Brooks Ariel 20 is a Stylish and Comfortable Shoe for Overpronators

A versatile shoe that offers comfort and support for walkers and runners

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4.9

Brooks Women’s Ariel '20 Running Shoes

brooks ariel 20 review

Verywell Fit / Jessica Juliao

What We Like
  • Good cushioning

  • Strong shock absorption

  • Lightweight

  • No break-in period needed

What We Don't Like
  • Run narrow

  • Shallow toe box

  • Fit may be too snug for some

Bottom Line

The Brooks Women’s Ariel 20 is a high quality shoe that offers excellent comfort, cushioning, and stability for walkers and runners who overpronate, all in one sleek sneaker.

4.9

Brooks Women’s Ariel '20 Running Shoes

brooks ariel 20 review

Verywell Fit / Jessica Juliao

We purchased the Brooks Women's Ariel 20 so our reviewer could put them to the test for outdoor walking. Keep reading for our full review.

Brooks is a leader in the running shoe market, well known for making high-quality, comfortable shoes. The Brooks Women’s Ariel—a stability shoe designed for overpronators—is no exception. Overpronation, or excessive inward rolling of the foot and ankle, can lead to foot fatigue, pain, injuries, and a shift in your walking and running gait. Stability shoes, including the Women’s Ariel, are designed to counteract that inward motion by offering extra support and cushion in the arch and heel of the shoe.

The Brooks Women’s Ariel is technically a running shoe, but it can also be worn as a walking shoe. Some may prefer it over traditional walking shoes that tend to be heavier, stiffer, and less stylish. Since I’m an overpronator, I wanted to put these shoes (and their cushioning) to the test. I walked 11 miles in these shoes on three different types of walks—a short, easy walk, a longer, 5-mile walk, and a brisk-paced walk. 

Who It’s For

The Brooks Women’s Ariel is for walkers and runners who  overpronate. Overpronation is common among people with flat feet, but many other walkers and runners may experience it as well. This sneaker offers additional stability to control motion in the foot and ankle, reducing the amount they roll inward when the foot strikes the ground. 

It’s constructed with features to decrease pronation, but one of its best features is the hefty, positive heel drop of 12 millimeters. “This is useful for runners who have restricted movement known as ankle joint dorsiflexion (the upward flexion of the foot). The heel drop allows the user to function well in the face of such restriction, while not compensating with the mid-portion of the foot,” Lorreta Logan, DPM, MPH, Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Orthopedics & Pediatrics at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, says.

If you have a neutral running gait or supinate (the opposite of pronate, where your foot and ankle roll outward), a shoe like the Brooks Ariel 20 may be too stiff for you.

After over five miles, I continued to wear these shoes all day running around with my kids, and I never felt tired.

Brooks Ariel 20 review

Verywell Fit / Jessica Juliao

Cushioning: Plush and supportive 

When I laced up the Brooks Women’s Ariel, I immediately felt the plush  cushioning in the ankle cuff, down through the heel, and even all the way to the toes. It almost felt like the shoe was hugging my foot. While the cushioning is soft and pillow-like, the shoe was still incredibly supportive, keeping my foot from moving around while I walked. 

Responsiveness: Puts a spring in your step

Unlike many motion control shoes, the Brooks Women’s Ariel actually propelled me forward with each step. With a little bit of flexibility, it offered a springy, yet firm ride. Because of its ability to respond to your stride, my feet didn’t tire quickly, like they might with heavier motion control walking shoes. 

This was evident on both brisk and longer walks. I felt like I could easily pick up the pace and keep going for miles. After over five miles, I continued to wear these shoes all day running around with my kids, and I never felt tired.

They’re snug at the heel and midfoot, providing support and comfort and no unwanted movement or friction that could lead to blisters.

Upper Comfort: Flexible and breathable

The sign of a great pair of sneakers? Comfort upon first lace-up. One of the first things I noticed was how great these shoes felt in the first few steps. They required no break-in period. The upper mesh design makes them soft and breathable, so your feet don't overheat, even on longer walks on warm days. 

brooks ariel 20 review

Verywell Fit / Jessica Juliao

Fit: Snug and a bit narrow

The Brooks Ariel fits true to running shoe size, which is typically a half size up from your standard shoe size. They’re snug at the heel and midfoot, providing support and comfort and no unwanted movement or friction that could lead to blisters. The cushion at the heel and ankle collar offers some additional comfort for walkers and runners. 

