Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 vs 22 – Should You Upgrade or Get The Discounted Shoe

brooks-adrenaline-gts-21-vs-22

Today, we’re going to be comparing the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 vs 22. 

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS is a stability daily trainer with a moderate level of cushioning.

It’s also your jack of all trades or the classic do-it-all running shoe that can pretty much handle almost any running situation that you can throw at it.

So, have Brooks improved the Adrenaline or messed it up? 

Let’s find out…

Since you’re reading about stability shoes, you may want to check these great stability running shoes later.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 vs 22

If you’re a fan of Brooks, you’ll notice that the Adrenaline GTS 22 shares a lot of design elements of the Brooks Ghost 14 which is a neutral shoe. A big reason for that is that the Adrenaline GTS is the stability version of the Brooks Ghost 14.

So essentially this shoe, at the core of it, is basically a Brooks Ghost with Guide Rails.

Related: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 vs 20

Specs

Weight

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brooks-adrenaline-gts-21 (1)

For men’s size 9, the Adrenaline GTS 21 comes in at 10.0 oz (283 grams) and the Adrenaline GTS 22 comes in at 10.2 oz (289 grams).

For women’s size 8, the GTS 21 is 8.8 oz (249 grams) and the GTS 22 is 8.8 oz (249 grams).

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As you can see, the men’s Adrenaline gained 0.2 ounces, but it’s not that noticeable. However, we do have some other nice updates going from the Adrenaline GTS 21 to the 22 that we’re going to talk about.

Related: Brooks Glycerin 19 vs Glycerin 19 GTS

Stack Height & Drop

The stack height has remained unchanged. Both shoes have a 24mm stack height in the heel and 12mm in the forefoot for that hefty 12mm drop which is definitely on the high end of things.

If you’re used to the 12mm drop shoes, then things are going to feel as smooth as you’re accustomed to. But if you’re someone who doesn’t like a high drop, I would probably go in a different direction.

Also, runners who are prone to calf and Achilles issues cannot adapt well to low-drop running shoes and so 12mm drop shoes do seem to alleviate some of those lower leg issues.

Adrenaline GTS 21 Adrenaline GTS 22
Stability Stability
Everyday training Everyday training
Men (size 9)
→ 10.0 oz(283 grams)
Men (size 9)
→ 10.2 oz (289 grams)
Women (size 8)
→ 8.8 oz(249 grams)
Women (size 8)
→ 8.8 oz (249 grams)
Heel: 30mm
Forefoot: 18mm
Heel: 30mm
Forefoot: 18mm
12mm drop 12mm drop
Men Men
B (narrow), D (standard),
2E (wide) and 4E (extra wide)
B (narrow), D (standard),
2E (wide) and 4E (extra wide)
Women Women
2A (narrow), B (standard),
D (wide) and 2E (extra wide)
B (narrow), D (standard),
2E (wide) and 4E (extra wide)

Nothing has changed in terms of width. You can find the exact size or width that you want that fits your particular foot in both shoes.

Both the Adrenaline GTS 21 and 22 are really accessible to a wide range of runners coming in four widths: narrow, standard, wide, and extra wide as well as sizes I believe 7 through 15 in men’s. 

So part of the reason why this road running shoe is so popular is they expanded the sizing options to so many people, which is a really big plus for this shoe.

Again, for a brand to come out and put four widths on offer in a shoe is just magnificent.

Related: Do Brooks Run Small, Big, or True To Size

Best For?

I think both the Adrenaline 21 and 22 are great daily trainers and tempo-day shoes. If you want to pick up the pace a little bit, it’s just nice for a stability shoe.

Other comparable shoes include the Hurricane 23 and Guide from Saucony, the New Balance Vongo v5, and the Asics Gel Kayano Lite 2.

Midsole

The two major changes we’re going to highlight going from the 21 to the 22 is the midsole and how both shoes provide the stability…

brooks-adrenaline-gts-21-midsole

On the Adrenaline GTS 21, the midsole is made up of two foam materials. The 21 uses DNA Loft cushioning from heel to toe on the lateral side, and then we’ve got the BioMogo DNA.

This combination gives you just the right amount of softness, firmness, and support without sacrificing any responsiveness and durability.

brooks-adrenaline-gts-22-guide-rails

The midsole of the Adrenaline GTS 22 is now one continuous piece of DNA Loft foam. It is not overly soft or mushy like the Hoka Clifton 7 or 8, but it does offer a nice level of impact protection. 

