The Brooks Ravenna 3 is not as supportive as some comparable models, but does provide a nice balance of cushioning and support. Although some complain the shape has changed too much from the previous model, scaled flexibility and an adjustable arch wrap help most runners acquire a good fit.
My, how you've changed. The Brooks Ravenna 3's immediate predecessor, the Ravenna 2, earned a 2011 Editor's Choice award from Runner's World for its "nimble, low-to-the-ground profile," plus its ample heel and midfoot cushioning. The Ravenna 3 retains the Ravenna 2's scaled flexibility according to both size and gender; smaller sizes and women's sizes are less rigid in the forefoot. (A woman runner is usually lighter than a man with the same shoe size.)
Testers from Runner's World U.K. praise the Ravenna 3 for a great fit that locks the mid- and forefoot in place. However, they do not like the lack of contouring around the heel. Some users also single out the adjustable arch wrap, which really helps fine-tune the fit, as another high point.
That said, we found plenty of owners who disagree with the experts and complain about differences between the Ravenna 2 and Ravenna 3's fit. Overall, user opinion is split; users cannot agree on whether the toebox is now too narrow or too wide. All do agree that the shoes still fit comfortably out of the box -- if they fit at all -- with little or no break-in time.
Brooks DNA Gel is a hit. Most owners love the Brooks Ravenna 3's balance of cushion and supportiveness, thanks to Brooks's DNA Gel cushioning which adjusts its shock absorption in accordance with your footfalls. The Ravenna 3's grooved outer and midsole also provides extra cushioning on the heel strike encouraged by its 10 mm heel-to-toe drop.
"Comfy and supportive, not too heavy," writes one user at DicksSportingGoods.com, while another reports that all the knee and hip pain he'd been enduring went away after his first run in the Ravenna 3. "Highly recommend for those that experience joint pain when running. Great impact absorption," adds another. Despite its decent cushioning, the Ravenna 3 still is not as soft as shoes like the best-reviewed Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 (Est. $110) .
Breathability is another high point for these shoes; as one walker describes, "I can actually feel air coming into them." Runners also compliment the Ravenna 3's coolness. A men's Ravenna shoe weighs approximately 10.9 ounces and a women's 9.1 ounces.
Offers moderate stability control. The editors of Runner's World U.K. select the Brooks Ravenna 3 as one of the best shoes for mild to moderate overpronators (those whose feet roll in too much as they run).
Owners tend to agree, saying the Ravenna 3 provides stability without overpowering your run. "I usually shy away from stability shoes because it feels noticeably different running in them, however with these it is [a] seamless transition," writes one satisfied reviewer at DicksSportingGoods.com. Another says the Ravenna 3 offers enough stability for an efficient stride without overcorrecting as high-stability shoes do.
It's worth noting that a few owners complain about uncomfortable arches, although there's no general consensus on the problem. Some say the arches aren't supportive enough or that they are painful, but they do not specify their foot type. For most of those who do explain their arch type, however, the Ravenna 3 is a hit for normal to flat arches. As one user explains, "I'm a 210-pounder with a low arch who pronates. This shoe is the best I've found for a mix of stability, light weight, and cushion."
More feedback needed. Users say the Brooks Ravenna 3 wears "as expected" for Brooks shoes, although everybody has a slightly different idea of what exactly that means. "So far I have run 25 miles a week consistently with no excessive wear on the shoes," writes one user, and a high-school runner claims his shoes last 300 to 500 miles before breaking down, which equates to about a full season of running for school.
Although the Ravenna 3 is a good prospect for durability, it's worth noting we found a few more complaints than usual about it showing wear quickly, perhaps due to a relatively soft tread that offers great traction as you run.
1. Runner's World U.K.
The shoe lab for the U.K. version of Runner's World tests 34 new shoes, including the Brooks Ravenna 3, for cushioning and flexibility. They also have staffers and wear-testers try each shoe. In the end, the Brooks Ravenna 3 is selected as one of the best models for runners with mild to moderate overpronation. No single model is selected as the best and no direct comparisons are made, although each is assigned an out-of-5 star rating.
Review: Spring/Summer Shoe Guide 2012, Kerry McCarthy, March 26, 2012
2. Runner's World U.K.
The Brooks Ravenna 2, the immediate predecessor to the Ravenna 3, earns an Editor's Choice award in this 2011 roundup. The reviewers say its fast feel belies its corrective support, and that it still offers "ample cushioning" for runners with a heel or midfoot strike. They particularly like its scaled flexibility.
Review: Summer 2011 Running Shoe Guide, Warren Greene, Sean Downey, Martyn Shorten, Ph.D., April 25, 2011
Over 100 women review the women's Brooks Ravenna 3, giving it a 4.5-star average review. Like the men, they generally like this shoe's light weight, cushioning and moderate stability; however, they also feel it just doesn't fit quite the same as the Ravenna 3 (not always a bad thing).
Review: Brooks Women's Ravenna 3 Running Shoe, Contributors to DicksSportingGoods.com, As of October 2013
The men's version of the Ravenna 3 gets a 4.6-star average score after over 70 user reviews. Most owners are thrilled with this shoe's light weight and medium-stability performance. A few complain that it does not fit the same as the Ravenna 2.
Review: Brooks Men's Ravenna 3 Running Shoe, Contributors to DicksSportingGoods.com, As of October 2013
We're usually wary of user reviews posted to manufacturers' websites, but the fact that the women's version of this shoe receives only about a 3.5-star average rating after almost 120 reviews has us convinced that the reviews are authentic. The biggest complaints seem to be from those who expected more support, cushioning and durability.
Review: Women's Ravenna 3, Contributors to BrooksRunning.com, As of October 2013
Of the over 50 consumer reviews here, the most common complaints are that the Ravenna 3 just isn't the same shoe as the Ravenna 2 and the poor durability. We've included this source despite its being a manufacturer's website, as there are an adequate number of negative reviews to suggest that the site does not filter its reviews.
Review: Men's Ravenna 3, Contributors to BrooksRunning.com, As of October 2013