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Gear and Technology

Brooks Gear Glossary

An illustrated glossary with a Brooks shoe
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It’s true, the language of running can be intimidating. Kilometre pace, chafing...fartlek? But never mind that. Today, we’re here to explain all the lingo behind the science and technology that goes into our gear we make so you can have an awesome run.

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3D Fit Print

3D Fit Print is an upper material used in our shoes. It is designed to provide flexible structure around your foot so that the shoe flexes without feeling too loose.



Synonymous with midsole, this term generally refers to the soft material in shoes that protects your body from the impact your body absorbs each time your feet hit the pavement. Here at Brooks, “Cushion” is also the category name for our softest shoes.

Read more: Learn about the Cushion category or our favourite Cushion shoes including the Ghost and the Glycerin.

Illustrated shoe midsole



Several types of Brooks cushioning begin with the term DNA. Why, you ask? Because each of these cushioning types respond to your unique stride, just like you have a unique genetic make-up.


DNA AMP is a midsole material that is formulated to absorb the force of your stride and return that energy back to you. That’s why shoes that use DNA AMP feel springy instead of just soft.

Read more: Check out an article on the science behind DNA AMP


The first version of our super-soft cushioning, DNA LOFT consists of a fine-tuned combo of EVA foam, rubber and air that ensures that your feet get a super soft ride every time you lace up.

Read more: Check out an article on the science behind DNA LOFT


For the second version of our super soft cushioning, we made updates to both the foam formula and our production method. What we didn’t change, though, is the cushion’s unique balance of foam, rubber and air. The result is a soft ride that lasts for kilometres without bottoming out or weighing you down.


DNA LOFT v3 is the most advanced version of our super-soft cushioning — the third version of our original DNA LOFT cushioning. To give you the most amplified cushion experience yet, we injected our DNA LOFT foam with nitrogen, which changed the cell structure to create a lighter, more cushioned experience without sacrificing durability.

DNA LOFT molecules


DNA FLASH is our fastest cushioning, achieved through a combination of light weight and responsiveness, with less of the extreme springiness of DNA AMP. You’ll find DNA FLASH only in our fastest racing and training shoes, like the Hyperion Tempo and Hyperion Elite.


Energy return

We know that running takes energy. But now we’re able to create cushioning that absorbs your energy and returns it back to you. Look for Brooks shoes that feature DNA AMP to experience our best energy-return technology.


GTS stands for Go-To-Support — as in, the Adrenaline GTS. When paired with a shoe name, “GTS” indicates that the shoe uses our GuideRails support technology to keep you in stride.

Read more: Learn more about GTS

GuideRails Holistic Support System

We developed this lightweight support system to reduce excess movement in your stride as you fatigue. Think of them as lane bumpers in bowling—they’re there when you need them!

Read more: Check out this article on GuideRails Support and how it works

Shoe tech broken out


Heel-to-toe drop

Also known as “offset”, this term refers to the change in cushioning thickness at the heel to the ball of the foot. For example, if the cushioning under the heel measures 14 millimetres, and 4 millimetres at its thinnest point under the toe or ball of the foot, the heel-to-toe drop is 10 millimetres.

The drop of a shoe can affect how your foot lands. For example, at one end of the range, zero-drop shoes encourage a midfoot landing, while traditional shoes (10 millimetre drop) are more forgiving of the common heel-strike landing.

Running shoe with measurements at the heel and toe



The midsole of the shoe is the layer between the Outer layer of rubber touching the ground and the Upper layer that covers the top of your foot. The midsole contains the cushioning of any given shoe, which can feel soft, springy, or fast and light, depending on which cushioning gets used.


Nitrogen infusion

Running on nitro? It’s not as weird as it sounds. By infusing the foam compounds of our cushioning with nitrogen, we can amplify a single trait like energy return or softness without affecting other qualities of the foam like durability or weight. That lets us fine-tune our cushioning for a wide variety of runner preferences.

We used nitrogen infusion to develop DNA FLASH and DNA LOFT v3.


Progressive Diagonal Roll Bar

The PDRB is a support technology that we use in some of our Walking and Solution shoes. It helps manage excess heel motion. In most of our support shoes, we have a newer, lighter support technology: GuideRails Holistic Support System.



“Ride” refers to the sensation of the shoe on your foot while moving. In other words, it’s the collective sensation of the shoe as you run, made up of distinct impressions including, for example, how the shoe feels when your foot first hits the ground, how it feels while the cushioning compresses, and how it feels as you push off.

Run bra

We coined the term “run bra” because “sports bra” doesn’t do our bras justice. Our run bras are specifically designed with advanced support to handle the high impact demands of running. The right bra can transform your workout by reducing unwanted movement and bouncing and making you more comfortable as you jog, sprint, or hit the perfect stride for an endurance race.

Check out the Dare Collection, Drive Collection, and read more about Brooks Run Bras

Two illustrated run bras



See Ride


See Cushion




Toe box

The toe box is the part of the shoe that covers, well, your toes. Think of it as the part that starts right where your toes begin and extends forward to the end of the shoe.

Toe drop

See Heel-to-toe drop



The Upper is the part of the shoe that covers the top of your foot, stretching from your toe to the back of the heel. Shoelaces help the upper fit snugly against your foot.



Did you know our shoes can be ordered in different widths? We create these different widths to try and help runners find the perfect shoe to fit their unique feet. Women’s shoes typically use 1B, while men’s shoes use 1D as their “regular” widths. Here’s a helpful chart to decode width measurements:

  • 2A (Narrow)
  • B (Medium)
  • 1D (Wide)
  • 4E (Extra Wide)

You’ve made it to the end of our gear glossary! Thanks for sticking with it.

Our bio-mechanics experts, product developers and insights researchers work together to create the best running gear out there. Check out the full story on our shoe technology, or learn more about our approach to research and product testing. And don’t forget to take a look at our Run Signature philosophy — it’s the key to understanding why we make each of our shoes.