Brooks Adrenaline vs Brooks Ghost –2021 Version

Brooks is at it again with yet another group of new adaptation releases. That’s right; even before we’ve had a chance to adequately sample the older versions, these guys are hard at work trying to release a dozen more styles.

That’s why we’ve devoted a couple of segments to browse through and compare the latest Brooks editions - the 13 Ghost & the GTS 21. 

The main difference between the Ghost and Adrenaline is that the Ghost is a neutral shoe and the Adrenaline is a stability shoe. Adrenaline offers more stability through the Guide Rails Holistic Support System which keeps you from rolling inward excessively. Ghost offers a less structured feel. Most runners could still wear both trainers without a problem.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS vs. Brooks Ghost

Looking at both these models, it’s as clear as day that they fall in two different running categories.

Allow me to explain; whereas the Brooks Ghost is built like a neutral cushioning running shoe, the Adrenaline GTS  is playing a whole different ballgame.

See, we all know that the Adrenaline line is famous for its stability style.

That said, you can be sure the GTS is a stability running shoe that is perfect for overpronators.

Being the well-cushioned neutral trainer that it is, the Ghost delivers an overall softer ride with a solid touch of stability.

This is the ideal shoe for neutral runners since it keeps on propelling you forward.

The Brooks Ghost is definitely a high mileage trainer that is generously cushioned for those longer runs.

With the Brooks Adrenaline GTS, you can feel the shift in stability straight off the bat.

This is one shoe that impresses all by being a step above the rest in terms of insane stability.

In addition to tons of stability, this go-to trainer still keeps its end of the bargain by offering a smooth ride all the way.

Brooks Ghost 13 Review: 

Brooks Women's Ghost 9 Black/Sparkling Grape/Ceramic Running shoes - 12 B(M) US

The 13 is essentially the premier daily neutral running shoe for this brand. It has long been known to provide next level comfort across the board as well as a versatile ride that can kinda get you through any sort of training run. 

The upper is constructed on an Engineered mesh material, providing lightweight structure and breathability. This mesh is complemented by a solid Heel Counter to create a more comfortable and secure heel fit. 

The tongue is comfortable, although it is not gusseted it still manages to stay in place throughout the entirety of a run. 

Brooks Ghost 13 Alloy/Oyster/White 8 B (M)
  • THIS SHOE IS FOR: The Ghost 13 is for runners looking for a reliable shoe that's soft and smooth. The Ghost 13 offers improved transitions for zero distractions so you can focus more on what matters most: your run.
  • SUPPORT AND CUSHION: The neutral support type provideds high energizing cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them! Predecessor: Ghost 12
  • BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning work together to provide a just-right softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability - yet it feels lighter than ever.

The midsole is made up of a DNA Loft foam to deliver plush cushioning while maintaining responsiveness and durability. I would say that it is not super “plush” but the foam definitely is soft and comfortable...especially in the heel! 

There are also Omega Flex Grooves along the bottom to optimize forefoot flexibility without compromising cushioning.

Furthermore, a Segmented crash pad flexes with the foot, offering customized cushioning and stability for a smooth heel-to-toe transition. You can’t really feel this crash pad, but that is usually a good thing. 

The shoe is super durable due to its Blown Rubber outsole, which offers durability, responsiveness, and flexibility.

Brooks Men's Ghost 12 Black/Pearl/Oyster 10.5 D US

As an avid user, this trainer provides the cushion needed while being a very comfortable and light shoe. 

In fact, I ran my fastest 5K in these shoes. I included as a con that the front part of the shoe (the uppers) tend to let too much water in when running in the rain. 


  • Smooth Heel-to-Toe Transition
  • Versatile Design
  • Soft, yet Springy DNA LOFT Midsole


Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 Review: 

Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 17 Silver/Purple Cactus Flower/Bluebird 6 B US

There is a reason that there are 21 iterations of this shoe...because it's a staple for many runners. 

The Adrenaline GTS 21 has long been known as one of the best and most reliable stability shoes on the market. 

It will pretty much handle anything that you throw at it, and those who know of its greatness pretty much exclusively roll in this stability shoe. 

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 White/Alloy/Light Blue 5 B (M)
  • THIS SHOE IS FOR: Runners looking for a supportive shoe that's soft and smooth, the Adrenaline GTS 21 offers an improved ride and reliable support for however your body moves so you can forget the shoes and enjoy the run.
  • SUPPORT AND CUSHION: Provides just the right amount of stability and support, great for overpronation while providing high energizing cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them! Predecessor: Adrenaline GTS 20
  • BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: The DNA LOFT Crash Pad cushions each footfall and works with BioMoGo DNA to adapt to your every stride.
These aid in greater personalization for your stride, but they aren’t deal breakers. 

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 White/Alloy/Light Blue 5 B (M)

BioMoGo DNA fuses BioMoGo midsole and DNA cushioning technology for a fully custom responsive ride that adapts to the needs of each and every runner. 

The Adrenaline’s foam really rewards you for running in it more and more, as the foam forms to your feet better the more time you spend in it. It does feel firm in the forefoot, that may feel good to some, but to me it was a little too flat.

For extra stability, Brooks implements its Guide Rails Holistic Support System to keep you from rolling inward excessively. It does not feel as supportive as previous models, but I think it is a smarter support system that only really provides stability when the runner needs it.  

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 White/Alloy/Light Blue 5 B (M)


  • Superior stability
  • Modesto updates on the shoe
  • Slightly more affordable


  • Can be a bit on the bulky side

Uppers: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 vs Brooks Ghost 13

Both are similar in material, but differ mostly in the amount of structure they provide to your foot. 

