Review of Brooks Green Silence Racing Flat

Now that I’m a member of the Brooks I.D. sponsored runner program for 2010, I’ve slowly been building up my collection of Brooks running shoes. I’m a huge fan of the Brooks Launch (you can read my review of the Brooks Launch here), which I rode to an 8:00 PR at the Disney Marathon in January, but was in the market for a lightweight racing shoe that I could use for speedwork and shorter races. Despite my membership in Brooks I.D. and my comittment to the brand, I’ll demonstrate that I can write an unbiased review by telling you that my first attempt at running in a Brooks racing flat was the Brooks T6 Racer. While I liked the feel of the T6 (and I really like the new red color scheme), they repeatedly chewed up one of my heels and I wound up having to send them back. Therefore, it was with some excitement that I awaited the release of the Brooks Green Silence, which is a new model for Brooks in 2010. The Green Silence is a lightweight racing flat that also happens to be one of the most environmentally friendly shoes ever made. Here’s the description of the Green Silence from Brooks:

Brooks Green Silence

Make an eco-statement with the Green Silence racing flat. Each and every part in this fast, groundbreaking shoe has a sustainable element, including soy-based inks and recycled materials. And in this case, “green” goes hand-in-hand with the great performance you expect from Brooks. The Green Silence helps you take responsibility, and first place—with good karma to spare. Weight: 6.9 oz.

At this point I’ve only run about 20 miles in the Green Silence, but so far I’ve been very impressed.  Here are my initial thoughts.

Appearance: The first thing you’ll notice about the Brooks Green Silence is that they’re asymmetrical, with a red sole on the right foot with a mostly yellow upper, whereas the left foot sports a yellow sole and mostly red upper – this unique pattern just barely flies under my OCD threshold (normally, symmetry = good for me). However, I like running shoes that are loudly colored (one of my reasons for loving the Launch), and these are about as loud a pair of shoes as you’ll find. I’ve heard them referred to as Ronald McDonald shoes, and my wife thinks they look ridiculous, but I have to admit that I really like the asymmetrical design and clown colors (and I fear clowns). These shoes will stand out in any setting, and I anticipate lots of questions and comments once I start wearing them in races. Also unsual is the tongue, or rather the lack thereof.  Instead, the upper overlaps from one side to the other to cover the top of your foot, and the laces are slightly off-center. This made lacing a bit tricky at first, but I think I now have the hang of it.

Brooks Green Silence
Picture showing the asymmetrical coloring of the Brooks Green Silence (from Running Warehouse)

Fit: The Green Silence are unlike most other racing flats that I’ve worn because they have a very roomy toebox (forefoot). I’ve had instep blister problems in the past with flats like the Nike Lunaracer due to the narrowness of the toebox, but the Green Silence fit my foot like a glove – no blisters like I had with the T6 Racer, not even a single hot spot. I’d compare the fit very favorably to that of the Launch – extremely comfortable.

Another unusual feature of the Green Silence when compared to most other shoes is that it has a low heel. The drop from heel-to-toe is only 8mm, vs. 12-13mm in most other Brooks shoes (and most other shoes in general). From a practical standpoint, this makes the Green Silence a good choice for someone looking to try and transition to a more mid-foot/forefoot gait. When I first put my pair on, I noticed a distinctly Newton-like feel to them, and this is likely due to the low heel and lower heel-toe drop. They lack the flexibility of something like the Nike Free 3.0 or Vibram Fivefingers, but they are by no means stiff and have a much more minimalist feel than most shoes out there. Cushioning is not quite a cushy as the Launch, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use these for a long run. Finally, the Green Silence are really light – weighing in at just over 7oz each they fit squarely within my preferred weight range for running shoes.

Brooks Green Silence Review

Performance: Although I’ve only run about 20 miles in the Green Silence so far, I’ve used them for an easy run, and interval workout, and a fartlek. The shoes performed marvelously in all three situations. They’re light enough to feel really fast for speed workouts (most of my interval reps were at sub-6:00 pace), yet cushioned enough to handle longer runs. Although the initial plan is to use them for shorter races, I suspect that they would hold up well even in a marathon – they’re that comfortable.  As with the Launch, I have a sense that I’m landing further forward on my heel (almost on the mid-foot) in the Green Silence – I plan to shoot a slow-motion gait video (like these) soon to confirm this. I really have nothing but good things to say performance wise – I’m loving these shoes.

