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Brooks’s Fight Against Climate Change Begins With the Ghost 14

On a mission to help reduce net carbon emissions, the brand gave one of its most popular shoes an eco-conscious makeover.


The RW Takeaway: Brooks chose its iconic model, the Ghost, as its first carbon-neutral shoe. Have no fear, though: It’s still the same ol’ Ghost.

  • 100 percent DNA Loft foam midsole, just like Brooks’s softest shoe, the Glycerin
  • Segmented Crash Pad in the heel for softer landings
  • 3D print mesh upper has more accommodating fit in the forefoot


Type: 
Road
Drop:
 12mm


In 2021, Brooks announced its goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Appropriately, this declaration was commemorated with its first carbon-neutral shoe: the Ghost 14. “We want to make a difference today because we understand the urgency to address climate change,” said David Kemp, Brooks’s senior manager of corporate responsibility. “We chose the Ghost because it’s our highest-volume shoe.”

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BROOKS GHOST 14`

Pros

  • First carbon-neutral trainer by Brooks
  • New full-length DNA Loft midsole provides even softer ride
  • Improved, roomier fit in the forefoot

Cons

  • Less arch support for flat-footed runners

Blueprint of a Lighter Carbon Footprint

According to Brooks, 150 million people run worldwide. That means a lot of shoes contributing to climate change through the manufacturing process, shipping, and waste.

Brooks has laid out a plan for net zero carbon emissions by 2040, using recycled materials and carbon offsets. Its first carbon-neutral shoe is the best-selling Ghost, which was reconstructed with recycled, bio-based materials. From the dyeing process to the tongue’s recycled-mesh material, the Ghost has undergone a climate-conscious makeover. Here’s how it breaks down.

The company is also transitioning to sustainable manufacturing and shipping, and recycling used shoes instead of dumping them in landfills. But when tinkering with your best-selling model, you don’t want to mess it up. Rest easy, Ghost fans: Neither quality nor performance was compromised in this update.

An Even Softer Midsole

Brooks removed the BioMoGo DNA portion of the midsole, so the Ghost 14 has only DNA Loft foam, just like its plusher counterpart, the Glycerin. Our testers didn’t detect any change with this adjustment.

The Ghost is softer with a new full-length DNA Loft midsole.

“It had a nice balance of cushioning and firmness during turnover,” said a tester, adding that the Ghost felt more responsive than the Glycerin and Adrenaline GTS. “I personally won’t use these for speedwork or short-distance races, but it was faster than I expected.”

Heel and midfoot strikers described the cushioning as not too soft, yet appreciated how fresh their legs felt as they ran high mileage on hard surfaces. Brooks also improved the fit of the Ghost, a welcome update, since the 13 ran a little short. “The upper mesh material is really awesome,” said a tester. “It stretches but doesn’t feel sloppy inside.”

That textured 3D print provides structure on the breathable engineered mesh upper.

The Ghost is a promising first step toward another of Brooks’s goals: to produce zero footwear manufacturing waste, which it aims to reach by 2025. It’s an ambitious eco initiative, but as with any race, you reach the finish line step by step.

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