Viva Launch! The Launch is dead! Long live the Launch.

by John Schrup

So you already know about the demise of the Brooks Launch.  If you don’t, well, I just don’t know what to say.  Round these parts, it’s bigger news than elections, government this or that, or any of the other pop culture shit that is dished out to us on a daily basis.  Yes, the Launch is going buh-bye.  Brooks has apparently decided that good design requires lots of fancy names and acronyms and shit.

So what do you do now that your beloved Launch is going away?  Wha…here, breathe into this here paper bag.  No.  We’ll find something for you.  You’ll be ok.  Sit up.  I know, it is a shock.

We gave you a few options to consider as replacements for the Launch.  I know.  Ma’am.  I know.  Nothing will ever replace the Launch.  I know.  I’m sorry.  I’m going to give you a few more, so that you won’t have to give up running.  I know.  It won’t be the same.

New Balance 1400

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Whatever.  I already listed the 890.  So what?  The thing about the Launch is that they are super smooth.  It’s, like, Nutella smooth.  Except shoes.  Well, the 890 are too, but the 1400 are so way totally smoother.  When I put on my 1400’s, out of nowhere a breeze comes up and my hair gets all wavy and shit.  I get tanner.  The forefoot of the Launch is a little beefier than the 1400, but the 1400 is faster underfoot.  Straight EVA baby.  That’s all you need.  We’ve all been tricked, like in the Cave Allegory, into believing all the random shit they put in our running shoes is the way it is supposed to be.  And now we’re to the point that we mistake a really simple shoe as inferior.  The 1400 is so smooth that I can almost guarantee that when you put yours on you’ll get way more action that you could ever dream of.  Married men will fall in love with you.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’ll be like that Shades of Grey book, except running.  I don’t know what that means, but it sounds real, real hot.   And my boss, Chris, rolls out in the 1400.  And he has an MBA, so you know it makes good financial sense.

Saucony Kinvara 31

 Seriously.  Why don’t you have a pair of these bad girls yet?  Now that the Kinvara got firmed up, got some durability up in there, it is aaaaaalllllmost one of the best shoes ever.  There is still a wee bit of an issue with the fit, but it isn’t so bad that you can’t get past it.  I said almost!  I don’t know what “Kinvara” means, or even what language that is, but I bet it means, like, “fast” or “amazing runner” or “time me” or some shit.  The Kinvara is lighter than the Launch, with a lower offset (10mm v. 4mm), but perhaps not quite as smooth.  It comes in wide and kid sizes too, which means minimalism for the whole family!  Still, you wear these and Zuckerberg will friend you.

ASICS Gel-Excel 33

Hahahaha, yeeeeah.  No.

Brooks Pure Flow

One would think, wouldn’t one, that to replace a Brooks with a Brooks would fit within the realm of reason and logic.  One would think.  My initial thought about this was that the Flow could be the default.  Relatively light, a low offset (lower than the Launch, even), snug fit.  What’s not to like?

When I first heard that Brooks was doing the “minimal” thing, I was real, real excited.  I mean, I’d put crazy miles on the Burn, the Racer ST—each incarnation;  awesome, way underrated shoe.  If you cut out the DRB Accel truss in the midfoot—the T Series.  Even the first version of the Ghost wasn’t too bad.  Much, much firmer then.  I was more than mildly aroused at the thought of what Brooks might do with a design that is inherently more suited to actual, you know, running.

I really, really wanted to like them.  I really tried.  Honest.  I wore them for quite some time.  Each time telling myself that I’d get used to them.  That they needed to break in some more.  Something.  But, finally, I had to ditch them.  I loved the fit:   Like.  A.  Glove.  But they were a bit, I don’t know, heavy.  A bit clunky.  For me, anyway.

But don’t take my word for it.  Our man Marc Bergman over there, dude runs, like, 2:45 with his eyes tied behind his back, a rare strain of Ebola, compound plantar fasciitis and nipple chafe and he wears the Flow on race day and for speed stuff.  Since he started running with us, he’s dropped his PR almost 15 mins, and he is always repping the Brooks.  Dude is amazing.  Also, he wears an old school headband and retroactively invented math.  Bergman wears the Flow2, 3.

1That’s what I’m talking about!

2 Marc Bergman does not officially endorse, nor is he paid by Brooks Sports.

3Bergman also wears a collared shirt with flames and shit on it.  So there you go.

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3 thoughts on “Viva Launch! The Launch is dead! Long live the Launch.

  1. I usually don’t reply to these much, but I have worn a lot of the shoes that you have reviewed lately. This may sound sacrilegious, but I would offer up the “bloop” Pegasus 29 shoes as a possible replacement for the launch for some people. Having gone through two pairs of the Launch and four pairs of the Pureflows over the last few years I have some experience for comparison sake. To me the Launch was a simple soft shoe that was lightweight, and after the first 160+ miles of the Pegasus 29s it seems to comparable but with a bit more durability. I am a big guy and a big time supinator that with the Launch once I got over 100 miles it felt like the outside of my foot was on the downhill side of an incline plane as soon as I put them on. Yes, the Pegasus are soft but they are holding up much better than the Launch did, and actually seem a bit more responsive. Oh ya, and the PureFlows are a great shoe and I still rotate them in, but in comparison to Launch or Pegasus for me they are not enough protection for longer distances.

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