The new design successfully incorporates a spacious barefoot feel with the smooth ride you’d expect from a pair of Brooks.
Although the shoe is a bit on the heavy side, the potential for recovery runs and low-intensity training is impressive. Great initial move for Brooks, although improvements are needed to make this shoe truly shine.
True to its name, this shoe will rock your running world. Certainly not the lightest or fastest running shoe, it delivers on comfort that will keep you coming back for more. Starting from the bottom up, we’ll see how this shoe is a successful addition to the Brooks stability shoe line.
At first glance, the low profile rubber outsole lacks the thicker treads commonly offered by Brooks but retains more grip than you might expect.
The design has an edgy feel and the arrows are literally there to propel you forward. Quick transitions are remarkable and give a sensation of efficiency when on a road surface.
Brooks’ GuideRails and DNA Amp technology provide a stable platform that helps drive your run and offers a responsive spring to your step through the advanced polyurethane and TPU arrangement.
The GuideRails help diminish the feeling of side to side rocking dramatically and allow you to focus on the forefoot push off. Much more suppleness when compared to the Ravenna models but missing that extra cushion you’d expect from a Glycerin or Levitate.
Nothing particularly innovative here, so you can swap it out with your favorite custom insole if needed.
The midsole is solidly stitched to the upper and would definitely rub a bit without the foam. Don’t leave home without it on this shoe!
Here’s where those familiar with past Brooks models may notice a lot of change. Outside of the heel area, there is very little bulk in the tongue and front of the shoe.
The knitted fabric really wraps the foot well and complements the burrito wrap design of the tongue.
The heel has a comfortable amount of soft padding that could go either way depending on your own style of running and anatomy.
You have the option of going sockless with how the shoe is designed. If you do choose socks, you might notice a little from friction but it never developed into a full-blown hotspot during testing.
This is where the shoe is truly sensational and provides a wide range of support and fit. Right below your ankle is an elastic fabric which you use to wrap the shoe around the top of your foot.
The combination of flat laces and fabric loops on the instep side of the shoe allows you to really customize the support you receive on your arch.
Solid road shoe capable of handling light trails. The extra weight won’t make you speedy, but if you do a lot of running on concrete or asphalt, the protection is well worth it. Excellent for recovery running or working on form.
- Super comfortable, solid platform for support with low profile tread
- Burrito wrap tongue compliments lacing system
- Extra reinforcement around eyelets
- Roomy toe box
- Heavy shoe (men: 11.2oz /women: 9.9oz)
- Eclectic upper design combinations need better execution
- Knit upper sacrifices breathability for comfort
Overall, this an excellent step towards thinking outside the box from Brooks. The spacious toe box and adequate cushioning deliver a pleasurable and consistent ride. If you need the added stability and the Brooks Ghost 11, Transcend 5 or Ravenna 9 is appealing, this could be an alternative for you.
If you don’t mind the 8mm drop an extra ounce or two of weight this is a solid everyday running shoe worth incorporating into your rotation. Brooks is definitely onto something and I’m looking forward to future generations of this model.
Slightly cheaper than Saucony Hurricane ISO 4 or New Balance 1260 v7, the Bedlam comes down to what you are looking for in a shoe. The technology is there to make the impact of running easier on your body, though it comes at the cost of weight and a higher price tag.
Conservative runners that are not tackling high weekly mileage and looking for a long lasting trainer would be well suited in this model.
So where do we begin with the Brooks Bedlam? Well, I suppose it prudent to mention to everyone that I am a huge Brooks fan. Just last year, I have run in a Brooks Glycerin, Ghost, Levitate, and now Bedlam.
I have enjoyed each shoe in different ways, for different reasons. I have written reviews for two of the shoes mentioned above which were both mighty favorable.
The thing about Brooks is that while I may not love how certain concepts are implemented in various running shoes, I always appreciate the concept and the company’s goal of pushing the envelope for the benefit of the runner.
The Brooks Bedlam
Unfortunately, the last Brooks shoe I reviewed (Brooks Levitate) left me feeling rather underwhelmed. One of the things I found most disappointing about the Brooks Levitate was the energy return material in the sole of the shoe. It just fell a little flat for me, underdelivering on its marketed promise of “limitless energy.”
I did, however, praise Brooks for experimenting with energy return and committing themselves entirely to that effort. In implementation though, I found the Levitate underdelivered.
To borrow a line directly from my Levitate review, “Personally, I would have preferred a more comfortable ride over the marginal energy return offered by the Levitate.” As the Bedlam is essentially the maximum stability equivalent of the levitate, I went into this review with high hopes.
