An Open Letter to Brooks

Velvety goodness, my piriformis!

Dear Brooks Running,

You tell me to “run happy“, and I want to comply. But my running happiness is largely dependent on the mood my feet happen to be in at any particular moment. And lately? They’re cranky, sore, and decidedly UN-happy.

You see, they had a perfectly cozy little place to hang out for miles at a time, a tried and true shoe named the Adrenaline. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Of course you have. It’s your number one selling running shoe. Or shall we say, it was. Because somewhere in the span between 2013 and 2014, one of your brilliant shoe designers (perhaps suffering from severe glycogen depletion) had a significant lapse in judgement and decided to fix what wasn’t broken.

I know what you’re going to say, Brooks. You’re going to try to convince me that the massive redesign was all about improvement. To quote the little ditty that comes up on your website:

Fresh out of charm school, the newest Adrenaline is smoother and smarter than any other. This time we amped up the velvety goodness of the Segmented Crash Pad by adding full ground contact for a crazy nice heel-to-toe transition. Brooks DNA provides adaptable cushioning so your feet will glide through every turn. Heading upstairs, new lacing design evens out lace pressure to create a snug fit, and 3D Fit Print adds a lightweight, flexible, no-stitch fit. With fresh looks and lines, this go-to shoe is ready to fly. The creme de la creme of support, cushion, and balance is the Adrenaline GTS 14.

Then you throw in some convincing third party props to seal the deal:

But don’t take our word for it: Runner’s World Magazine named the Adrenaline GTS 14 “Editor’s Choice” in the Winter Shoe Guide in their December 2013 issue, saying the shoe “boasts all the trappings of a traditional stability model, but rides as smooth as ever.” The editors also praised the GTS’s cushioning, saying it “hits the sweet spot” and is “soft enough for high-mileage training but firm enough to remain stable.”

Et tu, Willey?

What you failed to mention is that you dramatically changed the sizing. I went from a size 9.0 in the Adrenaline 13s to an 8.5 in the 14s. No foot binding required! And as much as I appreciate the optics of being back in the 8-ish range and feeling less conspicuous about my freakishly large feet in comparison to my petite frame, I don’t think vanity sizing is a good strategy when it comes to running shoes. Freakishly large feet be darned, I just want my perfectly fitting size 9.0s back!

Next, can we head “upstairs” and talk about the God-awful lacing design? It hits the base of my toes juuuuust precisely enough to cause massive extensor tendinitis. The aforementioned tendinitis hurt so freaking bad I actually had my foot x-rayed. For real. I thought I broke my toe! But come to find out, it was just a shoe-lace problem. Lovely.

The truth is, Brooks, at least when it comes to running shoes, I like you just the way you are. (Or in this, case, were.) So can you NOT go changing, trying to please me? Because the changing doesn’t please me. At all!

Now, I realize the ship has sailed on the Adrenaline 13s, and I’ll never get them back. (Not counting the 3 precious pairs I’m hoarding in my closet after scouring the whole of the Internet for the last known pairs in my size). And it’s obviously too late for you to un-“improve” the 14s (and by now, the 15s). But perhaps you can do a retro line in 2016 that brings back the classic, tried and true Adrenalines we all know and love? I swear if you brought back the old fit, I’d even buy the pink ones!

But hurry up, Brooks. Because it stands now, I’m one loose shoe lace away from kicking your kicks to the curb for good, and Asics Kayanos are looking mighty cozy right about now.


So, as Kenan Thompson would say.

Step 1: Fix

Step 2: It

Step 3: FIX IT!


Running Unhappy in Alaska

Recovering corporate hamster-wheeler turned Alaskan hausfrau, mother of two and running enthusiast. Kind of a June Cleaver in tempo shorts...minus the makeup and vacuum. Will run to great lengths to get a moment of peace.

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  1. I feel your pain. I feel in love with a pair of Saucony swerve years ago, and then it was changed and my despair began, so the change was not a good one. This was before I knew how much this happened (or maybe it used to happen less?) and the idea of stocking up before they change was not on my mind. My guess is there is another version of Brooks’s letter that goes.

    Dear Basil,
    You’re SOL

  2. I LOVED their Ravennas and then this last iteration was a flimsy piece of garbage. By 200 miles it felt like a piece of cardboard on my feet when the old ones would last for hundreds. I had the same experience with mizuno and their elixirs. When will shoe companies learn not to mess with a good thing?!

  3. I hear you sister! It can be so hard when a new, improved version causes aches and pains, and/or is ill-fitting. What is worse? When they discontinue your shoe altogether! I had been running in the Mizuno Alchemys since 2006. This year they decided to stop making them. Thanks Mizuno.

  4. I had the same problem with the Adrenaline 14s, and switched to the Ravennas. I’m terrified to see what they will do to the new ones coming out in January! Mint – I also wore Alchemys for years, and I’ve never found a shoe that works as well.

  5. They did the same thing to my beloved Brooks Glycerins this time around – the 12s are horrendous and tweaked my knees like nobody’s business! A trip to the chiro and an online purcahse of 11s and all is right with the world…for now 🙁

  6. Oy, I’m with you on the Adrenalines. For me, however, the narrows now cause major blistering in my toes. I’ve been wearing them since the second model. Now I’m wearing Saucony Guides. Sad times.

  7. Hi Basil,

    Our intention with every updated product is that you will find the same benefits in the previous version with a few tweaks to keep it competitive and up-to-date with the latest materials and processes. These small updates, while well received overall, don’t always mesh with every runner’s particular biomechanics, just as you have experienced. We shared your feedback with our development team for their consideration of future models of the GTS so hopefully you will Run Happy with us again in the near future!



    1. Thanks for the response. I know the idea is to keep making improvements–and I do get that you can’t make everyone and their brother’s feet happy. That said, in my highly scientific sample of asking all 5 of my friends who are diehard loyal Brooks fans, none of them were happy about the Adrenaline 14s design. All have already given up and switched models or (gasp!) companies. So should Brooks decide to bring back the sizing/ elements of the classic 13s for 2016, I know just where you could find a few (happy) runners to test them out for you. 🙂 Thanks again for listening and passing on our feedback (FIX IT!) to the development team!