If you’re not familiar with DNA Loft, it’s a finely calibrated mix of EVA foam, rubber, and some air to create one of Brooks’ softest running shoe foams they feature on their traditional running shoes.

If you’re a heel striker, I think this is going to be a great shoe for you. But even if you’re not, the 12mm drop really encourages that heel strike.

I was really happy with the midsole of the Brooks Ghost 14 and I think people are going to be really happy with the Adrenaline GTS 22 as well, especially because they made that midsole all one piece of DNA Loft, which I think makes the shoe a lot more comfortable, more runnable, and just a better overall experience.

Related: Brooks Bedlam vs Levitate

Stability

If you’re not familiar, GTS stands for go-to support and they add GTS to the end to designate that it’s a stability shoe.

Compared to most traditional stability shoes that have postings on the medial side, dual-density foams, or Trusstic systems, the stability on the Adrenaline 21 and 22 comes from that one piece of DNA Loft foam paired with Guide Rails and definitely no posting.

Guide Rails are essentially walls of foam on the medial and lateral sides of the shoe towards the rear that basically guide the foot and keep everything aligned and going if you need it.

Guide Rails create an overpronator-friendly ride and act a bit more like a bucket where your foot sits deeper within that midsole. 

So, if your foot tends to roll inside and you have some Plantar Fasciitis issues, it’ll hit that Guide Rail and it’ll kind of guide you back into place. Or, if you tend to roll to the outside, it’ll do the same thing and get you running in the correct motion.

This works really well for people who need the stability but also works really well for people who are neutral runners and just want that guide rail in place if they need it, especially when your form breaks down at the end of those longer runs.

Again, it’s a really nice system because it’s there if you need it and kind of disappears if you don’t and this is basically what people seem to love about the Adrenaline.

Related: Best Brooks Shoes For Morton’s Neuroma

But which Adrenaline provides the better stability?

The Adrenaline 22 is getting softer underfoot and so I don’t think the Guide Rail system helps much if the foundation underneath is too soft especially if you need a lot of support underfoot.

I think Brooks should bring back their DNA Loft/BioMogo combo that was on the Adrenaline 21 which I think offers a better balance of cushioning and stability.

So in terms of the stability, I think the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 is still better.

However, if you need a ton of stability because you feel that your feet collapse too much, I think you should look at the New Balance 860 instead.

Now let’s compare the upper of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 vs 22…

Related: Brooks Glycerin vs New Balance 1080

Upper

brooks-adrenaline-gts-21-toe-box

The upper on both shoes is classic engineered mesh. It’s not crazy breathable through the toe box but it gets the job done.

If you take a closer look at the toe box of the Adrenaline GTS 21, you can see that the toe guard area covers about a third of the toe box, which leaves less space for the perforations to do their thing. 

But the GTS 22, Brooks seem to have minimized the toe guard space. This update has clearly left more room for more perforations, which is going to make the 22 more breathable than the 21. 

brooks-adrenaline-gts-22-toe-box

The Adrenaline GTS 22 now features something called Fit Print. It’s essentially these printed overlays on the upper that allow it to be somewhat flexible and a little bit more accommodating while still providing structure to the upper.

brooks-adrenaline-gts-21-heel-counter

Both shoes have a nice plastic internal heel counter at the back of your calcaneus to keep your heel nice and stable. It’s very sturdy and well-constructed and the heel pocket is awesome and you won’t feel like you are going to slip out of the heel at all.

brooks-adrenaline-gts-22-heel-counter

As far as the padding goes on both shoes, you get plenty of padding in the gusseted tongue, ankle, and Achilles area, which is like the classic Brooks experience. It’s really comfortable and provides a nice lock and fit.

brooks-adrenaline-gts-21-heel-collar-tab

brooks-adrenaline-gts-22-toe-box (1)

In terms of the laces, we do get flat laces on the GTS 22 compared to those kind of tubular laces on the 21, and the same update was made from the Ghost 13 to the Ghost 14.

This is going to give you just a little bit better lockdown because the flat laces give you a little bit more surface area and just secure the foot that much better.

So, in terms of the upper, the Adrenaline GTS 22 is better just because of the better lockdown provided by those flat laces.

On the inside, the Adrenaline has a BioMogo sockliner. It’s really soft to the touch and you do get a little bit of extra cushioning and arch support as well.

