gel down the length of the shoe. The DNA Gel adjusts cushioning to suit your foot strikes. Early feedback comes from loyal runners who've loved this shoe line for years; they feel the new version is just as comfortable as they've come to expect.

Owners posting at RoadRunnerSports.com point out that although the Beast '12 is comfortable out of the box, it becomes even more so after a few weeks of being broken in. A user posting to BrooksRunning.com, however, says he ran a full marathon the day after he purchased these shoes and was perfectly comfortable.

Most importantly of all, reviewers say the Beast '12 and Ariel '12 provide unbeatable support . "The Brooks Beast line is the only shoe I have found that supports my feet during this kind of running," writes a 260-pound reviewer at RoadRunnerSports.com. He continues, "This style is very similar to the Beast 11 in support and comfort, but I like that they've changed the design a little to hide the large sole that all motion control shoes have."

Stability

One of the best shoes for heavy overpronators. The Brooks Beast '11 and Ariel '11 received great reviews from hundreds of users, who said few shoes could are better suited for heavier runners who like to rack up the miles. One Amazon.com reviewer summed up the general opinion: "It's pretty much impossible to overpronate in this shoe."

Reviews of the 2012 versions indicate the same response: bomb-proof stability, with a maximal medial post that provides first-rate arch support for flat feet. Reviewers also say the Beast and Ariel take orthotics well; the wide base and stable platform provide tremendous support.

"If you overpronate or are at all heavy, these are good shoes for you," writes one Amazon.com reviewer of the Beast '12. Another reviewer posting to BrooksRunning.com agrees, saying that she pronates a lot, and the Ariel '12 "helps prevent injury for miles upon miles." The offset (the difference in height between the heel and the toe), which users do not mention, is 12 mm -- typical for a conventional running shoe. For comparison, minimalist shoes sport offsets of 4 mm or less.

Durability

Built to last. The Brooks Beast '11 received good feedback for durability, especially considering how popular it is with heavier runners; as one owner posting to RoadRunnerSports.com says, "it's the only shoe that can take the pounding." As another user reviewer from Amazon.com comments, "They are built like a tank. The quality of manufacture is awesome." Another runs 25 to 30 miles each week and says he can get 350 to 400 miles of use from his Beast '11s before he feels a difference in shock absorption. One more Amazon.com reviewer -- presumably a soldier -- reports his Beast '11s lasted for more than 120 miles of running on gravel in Afghanistan. Judging by reports on the Beast '12 and the Beast line's distinguished track record, we expect similar durability.

Where To Buy

Our Sources

1. BrooksRunning.com

We're always wary of user reports posted on manufacturers' websites, but the mix of praise and criticism here suggest these reviews are authentic and not filtered. Almost 90 users have reviewed the men's version of this shoe, giving it about a 3.5-star rating overall.

Review: Men's Beast '12, Contributors to BrooksRunning.com, As of October 2013

2. BrooksRunning.com

Nearly 50 women review the Ariel '12 (the women's version of the Brooks Beast '12) on the manufacturer's retail site, giving it a 3-star average score. We're always wary of user reviews posted from manufacturers' sites, but the inclusion of negative comments leads us to believe the reviews are not filtered. Most users say they love the shoe for its arch support, despite the high price.

Review: Women's Ariel '12, Contributors to BrooksRunning.com, As of October 2013

3. Amazon.com

About 60 customers review the Brooks Beast '12 on Amazon.com, giving it a score of 4.4 out of 5 stars. "If you over-pronate or are at all heavy, these are good shoes for you," writes one man who describes the Beast '12 as a "worthy update."

Review: Brooks Men's Beast '12 Running Shoes, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013

4. RoadRunnerSports.com

After 65 user reviews, the Brooks Beast '12 has a score of 4.1 stars on RoadRunnerSports.com. Most reviewers are pleased, but there are some complaints of more narrow sizing in the shoe's latest version.

Review: Men's Brooks Beast 12, Contributors to RoadRunnerSports.com, As of October 2013

5. RoadRunnerSports.com

About 15 women have provided their opinions on the Brooks Ariel '12, which earns an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5. Several users with plantar fasciitis say this motion-control shoe has increased their level of comfort.

Review: Women's Brooks Ariel 12, Contributors to RoadRunnerSports.com, As of October 2013

6. DailyMile.com

DailyMile.com features several reviews of popular running shoes written and tested by real-life runners. The Brooks Beast 11 is tested by a high-mileage runner who, in a fair and balanced review, says that despite its bulk the shoe is a good choice for those in need of major motion control. He concludes the shoes are comfortable enough for high-mileage runs and don't limit speed as much as one may expect.

Review: Brooks Beast 11 Review: Is It Worth Its Weight on the Run?, "Brodie W.", Dec. 9, 2010

7. Amazon.com

Almost 60 users leave feedback on the Brooks Beast '12, giving it a 4.4-star average score. Most users say that the cushioning, control and stability make the shoe a must-have; a few find the newer version's fit too narrow.

Review: Brooks Men's Beast '12 Running Shoes, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013

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