Today, we’re going to be comparing the Brooks Ghost 14 vs 13.
The Ghost series is one of the best-selling daily trainers and for good reason. It’s just Brooks’ popular daily shoe lineup designed to offer comfort and cushioning over daily training miles.
Like all our shoe vs shoe comparisons, we’re going to be talking about the midsole, the outsole, the upper, and the fit. Then, we’ll give the floor to two of our runners to talk about how the Ghost performed during the different runs they threw at it.
Sounds good? Let’s dive right into it…
Brooks Ghost 14 vs 13
In a hurry, these are the main similarities and differences between the Brooks Ghost 14 vs 13…
- Ghost 13 is 30% DNA Loft and Ghost 14 is 100% DNA Loft.
- Ghost 13 has a multi-density midsole and Ghost 14 has a single-density midsole.
- Ghost 14 is a little softer and smoother.
- Ghost 14 is a tiny bit heavier than the Ghost 13.
- Ghost 14 comes in four widths and the Ghost 13 has three.
- Ghost 14 now has a B (narrow) for narrow feet.
- Ghost 14 is a little bit more breathable.
- Ghost 13 comes with circular laces and the 14 has better flat laces.
- Ghost 14 is now carbon-neutral.
- Both are neutral shoes for neutral runners.
- Both are 36mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot.
- Both are 12mm drop shoes.
- Both have a similar outsole configuration.
- Both have a regular non-gusseted tongue.
- Both have a well-padded heel collar and counter.
Who’s the Ghost 14 and 13 for?
First off, the Ghost is a neutral shoe. Basically, the runner who wears a neutral shoe is someone whose feet do not need any motion control whatsoever. If you have overpronation issues, meaning your feet tend to roll inward too much, the Ghost is not going to provide any guidance or correction. Instead, you should be looking at something else like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS.
The Ghost series is the burger and fries of road running shoes. It’s one of those great reliable daily trainers that you go to if you want a shoe that can handle pretty much any run you throw at it and a shoe you can log 500+ miles in.
So, if it’s reliability you want and you want a tried-and-tested shoe that you can get a ton of daily training miles out of, I think the Ghost is going to be a good bet for you. In its 14th iteration, you can’t go wrong in a shoe that has stood the test of time.
And if you’ve never tried any kind of running shoes before, the Ghost is a great way to start just because it kind of gives you a taste of everything.
However, if you want something exciting that packs the latest technologies and/or a shoe that has a lot of energy return or responsiveness, I would definitely go a different direction.
I think if you’ve tried a Ghost shoe before, you’re not going to be particularly surprised by the shoe. You’re going to be happy that it’s still got the same feel and benefits that you’re probably used to getting from that shoe.
Last but not least, if you’re a heel striker, the Ghost has got you covered.
You can read more about the performance of the Ghost later in the performance section below. Eric and Gary have tested the Ghost thoroughly and they’re going to talk about how it performed in the different runs they did.
The midsole is the biggest update or improvement from the Ghost 13 to the Ghost 14. While both shoes have a DNA Loft midsole, the Ghost 13’s midsole is 30% DNA Loft and the Ghost 14 is now 100% DNA Loft.
The Ghost 13 had the DNA Loft cushioning system only on the lateral side whereas the Ghost 14 now has a full-length DNA Loft setup on the lateral side as well as the medial side. Also, on the Ghost 13, the midsole had different densities to it, but the Ghost 14 has a single-density layer of DNA Loft from heel to toe.
How is this improvement going to benefit you?
What that means for you is that the ride is going to be a smoother more cushioned ride. The Ghost 14 is now going to give you a much more consistent feel as you go through your stride.
What is Brooks DNA Loft?
DNA Loft is basically Brooks’ softest cushioning to date. It’s basically a blend of EVA foam rubber and air to give you that perfect balance between responsiveness and cushioning. Even though the DNA Loft is Brooks’ softest version of their foam, the Ghost is not unstable or mushy in any way.
So, if that’s something that worries you, I wouldn’t be too concerned. DNA Loft is a pretty dense foam and will give you enough cushioning underfoot to basically protect your joints and keep you going on those longer days.
Overall, the Brooks Ghost 14 is slightly softer underfoot than the Ghost 13 because of that full-length single-density DNA Loft from heel to toe.
So, when it comes to the midsole, I like the Ghost 14 better.
Stack, Drop, Weight
While the midsole has seen a significant improvement, the stack height and drop have remained unchanged. Both the Ghost 14 and 13 have 36mm of stack height in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot for the men’s and the women’s for a total heel-to-toe drop of 12 millimeters.
A 12mm drop is definitely on the higher end of things and it seems shoe companies are going away from it. However, Brooks has decided to stay with it for the Brooks Ghost 13 and 14. I think loyalists seem to like this drop and so Brooks decided not to lower it since runners come back for the Ghost whenever a new version hits the market.