Outsole

brooks-adrenaline-gts-21-outsole

Just like the Adrenaline GTS 21, the GTS 22 has two different kinds of rubber on the outsole, which seems strange because it all looks the same and just all blends together.

brooks-adrenaline-gts-22-outsole

However, the rubber at the bottom is like a carbon-infused rubber where it’s much harder and much more durable and the rubber at the top is much softer. You can actually just feel the difference with your hand. Again, this is the same setup we see on the Brooks Ghost 14.

brooks-adrenaline-gts-22-flex-grooves

Compared to the Adrenaline GTS 19, both the GTS 21 and 22 also do get some extra rubber in between those two and a half flex grooves and through the midfoot. This improvement is supposed to stiffen up the shoe just a little bit more and allow for a snappier ride.

I think the Adrenaline 19 was maybe a little bit too flexible and so Brooks added some rubber in the midfoot section and between the flex grooves, again, to stiffen it up and just help the transitions go a little bit faster.

In terms of the outsole durability, the Adrenaline GTS 21 and 22 do have some of the same problems we’ve seen with the Ghost 14 where the soft rubber tends to not last as long and does hinder the durability.

Adrenaline vs Ghost

brooks-ghost-14

The Ghost and the Adrenaline GTS do share the same drop. However, the Brooks Ghost weighs 9.8 ounces while the Adrenaline GTS 22 weighs 10.2, which is slightly heavier.

Comparing the upper to the Brooks Ghost 14, it’s fairly similar and they look almost identical. The only difference they have is this 3D Fit Print is constructed in a slightly different way. I don’t know how much of a difference that truly makes, but they are very similar.

I think some people were disappointed that the Brooks Ghost doesn’t have a gusseted tongue where we do get a gusseted tongue on the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22. The tongue has an average amount of padding and it’s, again, your standard Brooks tongue.

In terms of the laces, both the Adrenaline and the Ghost have these improved flat laces.

brooks-ghost-13-vs-14-flex-grooves

The shoes are also very similar on the bottom with that softer forefoot rubber. That softer rubber on the Ghost 14 was wearing down too quickly and it was just kind of hindering the overall longevity of the shoe. And since this outsole is pretty much the exact same on the Adrenaline, I think we’re going to see those same issues here.

So with the same outsole, the Adrenaline GTS 22 does have some of the same problems people are saying about the Ghost 14 where the soft rubber tends to not last as long and does hinder the durability.

A lot of people loved the Ghost 14 and I think that love will definitely translate well to the Adrenaline because they’re basically the same midsole and pretty much the same upper. The only big difference is that you get a gusseted tongue and Guide Rails on the Adrenaline GTS.

The Adrenaline GTS 22 isn’t perfect and there are a couple of things that can probably be improved upon.

Cons

The first negative is I think we’re going to see the same problems with the durability of the softer rubber in the forefoot.

That softer rubber on the Adrenaline GTS 21 and the Ghost 14 was wearing down too quickly and it was just kind of hindering the overall longevity of the shoe.

However, I’m only comparing the durability to how it was in previous versions because the durability of the Adrenaline is still better than most other shoes in the same category.

The other thing about the Adrenaline GTS, in general, is that it’s not the most exciting shoe out there. There are so many different options with bouncier foams, lighter packages, higher stack heights, and a bunch of different things that might appeal more to you.

But if the Adrenaline GTS works for you, go for it. It’s definitely a good shoe, it gets the job done, and it has a lot of premium materials.

But I think when it comes to the daily trainer category, a lot of brands are branching out and creating these really unique shoes that are a lot of fun to run in.

I know this is their flagship model, but I like to see them maybe mix it up a little bit, make it look a little more sleek, and maybe just kind of refine it to make it a little bit more exciting.

Wrap Up

I think if you’re a fan of the Adrenaline GTS 21, the Adrenaline 22 doesn’t deviate too much from the core legacy of that lineup.

Also, the more refined upper just fits people’s feet a little bit better. Plus, with all those sizes and widths available, you can pretty much find the option that works perfect for you.

The Guide Rail system works really well as being a stability system that isn’t super intrusive. It’s not overbuilt and you only notice it when you use it.

The Adrenaline works well for people who need the stability because it’ll be there for them, but it also works well for people who might not always need it.

So, if you’re a neutral runner, you’ll hit that Guide Rail when your form breaks down or if you tend to do something kind of funky or out of the ordinary.

I’m happy to see Brooks going for that full-length DNA Loft midsole, which just makes the Adrenaline GTS 21 a little bit more comfortable and a little bit more consistent.

However, if you’re not a fan of the 12-millimeter drop or just want something a little bit more exciting, I’d probably go in a different direction. But it’s definitely a good shoe and I would definitely recommend it if it fits your criteria.

Well, that concludes our Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 vs 22. I hope you found it helpful and I’ll see you in the next one 🙂

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