Today, we’re going to be comparing two daily trainers, the Brooks Ghost vs Saucony Ride.
These are two running shoes from two different brands, but they’re pretty similar shoes designed for the same purpose essentially.
The Ghost and the Ride are meant to be daily running shoes that you can wear day in, day out.
They are comfortable, reliable, and they work over lots of different distances and speeds.
They’re generally good value all-around shoes that you can use for anything up to kind of racing.
We’re going to be comparing the Brooks Ghost 13 vs Saucony Ride 13, the successor to the Saucony Ride ISO 2.
Then, I’ll be telling you which shoe you should buy and also tell you which I would buy, again.
Related: Saucony Triumph vs New Balance 1080
Brooks Ghost vs Saucony Ride (Review)
After the success of the Brooks Ghost 12 and the Saucony Ride ISO 2, this is the 13th version of both of the shoes and I’m going to call this “the battle of the 13’s.”
First off, a lot of people seem to confuse the Saucony Ride 13 with the Saucony Guide 13 with Guide being a stability shoe.
Related: Saucony Guide vs Hurricane
Weight & Drop
There’s not a lot of weight difference, but the Saucony Ride 13 is a little bit heavier.
The Brooks Ghost 13 comes in at 9.8oz for a men’s size 9 (277 grams) while the Saucony Ride weighs 10.1oz (286 grams).
The Ride has a 32.5mm of stack height in the heel and 24.5mm in the forefoot for an 8mm heel-to-toe drop.
The Ghost has a 32mm stack height in the heel and 20mm in the forefoot for a whopping 12mm offset.
That’s a 4mm difference in the offset from both shoes that you have to be aware of.
So, the Ghost 13 is kind of steep, and for me, both shoes are true to size.
Let’s move on to the uppers …
One interesting difference between the Ghost and the Ride is that the upper of the Ride 13 is a nice comfortable fit, but it does feel a lot more locked down than the Ghost 13.
The Ghost 13’s upper is extremely comfortable. When you put your feet in it, it feels really roomy and it feels really nice to just kind of have the space to move your foot around.
The actual width of both shoes is quite different. There’s a noticeable additional width on the Ghost 13, which you might want to consider if you have narrow feet.
Both shoes have adequate airflow. I wouldn’t say that they’re extremely breathable, but I’ve had them out both in the cold and in some hotter weather and they’ve performed just fine.
They’re kind of that middle of the road in terms of breathability.
Brooks Ghost 13
The Ghost 13 has an updated air mesh upper which is meant to offer more breathability and comfort from the whole of the upper section of the shoe. It also has some 3D-printed overlays for some extra structure.
I did actually find this mesh to be pretty breathable and when I wore this shoe, I didn’t feel like my foot was cooking alive.
It’s not the most breathable upper I’ve ever tried, but it gets the job done.
Saucony Ride 13
The Saucony Ride 13 is also utilizing a FORMFIT upper with 3D-printed overlays. The overlays are meant to help provide a better locked-down fit and support when you’re out running.
As far as breathability goes, I also did consider this to be fairly breathable.
The upper material around the forefoot might be a little bit thicker than the Ghost 13. I really can’t confirm that and it might not be by much, but it’s just something that I think that I feel.
One interesting thing about the Ride 13 is that they’ve done away with ISOFIT. ISOFIT is basically the bands that are intertwined with the laces.
So, when you tie the laces tight, it basically wraps your foot around like a burrito, and mixed with this gusseted tongue, you get a really nice lockdown fit.
The Ride 13 doesn’t really suffer from not having that ISO technology, which means we didn’t really need it in the first place.
Just like the Ghost 13, there’s no issues with hot spots, breathability, blisters, or anything negative.
One pro of the Ghost 13’s upper that I think a lot of you will really like is that it has a nice wide toe box.
I really felt like my toes were able to breathe and spread apart and they weren’t cramped and uncomfortable in there.
It’s a nice change from the other Brooks shoes that I’ve tried where the uppers just did not work for me.
I really don’t have many things to complain about. I didn’t get any blisters or hot spots and I felt totally comfortable.
You can see that they have about the equal amount from both.