As previously mentioned, the Brooks Bedlam is essentially the max comfort and stability version of the Brooks Levitate. To ensure the plush ride of the bedlam, Brook Utilizes a generous layer of DNA AMP material to ensure more comfort around with the heavily touted energy return promised in the Levitate.
I found that the benefits of this added cushion were enough to compensate for the added weight of the shoe. Furthermore, the inclusion of the BioMoGo DNA guide rails was not as invasive as I initially assumed it would be.
Upon first trying out the shoe, I found it restrictive, as my foot felt forced into place. This changed after logging a few miles. Expect a longer than usual period of “breaking in” the midsole of the shoe.
Generous DNA layer
Concerning the upper, I loved the mesh material. It hugged my foot sufficiently, but never felt like it was compressing my foot or toes too much. I still had plenty of wiggle room in the toe box, and generally speaking never felt any effects of unwanted friction.
The material is well ventilated, and there were never any problems with overheating. Furthermore, the upper is remarkably resistant to rain and other elements. The upper feels great and, overall, the Bedlam is a very comfortable shoe.
As previously stated, the midsole of the Brooks Bedlam is composed of a DNA AMP material. This is the same midsole that rose to prominence with the Brooks Levitate.
In the Levitate, the DNA Amp material served to limit the horizontal compression, thus minimizing energy loss. This is all well and good, however, in the Levitate, Brooks compromised too much on comfort in place of energy return. The ride of the Levitate was a little rigid, and the impact of my strides was rather aggressive.
Over the course of my review, I stated numerous times that I would have preferred a more comfortable ride over the marginal energy return offered by the Levitate. In this sense, the Bedlam excels. The added midsole DNA material is especially noticeable in the heel, particularly minimizing the impact for heel strikers.
Added midsole DNA in the heel
The Bedlam feels much softer on impact, while still providing springy energy return, aiding to the “bounce” of my strides. As the Bedlam is a stability shoe, it is naturally more cushioned. This is not only the case throughout the sole, but is also heavily noticeable in the guide rails, which are dense plates in the sole that lend to the stability of the shoe.
If overpronation is your problem, then look no further than the Bedlam. The shoe gently stabilizes strides, keeps foot movement in check, and offers a balanced ride.
With all that material in the midsole of the shoe, I figured that the Bedlam would feel slow, bulky, clunky, and limiting. In this sense, I was wrong. After breaking it in, the shoe is surprisingly springy and responsive. The Bedlam’s Midfoot Transition Zone aids in providing a quick run and smoother heel to toe transitions.
For such a heavy shoe, I was rather surprised by how “nervous” the run was. The shoe wants to go fast and excels in its effort. Make no mistake, however, this shoe is heavy. This is due mainly to the sheer amount of midsole material offered in the shoe and the guide rails.
Midfoot transition zone
The upper of the Brooks Bedlam is truly a thing of beauty. It is composed of a knit material that adapted perfectly to my foot throughout the first few runs. The seamless construction makes the Bedlam fit as sock-like as possible.
This is made all the more comfortable with the inclusion of a heel collar that comfortably wraps around the heel. The collar maintains its integrity in many miles, and I did not feel the material lose its shape even in the presence of moisture.
The sock-like collar that composes the heel is super cool looking. That’s all I can say about it. It gives the shoe a spotless and sleek look. The lacing is standard fare and is typically non-invasive unless you overtighten as you lace them.
The tongue is attached on only one side, seemingly to add to the “wrapping” effect provided by the sock liner heal. This may seem frivolous to some, and to be honest, I don’t see the benefit of this asymmetrical design. The decision to attach only part of the tongue seems little more than an aesthetically interesting design choice.
Partially attached tongue
The outsole of the shoes is nothing extraordinary. The Bedlam is a nice little road shoe, but it is not a shoe you’re going to want to take on technical trails, or in inclement weather. While the traction in the outsole is usually sufficient when it’s dry outside, the same cannot be said when moisture is introduced to the equation.
For some reason, the rubber used in the outsole does not feel like it provides the right amount of friction. I’m no scientist, but it feels like the texture and design of the rubber outsole was chosen with speed in mind, with a focus on propelling the runner forward. The end result is minimized grip during wet conditions.
So, I’m sure you’re wondering how all of this contributes to the ride of the shoe. Well, the generous DNA cushioning of the Bedlam ensures a plush, comfortable ride. The inclusion of the BioMoGo DNA guide rails offers a lot of stability.
