Brooks Racer ST 5

I wanted this shoe the minute I saw a picture of its bright (but not day-glo) orange upper. But the Brooks Racer ST 5 and I had a rocky start. First of all, this shoe has a serious identity crisis. Minimalist but supportive enough for pronators? Lightweight for 5Ks but durable enough for the marathon? I had no idea when or where to run in the shoe.

So I wore it for everything except running. These shoes look so cool with jeans that I received compliments every time I wore them. Definitely attention-seeking. But could they perform? I took them out for their first tempo in April, and almost fell over half a dozen times. The shoelaces – pretty, blue, and ribbonlike – kept coming untied. And I double-knot my shoes. Every time. Heck, I even double-knot my kids’ shoes. You should see them trying to untie the laces…

So the Racer ST 5s were relegated to the closet until I went to Potomac River Running and got some lock-laces to replace the ribbons. Unfortunately, they were out of blue laces so Meghan suggested orange ones…as if the shoes didn’t scream loudly enough. Coincidentally, she had just raced a half marathon in the shoes and had no problems with the laces. Must be my (lack of) tying skills.

Before…
…After

Lock-laces in place, the Racer ST 5s were ready for their next run. I decided they would make their debut at the Charlottesville Sprint Triathlon, since, with the lock-laces, they were ready for a tri anyway. The run course was on some quite technical trails, and they performed magnificently. There’s a lot of ground contact with these shoes, and they really gripped the trail well.

I decided to see how the Racer ST 5s performed on the road, taking them to theFirecracker 5K in Reston July 4th. Again, the large amount of ground contact really enabled me to get a good midfoot landing and strong pushoff, and the lightness helped me maintain a good turnover in those late tired-leg stages.

It’s bold and it has some identity issues, but the Brooks Racer ST 5 more than lives up to performance expectations.

By the way, the shoe is only available in men’s sizes…ladies, just size down 1.5 sizes. I wear a 7 in a women’s shoe…the 5.5 fits me perfectly.

Note that Brooks didn’t pay me to write this review and the opinions are my own.

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