The Brooks Ghost 5 has a loyal following and has won awards from Runner's World three years in a row. Reviewers say this neutral-cushioning shoe is durable and well fitted, with a roomy toebox. It's well cushioned but light, and can accommodate most foot strikes.
Plenty of room for your toes. Reviewers do not say terribly much about the Brooks Ghost 5's flexibility. As far as fit, Brooks shoes tend to run a half-size small and we couldn't find anything to contradict that for the Ghost models. Owners do comment favorably on the Ghost's roomy toebox, though: "There is a lot of room for my foot and my toes do not feel bunched up or constricted at all." "I've got about 70 miles on them now and they're wonderful," adds another user from Amazon.com.
Comments about arch support are fairly split. Some users remark that the Ghost 5 offers great arch support, while others say it has very little. This might be caused by the Ghost's lack of stability features, which would keep your foot from rolling inward if you're an overpronator. The Ghost 5's heel, on the other hand, is narrow enough to prevent heel flop. An average men's shoe weighs just 10.7 ounces, while the typical women's weighs 8.8 ounces.
It walks the line. The editors of Canadian Running describe the Brooks Ghost 5 as "supremely plush." Their testers say the shoe "blends excellent cushioning with a very smooth ride." Its Caterpillar crash pad and Brooks's proprietary DNA cushioning adjusts shock absorption in the heel and forefoot to catch your every footfall.
The U.S. and U.K. editions of Runner's World slightly disagree on the shoe's cushioning. Both describe it as plush, and their testers love the Ghost 5's comfort. However, while the Runner's World reviewers say the Ghost 5's soft heel and slightly firmer forefoot set you up to feel fast ("I didn't have that squishy feeling I sometimes experience with cushioned shoes," says one tester), reviewers at the U.K. edition feel the forefoot cushioning is "a little too plush," cutting down on the shoe's responsiveness.
Users generally agree that the shoe is well cushioned. One user even describes it as "running barefoot with bounce and safety." Another says the Ghost 5 is excellent for running on asphalt and that the shoe will make you feel as if you have "springs on your heels!" He also calls the shoe "Very light, comfortable and easy on the knees."
Basic in terms of stability. The Brooks Ghost 5 is meant to suit a neutral stride, so it doesn't have advanced stability features. Although a video review for Runner's World warns that runners with a forefoot or midfoot strike might find footfalls a little jarring, most forefoot and midfoot runners who take the time to comment actually feel quite comfortable. Heel strikers, who Runner's World predicts should be the happiest group, like this shoe as well. The Brooks Ghost 5 has an 11 mm drop from heel to toe.
Should last a while. Feedback about the Brooks Ghost 5's durability is fairly scant, but in a video review for Runner's World they're described as a "durable, everyday trainer" ideal for marathon prep. One happy owner from DicksSportingGoods.com takes the time to say her Brooks Ghost 5 shoes are holding up extremely well and seem to last a lot longer than other brands. Taking these comments into account, along with the general feedback we've seen concerning other Brooks shoes, it's reasonable to expect at least a respectable 300 to 400 miles of wear from the Ghost 5.
1. Runner's World
The Brooks Ghost 5 wins an Editor's Choice mention in the September 2012 issue of Runner's World. Its previous iterations have won this award in the Runner's World fall shoe guide for the past two years. Reviewers enjoy the shoe's lightweight cushioning.
Review: Shoe Finder: Brooks Ghost 5, Editors of Runner's World, As of October 2013
2. Runner's World U.K.
Editors of Runner's World U.K. select the Brooks Ghost 5 as one of the best neutral-cushioning shoes. They assign it a 4-star rating overall, and it scores well for cushioning, comfort, fit and weight. However, it is not the most responsive shoe tested.
Review: Autumn/Winter Shoe Guide 2012, Editors of Runner's World U.K., Sept. 10, 2012
3. Canadian Running
The editors of Canadian Running evaluate the Brooks Ghost 5. The unidentified testers praise the shoe for its blend of cushioning and smooth ride, and select it as one of the best neutral-cushioning shoes.
Review: Running Shoe Review - 2012 Fall Shoe Guide, Gus Alexandropolous and Mihira Lakshman, August 31, 2012
More than 70 women give the Ghost 5 an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. Most love its fit, and several say the Ghost 5 seems to be more durable than other shoes.
Review: Brooks Women's Ghost 5 Running Shoe, Contributors to DicksSportingGoods.com, As of October 2013
About 18 men review the Ghost 5 on the DicksSportingGoods.com customer review page, giving it a 4.6-star overall rating. They say the shoe is supportive, well cushioned and offers a great fit.
Review: Brooks Men's Ghost 5 Running Shoe, Contributors to DicksSportingGoods.com, As of October 2013
More than 70 men review the Brooks Ghost 5 on Amazon.com, giving it 4.5 stars out of 5. Several reviewers are walkers, but a few runners say the Ghost 5 is great for a neutral stride and normal arches.
Review: Brooks Men's Ghost 5 Running Shoes, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013
About 20 women award the Ghost 5 4.6 stars on Amazon.com. Most are very pleased, though a few say the shoe runs too small or too large.
Review: Brooks Women's Ghost 5 Running Shoes, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013