Since its debut, the Brooks Ravenna has been known as a workhorse of a training shoe for half marathoners and marathoners. It’s always offered a great blend of soft cushioning and subtle (but effective) stability—something most runners need during the second half of a long training run or race. Throughout the years, the Ravenna has been tweaked slightly with new upper treatments and new foam configurations. The latest incarnation follows that trend, with a much better upper (thin TPU bands welded to the mesh have been adjusted slightly and the midfoot saddle strapping is more connected to the rear of the foot) and slight but significant changes to the undercarriage chassis (changes in the foam layering with a less rigid medial post and new outsole rubber configurations). These small changes are a good example of a shoe company trying to improve a shoe based on laboratory and wear-tester feedback without entirely overhauling it. The result is that the Ravenna 7 is a very nice upgrade from the previous version, offering a slightly more energetic ride than its predecessors. It’s roughly the same weight and has the same heel-toe offsets, but runs smoother and more comfortably with a slighter easier flex pattern and slightly more lively forefoot. Ultimately, that could put more of a spring in your step at mile 18 of the 20-miler you’ll be doing en route to your next marathon.
For runners who have been running in the Ravenna, you’ll notice the changes as being all for the better; for runners who are new to the shoe, you’ll find a shoe with a soft, luxurious fit and a stable, cushioned platform for running long training runs and races. This version offers a touch more versatility than its predecessors, with the ability to run some faster workouts (like longer tempo runs or longer progression-style runs). But it’s still definitely not a shoe that inspires all-out speed for track sessions, shorter fartleks or short racing efforts. “It felt surprisingly smooth for a shoe with some stability. I felt like the shoe controlled me just enough without over controlling me,” said Competitor wear-tester Lisa Jhung. “I felt fairly agile in this shoe, like I was equipped with the support I need to charge.”
This is the shoe for you if … You’re looking for a high-mileage marathon training shoe with a good blend of support and soft cushioning.
Weights: 10.7 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 8.8 oz. (women’s size 7.0)
Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm