By: Jeremy Neisser
Running requires very little in the way of equipment when compared to other popular sports. Essentially, you just need shoes and a space to run.
Obviously, there is a market for running-specific gear, like shoes, apparel, supplements, and accessories. For most runners, shoes will be their biggest investment.
Brooks vs Nike Main Differences
The difference between Nike & Brooks is that Brooks running shoes focus on stability and comfort, whereas Nike running shoes typically have less support but offer a smaller toe box.
Brooks are generally more durable than Nike. If you are looking for a durable running shoe with the support from heel-to-toe and an unmatched responsiveness cushioning, go with Brooks.
- Brooks exclusively designs running shoes with a wide range of models.
- Most of their traditional running shoes have a 6mm-12mm heel drop, with many models having a 12mm drop.
- Their shoe design is science-driven and aims to accommodate rather than correct the gait.
- Additionally, Brooks offers a variety of holiday-themed shoes, including Christmas, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and St. Patrick's Day. In addition, they are continuously focusing on performance apparel.
- Nike Running Shoes are designed with a narrow fit, particularly in the heel and midsole.
- They generally fit smaller in width and length compared to other brands.
- Nike puts a lot of emphasis on utilizing the latest and trendiest technology to enhance running economy.
- They are popular across a broad range of sports and are widely seen in competitive events.
- Nike Running Shoes are also known for their fashion-forward designs, as a result, they have a large following of brand loyalists.
Is Nike Better Than Brooks?
Although Nike has dominated the elite running world for years, they have a variety of shoes for all types of runners. Brooks is also a great running shoe brand that is widely regarded as the top running shoe brand in the nation. It's important to note that the shoes worn by elite runners are often custom-made or team-specific.
When choosing a running shoe, it's important to consider your own needs and preferences. Nike may offer more advanced technology and fashionable designs, but Brooks is all about providing excellent cushioning and support.
Ultimately, both brands have a wide range of shoes designed for different types of runners—it's up to you to find the right fit for your lifestyle and budget.
I’m sure you have heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”. This definitely applies in this comparison.
Nike is a well-known athletic brand, with sponsorships in nearly every sport and products designed for every athlete or fashionista.
Brooks, on the other hand,—or foot, if you’re in the mood for puns—makes apparel and shoes exclusively for running.
The singular focus of the Brooks has helped them dominate the market for running shoes and apparel.
By limiting their target market, they have been able to dedicate a significant amount of research into developing products that runners want and need.
Having A Pulse on the Community
Comparing Nike and Brooks shoes, you may notice that for average shoes, Brook and Nike are similarly priced. Nike, however, offers a bigger range of shoe prices, some of which are more than double the cost of Brooks running shoes.
But does that higher price mean better quality?
Runners don’t seem to think so. Brooks shoes are consistently rated as favorites by runners, joggers, and walkers at every level.
Some even suspect that Nike does not have a real need to create innovative products because they have such widespread brand recognition.
This brand recognition allows them to create “good enough” products, at varied price points, and still have a dedicated customer base.
Also, because they have their hands--and feet, to keep the puns flowing--in every corner of the athletic market, they are not relying solely on the enthusiasm of runners to keep their company thriving.
These facts lead us to believe that the evolution of the Brooks running shoe and apparel are actually listening to the running community and responding to every running trend, demand, and desire.
Brooks makes a wider variety of runnings shoes - need a neutral shoe? They have it. Need a super soft cushioning? They have it. Have wide feet? They have a wide range for you.
Other people think that because Nike is such a large company, they have more resources to encourage innovation, research, development, and testing to make their products the best.
Nike vs Brooks Running Shoes: Which Brand Should You Get?
Nike and Brooks are two of the most notable brands in the running world. They both produce top-quality running shoes and equipment, so you can’t go wrong with either.
But if you had to choose just one brand, which one should you get? Let’s find out!
Nike and Brooks each have distinct approaches to the three main parts of running shoes: the upper, midsole, and outsole.
