The first time I ran in the Brooks Ravenna 8, I did not like it. Or indeed the second time. By run three, I had started to warm-up to it. From then on it was all gravy.
Whether it’s just that it takes a while to break in or because it's a slightly unusual shoe and different to the neutral trainers I normally run in, I can’t say. What I can say is give it a chance and you’ll probably be delighted with the results.
The Ravenna 8 is a slightly in-between shoe in a few ways. It offers support for overpronators (those whose feet roll too far inwards when they land), but not so much that it’s uncomfortable to run in if you’re a neutral runner.
It also has a very snug fit around the midsole, before opening out to allow more room in the toes. I’d have preferred a looser fit all round, but it wasn’t unpleasantly rigid to run in. If you find that traditional stability or neutral shoes aren't quite right for you, this might split the difference perfectly.
Despite being well-cushioned and providing some support, the Ravenna 8 is lightweight, and feels responsive and springy when on the road. Part of that is due to blown rubber on the forefoot section which results in a bouncy toe-off when running.
It’s also designed to ensure your heel-to-toe transition is smooth and a diagonal roll bar counters any excess pronation you might have in your running stride. Despite this support, the Ravenna 8 doesn’t feel stiff and rigid like a typical stability shoe.
Even though this pair took a while to break in and has some unusual characteristics, don't count out the Ravenna 8 when selecting your shoes, even as a neutral runner. It's comfortable, springy and offers some extra support for long miles on the road. If you overpronate when running but have never liked the rigidity of stability shoes, the Ravenna 8 could be the ideal option. £115, buy on brooksrunning.com (opens in new tab)
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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