The one notable difference is the Saucony Ride 13 does have a semi-gusseted tongue so you could get an even better lockdown fit, but I didn’t have any issues with the Ghost 13.
So, both tongues are comfortable and I didn’t have any issues with either one. But if you enjoy a gusseted tongue, the Ride 13 might be the right shoe for you.
You can see that they both have a traditional lacing system. There’s nothing complicated or complex and they just get the job done.
They both have some plastic overlays both on top as well as underneath the neck cage area to give it some extra durability.
The one thing I will note that is different are the laces that come with the shoes.
Brooks sends very traditional laces which do just a fine job. Saucony included their round kind of puffy laces, which I have found to be a little bit stretchy, and I really kind of come to appreciate them and here’s why…
Once you tie the laces of the Ride, they seem to stay tied. They’ve got a little extra give to them, which adds a little bit of comfort to the upper if you need that extra give.
The laces don’t really feel performance-based, but I’m kind of digging it because they really did stay tied and mixed with this plush tongue, you do feel really comfortable on the top of your foot.
Heel & Ankle Collar
If we move to the back of the Ghost, you’ll see that we also do have a lot of cushioning around the ankle collar, but you don’t feel stuffed and crammed in there.
Looking at the heel tab, you’ll notice the Ghost 13 has a slightly taller Achilles heel flare. I wouldn’t call it a flare like Nikes would be, but it’s just slightly taller.
I did find that to be comfortable on my Achilles tendon when I was out running.
I didn’t have any problems with heel slippage and the heel counter is very sturdy for some extra support and stability.
The Ride 13 has a pretty traditional padding system that they’ve used and they’re pretty generous with the amount that they included in these areas.
So, it has almost an identical heel collar to the Ghost in how they went about padding. It’s less than the Ghost 13 but just enough for me personally.
The Ride also has a little bit of a notch in the heel tab for your Achilles tendon and that feels good.
It is slightly more rounded in the heel and has a slight Achille heel flare.
Overall, I found both shoes to be really comfortable in the heel area.
Giving both heel counters the pinch test, I found they’re pretty identical. They both have a lot of structure in this area, which gives a little extra stability to the shoes.
By stability, I’m talking about overpronation which the amount of the structure oftentimes can help reduce that impact on your body.
Overall, both heel counters are pretty identical and they’re both pretty stout.
Also, neither shoe has a pull tab to help pull the shoes on, but I didn’t find that to be inconvenient at all.
Overall, both of these uppers are really similar. Both are utilizing engineered mesh with 3D-printed overlays.
They have plush tongues, thick laces, some padding around the heel counter, a sturdy heel counter, you name it.
I’d say if you’re a person who likes a wider toe box, then the Ghost 13 would be your best bet.
However, for me, I felt like the fit was a little more streamlined from my foot in the Ride 13.
So, the Ride’s upper wins for me here but not by a lot.
Let’s talk about the insole…
Both the Ride and the Ghost come with removable insoles. Saucony has their FORMFIT insole and Brooks has their cushioned insole. Both these insoles do add a little bit of comfort to your run experience.
I always appreciate it when you can remove an insole. It just makes it easier to keep your shoes clean, especially if you’re out running in inclement weather where the shoes get wet or dirty.
This is really where the difference lies between these two daily trainers because they use two different foams in their midsole material.
Both Saucony’s PWRRUN and Brooks DNA Loft actually feel very similar although I’d say that the Ghost 13’s DNA Loft material does feel slightly softer to the touch.
Brooks Ghost 13
Brooks are using a combination of DNA Loft foam across the length of the lateral side. This is Brooks’ softest cushioned foam.
Then on the medial side, the Ghost has the BioMogo foam which is harder than DNA Loft.
This is a common process in stability shoes. While the Ghost is a neutral shoe and not a stability shoe, it does have a very stable feeling to it when you’re out running and I greatly appreciate that from Brooks.
Brooks cold-molded DNA Loft with BioMogo together resulting in a nice fluid feeling underfoot when you’re running.
To me, it’s the perfect mixture of firm and cushion. The ride isn’t pillow-like but it also isn’t abrasive.
I think when you have a shoe like this that’s kind of middle-of-the-road when it comes to cushioning, it’s so easy for it to be versatile.