The upper of a shoe refers to the part that covers the foot above the sole. It is made up of the linings, vamp (front of the shoe), and quarters (sides and back of the shoe). Brooks uses a technology called 3D Fit Print and engineered mesh in the uppers of its shoes.
Engineered mesh is a specially designed woven mesh that provides high breathability and optimal foot structure. Fit Knit also helps maintain shoe structure, while increasing flexibility and reducing weight with a sufficient amount of stretch.
Nike uses three technologies in their uppers - Dynamic Fit, Flywire, and Flyprint. Dynamic Fit improves comfort by eliminating the space between the foot and the shoe using cushioning. Flywire supports the foot by wrapping around the midfoot and arch, giving a sock-like feel. Lastly, Flyprint uses athlete data to create uppers and provides air circulation, stretch, and support.
This ensures that the shoe design has the highest possible accuracy, enabling users to run with unparalleled precision.
Running shoes rely heavily on midsoles for cushioning and shock absorption during activity. Without midsoles, wearing running shoes would be uncomfortable and unpleasant.
Nike vs Brooks Running Shoes: both have brilliant midsole technology.
Brooks uses Brooks DNA technology which adapts to the force applied to the midsoles and considers the runner's stride, speed, and weight. They have four midsole technologies: DNA AMP, BioMoGo DNA, DNA FLASH, and DNA LOFT. DNA LOFT is the softest midsole cushioning made of rubber, EVA foam, and air to ensure long-term durability and lightweight cushioning.
However, it's not as groundbreaking as Nike's midsoles.
In 1979, Nike revolutionized running shoes with the introduction of the Nike Air Tailwind, which included cushioning inserts. Since then, Nike has continued to innovate midsole technology, resulting in some of the most comfortable running shoes available today.
Nike now uses ZoomX foam in their midsoles, which is a lightweight and highly responsive material originally developed for use in aerospace. This new material delivers greater energy returns, maximizing speed for runners. In addition, Nike has added carbon fiber to their midsoles to further improve running efficiency.
This technology has been so effective that it has raised concerns among some in the running community, with some suggesting that it may even lead to broken marathon world records.
The hard material located on the bottom of the shoe is called the outsole. It serves to protect the foot, provide traction, and increase the shoe's durability. Outsoles are created using different materials, such as rubber, leather, polyurethane, and other synthetic materials. Nike's outsoles are produced from closed-cell "blown" rubber foam which has segmented and flexed grooves.
These grooves are strategically positioned to imitate the natural curve and movement of the foot.
The Brooks shoe has similarities in its features, such as a thick blown rubber foam with flex grooves that allow for natural foot movement. Additionally, it utilizes Podular Technology to make the forefoot more comfortable and flexible while improving the shoe's cushioning and overall responsiveness.
Brooks and Nike offer a range of performance shoes suitable for all kinds of runners, including road shoes, racing shoes, treadmill shoes, trail shoes, and more. In addition, they offer shoes specifically tailored to fit men's and women's feet.
Brooks is a brand well-known for producing stability shoes that are comfortable and have sufficient cushioning. They have won awards in various categories in major publications, including "Best Winter Running Shoes" and "Best Women's Running Shoes." Additionally, they are an excellent option for patients with overpronation and supination.
Nike specializes in creating lightweight performance shoes for athletes and serious runners through their use of innovative technologies.
However, it is difficult to determine which brand performs better overall since both brands have various product lines. Your preference, the type of running you do, and the distance you typically cover are the factors that will influence your choice between the two.
Shoes Durability - How Long It Will Last?
So, what comes with the expense of running shoes?
You may be wondering how long they’ll last, if they run true to size, if they stretch with use, or if they’re as good as people say they are.
The short answer?
Brooks shoes are awesome. Nike shoes are adequate. The Brooks neutral shoe and stability shoes tend to last a lot longer than the comparable Nike shoes.
