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Springy cushioning and some support from a small medial post, with the added benefit of a lighter than ever product mainly due to a great update to the upper, the Brooks Ravenna 9 is now finally a credible option in the market for someone wanting a true lightweight trainer.
The Brooks Ravenna 9 has lost about 0.7 oz compared to the previous model, but is still very much an everyday trainer that can eat up heavy training without compromising cushioning for weight.
It should be put in the mild support category as it has a medial post but it is so subtle that I would have no hesitation to say any neutral runner can wear this shoe. If anything, the post only really kicks in when you are getting tired and you start to pronate a little more with fatigue.
The responsive midsole EVA combined with the flexibility of the outsole and a great new upper made me really fall in love with this new shoe.
I have worn Ravenna shoes in the past and always thought they are a little lacking and not a credible shoe in a strong Brooks line – almost there just to fill a category gap with little thought for the product or its end use. The Ravenna 9 has changed all that… Here are my detailed thoughts:
The good news is it’s a very light shoe with a 10mm stack height, so it is built to do miles in first and foremost, then you get the benefit of the lightweight build as an added bonus. Brooks BioMoGo DNA midsole compound always feels great, but sometimes the midsole design lets it down. In the Ravenna 9 case, the blend of excellent EVA and a midfoot transition zone delivered a really smooth ride. The balance from heel to toe was excellent, and whatever pace I ran, it always delivered what I wanted. Slow runs, and it oozed cushioning but at faster pace, it felt responsive and snappy.
Clean and stripped back would be a best description for the Ravenna 9. Do not let the lack of overlays or techy welding put you off. The forefoot is a bespoke woven sandwich mesh with all the support and toe box re-enforcement hidden smoothly inside the shoe. The fit is amazing, you will want to keep wiggling you toes when it is on, it feels so nice!
The rear quarter and heel has some overlays, which are welded to help secure the foot in place when tied, and there is a firm but well-shaped heel counter to lock your foot in place.
I particularly liked the collar lining and the way it folds over to the outside of the shoe, as it gives a really plush feel around the ankle for such a lightweight product. The new upper rivals most shoes on the market right now for instant comfort, including all those expensive knitted shoes - I liked it that much!
A full rubber outsole is unusual on such a lightweight shoe, and the lugs in the forefoot are more than sufficient to take this shoe on some light trails with no issues at all. I think that it is really important for an everyday trainer to offer versatility, and too often as you go lighter in your shoes, you compromise some grip – but not with this shoe. Nothing spectacular, or too much to comment on -it just does a good job, flexes well and has lasted well over the 80+ miles I have covered so far.
The Ravenna 9 really stamps Brooks in the lightweight training category with a credible contender for your money! Saucony are really pushing boundaries in this category with shoes like the Liberty ISO, so Brooks need to step up, and they have. I would even say this is a real issue for the Brooks Launch 5, as the medial post on the Ravenna 9 is so subtle is almost invisible, but its great to have for some longer runs.. I liked the Launch 5 but I wouldn’t pick it over the Ravenna 9 that’s for sure. This is a real workhorse of a shoe, that offers great cushioning and mild support but amazing is packed in a really lightweight product. I was really surprised by the overall performance of this shoe, especially compared to its average predecessors – a very, very nice shoe for the money.
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|Release date||JAN 2018|