When first running in the shoe, I was almost overwhelmed by how effective these guide rails were. Over the course of my first few runs, the effects of the guide rails were very pronounced. This shoe really wants to hold your foot in place.
This is going to split opinions concerning the Bedlam, but I caution those who are looking for a neutral run to look elsewhere. However, I was never overwhelmed by the added stability. After a while, I came to appreciate the “gentle suggestion” provided by the guide rails, as they served to guarantee good foot posture.
The only problem with the ride offered by the Bedlam is when rain is concerned. The lack of grip provided in the outsole is made even more concerning when combined with the size of the midsole.
The sheer amount of midsole hinders ground feel, which when working in tandem with a slippery outsole, is downright dangerous. Dear runner friends, please exercise caution when running in wet conditions with this shoe. For best results, save the Bedlam for your “dry runs.”
So, let’s make this short and sweet: $150 is generally what you can expect to pay for a quality pair of running shoes. This is especially the case when discussing the brand-new models. Naturally, the price of minimalist shoes is going to be on the lower end, right around the 80- dollar mark, with high stability shoes going all the way up to 200 bucks.
That being said, considering the fact that the Bedlam is such a robust shoe, the price seems reasonable. Your dollar is stretched even further when you factor in how durable the Bedlam is, and how well it performs over time.
Earning its high-ticket price, the Bedlam is a remarkably sturdy shoe. I have been running in the thing, almost daily, for two whole months. I have logged over 300 miles in the shoe (which is a conservative estimate), and the shoe still looks brand new. I at least expected the knit material on the upper to start showing some wear and tear, but to my surprise, there isn’t even a blemish.
Furthermore, the DNA cushion in the midsole is still springy and comfortable. I firmly believe I could log another 300 miles in this shoe and not notice a difference. You get a lot of “bang for your buck” with the Bedlam.
The Bedlam is large and in charge. It is a big shoe; heavy and rigid at first. There is so much going on beneath your foot. You may feel like you’re running above the ground (not directly on the ground) in the beginning. With the Bedlam, the best advice I could give anyone is “stick with it.”
I felt a little alienated from the road when I first tried these shoes on. During the first few days, it’s going to feel as though they have a mind of their own, with that thick midsole and those rigid guide rails. Having run mainly in neutral running shoes, I was turned off in the beginning.
However, after a few days with the shoe, what I was treated to was one of the most comfortable and intuitive rides I’ve had in a long time. The break-in period takes some time, especially if you want to feel like the shoe is an organic extension of your leg and foot.
After some time, however, the shoe feels just right. It is a truly inspired and handsomely designed shoe, with all the flash, and modern-day bells and whistles, making you feel like you’re running in a truly futuristic shoe. It’s fun, fast and comfortable.
After you break this shoe in, you will realize how much control you have over your run and reestablish that road feel that may be a bit absent in the beginning. Even in these large shoes, you will feel perfectly in control. The shoes are large, but you will always be in charge.
I usually stick with minimal and lightweight shoes when it comes to road running. However, I was open to the idea of trying out the new shoe from Brooks, the Bedlam. I figured maybe a more padded shoe would help with some nagging injuries and I still have many mixed emotions about this shoe.
I found the shoe to be neutral, very comfortable, and very cushioned. I have ran over 75 miles in this shoe and it shows no sign of wear or damage. I have primarily used this shoe as a training shoe for slow recovery run as well as my everyday walking around shoe.
Specifications & Fit
- Weight: 11.2oz or 318 grams
- Heel to toe Drop: 8mm
- Heel Height: 26mm
- Forefoot height: 18mm
- Overall Cushioning: High
The Bedlam is Brooks’ newest neutral shoe to hit the market. New to the Brooks line is the DNA cushioning which is marketed to give you maximum energy returns with each step.
Three new Brook shoes have this new DNA cushioning, including the Ricochet, Bedlam, and Levitate 2. The Bedlam is the heaviest and the most expensive of the 3 shoes.
The shoe does have some flaws, and I have a hard time getting over these flaws.
When I first received my pair of Bedlams, I was surprised by Brooks desire to use a bright orange color for there three new shoes the Ricochet, Bedlam, and Levitate 2. Even though I do feel the colors look good together on this shoe.
While I am not a fan of the color orange I do think it blends nicely with the Black without being too bright. I do like the other colors offer for this shoe and feel that four options to choose from colors wise is a fair choice.
The upper of the Bedlam is comprised of a FitNit, which is made of many different types of fabric. I have found this technology to be very durable and offers excellent ventilation. During the hot summer days, I noticed my foot stayed cool.