They are highly-rated, reviewed, and recommended in the running community for a reason. They are high-quality shoes, designed to last and outperform the competitors.
The long answer? Every runner has different needs, cushioning and preferences, so generalizations about shoe performance will not be accurate for everyone.
There are people who are fiercely dedicated to Nike shoes and would never buy anything else. There are people who are so obsessed with Brooks shoes (like myself) that they would never buy anything else.
Shoe Comfort - Injury Prevention
Whether you choose to go with Brooks or Nike shoes, replacing your running shoes regularly is important to your health and injury prevention.
For standard performance running shoes, you’ll likely replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. Lightweight, minimal shoes don’t last as long, at only 250-300 miles per pair. This is similar for Asics too.
These estimates depend greatly on your running style, running terrain, frequency, your weight, run duration, your pace, your climate…so many factors can impact the lifespan of your running shoes. I ended up getting a little over 500 miles with my Brooks Ghost.
Your shoes, and your body will give you clues to when your running shoes need to be replaced. You can look for visible signs of wear on the soles and insoles.
You can pay attention to the way your foot fits into the shoe or the level of the cushion you feel when you run. All of these things can help you decide when it’s time for a new pair of shoes.
Switching your shoes out before your runs give each pair a chance to recover, decompress, and dry out in between workouts and delays the breakdown of your running shoes.
Whenever you are making a running shoe purchase, it is important to check the return policy. Most people won’t know if they love their new shoes or not until they have taken them out for several runs.
If it is your first time buying a specific brand of running shoes, it can be helpful to find a retailer for a proper fitting.
If you are accustomed to a brand, it is likely that you will already know which size is best for you because you’ve run in that brand before.
In most running brands, it is recommended that you wear your running shoes ½ - 1 size larger than your standard shoes. My Brooks Ghost were 1/2 size larger.
During a run, your feet will likely swell, so the extra space can be helpful for long runs. The extra room in your shoe can also help prevent toenail injury and blisters.
Both have price points of quality shoes between $100-$150.
Support: Finding The Right Fit
Most people find that once they have found their preferred brand of running shoe, they stick with it, and that the sizing is the same across that brand.
So, if you find a pair of Nike running shoes you love, remember the size and style so you can get the same shoe for your next pair. If you find a pair of Brooks running shoes you love, the same applies.
If you wear an 8 in one pair of Brooks running shoes, you’ll likely wear an 8 in other styles of Brooks running shoes. Same thing for Nike – once you know your running shoe size, it should carry across other Nike shoes. I also like the breathable mesh in the Brooks shoes compared to Nike.
Weight wise, some Brooks might be heavier than Nike.
Take the Nike Pegasus, if you fit in the newest version, you should fit in any version.
You may find this article helpful - Brooks vs Asics
Shoe innovation happens rapidly these days. As soon as you fall in love with a pair of running shoes, the company will release the new, updated, technologically- and scientifically-improved version of the same pair of shoes. A perfect example of this is the evolution of
Don’t fret; most people find that they can easily transition from Brooks Adrenaline 16, 17, or 18 to Brooks Adrenaline 19 when it’s time for a replacement. Nike daily trainers are also updated, usually denoting the style, followed by the year. The also provide plenty of neutral shoe options.
So, if you find yourself in love with a specific style of shoe (the Brooks Ghost for me), don’t be dismayed when the numbers at the end of the style transition. Usually, runners transition easily to the newest model of their favorite running shoe style.
Conclusion: Nike vs Brooks
As you can see, both Nike and Brooks offer an amazing, high-quality selection of running shoes. Both companies have dedicated brand enthusiasts, rave customer reviews and oodles of scientific research, innovation, and technology behind their products.
I believe that the singular focus of Brooks Running Company on creating exclusively running shoes and apparel makes their products better for runners.
Others believe that the name recognition and bigger size of Nike products allow them the funds to innovate their products at a higher rate. Our best advice? Give them a try and see what you think.
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Me.
I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am also a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific.