Ghost vs. Ghost Max: What you need to know

by | Oct 20, 2023

8 min. read

You may already know that Brooks’ cushioned running shoes offer pillowy protection for mile after mile of distraction-free comfort. But how does the new Ghost Max compare?

Join us as we put Ghost and Ghost Max through their paces. We’ll reveal exactly why these Ghost men’s and women’s running shoes are so comfortable to wear, explore the technology that sets them apart, and explain how to choose the right shoe for your road-running routine.

Ghost Max

The Max series and the vital role of cushioning

The technology behind the new “Max” versions of various Brooks running shoes emerges from our in-depth understanding of what many runners truly crave—maximized cushioning for optimal comfort and protection. In fact, high-quality cushioning not only enhances a runner’s comfort but can extend endurance, reduce post-run recovery times, and significantly reduce the impact forces that travel up through the body and contribute to injuries over time.

Our Max running shoes, including the Ghost Max and the fast and springy Hyperion Max, signify Brooks’ commitment to this understanding. They’re not just shoes; they’re a promise, helping to ensure that every footfall is softer, every mile more comfortable, and every run distraction-free. We have gone above and beyond to achieve the right balance in the Ghost Max, making it the ideal soft and neutral option for runners who prioritize protection.

Ghost vs. Ghost Max: A side-by-side comparison

Ghost 15: Certified Carbon Neutral

Ghost 15

Soft, smooth and reliable so you can run or walk distraction-free and in comfort.

  • Soft DNA LOFT v2 cushioning for a smooth, and comfortable ride
  • Seamless transitions from heel to toe for an easy, effortless stride
  • Stable, reliable and balanced ride
  • Suitable for runners and walkers with a Neutral stride, that don’t require additional arch support.
  • 12mm midsole drop (24/12)
  • Certified Carbon Neutral
  • Width options available:
    • Narrow, Medium, Wide, Extra-Wide
Ghost MAX: Certified Carbon Neutral

Ghost MAX

High-stack cushioning provides maximum protection and softness for an easier feeling run or walk.

  • Super-stacked DNA LOFT v2 cushioning for extra protection and softness
  • GlideRoll Rocker actively assists you for easier transitions from heel to toe
  • Broad base for protection with a stable, secure feel
  • Suitable for those with conditions like neuromas, bunions, plantar fasciitis, low joint mobility and more.
  • 6mm midsole drop (28/22)
  • Certified Carbon Neutral
  • Width options available:
    • Medium, Wide, Extra-Wide
Ghost and Ghost Max side by side

As you might expect, the Ghost and Ghost Max are closely related yet subtly different. Let’s see how they stack up against one another in four key aspects.

  1. Protective cushioning: The Ghost features our soft DNA LOFT v2 midsole cushioning technology to deliver a soft cushy ride. Ghost Max’s GlideRoll Rocker actively assists heel to toe transitions and works with a higher stack of DNA LOFT v2 foam — which is also in the Ghost — to cushion every landing and help reduce pressure underfoot. That makes it the ideal choice for runners seeking protection for their feet and knees. 
  2. Easy transitionsGhost is rightly renowned for delivering a seamless heel-to-toe transition with each stride, helping runners achieve an effortless flow. The Ghost Max takes transitions to the next level, utilizing the unique GlideRoll Rocker to again actively facilitate the heel-to-toe movement and help protect runners as they roll through each stride.
  3. Stable ride: Ghost helps to ensure a balanced and stable ride, a hallmark of the Ghost series. The Ghost Max features a broader base to maximize the protection offered by a stable ride, especially for runners with neutral strides.
  4. Carbon footprint: The Ghost 15 and Ghost Max are both certified CarbonNeutral®.

Ghost 15: The legacy continues

The Ghost series stands as a testament to Brooks Running’s dedication to continuous improvement. Building upon each iteration, Ghost features a design grounded in feedback from runners all over the world.

Ghost 15 features
  • Comfort collar: Tailored specifically to prevent chafing, the comfort collar offers gentle padding around the heel and ankle, ensuring a snug fit without any discomfort.
  • External reinforcement: An adaptive fit is made possible through external structures, providing added security and a more structured feel.
  • Silicone eyerow: Ensuring that laces remain secure, the Ghost features a soft yet grippy silicone eyerow that’s gentle on the fingers during those quick tie-ups.
  • Classic DNA midsole: Ghost 15 features DNA LOFT v2 midsole technology, offering both the plush comfort required for long runs and the responsiveness needed for speed training.

Every feature in the Ghost is an evolution of years of research, ensuring it isn’t just a shoe but a running companion.

Ghost Max: To the MAX and beyond

Featuring a series of thoughtful design choices, the Ghost Max is tailored specifically for runners who want or need plenty of protection built into their running shoes.

Ghost MAX
  • Super-stacked DNA LOFT v2 foam: Offering supremely soft landings, DNA LOFT v2 foam is designed to provide a plush, protected feel without compromising on responsiveness.
  • GlideRoll Rocker technology: This exclusive feature is designed to provide a shoe-assisted transition from heel to toe, which in turn helps to reduce pressure under the forefoot.
  • Double jacquard warp knit: The two-color design detail is not just aesthetic; it is engineered for softness, breathability, durability, and flexibility.
  • Carbon neutrality: As a certified CarbonNeutral® shoe, the Ghost Max doesn’t just take care of your feet but the planet as well.

Keep it classic or MAX your comfort

Every runner is unique, and choosing between the Ghost and the Ghost Max truly depends on individual preferences. If you cherish tradition, the Ghost stands tall with its time-tested design, honed through multiple iterations, and remains a versatile choice for varied running experiences, from casual jogs to intense marathons with its lace-up and forget, distraction-free feel.

On the other hand, if you prioritize protection above everything else, the Ghost Max is your go-to. With its increased heel and forefoot cushioning and features like the GlideRoll Rocker, the new Ghost Max is all about max protection.

In the world of running, both shoes have their place. The Ghost continues its legacy of reliable performance, while the Ghost Max tweaks the winning formula to maximize comfort and protection. Whatever your choice, lace up knowing that you’ll run happy with Brooks.

Shop this article:

The Ghost 15: Reliable, Soft and Smooth

The Ghost MAX: MAX Cushion, MAX Protection

Bottom line, the ideal time of day to exercise is when it is best for you. Although more research is needed in this area to draw a conclusion on exactly what time of day is the best to exercise, what we do know is that long-term exercise does in fact improve aerobic capacity, cardiac function, management of BMI, and strength. So, the evidence points to moving your body for overall wellness regardless of what time you do it.

Keep that spring in your step this season and embrace your Run Happy journey with Brooks Running!

Our writer’s advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition or fitness routines.

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