According to old Greek legend, after a Greek army defeated a dangerous enemy sitting right outside their home city, the victorious generals sent a messenger home to spread the good news. The poor boy ran just about 26 miles non-stop, in the hot Greek summer, only to arrive at home, declare victory, and then collapse and die from sheer exhaustion.
Luckily for the boy, the story’s probably a myth. But you’ll recognize names in the legend. The Greeks won at a battlefield called Marathon, and we still run 26.2 miles to commemorate it.
The boy’s final words? ‘Niké,’ Greek for ‘victory.’ It’s not hard to see why a shoe company later took the name for itself.
Running is as old as civilization itself, and easily more beloved today than several thousand years ago. Today, though, we’re not reviewing Nike, but Brooks, a sporting goods company that has taken the same 1,000-year-old problems of foot pain, tissue damage, and simple exhaustion, and engineered their best solutions into a shoe.
The Brooks Addiction series is expertly engineered, comfortable, and corrective. It looks quite boring, to be frank. It feels great, and only occasionally breaks down. We highly recommend it.
Don’t take our word for it, though – take everyone else’s.
Why Should I Trust a Faceless Online Review?
Fair point – anyone can write and publish something online without personal experience. And while we’ve had experience with several types of running shoes, including Brooks, we haven’t comprehensively tried them all.
Even if we had, however, it wouldn’t matter. Recommending something isn’t just a matter of trying it out, but of hearing out all others who have tried it out themselves. Personal experience is good, but it’s still a step behind listening to others who have tried something, and have something to say about it.
To that end, we’ve done a lot of listening. Runners are active online, and are very frank in their discussions of shoe preferences. We’ve read nearly every review, every complaint, and every praise available about the Brooks Addiction series. Anything we say is something that’s been said before multiple times, on multiple sites and platforms, and in multiple reviews. If we state a problem, or praise a feature, it’s been verified by multiple others.
Naturally, you shouldn’t just take our word for it – but if you like what you hear, you should try it for yourself. Wearing a pair of shoes, and only that, is going to tell you if that pair is a good fit. In the end, nothing else will do.
That brings us back to our summation: expertly engineered, comfortable, corrective, looks boring, feels great, and only occasionally breaks down.
It’s best, of course, if we expand that review just a bit. Let’s start with the positives.
Everything Great About Brooks Addiction
We probably should have said ‘everything great about Brooks Addiction and Brooks, the company.’ There are many great reasons to buy the Brooks Addiction, but also a few to buy from Brooks itself.
We’ll start, though, with the most important reasons to consider the Addiction – your feet hurt, and you desperately need relief.
1. Pain Relief, Post-Op, and Surgery Prevention
A common thread among several reviews of the Brooks Addiction was this – ‘my orthopedic doctor recommended these shoes to me.’
This isn’t an exaggeration. Multiple reviews describe choosing Brooks because a doctor told them to. The advice is sound. Brooks Addiction has a loyal following among people suffering from chronic foot pain, post-surgery pain, or nerve damage.
We’ll address the reasons why the Brooks Addiction series is such a great cure shortly – for now, suffice it to say that shoe engineering has come a long way since the Greeks and Marathon.
At present, just consider what kind of pain you have, and how the Brooks Addiction might help.
It’s easily the most common form of foot pain amongst both runners and average Americans.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation, the swelling and tearing of a large band of connective tissue that starts at the heel of your foot, and ends at the ball. You won’t feel it on either end, though, but in the middle – in sharp, cutting stabs of pain in the middle of your foot, usually early in the morning.
The traditional method for dealing with plantar fasciitis pain is by using a large wooden dowel, and rolling your feet over it each morning to stretch out the band of tissue that’s both inflamed and torn. It’s tedious and inconsistent, but better than nothing.
Imagine, though, if the pain could be eliminated by simply putting on a pair of shoes.
Some version of ‘these shoes cured my plantar fasciitis’ appears on every set of online reviews of the Brooks Addiction series. And, for the record, those testimonials are, in part, complete nonsense – you can’t really ‘cure’ plantar fasciitis. But you can cure the pain, and relieve the pressure on the inflamed tissue.
The Brooks Addiction series appears to do just that.
Neuropathy is a very general term, referring to nerve damage in hands, feet, or any extremity.
You might feel chronic pain, or have an extreme sensitivity to heat or cold, or be barely able to walk because your feet hurt. The causes are complex and overlapping, but the symptoms are clear – your feet hurt all the time, and you never know when you’ll barely be able to walk.
Luckily for sufferers, the solution is as specific as the causes are vague – and, again, we’re going off of the recommendations of orthopedic doctors here. The Brooks Addiction series, in addition to a few other select brands, is recommended for the relief of chronic neuropathy in the feet.
There are plenty of hyper-specific reasons why the Brooks Addiction series might offer help, but they all boil down to one thing – proper foot support takes pressure off of the injured nerves. This relieves foot pain, which leads to walking, and functioning, comfortably.
If your foot pain is constant and untreatable, give the Brooks Addiction series a try.