Summary: Lightweight, low heel, flashy design, and eco-friendly – as an environmentally conscious runner who tends toward more minimalist shoes, what more could I ask for. The Green Silence has already earned itself a firm place in my running shoe rotation, and I will definitely be wearing it in my next race (either a 4-miler or a 5K). I applaud Brooks for putting in the effort to design a “green” shoe like this, and hopefully this will be the first of many in their lineup – I also hope that the other shoe manufacturers follow Brooks’ lead. The production of this shoe makes me proud to represent Brooks as a member of the Inspire Daily program, and the fact that it performs as well on the road as it will biodegrade in a landfill is an added bonus that’s hard to beat.

Update 4/13/2010: In terms of the capability of the Green Silence for a marathon, I’d give it a definite thumbs up. I ran 28.5 miles last Friday in a Relay for Life event, and 20+ were in the Green Silence. Granted, the miles were not continuous, but I have zero blisters, and my legs are feeling great just a few days later. I wouldn’t hesistate to wear these in a marathon at this point – they’re incredibly comfortable.

Below is a rundown of the “green” elements found in the Green Silence (via Brooksrunning.com):

  • BioMoGo, the world’s first-ever biodegradable midsole for running shoes.
  • 75% of the shoe’s materials are post-consumer recycled.
  • Biodegradable insole and collar foams.
  • Laces, gillies, and reinforced webbing are 100% post-consumer recycled.
  • Water-based adhesives are used throughout.
  • All dyes and colorants are non-toxic.
  • Packaging is 100% post-consumer recycled.

Below is an overview of the Green Silence from Runner’s World:

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.



Comments

  1. Ravisraman says:

    I just picked up a pair of these at the Seattle Marathon Expo. Going to give them a shot…looking for something I can use for longer distances (I run ultras).

    The rep that sold them to me said they are coming out with up to 4 new colors for next year….right now they are in green/black for the men’s version.

  2. I bought these and really liked them, but took them to the local cobbler and had them zero-dropped. He removes material from the heel and glues it back together, making the hell-forefoot drop, well… zero.

    Did this with Saucony Fastwitch 3s, which have about 300 miles on them now and some Brooks Cascadia 5 trail-running shoes (they still weigh approximately 117 pounds though).

    I first did this because I was having difficulty finding a road flat or racing shoe that had a wide enough toe box for me. I was getting used to the VFFs and liked the spreading-out of the toes.

    Anyway, works for me.

  3. I got a running friend who is using the Green silence for ultra marathons here in the Philippines.

  4. Josh Conners says:

    AMAZING TRAINER, PREVENTED ME SO MANY INJURIES

  5. Hi Pete!  Thanks for the helpful review.  Really digging these and am interested in buying a pair, but slightly concerned as these would be my first “racing flats” and also because I’ve been told that I overpronate (not sure how much, but have never been injured from running…knock on wood). I currently run in Nike LunarGlides (slight support) and old Nike Tri-Ds but want to add a pair of lighter, more minimal shoes to my rotation. Do you think these would be an issue for someone who is a slight overpronator?  The Green Silence felt great when I tried them on in my local store, though I only got to run around the block in them!  Any thoughts would be much appreciated :)

    • Pete Larson says:

      I’m not a big believer in the whole pronation control paradigm when it comes to choosing footwear. You never know how any given individual will respond to a given shoe, so best advice is to just experiment carefully if you so desire – can’t promise anything, but chances are you’ll be just fine.

  6. Paul Davis says:

    update note: scott jurek wore these for a 24hr world championship in the first half of 2010. his blog noted that at the outset he was concerned about whether they would be “enough shoe”, but he ended up having apparently no problems with them. of course, scott jurek’s and your (whoever “you” may be) mileage may differ :)

    • Pete Larson says:

      Yep, Jurek runs just a few more miles than me :) Actually, I used the GS for
      a Relay for Life event in which I ran 28.5 miles over the course of the
      night – worked out just fine.