In terms of weight, the Ghost 14 has gained 0.2 oz for men and women, which is very minimal to notice.
Men’s size 9: 9.8 oz (277 g)
Women’s size 8: 8.6 oz (243 g)
Men’s size 9: 10 oz (283 g)
Women’s size 8: 8.8 oz (249 g)
As you can see, the Ghost 14 and 13 are definitely not light shoes, but I wouldn’t put them in the heavy category either. They just basically fit the bill for this neutral daily trainer.
Because the Ghost is so popular and one of the best-selling running shoes on the market, it’s also cool to note that it comes in different widths and lengths.
What’s even more exciting is that compared to the Ghost 13, the Ghost 14 now comes in a B (narrow) for men, which is awesome for people with narrow feet. The Ghost 14 now has four widths in the men’s and three in the women’s.
- Men: D (standard), 2E (wide), 4E (extra wide)
- Women: 2A (narrow), B (standard), D (wide)
- Men: B (narrow), D (standard), 2E (wide) and 4E (extra wide)
- Women: 2A (narrow), B (standard) and D (wide)
Again, if you have a narrow foot or a wide foot and have trouble finding a shoe that fits you well, the Ghost has your size option available.
Brooks hasn’t changed the outsole dramatically because it still incorporates a generous level of rubber to help improve durability and traction on the road in different conditions. It’s pretty substantial and the grooves themselves are quite deep, which should help with traction and durability.
Brooks did two things to the outsole to make it better. First, they added a little bit of rubber in the midfoot section to cover a little bit more area underneath the arch. Second, the Ghost 13 has three full horizontal flex grooves across the forefoot whereas, on the Ghost 14, Brooks added some rubber to cover half of the second flex groove.
I think the whole point of this is to:
- Protect the full-length DNA Loft.
- Stiffen up the midsole a bit.
- Provide a more stable and controlled experience as you’re going through your stride.
This outsole configuration just makes the Ghost a great choice if you are looking for something that you’re going to get 500 miles out of. I always say this is the kind of shoe where you see people 7 years later wearing them.
The mesh upper on the Ghost 14 has been updated to be just a tiny bit lighter. Also, the upper is a little more breathable thanks to the addition of more ventilation holes through the toe box.
Both shoes use something called a 3D Fit Print which is a balance between the stretch and the fit of the upper to allow the shoe to be more accommodating and more comfortable. Basically, they have refined the upper to make it fit more foot types and just provide a better overall experience.
In the toe box area, you also get a little more plastic underneath that mesh upper to provide some protection so your toes or any other outside materials don’t tear the upper in that region.
Overall, you’re going to see minor cosmetic retouches to the upper that are going to make the Ghost 14 just slightly more breathable and comfortable.
Both the Ghost 14 and 13 fit true to size. It’s the same size I’ve worn in all Brooks shoes I’ve ever tested ranging from the Hyperion racing flat all the way to things like the Glycerin. The shoes have a reasonably roomy toe box around the front and it’s a bit tighter around the side but not in uncomfortable ways.
Heel Counter & Collar
Moving to the back of the shoe, you get a really substantial heel counter. It’s very stiff and you really can’t even move it around. You do have one piece of reflective material directly on the back.
On both shoes, the heel collar area is extremely well-padded and extremely comfortable. This is something that Brooks has typically done very well in the Ghost 13 and I don’t see that changing on the Brooks Ghost 14. You just get a great all-around heel counter and a great amount of cushioning.
The tongue on Both Ghosts is pretty average as far as cushioning goes and nothing has changed here. It’s a detached or non-gusseted tongue meaning it’s not connected in any way to the upper. Again, a lot of companies, including Brooks, are leaning more towards the gusseted tongue. However, the regular tongue seems to have worked fine for the Ghost line and that’s another reason why they didn’t add it to the Brooks Ghost 14.
Another difference worth mentioning is that the lacing on the Ghost 14 has been updated from the Ghost 13. The Ghost 14 now features flat laces instead of circular laces. Some users were complaining about their laces coming untied and so Brooks introduced these flat laces trying to address the issue.
The other point behind this is that the flat lace gives you a little more surface area and gives you a more secure lockdown. It’s only a minor update, but it can make a little difference in terms of the lockdown, fit, comfort, and overall satisfaction with the shoe.
To protect the lacing system, the Ghost has these plastic overlays which are tied directly into the upper itself for some added durability. This means the laces won’t tear the upper and you’ll get a more secure lockdown.
Another interesting fact worth mentioning is that the Ghost 14 is Brooks’ first carbon-neutral shoe. So, if you’re someone who’s looking to make a purchase that doesn’t harm the environment or is looking to be a little more sustainable, this is a carbon-neutral shoe.
While Adidas has been using recycled materials in their shoes for quite a while now, Brooks is kind of popping on that as well with the carbon-neutral Ghost 14. Again, if that is a big deal to you or something that matters a lot, this is your shoe.