The shoe offers an internal bootie, which is comprised of a soft interior lining and a seamless interior configuration that staves off irritation. This design allows the runners to wear the shoe without socks however I am not a fan of this technique.
One of my favorite new features that Brooks offer is the heel wrap of the shoe is phenomenal and keeps your Achilles from being rubbed.
The tongue of the shoe is excellent. I found it to stay in place while worn and it provided excellent cushioning without being overkill. The tongue of the shoe is as comfortable when you start your run, as it is when you finish. This tongue of the shoe is different than most shoe because one side of the tongue is attached to the shoe and the other side is not.
The only negative feature of the upper in my opinion is the thin collar on the top of the shoe.
I assume the collar was put in place to help keep debris out, but it never comes in contact with your ankle and offers no protection from debris. The collar may look aesthetically appealing however it just adds extra weight and bulk to the shoe.
The main feature of this shoe that separates it from so many other shoes is the introduction of DNA AMP Energized Cushioning and BioMoGo DNA, this is made up of a polyurethane unit that goes from the heel to the forefoot.
Brooks details “DNA AMP is made from a soft, naturally expanding foam encased in a skin that resists horizontal expansion”. This shoe is a tad too heavy for my liking and is not very light however it provides extreme cushioning for people who like that type of weight. I found the cushioning to be right in the sweet spot- not too soft and not too firm, while still offering excellent protection.
The Bedlam offers GuideRails technology is a sidewall that is placed on top of the primary midsole foam.
The purpose of this feature is to keep the foot centered and stable, staving off any discomfort or discrepancy in movement.
One dislike I noticed with this shoe as I didn’t like the balance of it, when wearing it I noticed my feet want to push into the lateral heel side of the shoe which became uncomfortable after a while and began to hurt my foot. I believe this to be because of the high cushioning of this shoe with a combination of a higher drop.
In my experience, Brooks shoes exceed expectations in nearly every category, except for the outsole of the shoe. The Bedlam is no different.
When running on dry pavement this shoe offers adequate grip, however when running on any sort of wet or damp surfaces this shoe grip is subpar. I have slipped on several occasions while wearing this shoe when experiences wet conditions.
The outsole of the shoe is constructed of a rubber substance that does provide excellent durability and flexibility but does not provide adequate grip. The rubber has an arrow-point pattern with shallow flex grooves for a smoother and quicker heel-to-toe transition.
I will compliment this shoe's outsole when it comes to durability. I have over 100 miles in this shoe and this shoe has become my everyday shoe. I have yet to see any sort of wear and tear on the shoe's outsole.
The Bedlam has been very durable which was initially surprising to me since it is heavy and has a lot of stitching. This shoe has become my go-to everyday shoe due to its comfort. I don’t use it very often for runs due to it feeling like I have two cinder blocks attached to my feet.
- Energy Return
- Lacing system
- High drop
- Heel Collar
I have used other Brooks shoes in the past and they did not agree with my feet, and after sustained use, my feet begin to hurt in this shoe. I may just have weird feet, however.
Overall like the new DNA AMP cushion, and hope to see Brooks continue to use this technology for many shoes to come. I would recommend that Brooks discontinue the heel collar style due to its ineffectiveness.
The Bedlam will continue to be used as an everyday shoe and not as a running shoe for me based on its heavyweight and balance issues. I do recommend you try the Bedlam if you like heavier and high cushioned such as a Hoka Clifton.
I would recommend this for anyone looking for a neutral, highly cushioned shoe.
I took up running three years ago. Deconstructing a shoe is basically understanding how it works along with your body to make you a better, more efficient runner. But before we get to understanding a shoe, I consider it important to know one’s foot type.
My foot type
Neutral on the left and mild pronator on the right. To find a shoe that fits both my feet well is a challenge. Most of the times I end up buying shoes with good mid-foot support/shoes meant for pronators.
The downside to this is that my neutral left foot gets the arch support it doesn’t need. I was yet to find a shoe which balances out my two very diverse foot types. Bedlam solves that problem.
Bedlam has brilliant shoe technology put together to achieve a good harmony between the function of the foot and the ground’s reaction force (GRF). I like to rate the shoe on the following 3 important qualities.
The outer sole of the shoe is rubber meant to provide traction on any kind of surface and to let you run carefree through trails and roads alike. While running, the traction is not great on wet surfaces.
The guide rails present on the midsole keeps the foot centered in the shoe reducing midfoot overpronation. The heel counter has thoughtfully placed cushions to support the Achilles tendon without restricting calcaneal (heel) movement.
