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Brooks Beast Review - Features and Competitors Running Shoes (Are Asics Better?)

Updated on November 9, 2010

If you don’t have what you would call a ”typical runners body”  and need more support from your running shoes than the Brooks Beast just might be what you’re looking for. Also known as the “Ariel” in the womens version, the Beast rightly deserves its name as it is an extremely solid motion control shoe. This article is going to take a closer look at the Beast and why it’s loved by the bigger runner.

Is this the right shoe for you?

These shoes are designed for excessive pronators and people with very little to no arch. For such foot types the shoes need to do more than support your feet but rather CONTROL and alter the way you walk more significantly than other motion control shoes. You don’t necessarily have to be a heavy build to wear the shoe but it is capable of dealing with.

Many people are confused as to what their own foot type is and there are a number of ways to determine this, the best of which is a gait analysis done by a podiatrist. This simply involves walking barefoot often on a treadmill with your feet being examined from behind. You can sometimes tell what your foot type is by looking at your old shoes though this can be misleading for a number of reasons. If you are unsure about your foot type and have significant foot problems it would be a good idea to consult your podiatrist for the right advice.

What makes it a Beast?

Lets look at some of the main features that make this shoe earn its name.

Progressive Diagonal Rollbar

This is the reinforced dual density midsole that does the heavy lifting in terms of pronation control. The support is built up on the medial side of shoe covering the area from the heel to the forefoot. Brooks takes the already built up support further by adding a hard plastic webbing to further strengthen the dense foam. At first this will have a slightly more prominent feel under your foot but looking at your ankles in the mirror will show you the difference in pronation control the shoes provide. Compare this to the support in a good shoe like Asics Kayano running shoes and the difference is immediately apparent.

Brooks Beast
Brooks Beast

MOGO Midsole

Mogo is Brooks’ premier cushioning foam and in the Beast it runs the entire length of the shoe. Mogo is different to conventional EVA foam as it not only offers a higher level of cushioning than in earlier models but also a greater level of energy return. In simple terms this means that there is less strain on your foot when you run and because of the foams springy qualities you can run for longer without your feet getting tired.  Other Brands will have similar foam compounds e.g. Asics SoLyte.

HydroFlow Cushioning

Within the midsole of the higher end Brooks range is hydroflow cushioning. Hydroflow is a liquid gel like pad encased in a plastic. The benefit of being a liquid is that the cushioning is more responsive than a solid gel or foam and more stable than an air cushioning pad. Hydroflow will also last longer than conventional cushioning technologies but by the time it is no longer effective you should have already replaced your running shoes. If you are looking for an even softer feel then the Beast’s insole can easily be removed in place of some gel shoe inserts.

X-static Sockliner

Using what is known as “The Silver Fiber” the socklining helps keep your feet cool and dry while also adding to the cushioning. The parts of the sockliner will conform to your foot ensuring that your feet don’t move around inside the shoes helping prevent blistering. Keeping your feet dry will help the shoes from smelling and discourage the growth of any bacteria. This feature is particularly important for people with oedema and the addition of a good performance or diabetic sock will make this feature even more effective.

The Straight Last and Rollbar of the Brooks Beast
The Straight Last and Rollbar of the Brooks Beast

A Straight Last and Some Width

Over and above the technology is something as simple as the Shape or last of the shoe.  The beast is a straight lasted shoe meaning there is almost no curve from the heel to the toe when you look at the shoe from underneath. Most running shoes have a curve last like the natural foot motion for running. Flat footed people and those with a very low arch usually find part of their mid foot spills over the shoes silhouette. With straight lasted shoes like the Beast you have your whole foot supported and there are no tight spots where your foot or toes are getting squashed. The Beast also comes in different widths so you needn’t have your toes swimming inside a larger size just to fit the rest of your foot.

Who’s the Competition?

If you are looking to buy the Beast you may also want to look at the following competitors;

Asics – Evolution (Midsole foam is slightly softer as with all Asics. Meaning the shoe will feel more cushioned but will wear out slightly faster. The Evolution places your foot lower to the ground)
New Balance – 1221 ( Wider toe box and larger range of widths )

Thought the Beast may look like a heavy and clunky shoe once you have it on you will realize that it is anything but. The Beast is made to control something that most other shoes would have problems handling as effectively. There is little doubt that it’s solid shoe, all you need do is figure out if it’s the right one for you. Do your homework properly and especially if you have an orthotic or are considering these as diabetic shoes run it by your Podiatrist first.


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    • ghomefitness profile image

      ghomefitness 7 years ago from Chicago,IL

      I had to go with the New balance because the brooks were to tight on my Fred Flintstone foot. One of my daughters runs in the Beast and loves them. We both pronate. Great info!