      Pete

  7. Patrick says:

    I developed Morton’s neuroma while running in these. I’m not sure if its the shoe to blame, but I don’t think it helped. The forefoot was so cushy, during one toe off I felt something pop and my foot turned into a burning fire of bones and mush. MN took 6 weeks to go back to normal. Then, I discovered I always had cuboid syndrome which was mainly masked by the pain from MN before. After a little adjustment and popping that bone back into place, I seem to be fine now. I’d caution about landing too much on the forefoot in these shoes though.

  8. Rbrillo1007 says:

    I have run 30 miles a week in this she since August with little to no breakdown or wear. The best i have run in.

  9. Green Living Eco says:

    Wow, those do look like clown shoes =;> I tried the Green Silence for women recently and loved them except for a few problems. You can read my review here: link to greenlivingeco.com

  10. I love, love, love these shoes! I am such a finicky shoe buyer. I literally tried on 25 pairs of shoes before I settled on these. I didn’t settle for the feel, they fit like a glove, but it took me a few days to get over the look. They are definitely the ugliest shoes I’ve ever purchased. Who is designing these things?!?! Luckily, I’m a woman and so my option is actually considerably much less ugly than the men’s versions, but still, come on Brooks, you can do better than this! Despite the look, I feel like I’m flying in them. It doesn’t matter if I’m doing intervals, or just putting in the slow miles, they are such a great feel. Or really, more a lack of feel because I hardly remember that I have them on. I have a high arch with feet that are narrow in the heel and middle and then spread out wide at the toes (thanks to my Vibram five fingers) so I need a nice roomy tow box with a more streamlined heel and middle and this shoe provides that perfectly! Keeping my fingers crossed that the 2011 model has some better color options…

    • Pete Larson says:

      I totally agree – great shoe but the new black designs are kind of ugly. I
      have the original red/yellow and they are ugly in a good way :)

    • Ravisraman says:

      I just got a pair at the Seattle Marathon expo…the rep said that 4 colors are on the way for next year….not sure when though :)

  11. Have a couple athletes using these shoes as long sprinters. Workouts consist of interval training no higher than 500m at 56s pace. I’m concerned about them using a minimalist running shoe, however, for acceleration work and plyometric training. Was curious to your opinion and any possible suggestions within Brooks products since they sponsor our team. Also both of these athletes have average arches and a neutral groundstrike. Thanks

  12. Patrickbateman321 says:

    I just picked up a pair and did 4 miles (on the teadmill so take this with a grain of salt). They felt light and had enough cushion – I forefoot strike, but 2% of the time I’ll take a few easy strides heel striking to give my calves a quick break. I went with my regual shoe size and there was enough room in the toe box so they fit. I normally wear 1 size up in any running shoe. I’m not sure where they’re going to fit in the rotation. I have Saucony Shay XC flats, Saucony Kinvaras, and just got the Nike Zoom Streak XC 2. I’m looking to fill the 10k race slot. I use the Shay’s for 5k and sprint tri’s. Thinking the Kinvaras will be training only, especially recovery days. May race 10k in either the Green Silence or the Zoom Streaks.

  13. I just tried on a pair and loved them.  I have tried the Kinvara, the mirage, etc. and these fit like a glove.  

  14. Cocobat1976 says:

    I have these and think they’re great! been running 30-40 miles a week in them for about 10 weeks. intervals, distance, and recovery runs. they’ve held up fine. i just bought another pair as i have over 300 miles on them. This was the first pair of shoes I’ve tried to run without socks in and they’re still very comfortable. never had any blisters. but i did change the insole as i do with all of my running shoes.

  15. If I like the fit of the Glycerine or Adrenaline, will these be comparably sized? thank you!

  16. Jonniegee1965 says:

    Going to try and find these today.  Have been running my 5K and 10Ks in VFFs, but need to go with a little more cushioning now that I’m training for a Half and Full Marathons.