I found the lack of an extra eyelet around the ankle a bit concerning as the sock-like ankle fitting was a little loose at all times, no matter how much you tighten the lace. As soon as I started running, the missing eyelet didn’t bother me as the shoe gripped my feet well.
All in all, the shoe does a good job with respect to stability. The tongue was continuous with the fly knit upper on the inside, reinforcing medial stability and avoiding the tongue from traveling outwards as it usually happens in moderate to heavy pronators.
This stability though didn’t come at the sacrifice of mobility. Let me explain, our feet absorb a considerable amount of ground reaction force by forefoot expansion.
The flexible fly knit upper allowed just enough expansion of forefoot for shock absorption and attenuation. The heel counter, in spite of being rigid, like in motion control shoes, allowed enough movement of the heel for transfer of forces.
The DNA AMP midsole has a responsive cushion which smartly sensed pressure and adjusted the cushioning accordingly while I was running, to the point that I didn’t feel the support bothering my neutral left foot.
The fly knit upper allowed expansion and compression of the forefoot in different phases of the running cycle assisting a strong push off. The concentration of GRF happens in certain areas due to our running patterns, strengths, and weaknesses eventually leading to increased stress on tissues and loaded bones.
This shoe tries to negate that concentration of force allowing the energy to flow and transfer evenly along the kinetic chain. Various components of the shoe work together in almost perfect synchrony promoting efficient transfer and return of energy.
This along with the shoe structure ensures that the feet are maintained in good alignment while running which would improve performance and work in decreasing the load on the shin and knee joints.
- Stability without compromising mobility
- Allows free flow of ground reaction force up the kinetic chain
- Reactive to Foot pressures and fluctuations
- Slightly tight at the midfoot when worn for the very first time, takes 5-6 km to break in the shoe
- Missing eyelet around the ankle (seems loose at the ankle but maintains grip while running)
All in all, you find a shoe that molds on your foot without restricting any movement, enhances your feet’s natural springs, has a reactive midsole that helps in effective distribution of energy up the kinetic chain, reduces the concentration of load at the weight-bearing areas with each step.
In turn, decreasing your risk for long term running associated stress and overuse injuries. In-spite of all what the shoe does, one thing to take note is that “The shoe is only as good as you are.”
Good to know
- The Brooks Bedlam is a running shoe that offers maximum stability to road adventurers. It can be used for daily running or speed training. The façade is sporty, though it doesn’t employ a heaping of stitched overlays or unnecessary frills; instead, a seamless knitted fabric graces the upper.
- The midsole is made up of a full-length polyurethane foam that is encased in a protective TPU wrapping. The job of this component is to cushion the landings and energize the takeoffs. The GuideRail technology is made up of a surrounding wall that keeps the foot at the center of the platform.
The external pad of the Brooks Bedlam features a rubber compound that’s meant to protect against the abrasive nature of the roads. This layer is also designed to provide responsible traction on the ground.
The arrow-point Midfoot Transition Zone is an outsole configuration that encourages the foot to quickly go from the landing phase to the toe-off. This design even promotes efficient running by focusing the foot-strike on the middle part.
A curved forefoot construction allows for a smooth motion as the foot gears itself towards the liftoff.
The Brooks Bedlam’s midsole features the DNA AMP, which is a polyurethane unit that goes from the heel to the forefoot. This piece is covered by a TPU casing, a technique that preserves structural integrity. Such an arrangement allows the midsole to fully catch the force generated by the striking phase and release it as kinetic energy that the foot can use to push off the ground.
The GuideRails technology which can also be found in the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 is a sidewall that is placed on top of the primary midsole foam. The purpose of this feature is to keep the foot centered and stable, staving off any discomfort or discrepancy in movement.
FitKnit serves as the external aspect of the Brooks Bedlam’s upper unit. This technology is comprised of a knitted fabric that accommodates the natural shape and motion of the foot. It is lightweight and breathable by design.
An internal cleatie involves a soft interior lining and a seamless interior configuration that staves off irritation. Such a design allows the runner to put on this running shoe without socks.
The inner part of the heel has a faux-suede tab that’s tasked with holding the back of the foot in place, supporting it, and preventing it from exiting the foot-chamber unintentionally.
A traditional lacing system is employed in this running shoe. Flat laces encourage discrete adjustment of the fit.
A unique eyelet system helps in the tightening and loosening of the coverage. While the lateral side uses traditional round holes that are reinforced with a transparent print, the medial side has a hammock saddle—fabric loops that jut out from the inside of the knitted exterior. These easily discernable tabs support the arch of the foot, keeping it raised and in a neutral position throughout.