Shoe review – The Brooks Transcend (DIS FOR ALL MY SHOE NERDS!)

So, before you read, 100% understand that I have been team Brooks for millions of years.  And by millions, I mean for about 2 years, which is as long as I have been working for Fleet Feet in some capacity.  Originally, I was fitted for the Brooks Adrenaline, which is pretty decent stability, but my “princess and the pea” hoof was not having that stability posting.  From there I tried the Glycerin 10 which is what I ran my first half marathon and my first marathon in, and moved to the Ghost for my shorter runs.  My poor rugby knee seemed to really really appreciate the cushioning.

Knee InjuryOuch!

Okay so anyhoo, I actually called our Brooks Rep up on the phone, Chris, and had a really good chat with him about the Transcend, because honestly, I’m not sure I was getting the concept.

The Trance, which the Transcend replaced, was a pretty high stability shoe – felt like a dang dream on your foot, but had a really decent amount of stability in the shoe, so we “prescribed” the show sparingly.  Additionally, the steep price point would sometimes scare folks off who were, at the time, expecting to pay maybe $100.  (The shoe’s price soared to $150, and this was before that was pretty standard for a pair of high-cushioned stability shoes).

So anyhoo, Chris had great insight and great explanation for the way the shoe differed.

The shoe is still considered stability, but instead of there being a huge stability posting that your poor pronating foot slams into with each step, the shoe relies on “guide rail” technology that works to gently guide your foot into a more neutral position.  Still following?  The other big draw of the shoe is the cushioning, that Chris repeatedly described as “plush” but it’s referred to by Brooks as Super DNA, which is their original DNA cushioning, really beefed (or in this case), fluffed up.  Whereas the Glycerin or the Ghost felt a little more firm, a little more stable, the Transcend, out of the box feels straight up smooshy for lack of a better word.

Can you tell that I love my sneaks and that I love my job at Fleet Feet?

Okay, onto the review!DSC_0020

Cons (which I always start with so you can end on a positive)

  • I wear a size 10.5 in women’s which is already pretty big.  I felt like the Transcend made my hooves look HUGE.  You’ve got a skinny little chick in tights wearing giant pink shoes – not the most attractive.  In fact, I felt a little goofy.
  • Being used to the snug, foot-hugging Cadillac feel of the Glycerin, the shoe felt huge at first as well.  It took me so definite getting used to.
  • I’m used to the boat shape of the Brooks Glycerin and the Ghost.  The sort of flatter shape of this shoe reminded me of the Brooks Dyad, and threw me off a little at first.

But, after an initial test-drive….


  • Out of the box, the shoe is obviously a well-engineered, quality-manufactured running accessory.  I don’t need to name names, but sometimes that is not necessarily the case.
  • I got a lot of compliments on the look of the shoe – maybe I was being a little overdramatic on how big they looked on me?
  • My feet usually cannot stand to have any stability within their vicinity.  The Guide Rail technology was very very comfortable to me, and seemed to really do some guiding.  I’m interested to see what my wear pattern might look like after a few hundred miles.
  • Need cushioning?  Bad knee, sore hip?  This is the shoe for you.  You feel virtually nothing as you’re cruising, and that’s so weird, but so cool.
  • The forefoot of the shoe kinda felt like the Ghost used to.  As in, there was a ton of room up there.  In a good way, not in a weird way.
  • The shoe is very smooshy.  I’m trying to think of something to compare it to in real life, but it’s sort of like running on….sorta of like a firmer marshmallow.  A regs marshmallow would be really weird, it has more structure than that.

Overall, I liked the shoe, and I’m glad that working at the store, I was given first dibs on a pair of these shoes.  Had I not been so intrigued and wanted to try them, I may have just stuck in my old habits.  I’m interested to race in them and kind of see what we think in a race situation.

Anyone else tried this shoe?  What do you think?  

[Full disclosure – FF Ral was seeded a few pairs, and I was a lucky FIT Specialist who got a pair.  But all opinions are strictly my own!]

12 thoughts on “Shoe review – The Brooks Transcend (DIS FOR ALL MY SHOE NERDS!)

  1. That’s a great review! I tried it on a couple weeks ago but honestly I didn’t get it bc it was SO pricey. Had it if been 100 or less, I probably would have-but for a new type of shoe-I couldn’t pass on my trusty Ghosts. This is a shoe I will DEFINITELY buy once it hits the sales racks, or comes down on price.

    1. When they move to the Transcend 2, you might be able to find it a little cheaper. It certainly is an interesting shoe, that is for sure, and I’m really interested to see what the Ultra marathoners think about it since it seems kind of similar to the whole concept of the Hoka!

  2. I wanted to like it but the guide rails felt weird when I was just standing/walking in the shoe. I could tell they would hurt on a run, which is funny because I’m not anti-stability. I think I just have weird feet because for some entire brands, I can’t even wear them comfortably for a few steps just because of the shape. It’s a shame for the transcends because I’ve been needing roomy toeboxes for the last year and I thought these would be the dream shoe with that plus stability plus super soft. I’m a Brooks girl for sure still though 😉

      1. Pure Cadence (the original haha, I bought like 8 pairs at once so I could keep wearing my favorite shoe…I only have one more pair left though!).

  3. Great review! I liked the Ghosts 5 more than I liked the 6. I love the pure connect also. I actually have a few different brands I love for shorter runs but for runs over 10 miles I need a lot of cushion! I am always looking for a cushy long run shoe 🙂

  4. These shoes feel like butter on my feet. They are absolutely amazing. I’ve tried the Adrenalines, Ravennas, Mizuno Wave Runners, and Nike LunarGlides and none of them did me any favors. I started getting wicked shin splints with the Ravennas, so much so that I actually went to the doctor for fear I had a stress fracture. The Transcend has been the only shoe that makes me feel like a runner again. I over pronate, have sort of flat feet, and a tendency to do the Pboebe run when my tired arches fall around mile 11. Seriously, if you’re desperate for a miracle, try these shoes. They’re a bit pricey, but your feet will thank you.

  5. Hi!
    I’m a borderline overpronator with flat-ish feet. I’m not a runner, but I go for Zumba classes 3-5 days a week. I’m looking for new shoes to avoid the knee pain I seem to have after classes these days.
    Would you recommend the transcend for Zumba I wonder? Or does it have too much traction for dance?
    Thanks a ton!

    1. Ok, so I would absolutely NOT suggest the Transcend, or ANY running shoe, for that matter for a Zumba class. Here’s why. Running shoes are EXTREMELY grippy and are designed to operate forward and backwards, not laterally. If you flip a running shoe and look at the tread, you’ll see a nice line down the shoe with a SLIGHT curve. That means NO lateral movement.

      For a Cardio Dance or Zumba class, I would suggest a Ryka Studio shoe or Reebok shoe that they have specifically designed for a studio class. If you need a bit more support, stuck a superfeet insert in it, but it will protect your knees especially from getting torn up during classes.

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