Gear

Shoe of the Week: Brooks Launch 7

An improved fit and modern aesthetic add to this consistently reliable and affordable everyday trainer.

Brooks Launch 7 Review

Weight
9.2 oz (men) 8.1 oz (women)
Offset
10mm heel/toe drop
Price
$100

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Top Line

This lightweight, cushioned neutral shoe is a versatile, stable, and consistent everyday trainer, no matter what your running background, goals or abilities might be.

What’s New

The biggest change to this year’s edition of the Launch is the new, one-piece engineered mesh upper that improves the fit and gives it a modern, lifestyle-oriented aesthetic.

This Shoe is for You If…

You’re looking for an affordable trainer shoe that’s versatile enough to endure long runs and also quick enough to run faster, shorter workouts like tempo runs, fartlek runs, and longer intervals. For some, it can serve as a performance-oriented shoe in your quiver and even a race-day choice for 5K to the marathon.

Photo: Brooks Running

First Runs

Although slightly tweaked, the Launch is a reliable do-everything shoe for a wide range of runners. With a relative light and snappy demeanor, the Launch is somewhat of a unique ’tweener that bridges the categories of performance trainers/racers and the wide range of high-mileage trainers that are about a full ounce lighter. It’s not a speed burner, but it certainly has more giddy-up than many of its clunkier contemporaries.

Within the first mile of any run in the shoe, you’ll sense the moderately soft Bio Mogo DNA midsole offers a smart blend of cushiness and energetic rebound. That makes it feel comfortable running slow to moderate paces but agile and responsive if you opt for quicker running. It has a fairly high heel-toe offset (10mm), which forces a heavy heel-striking gait at slower speeds but tends to disappear and become a non-factor running tempo pace or faster. If you’re used to shoes with lower heel-toe offsets, you’re bound to find this shoe a bit clunky at slower speeds. But once your weight is balanced over the midfoot, the shoe transitions nicely and rolls quickly off the toe.

The new upper is durable, breathable, and helps bolster the secure fit—thanks to a soft, interior bootie to cinch down the forefoot—but it’s not very stretchy, so it tends to give the shoe a low-volume feeling in the forefoot without much wiggle room for your piggies. That’s consistent with the snug fit and athletic feel that has always been inherent to the Launch, known to move well with the foot.

The outsole is identical to the previous version, with near full coverage of rubber from heel to toe (a thin, durable compound in the rear and a thicker and more resilient blown rubber in the forefoot) and four flex grooves that contribute to the energetic feeling just before toe-off.

Similar Shoes

ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite, Nike Pegasus 36, Saucony Ride ISO 2, Mizuno Wave Rider 23, Skechers GOrun Ride 8 Hyper

Brian Metzler is the author of Kicksology: The Science, Hype, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes. (2019, VeloPress)