Brooks Ghost 13 Alloy/Oyster/White 8 B (M)

The Ghost 13 feels slightly more relaxed around your foot, not in a loose way, just in a less structured sort of way compared to the Adrenaline GTS 21. It just does not hug your foot quite as much, it is different, but ok! 

It is quite breathable in the best way, and the internal sock-liner is slightly more comfortable than the Adrenaline GTS.

There is not a ton of room for critique when it comes to the Ghost 13 upper. It might feel a little narrow in the toe box area if you have a wider foot.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 White/Alloy/Light Blue 5 B (M)

Much like the Ghost, the Adrenaline GTS 21 also boasts an engineered mesh upper that is not only comfortable but also has the same breathability. 

The 3D Fit Print definitely provides more structure and support. The fit is noticeably more locked down and secure. It is not uncomfortable, but you can tell Brooks intended this to enhance the overall stability of the shoe so you can’t swim around in the shoe a lot. 

Being a stability shoe, the Heel Counter on the Adrenaline GTS 21 is updated from its previous model to create a more comfortable and secure heel fit. This helps guide your foot along with the guide rails to enhance stability.

The lacing system is super smooth and easy in the Adrenaline GTS, I would say it flows a little better than the Brooks lacing system, although they seem to be super similar.

Brooks Men's Ghost 10 Ebony/Metallic Charcoal/Electric Brooks Blue 9 D US
Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 17 Anthracite/Electric Brooks Blue/Silver 7 D US

Sole: Brooks Ghost vs Brooks Adrenaline 

The midsole foam is the same in both of these shoes, and the DNA Loft is super comfortable and soft. They both feel firm in the forefoot area, but the 13 pulls it off better because it contributes to a better overall rebound.

As you probably observed earlier, the Adrenaline GTS 21 comes with more “stuff” making up its midsole. It starts with the BioMoGo DNA, which fuses BioMoGo midsole with more DNA cushioning technology for a fully custom responsive ride that adapts to the needs of each and every runner.

Furthermore, the Adrenaline offers a Guide Rails Holistic Support System to help protect your knees by keeping excess movement in check.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 White/Alloy/Light Blue 5 B (M)

This is going to add that support aspect that many overpronators seek. It's very effective, but more inherent than a traditional posting. Even neutral runners could enjoy it without their stride being “over corrected”. 

Omega Flex Grooves are implemented in the forefoot to optimize flexibility without compromising cushioning.

A Segmented crash pad allows the foot to flex, offering stability for a smooth heel-to-toe transition. These feel about the same in both the Ghost 13 and Adrenaline GTS 21. 

They both have a heel-to toe transition that is smooth as butter

Brooks Adrenaline sole

Honestly, the Ghost 13 and Adrenaline GTS 21 have virtually the same outsole design pattern, which is nearly comprehensive to protect the entire midsole and increase traction. 

The main difference is with the Ghost, it feels like the outsole in the forefoot really contributes to a snappy ride on the toe off, compared to the Adrenaline GTS, which feels slightly more sluggish.


As for the Adrenaline GTS 21, the BioMoGo DNA midsole that adds a custom touch by adapting to the wearer’s feet and style of running. It really does get better as you run in it more and more!

A nice little added touch is that this foam is biodegradable to make sure that we’re all playing our part in saving the planet.

Verdict: Brooks Ghost vs Adrenaline

From all the information above, it’s now clear as day which shoe is engineered to do what.

Even just looking at both these models you can tell that they fall into two different running categories, which makes it hard to declare a better shoe.

While the Brooks Ghost 13 is built like a neutral cushioning running shoe, the Adrenaline GTS 21 is made to aid those who need greater stability, and it does a great job for that!

Being the well-cushioned neutral trainer that it is, the Ghost 13 does deliver an overall softer and smoother ride. This is the ideal shoe for neutral runners since it keeps on propelling you forward without overcorrecting your stride. That foam in the heel area is pretty much a selling point all on its own!

The Adrenaline is definitely built for those who need extra support in their stride, but besides that, you’re getting some similar stuff that the Ghost is offering...just in a slightly more structured and firm package.

Put simply, they are both some of the best in their respective classes and you can’t go wrong with these trainers. 

A good rule of thumb: if you are a neutral runner then pick up the Brooks Ghost 13, if you need a stability shoe then grab the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21

If you were looking for a comparison between the Brooks Ravenna and Adrenaline, you can find it here. We also compare it to the Glycerin and you can find that complete comparison here

Quick History lesson -

In 2000, Brooks was on the verge of bankruptcy, having barely enough to make payroll, when their Board of Directors tabbed Jim Weber as CEO.

Weber, as Alexia Brue shares, made a bold choice, “we made a decision that no other brand has made: We decided we’re just going to be a running brand in 2001”.

Making a decisive decision like that forced Weber and his employees to double-down on their efforts and focus on a specific target market, but that choice did not come without consequences. Weber adds "we were at about $65-70 million in revenue and we got rid of almost $30 million of it!

We simply cut all the lower-priced and non-running shoes and decided that we were only going to make technical running products" 

At that time, it was viewed as an unorthodox decision that has since resulted in tremendous growth for the company.

Today, Brooks continually releases new models by the day without fail. And all of them excellent pieces of footwear that actually do what they were built to do.

So whether you’re out on the running track, hiking trails, or just indoors working the treadmill, you can be sure that good ol’ Brooks has a shoe for that.

However, Brooks is starting to experience the most common drawback that comes with too much variety.

Because the more their catalog starts to pile up, the more difficult it is for runners and athletes to grasp the purpose of each shoe.

That’s why I’ve been comparing and contrasting a few of Brooks best sellers to help you guys out.

Today, we’ll be checking out two of the best shoes from the Adrenaline and Ghost series, specifically their newer versions.

Last update on 2021-01-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API