07/31/2011 05:59 pm ET | Updated Sep 30, 2011

We Tried It: Brooks vs. Brooks Shoe Showdown

For years, I've heard people extol the virtues of Brooks' running shoes -- "They're so light!" they rave. "They fit so well!" But in spite of the fact that I've been a runner since I began training for soccer pre-seasons way back when, I have never personally donned a pair. That all changed when I gave not one, but two different Brooks models a try, just in time to start revving up for my first-ever half-marathon this fall. How'd it go? Read on.

The Ghost 3

The Pros:

There's a reason why Runner's World deemed this shoe its "Editor's Choice" in a past issue: It was a perfect mix of bounce and comfort. I had no issues breaking it in; after just one jog through Central Park, The Ghost felt totally molded to my feet. Brooks says this shoe is designed for its neutral runner, i.e. someone who is looking for a combo of cushion and responsiveness, and that's me to a T. Basically, The Ghost 3 was like my running shoe soul mate.

The Cons:

Honestly? None, really. For a three- to eight-miler like myself, these were perfect. But perhaps someone who's a little more hardcore might want more cushioning for longer runs?

Green Silence

The Pros:

Well, first, actually, a little more background. The name "Green Silence" might sound more like a summer blockbuster, but there's a reason for it: According to Brooks, 75 percent of the shoe is made from post-consumer recycled materials, big parts of it are biodegradable, and it features only water-based adhesives and non-toxic dyes. In other words, it's an eco-friendly shoe. It's also a good-looking one. I wore the Green Silence to a casual dinner with my most stylish friend and she didn't refuse to be seen with me. And even though it looks like it should be really hot given all that black, it has lots of cooling vents, so I actually noticed a breeze running under my arches a few times.

The Cons:

I am more of a cushion fan when running, so for me, this was a little bit too light. But for a day of walking all over the city, including a rather intense power walk, the Green Silence held up well and I had absolutely no issues with breaking it in.

The Takeaway:

I now understand why everyone has been raving about Brooks all these years. Of course with all sneakers, it's really about finding what fits your feet and your needs, but if you're on the hunt, I seriously recommend giving these a test drive.

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