You have enough cushioning underfoot to go the distance, but you also have that tiny bit of snap when you want to kind of pick up the pace.
I’m not going to lie to you guys because I was sort of underwhelmed when I got the Ghost. I wasn’t really expecting much from it, but when I did run in it, I actually really enjoyed it and wanted to keep running in it.
Saucony Ride 13
The midsole of the Ride 13 is Saucony’s newish PWRRUN midsole which is designed for a kind of level of comfort that also has a nice level of energy return as well.
Related: Top Energy Return Running Shoes
So, this was my first time trying just regular old PWRRUN and I have to say I love it.
I said earlier that I ran in the Saucony Ride ISO 2 which used EVERUN foam, which honestly then I thought was a great foam. It’s got that mixture of firmness and cushion and a little bit of response.
But they did away with EVERUN for the Ride and put PWRRUN in there.
Now I kind of realized why they did that. PWRRUN is just slightly softer and gives you more response. I’m starting to feel like PWRRUN is the perfect daily trainer foam.
Again, I ran all different kinds of runs in the Ride and what I will say is that it feels a little bit firmer when going easy. Not uncomfortably so but just a little bit firmer.
Where the Ride really started to shine for me was when I started to pick up the pace and that’s when I started to feel that true bounce that the PWRRUN midsole really has.
So, when it comes to the midsoles of the Ghost 13 and the Ride 13, I’m going to go again with the Saucony Ride 13.
The Ride’s midsole kind of beats the Ghost 13 out of the park for me.
Overall, both midsoles are fantastic, both are great, but I just feel like the Ride’s midsole is a lot more lively.
What I would say is that the Ride 13 does feel more responsive than the Ghost 13. However, both the Ghost and the Ride are daily trainers and not necessarily going to be your tempo running shoe or progression run shoe.
There’s something about PWRRUN that’s a little bit more responsive. PWRRUN is a bit harder and you do feel that kind of straight away when you start wearing it.
Again, there’s a certain kind of hard responsiveness to the Ride 13 that it’s quite conducive to going faster.
However, it’s not a problem when it comes to cushioning because the Ride 13 still feels quite cushioned.
So, if you’re looking for a shoe that’s a little softer and a little more cushioned underfoot, I think the Brooks Ghost is probably going to be a better choice for you.
And if you want just that consistent smooth responsive ride, then the Saucony Ride might be the right shoe for you.
Let’s get on to the outsoles …
The outsoles are almost identical in the placement of the rubber. They’ve got it around in the high-abrasion areas in the heel all the way up to the toe on both of them.
They both have flex grooves in the toe area to give you a nice flexible feeling underfoot as you roll through your foot strike.
I didn’t notice any big difference when running on wet roads and different terrains. Both shoes do pick up the ground pretty well and I didn’t feel any slippage or anything in either of them.
Brooks Ghost 13
The Brooks Ghost 13 is utilizing what I believe is blown rubber throughout the outsole of this shoe.
We have some flex grooves in the forefoot so that your foot doesn’t feel like it’s being intruded upon and can flex the way it needs to.
There’s a tiny bit of exposed DNA Loft on the medial side of the midfoot.
Because this is supposed to be the shoe that you use the most in your rotation and get the most abuse, then I think that this is perfect.
The rubber on this outsole is sturdy and firm and it grips onto pavement like a dream.
I did run in some wetter conditions in this shoe and it held up fine.
The one difference between both shoes is on the Ghost 13, the rubber is a bit thicker and I seem to be picking up pebbles in those omega flex grooves. But overall, it wasn’t really a big deal at all.
Saucony Ride 13
The Saucony Ride 13 is also using blown rubber throughout the midsole of the shoe.
It has some flex grooves in the forefoot which Saucony calls the TriFlex system.
According to Saucony, this has been updated for the Ride 13. I’m not exactly sure how, but it’s supposed to increase durability and adaptability.
So to me, the rubber on the Ride 13 feels softer than the Ghost 13, but I definitely think it flexes better than the Ghost 13.
However, I don’t think the traction is really as up to par.
I took both of these shoes out on a somewhat rainy day and the Ghost 13 held up a lot better in those wet conditions than the Ride 13.
