The short version of this review is that the Brooks Launch 6 is a terrific shoe that costs less than £100 and is suitable for all kinds of running, from speedy short sessions to easy long runs. However, to leave it at that would undersell how great a shoe it is, because there are very few shoes that nail the balance between speed, cushioning and durability as successfully as the Launch 6.
On paper the Launch looks similar to several other shoes in the all-rounder bracket, like the Saucony Ride ISO and the Nike Pegasus 35, though it is lighter than both of those popular shoes at 255g (men’s, varying a little depending on size) as well as cheaper. However, while both the Ride and the Pegasus 35 are good shoes, and I especially liked the soft and springy feel of the Ride, the Launch is a more versatile shoe that particularly impresses during tempo training.
Whenever I review a shoe I try to use it in a variety of training sessions for a week or two, wearing it to the track, on tempo runs and for plenty of easy running. Most of the time this is far from ideal for my training, with lightweight racers being uncomfortable on easy days and highly cushioned shoes feeling lumpen during speed work. During my test of the Launch 6, however, I had no problem reaching for it ahead of every training session. Brooks’s BioMoGo DNA midsole delivers a firm but smooth ride that allows you to crank up the pace but also ease off it, all without feeling the Launch is slowing you down or not offering enough support.
Of the all-rounder shoes I’ve tried, the only one that matches or betters the Launch in terms of how it feels on the foot is the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo, which costs £159.95. I love the Pegasus Turbo wholeheartedly, but if you’re looking for a versatile shoe for all your training and racing, picking up the Launch and saving £65 looks the smart bet every time, especially because that’s the kind of shoe you’ll log a lot of distance in and need to replace more often.
Not that often though, because the Launch is a shoe renowned for its durability, and the sixth edition should last even longer than its predecessors thanks to the extra foam that’s been added under the forefoot. I can’t really speak for this durability, having only logged 80km or so in the Launch, but there’s no sign of wear and tear so far.
There are still some trade-offs when using an all-rounder like the Launch instead of rotating through two or three pairs of shoes for different types of running and races. It’s not as responsive as a pure racer like the Brooks Hyperion or the pacy Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit, or as delightfully plush as a highly cushioned shoe like in the Saucony Triumph ISO or Brooks Glycerin lines – but it does an excellent job of covering all the bases without any notable weaknesses. And it does that for £95, which isn’t “cheap” exactly, but it’s certainly great value in the world of running shoes.
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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