Knee Pain, Post-Op, and Pronation
We can’t officially confirm this, but we’re pretty sure that having an actual surgeon recommend a brand of shoe is a good testament to its reliability. Again, a common thread among positive reviews was this: ‘after my knee surgery, my doctor recommended Brooks.’
To be very clear, Brooks itself isn’t advertising itself as a cure-all for people in post-op. The Addiction series, however, is very good at controlling something called ‘pronation,’ which is little more than how your feet and heels lean inwards or outwards as you walk. It shouldn’t be surprising that too much one way or the other can be rough on your knees – especially if you’ve had them cut into for a surgery.
One particular testimonial was referred to Brooks after not one, but two knee surgeries, and she was extremely grateful.
Controlling pronation is important not just for those in post-op, but those looking to avoid surgery entirely – better to ease up on your knees earlier than later. Considering how much surgery can cost, a pair of Brooks Addiction might actually save you a great deal of money.
2. Science and Sole DNA
The simplest way to put this? The Brooks Addiction series sole gives bounce to your feet as you run, and cushion to your feet as you walk.
These features usually don’t go together. Brooks, however, has designed a liquid that does both.
The science involved is complex, but a simple explanation is a comparison with water. Jumping off a diving board into a pool won’t hurt you, but falling off a tall bridge into a river certainly will. The slower you enter a body of water, the smoother your entry. The faster you fall into it, the harder the initial impact – in fact, if you’re high enough, the impact will be just like falling onto concrete.
Brooks DNA works just like this, but on a slower scale. The harder the impact on the sole, the more the sole bounces back. The softer the impact, the more it absorbs.
Honestly, you’re better off just watching the video. Enjoy the moment where a runner literally runs across a pool of Brooks DNA liquid without sinking.
Pain relief and science, however, aren’t the only reasons we love this company, and why we think you should buy.
If you have to buy something, it’s much more gratifying making that buy from a company with ethics.
Brooks did something wonderful ten years ago, making a biodegradable midsole to replace the old foam version found in nearly every running shoe on the planet. The old version is made from something called ethylene-vinyl acetate, and EVA foam takes around 1,000 years to completely break down. Consider how many pairs of shoes are tossed each year, and you’ve got yourself a minor ecological disaster.
Brooks’ BioMoGo is found in nearly all pairs of Brooks shoes, and matches the traditional EVA foam in all performance aspects. The second-best part? It only takes 20 years to biodegrade.
The first best part? You’ll notice we didn’t say ‘Brooks’ patented BioMoGo.’ A patent, even though it would make Brooks a lot of money, would prevent other companies from using the formula, and add up to a lot more trash.
Brooks just gave the formula away, to anyone who wanted to use it. Any company willing to do that deserves your support.
There you have it – great for pain and injury, great for running, and great for the planet.
Nothing is perfect, however, and Brooks Addiction users still have complaints – which brings us to the cons list.
Everything Not So Great About Brooks Addiction
The first is a fairly common problem for running shoes.
1. Weak Mesh
A number of reviews were upset that the mesh atop the front of the shoe, the area covering your toes, started developing holes and tears within a few weeks. It wasn’t a common problem, but it appeared enough times and across enough separate states for us to include it.
Brooks Addiction isn’t the only line of running shoes that has gathered complaints like this. Inferior mesh, or inferior stitching, is an easy corner to cut if you need to cut costs.
Our advice? Wear the shoes out early. If they develop tears, you’ll have a better chance of returning them within the allowable time.
There’s really no getting around this one – Brooks Addictions are expensive. Most pairs are well over $100.
The price reflects the engineering involved (certainly not the color, which we’ll get to shortly), so this is not the shoe for you if you’re just looking for style. Addictions are meant for serious runners and serious injuries. If you’re healthy, don’t like running, and just need something to cover your feet, go simpler, and save your money.
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3. Color, or Lack Thereof
If you want bold designs and dazzling colors, you are clean out of luck. Brooks Addiction comes in three colors – black, white, and brown suede. The company is far more fond of functionality than it is of fashion.
4. Size: Too Tight, Too Often
Brooks Addiction has one other problem common to many running shoe brands – the sizes run small.
Again, this was a consistent complaint across multiple states. Even those who were praising the shoe mentioned it, and recommended that users order a ½ size larger for themselves. Both newcomers to Brooks and longtime Brooks users found that their normal shoe size was too small on the Brooks Addiction.
Our advice? If you can, buy the Addictions from a physical store, and try them on yourself first. If you’re ordering online, order a ½ size larger than your normal shoe size, and try them on immediately when they arrive.
Our Advice, in One Final Word
While overall, we loved the Brooks Addiction line, we loved it because of what it can do for people who need help, and people who want to run better and healthier. That doesn’t mean the shoes are for everyone.
Remember, at the end of the day, your opinion is the only one that will matter, as you’re the one who will have to wear these shoes hundreds of separate times.
Always try them first, always make sure you’re comfortable, and always make sure you have a return policy if you need it. Happy trails.