So, when it comes to the outsoles of the Ghost 13 and the Ride 13, which one did I like better?
Well, I’m going to go with the Ghost this time. The Ghost offers better traction, better rubber, and better durability.
I’ve been testing both shoes quite thoroughly and I’ve got a pretty good view on how they both work for day-to-day running.
Both the Brooks Ghost and the Saucony Ride perform really well and they offer a very natural feeling underfoot.
Right from my heel strike to my toe-off, I feel very natural in my gait cycle in each of these shoes.
Both shoes have a flexible forefoot, which kind of adds to that experience when I’m out running.
The biggest difference is in the midsoles. With the Saucony Ride 13, that PWRRUN foam is pretty stout and you get a lot of energy return and bounce.
Saucony Ride 13
The Ride 13 is just a really nice all-around running shoe. It delivers a nice experience across pretty much every distance.
I did short 5k recovery runs to half marathon training runs and I’ve actually worn it for a 10k race.
Related: 14 Great 5k Running Shoes
I Know I did push it a little bit too far because it’s a little bit heavy for a race and it just doesn’t have the pick up that I wanted at race speed.
But up until that point, the Ride 13 is quite good for anything from really slow comfortable runs to tempo training as well. It just has a nice balance of what you want from a daily running shoe.
Brooks Ghost 13
The Ghost 13 is quite similar to the Ride 13 in that it’s a great shoe for picking up every day. It’s just very comfortable and it feels nice from the off.
The Ghost 13 feels more cushioned, but it just doesn’t have that kind of hardness and responsiveness that I got from the Ride 13.
Having said that, the Ghost 13 is a really nice shoe to wear in training runs. I just don’t think you’d go very fast with the Ghost if this is what you’re looking for. Other than that, the Ghost works really well.
So, with Ghost 13, whether you’re a heel striker, midfoot striker, or even forefoot striker, you’ve got that soft DNA Loft that you can land on.
I found that to be pretty darn comfortable and pretty soft and cushioned for my ride.
Brooks Ghost vs Saucony Ride (Better Alternatives)
Brooks Ghost vs Glycerin
Both shoes are mid-level daily running trainers.
The Brooks Glycerin 18 is nicer than the Ghost. It’s obviously more expensive, but the foam and the overall experience in the Glycerin are just that much nicer that it is noticeable.
The Glycerin is more cushioned, but it’s also more responsive so it’s just better from both angles.
Saucony Ride vs Triumph
Also, the Saucony Triumph 18 offers more cushioning and responsiveness.
Read our comparison Saucony Ride vs Triumph – PWRRUN vs PWRRUN+ Epic Battle
The Brooks Ghost and the Saucony Ride are both nice and comfortable shoes.
However, I’d probably say the Ride 13 is more conducive to speed, and the Ghost 13 is actually just more about comfort and having a shoe that just feels really nice on the foot.
The Ride 13 is probably best suited to those people that want to be able to go a little bit faster and they want a shoe that’s going to feel secure and a little bit more responsive as you’re running.
It’s not going to be the fastest shoe on race day and it’s not the lightest shoe around, but it does get the job done.
I think the Ghost 13 just lacks that sort of responsiveness and performance level that the Ride 13 has.
I don’t think I’d want to race in the Ghost 13. I think I’ll be perfectly happy keeping it as a training shoe unless I was doing a marathon and it was about the distance more than picking up a fast pace.
And if you are a person who needs that extra durability, needs a wider toe box, and likes a firm yet cushioned ride, then the Brooks Ghost 13 might be a better option for you.
Honestly, you really can’t go wrong with either of these. They are two of my favorite daily trainers that I’ve tried recently.
Both Brooks and Saucony have winners here, but this is my favorite shoe …
My Favorite Shoe
I would say it’s quite a difficult decision if I was to buy a daily running trainer and these are my two options because they offer almost a similar experience.
But if you’ve read the majority of this article, you probably already know that I would pick the Saucony Ride 13.
For me, the fit of the upper is more streamlined and the midsole is lively with that pop and that softness.
Well, guys, that concludes this Brooks Ghost vs Saucony Ride. If you enjoyed this comparison, please share it on your favorite social media channels.
See you on the next one.
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