    • Jonniegee1965 says:

      Now in Afghanistan and ordered my 4th pair straight from Brooks.  These are my #1 shoe for gym, and running.  Brooks site also has a few new color choices to choose from.  I would stay away from the Green pair though.  Seems that they have a different material for the upper, and not the sponge like sock on the Red/Yellow, Blue/Yellow, and Blue/Silver(?).  Still go with at least a half to full size larger then what you think you’d wear.

    • Jonniegee1965 says:

      Got my first pair and loved them so much pruchased a 2nd pair.  Doing 10-12 mile runs in them every other day, and have had zero issues with them.  Definetly recommend these shoes.  As mentioned in the review they have a nice roomy toe box, which is a big plus.

      • Jonniegee1965 says:

        Own 3 pairs now, almost any many as VFFs.  Did 1/2 Marathon past Saturday, with zero problems, feet felt awesome all the way thru and felt great next day also.  I love these shoes for distance, still VFFs 2-3x a week for feet strengthing. Brooks website has a better color selection then the on-line or retail stores.

  17. I am addicted to racing flats says:

    Hi Pete, I’m not sure if you check your old posts, but I figure it’s worth a try. :) I liked the PureConnect a lot, but the forefoot rubber fell apart on me after less than 200 miles (which is not acceptable in my book), and I was wondering how these would compare. So, I was hoping you could compare the GS’s ride to some of the other flats that I see you’ve reviewed that I’ve worn in the past. I know you said you returned the T6, which is my favorite flat, but I wasn’t sure if you had enough of a chance to get a feel for them first. I did not like the PureFlow because it felt very overly soft to me (preferred the Launch for regular trainers, since despite being soft, it seemed to respond a little better). The Free 3.0 is too flexible for me. I liked the Ronin 4 and Mach 13 spikeless a lot, though the Ronin feels much more like a traditional flat than the PureConnect did, and the Mach feels like an XC spike with blanks in it (for obvious reasons). I don’t care about heel-toe differential so much as transition, ride, and cushion. Thank you very much!

    • Pete Larson says:

      I get all comments via email, so yes even on old posts :) Been awhile since I’ve run in the GS, by my recollection is that it’s a rather soft shoe, so if you don’t want that it might not be the best choice for you. If I had to race a 5k tomorrow, I’d go with the Adidas Hagio – great road flat, firm underfoot, and just enough stiffness to give a bit of spring.
      Sent from my iPad

  18. Ellefson says:

    I bought these 6 weeks ago and blew out the side after 130 miles??  I will try to return them to the running store I bought them from and see what they say.  I haven’t heard of anyone else complaining about short life.  How are they lasting for others, anyone got to 300 miles or more??

  19. Great review and summary of what I consider the best priced and built running shoe.  I’ve been wearing the Brooks Burn and Launch now for a few years after a brutal I.T. band injury.  Recently the Launches flet too heavy and I could feel a definite urge to go faster.  I started wearing my T-6 for all runs including hills and while the T-6′s are usually reserved for my speed days and 5K’s, they have given me the lighter feel I was looking for for all runs. I’m worried though for longer runs there may not be enough support. Thinking of going for the Green Silence.  Any thoughts?  Thanks for your time and keep the site going. 

    • Pete Larson says:

      Been a long time since I ran in the T6, but my recollection would be that the GS is maybe a bit softer, but also has a lower heel. I would not say it offers a whole lot more support. Maybe something from the Pure series?

      • Randall M. says:

        Thanks for the reply.  Tried one run in the G.S’s and promptly returned them. While I liked the low profile they are too wide and felt flat and floppy.  The T-6 gives same level of support and gives a faster feel.  Will probably step out of Brooks family for first time in a while, still looking for a happy medium between T-6 and the Launch  I really like the feel of New Balance 1400; although I haven’t committed yet. Thanks again for your feedback, take care. 

  20. Amanda@runninghood says:

    Great review! I linked you today in my post.  

  21. I’m just curious if these shoes fit true to size? Some of brooks shoes can have weird sizing. Any input is greatly appreciated. Love your reviews,

    Charles

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