A touch more room in the fit and no change in the somewhat soft ride should keep Ghost wearers happy with the 9 update.
During May and June we have seen several model updates in the $120 Neutral shoe category. Saucony added Everun cushioning to the Ride 9, Nike added Zoom Air to the forefoot of the Pegasus 33, and ASICS made subtle design changes to the Cumulus 18. With the Brooks Ghost 9, we also get subtle design changes compared to the Ghost 8. The upper is all new, the midsole gets purely cosmetic changes, and the outsole is a slightly different configuration.
With the upper, the toebox of the Ghost 9 eliminates two overlays and two small stitch lines in the toe cap. The result is to touch more space in the toebox. The eyelet rows now follow a straight line. In the Ghost 8, the laces went through eyelet holes and two middle loops. This change creates a little more volume in the midfoot, but the fit can be easily adjusted to snug down just as well as the 8. The heel fit between the two shoes is consistent.
Moving down to the outsole, we find the Caterpillar Crash Pad to be unchanged. This segmented pattern of small outsole pods intermixed with flex grooves allows the shoe to lay down smoothly regardless of how you strike the ground. Thus, any difference in ride between the Ghost 9 and 8 is imperceptible. The middle forefoot flex grooves have a different configuration, but the feeling underfoot does not feel different.
If you liked the Ghost 8, you should be just as happy with the Ghost 9. It offers just a little more space in the midfoot and forefoot fit, while maintaining a fairly soft and forgiving ride. The fit is quite universal, meaning it accommodates a lot of different foot shapes (one color also comes in a narrow and a wide). The good fit is combined with a ride focused more on comfort than speed, which makes the Ghost 9 a good option for daily training.