The Ghost Max sees Brooks updating its popular Ghost model. This time the company has packed it with a much bigger stack of cushioning though. That’ll help make it the kind of best running shoe you can wear to effortlessly eat up those long training runs while keeping your legs protected.

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Ghost Max has real comfortable cruiser credentials with a consistent, stable ride, but there’s not enough pop when you want to pick up the pace.
  • Comfortable fit
  • Mild but nicely rockered ride
  • Good stability
  • Midsole foam is a little dull
  • Not one for tempo work
  • Could be lighter

How we test the best running shoes

Our testers put each shoe through their paces over a mixture of distances and paces to see where they excel, and clocked up significant distances in each one to examine how they wear over time. Each reviewer focused on speed, stability and comfort during test runs, while also assessing the effectiveness of any high-tech features on offer. Their detailed reviews are sure to help you choose the right running shoe for you.

Materials:DNA Loft V2, 56.4% recycled uppers
Weight:10oz / 283.5g
Sizes:6 – 14
Colours:Red orange, crown blue, black, black and atomic blue
Heel-toe drop:6mm

Like the Ghost, the Ghost Max comes in different width options. However, it’s just the two compared to the three available on the Ghost 15. I’ve spent time running in the latest Ghost and the Brooks Glycerin 20. These are two shoes that the Ghost Max shares a lot of design traits with. They each have a similar feel where fit and performance is concerned.

Brooks Ghost Max features

I found the standard fit version worked well on my narrow feet, though those with wider feet might appreciate having something more accommodating. There’s good space up front in the toe box and I didn’t experience any sort of issues like heel slippage. What I did find is that you need to tug on the spongy laces to get a good lockdown over the padded tongue. Other than that, this is a classic fit Brooks shoe that feels comfortable, secure and supportive in the right places.

Product shot of a Brooks Ghost Max shoe
The Ghost Max is a comfortable, cruising mile-muncher thanks to that substantial stack of foam 

The main difference compared to the Ghost 15 is that noticeably higher stack of Brook’s DNA Loft v2 cushioning. It’s the same cushioning tech that’s packed into the Ghost 15; there’s just more of it.

The Brooks Ghost Max has a 6mm drop while the EVA-based midsole is spread across a large base. That creates a stable platform as well as one that offers protection over extended periods. To inject some life into the Ghost Max’s ride, Brooks also includes its GlideRoll Rocker for smoother heel-to-toe transitions.

Brooks Ghost Max cushioning

I wouldn’t say you necessarily sink into that huge serving of DNA Loft v2 cushioning. But it does feel a little dull and it’s not as bouncy as the DNA Loft V3 cushioning you’ll find in Brooks’ great Glycerin 20. Thankfully that rocker technology does lift the Max’s cruiser credentials, even if the foam matched up with it isn’t the liveliest.

I’ve done plenty of easy 5km runs and hour-plus runs in the Brooks Ghost Max. I’ve also attempted more up-tempo runs, but found easing off and sticking to more mellow paces is where it works best. In return you get something that feels smooth, controlled and  consistent. When I tried to pick the pace up, there just wasn’t enough pop there. My UK size 8 weighed 288g, so shaving a few grams off would’ve helped it handle more up-tempo running time.

Something that does impress is the outsole grip. There’s plenty of rubber at the forefoot and the heel to bolster the areas that are going to take most of the pounding. I’ve mainly stuck to using it on roads and pavements. Even with muddy, wet autumn leaves to tackle, the Max has had no problems handling slippier terrain. Ultimately, this feels like an outsole that’s going to hold strong for regular long runs all year round.

Should you buy the Brooks Ghost Max?

If you like the idea of a Brooks Ghost with an easier ride that can still bank the miles, the Brooks Ghost Max will be right up your street. Hardcore Ghost fans that fear change will likely find the Max’s bigger stack of cushioning too much change. But this feels like where the Ghost series needs to go next. Now it just needs a livelier midsole foam to really take things up a notch.

Related content: