Brooks Transcend 4 Review

Overview

The Brooks Transcend 4 is a maximum cushioning shoe offering a more cushioned and stable alternative to the Ghost 9. The Transcend 4 is designed to help overpronaters and provide excellent stability. The shoe is sold at MSRP for $160, a $10 decrease from last year’s version, making it one of the more expensive shoes on the market and it is difficult to find it anywhere else for cheaper. The shoe, however, is very durable, and does a solid job of fitting the niche of a stable, and cushioned shoe and is a shoe that runner’s can expect to have very strong feelings for, either positively or negatively.

Function

The Brooks Transcend 4 is designed as a support road shoe, and it is not recommended that you take it too far from the road, track, or treadmill. This shoe is recommended for runners who require a significant amount of stability and desire a very cushioned ride.  Especially runners with a heavier frame that are new to the sport may enjoy this shoe significantly to increase the comfort of their run.


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The shoe will be best to handle your everyday runs on roads, tracks, or treadmills and you should find that it can handle just about any distance. If you are trying to race competitively for time, I’d recommend going into a much lighter shoe, but if your goal is completing a distance, this shoe should be perfect for nearly every run on the aforementioned surfaces.

The shoe is definitely a stability shoe, and if you do not overpronate, even if you want a cushioned shoe, I recommend you look elsewhere for a neutral shoe. But for overpronaters, this shoe may be the answer to many of your aches and pains.

The Specs

General

The Brooks Transcend 4 boasts Brooks top comfort features. The primary feature on the Transcend 4 is the guide rails in the midsole in addition to the PEBAX external heel counter designed for maximum stability. The super DNA midsole is also a more intense cushioning feature than what is seen on most other shoes, including the BioMoGo utilized in the Brooks Ghost and Launch. Furthermore, the Transcend 4 uses a 3D fit print in the upper and a plush interior.

The shoe is designed to offer a more cushioned and comfortable alternative to Brooks’ top selling shoe, the Ghost 9.  This allows the Transcend 4 to cater towards larger runners with less refined form to help provide the necessary support. The shoe is designed for mostly road and track running, but it is capable of handling some tame trails and dirt roads.

Brooks lists the men’s shoe as being best suited for runners with a flat or medium arch. The shoe is reported to weigh in at 10.8 oz with an 8mm drop. Runner’s World reports similar numbers in the weight, reporting the shoe at 10.9 oz. Runner’s World found a slightly different drop, listing it the Transcend 4 at 10.8mm with a 36.1mm heel profile and a 25.3mm forefoot profile.

On the women’s side, the shoe is also recommended for runners with a flat or medium arch. the shoe is also listed with a weight of 9.1oz and an 8mm drop. Runner’s World, on the other hand, reports the weight at 8. oz and the drop at 12.0mm, listing the heel profile as 26.2mm and the forefoot profile at 24.2mm.

The profile and weight are indicative of the extra cushioning elements that Brooks has put in this shoe to ensure the most comfortable ride they can provide.

Upper

The Transcend 4 Upper utilizes Brooks’ 3D Fit Print feature. The mesh material is designed to create the best fit possible while maximizing breathability. On the back of the upper is the Brooks PEBAX external heel counter designed to stabilize the back of the foot and reduce rotation for overpronaters. These two features in tandem cause the shoe to be pretty narrow in the upper and does not allow for a lot of flexibility. So don’t expect the shoe to break in too much outside of the store. It is likely that the fit you get in the store is the fit you will have to get used to.

While the shoe seems to do a good job of holding the foot in place, this has a downside of making the foot feel very constricted if the shoe does not fit your foot perfectly. There is very little give in the upper and even after quite a few miles in the shoe, the upper holds very tight. This may be an advantage to runners that require a lot of extra support from a shoe to control their foot motion, but may prove annoying and painful to those who do not.

Regarding the appearance of the Transcend 4, it is not a pretty shoe and in my opinion, it never has been. This is a shoe for function, and not appearance. However, the appearance improved slightly over last year’s version, especially on the Women’s side where there are more options. At the very least, however, Brooks decided not to go with their usual gaudy color schemes in the Transcend 4 and stuck to more common schemes.  Brooks fits their usual M.O. here by focusing much more on the function of the shoe than the appearance.

Topsole/Midsole

The main feature of the Transcend 4 is seen in the Brooks Guide Rail technology, which they say is there to “help keep your body in its natural path of motion for stable, efficient strides.”  This will vastly help runners who overpronate by maximizing stability through the heel to toe off phase of each step. This will also help runners with plantar fasciitis by offering more stability from the shoe in each step taking away some of the work from the muscles and tendons in the foot.

ALSO READ:  Best Tennis Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Along with the Guide Rails, this shoe features Brooks’ Super DNA Midsole. This is similar to the BioMoGo DNA, which Brooks claims “Dynamically adapts to every step and stride” and is used in shoes like the Ghost 9. The Super DNA Midsole, however, Brooks advertises as being “20% more adaptable” than the BioMoGo system. This means that the Transcend 4 will over more cushioning even than the Ghost 9, which is already a very cushioned shoe for its class. This system lifts the Transcend from a neutral everyday trainer to a true cushioned shoe designed for maximum comfort. Although, the Guide Rails in the shoe do increase the stiffness a bit so if you find that you do not need the guide Rails to help adjust your stride, the Transcend 4 may not be the shoe for you.