I’ve been using the Brooks Ghost 14 over the last few weeks of marathon training. I’ve been using it for lots of fairly big mileage weeks and doing a lot of easy and steady running in it. I didn’t get a huge amount of bounce, rebound, or snap transitions from the Ghost. It’s all kind of solid cruiser.
I also did a long quicker session in the Ghost where I was running 4 sets of 4k. The Ghost was fine and I had no problems with it, but I certainly didn’t feel like it’s very lively or energetic or particularly exciting underfoot for that kind of pace.
So, at the end of those longer runs, if you are trying to up the pace or do a lot of progression runs from easy to steady, the Ghost is not the perfect shoe to pick up the pace at the end of that kind of run.
These are more all-out easy cruisers and they do that a little bit better than the Ghost does. Again, the Ghost is not going to be providing a wild ride, it’s just a really solid shoe. If you are a big fan of the Ghost line, you probably already know what to expect from it.
I’ve run about 60k so far in the Ghost 14 and that’s varied between 10k training runs up to half marathon training runs with a bit of faster running thrown into those runs to see how it does over at higher speeds.
I have found it to be a completely acceptable shoe. I haven’t disliked wearing this shoe for those kind of runs, but then again, I haven’t really enjoyed it either.
There isn’t any major performance or benefits that you can feel from the Ghost, which isn’t a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. It feels like a very reliable comfortable shoe with that kind of conventional feel.
If you’re used to wearing the Ghost series, you’re not going to be surprised by what this shoe does. Overall, the Ghost is really solid in terms of having a shoe that you can log lots of miles in day in and day out.
Brooks Ghost vs Glycerin vs New Balance 1080 vs Saucony Ride
The Glycerin has a bit more softness to it and it feels a little bit more cushioned when you’re running. It’s a lot more enjoyable to run in it and it just feels like a really nice easy-run shoe that you can go a little bit faster in.
The cushioning on the Brooks Ghost 14 feels a lot harder than the Glycerin, but that hardness doesn’t really equate to running faster. The Ghost doesn’t feel particularly more responsive than the Glycerin for me.
The Ghost feels most similar to the Saucony Ride, but even the Ride has got slightly more pace in it than the Brooks Ghost. So, I think the Saucony Ride is a fairly comparable shoe in terms of where it sits. It is more tilted towards kind of easy running than kind of tempo or interval stuff.
Compared to New Balance shoes, the Fresh Foam 1080v11 is just a considerably more versatile shoe that you can run faster in and it does feel like it’s helping you run faster.
Now, let’s talk about what worked well for the shoe and what didn’t work so well…
The first positive about both Ghosts is that it’s just a quality shoe that works for pretty much any situation you throw at it.
- The quality cushioning setup,
- The premium upper materials that hold your foot very well,
- The ton of rubber coverage on the bottom,
… all make both Ghosts perfect for beginning runners, runners who don’t know too much about running, or runners who just want a quality shoe that’ll work well for them in the long run, pun intended.
The second positive is that Brooks made the updates in the right direction. All the things that they added to the Brooks Ghost 14 vs 13 only improve the shoe especially in the midsole area.
Making the midsole all one-piece DNA Loft and not having any dual densities or playing around with the crash pads was a huge step in the right direction.
Again, that focus on comfort comes from a soft plush upper alongside a thick midsole that’s now made from 100% DNA Loft cushioning. DNA Loft is Brooks’ popular foam that’s built to offer a balance between responsiveness, durability, and comfort.
The last positive is the Ghost 14 is now a carbon-neutral shoe. This means it’s good for the environment or at least not hurting the environment in the long term, which I know will be a big factor for a lot of people.
I think these improvements just provided a better stride, a better experience, and was just basically a good move for Brooks to make it more of a neutral runner that people would enjoy running in.
The first negative about the Ghost is that it is a high heel-to-toe drop or offset. Both shoes have a total difference of 12 millimeters between your heel and your forefoot, which effectively means your heel is 12 millimeters higher than your forefoot.
Some people don’t like that and they prefer the 4 to 5mm drops. But if you’re someone who doesn’t mind it so much, it might not be a big deal. Again, 12 millimeters is on the higher end of things and it’s something to note especially if you’ve never run in such a high-drop shoe.
The last negative about the Ghost is it doesn’t compare to the new cushioning setups and the new technologies that might be more exciting or more tailored to individualistic crowds.
But that doesn’t mean Brooks can’t make super shoes like other brands. It’s just that they’re making an entry-level running shoe for beginning runners or runners who want a shoe to do it all.
Where to buy the Brooks Ghost?
The Ghost is a pretty solid shoe. It’s one of those standard daily trainers from Brooks that packs a lot of comfort, a lot of cushion, a lot of sturdiness, and a lot of outsole.
It’s certainly not a slow shoe, not a very responsive shoe, not a lively shoe, but it’s a reliable shoe that can certainly do a decent job and so you won’t be disappointed.