I did notice that the shoe was snug and hugged my foot all over, and the toe box was a bit shallow and narrow (I tested the medium width). This could be problematic for people who have a thicker foot or bunions. “It would also be an issue for someone who has hammer/claw-toe deformities,” Logan says. However, the shoe comes in a wide width, which may help improve the fit for some.

My feet remained cool and comfortable, even on a warm day, and I didn’t notice any pressure points or areas of friction on any of my walks.

Lateral Stability: Supportive without being too stiff

One of the things that stands out with the Brooks Ariel is that they offer great lateral support, but they aren’t overly stiff or heavy like other motion control shoes. As a moderate overpronator, I felt like they corrected the inward movement of my feet while still feeling flexible and springy. 

Blister Protection: A nearly seamless design provides ultimate protection

Brooks’ Ariel shoes are made with lightweight mesh and very few seams, two things that reduce the chance of developing blisters. My feet remained cool and comfortable, even on a warm day, and I didn’t notice any pressure points or areas of friction on any of my walks.

brooks ariel 20 review

Verywell Fit / Jessica Juliao

How We Tested

I tested this shoe on three different walks—a 3-mile easy walk, a 3-mile brisk walk, and a longer 5-mile walk totaling over 11 miles of walking over the course of a week. After each walk, I rated the shoe’s cushioning, responsiveness, upper comfort, fit, lateral stability and support, blister protection, and value. 

I also wore the shoes around during the day for activities with my young kids. It’s worth noting that I only tested the shoes while walking and doing daily activities, not while running. 

Price

With quality comes a high price tag, and many motion control shoes are similarly priced. Brooks enthusiasts are used to paying up for running shoes, as the price is in line with many of their other shoes.

When it comes to comfort and supporting your feet, it’s worth the investment to help reduce risk of pain and injuries. Brooks is known for their longevity as well—walking and running shoes should last hundreds of miles.

The Competition: Similar function and stability, but stiffer and longer to break in

Brooks is a leader in the running and walking shoe market for good reason. The Brooks Ariel combines stability with comfort and cushion that is as good as, if not better than, similarly priced shoes designed for overpronation. 

The Brooks Ariel offers similar stability and support to the New Balance Women’s 1540v3, another strong contender on the market. However, in a previous test, I noted that the 1540v3 was stiff upon first wear (though it did loosen up after a few walks), heavy, and not quite as responsive.

Walkers who need maximum support and stability may prefer a more traditional walking shoe, like the Vionic Women’s Walker or Brooks Addiction Walker. But for the additional stability, you’ll sacrifice flexibility, responsiveness, and weight.

Brooks ariel 20 review

Verywell Fit / Jessica Juliao

Final Verdict

Yes, buy it if you’re an overpronator looking for a great stability shoe. 

The Brooks Women’s Ariel is a quality motion control shoe that’s a good option for walking or running. It’s the perfect combination of support, stability, flexibility, responsiveness, and comfort. Make sure to order a half size up from your traditional shoe size. And if you have wider feet, bunions, or hammer toes, you may want to try the wide width.

Specs

  • Product Name Women’s Ariel '20 Running Shoes
  • Product Brand Brooks
  • SKU 1203151B
  • Weight 10.7 oz.
  • Color Oyster/Alloy/Grape, Black/Blue, Alloy/Blackened Pearl/Green
  • Material Rubber outsole, engineered mesh upper
  • Warranty Risk free trial for 90 days (via Brooks website)
  • What's Included Shoes, laces
2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Jafarnezhadgero A, Alavi-Mehr SM, Granacher U. Effects of anti-pronation shoes on lower limb kinematics and kinetics in female runners with pronated feet: The role of physical fatigue. PLoS One. 2019;14(5):e0216818. Published 2019 May 14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0216818

  2. Mei Q, Gu Y, Xiang L, et al. Foot pronation contributes to altered lower extremity loading after long distance running. Front. Physiol. Sec.Exercise Physiology. 2019. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00573

By Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RD
Sarah is a registered dietitian with a virtual private practice helping busy moms ditch diets and learn to eat to feel their best without stress. She has a Bachelors in Business Administration from The George Washington University and a Masters of Science in Nutrition Communication from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Her work has been published on Eatingwell.com, as well as a number of blogs for food companies such as Purple Carrot, BeBOLD Bars, and Bon Appetit Management Company.