The topsole and midsole of the Transcend 4 sacrifice a lot of responsiveness and add a bit of weight to ensure the most comfortable ride Brooks could imagine. Therefore, if you are a runner that faces many injuries or just simply wants a much more comfortable ride.

Outsole

The outsole of the Transcend 4, like most shoes on the market right now, is consisted almost entirely of blown rubber. The grip is not excellent, but it will suffice just fine on roads.  While it can handle a trail, it is certainly not designed for it as the shoe is designed to land on the flat surface of a road, treadmill, or track, and the stability functions will not work nearly as well on uneven circumstances. Furthermore, the tread has a habit of picking up unwanted baggage from trails in the form of seeds and small rocks. If you intend on doing the majority of your running on gravel roads or trails then, I recommend you look for a different shoe.

The outsole, especially if you limit its use to track, road, or treadmill, is very durable, and you should find that it retains its cushioned ride for quite a long time. You will definitely get your money’s worth, then, if you like the way the shoe rides.

Awards

According to runrepeat.com, the Transcend 4 was scored  as the 6th best Brooks running shoe in June of 2017, with a score of 85 out of 100. The Transcend 3 also received the award from Runner’s World for the best shoe update in 2016, so it seems that Brooks is moving in the right direction with the shoe, especially considering they seem to have maintained the same cushioning from last year’s version while dropping a bit of weight.  Additionally, the shoe dropped $10 from $170 in last year’s version to $160 in this year’s.

Similar Shoes

There are not too many shoes that are very similar to the Transcend 4, as the bulky and cushioned shoe represents a relatively newer and less explored part of the running shoe market. The best shoes to compare it to, however, are the Brooks Glycerin 14, the Saucony Triumph ISO 3 and the Mizuno Wave Horizon.

The Brooks Glycerin 14 is the best to start with since, as the same manufacturer makes it, it is quite similar. The Glycerin, however, does not offer any of the support features of the Transcend 4 and is designed more for a neutral runner. It does, however, have the same midsole and a similar weight and drop and offers an excellent alternative to the Transcend 4 for runners who want a neutral shoe but don’t overpronate. The only major difference comes in the lack of Guide Rails and a $10 decrease in MSRP.

Arguably the most similar shoe to the Transcend 4 on the market is Mizuno’s Wave Horizon. The Wave Horizon is the same price as the Transcend 4 and is very similar in both weight and profile, although the drop is a little more significant in the Wave Horizon than the Transcend. The Wave Horizon also focuses on overpronating runners by offering stability features in the Wave plate in the sole. I would argue that the shoes are very equal to each other, and it will depend solely (get it?) on personal preference on which shoe you like the best.

Fresh off Runner’s World’s “Best Update” Award. The Saucony Triumph ISO 3 is making waves in the market as a cushioned daily trainer for neutral runners. The shoe is $10 cheaper than the Transcend 4 and again is geared more towards neutral runners than overpronaters. It has a similar weight and a bit more of a drop than the Transcend 4, however, and is much more flexible and responsive than the Transcend 4.

Plantar Fasciitis

The stability features in the Brooks Transcend 4 should prove very beneficial to a runner who suffers from plantar fasciitis. Be sure, however, that you do indeed overpronate before selecting this shoe or you may end up with more problems than you started with. This shoe is not designed for neutral runners and a neutral runner who wants these features would do well to look at a different shoe such as the Saucony Triumph ISO 3 or the Brooks Glycerin 14.

Summary

The Brooks Transcend 4 is a slight upgrade on the Transcend 3, offering a stable and cushioned trainer to reach the corners of the market that are not satisfied by neutral trainers such as the Brooks Ghost, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus, or Saucony Ride.  The Transcend 4 may seem like a bulky shoe, but Brooks’ top stability features and a supremely comfortable cushioning system counter its size, and lack of flexibility and responsiveness. The shoe is on the expensive side, but for those runners who find the fit comfortable and enjoy the features that Brooks has to offer, they will find the shoe to be well worth it.

ALSO READ:  Best Running Shoes for Marathons

Overall Review

If you are a runner looking for stability and cushioning in your runs, and plan on doing the vast majority of your runs on roads, tracks, or treadmills, the Brooks Transcend 4 is an excellent choice.

Ratings

Comfort: 70/100


 The #1 Best Insoles for Foot Pain

If you have plantar fasciitis, high arches, flat feet, or other foot support issues, but would rather not purchase a new pair of shoes – add the Tread Labs Stride Insole to your existing shoes. The Stride Insole is biomechanically designed to support your arch and cure/prevent plantar fasciitis. Simply remove the factory insole from your favorite shoes and replace it with the Stride. The Stride comes in four different arch heights for each foot size, offers a lifetime guaranteed arch support and has a removable top cover. Take the Tread Labs Fit Quiz now and get THE BEST possible support for your feet.

#1 Best Support - Tread Labs Stride Insole

  • THE BEST support to prevent/cure Plantar Fasciitis.
  • Lifetime Guaranteed Arch Support.
  • Replaceable Top-Cover
  • Free shipping both ways.

Read Why Stride Insoles are the Best


Support: 95/100

Durability 85/100

Cost (MSRP: $160): 50/100

Aesthetics: 45/100

Value: 55/100

2017-07-10T21:26:14+00:00

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