Summary

We spent 6.6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

7 reasons to buy

  • The Brooks Bedlam 2 is comfortable, according to many runners.
  • A user, with flat feet, noted that it is suitable for athletic purposes. 
  • Some buyers appreciated the flexible upper of the shoe. 
  • Several consumers said that the shoe is responsive. 
  • The tongue helps offer a snugger fit, some wearers claimed. 
  • One consumer mentioned that it offers good arch support. 
  • Many runners appreciated the performance of GuideRails® technology.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some buyers complained because the plastic ankle support is hurting their ankles.  
  • The upper material tends to rub against the foot causing discomfort, some users reported. 
  • This version is tighter compared to its predecessor, said some runners.

Bottom line

The Brooks Bedlam 2 is a stability running shoe designed to support individuals who overpronate. It is built with a support system that helps protect the knee and control excessive movements. This shoe also features energizing midsole and outsole technologies, which aim to enhance speed and comfort. It is suitable for running and casual walks. 

Facts

Expert Reviews

90 / 100 based on 4 expert reviews

  • 95 / 100 |

    Brooks Bedlam 2 - A springy, supportive ride

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    The Brooks Bedlam 2 is the best stability technology yet from Brooks. It has the springy and solid responsive feel on the road, with less plush cushioning than the Levitate or Ghost.

    This shoe also provides exceptional stability support with “holistic” DNA AMP & GuideRails and is a great all-around trainer for those who have overpronation or arch issues.

     

    Details

    Weight 11.7oz, Men’s size 10
    Heel to toe drop  8mm 
    Technology New “holistic GuideRails” all-around Support Technology & DNA AMP
    Sole Aero patterned
    Upper Flat fit-knit socklike with minimalist tongue & Breathable Quick-Dry material  

    Low down

    Brooks’ newest stability shoe with GuideRails technology provides adequate support for pronators or those with knee/arch issues, without feeling like a traditional stability shoe. All of the above combined to produce a shoe that thankfully is not overly-plush/sinking cushion, and an extremely fun ride.

    I took the Bedlam 2 out on many different runs - from long, slow distance (paved) to hard-packed trails and treadmills to a 10K race down to speedy hill work. The shoe excelled in every department, even though slightly heavier than some of my other non-stability shoes.

    Additionally, with the Bedlam 2, I could “feel” the terrain much better than with other recent cushion-focused lighter Brooks models. It also has much more “springy” responsiveness than other shoes in this category.

    Having ran in the Ghost Levitate (similar design) and the Adrenaline (a traditional stability support shoe), I can confirm that this is a much faster, more responsive ride and doesn’t feel as clunky as traditional support shoes, while still supporting my overpronation.

    It keeps a secure and comfortable feel that produced no knee pain or shin splints for me, even on long road runs. What more could you ask for? 

    Ride, feel & flex

    As someone who is a mild overpronator with flat feet, it provides just enough support while focusing on the overall body, such as knees/hips alignment.

    Brooks is a dedicated running shoe company and has paid attention to recent research showing that overpronation should not be corrected by hefty stability foam, but rather gently guide the foot into holding the right position, leading to good overall alignment

    The ride is very smooth, thanks to this GuideRails technology and new upper, featuring a supportive heel that is not a heavy or dense material.

    Those with overpronation and some arch issues may enjoy this fresh approach to motion control. It doesn’t feel like your foot is being forced into a certain position or form every step, but is a much more natural feel.

     

     

    Bedlam 2’s fit knit upper has a great snug grip on the foot and no overlays. In fact, it’s the best fitting shoe I have worn this year, similar feel to my Teva sandals that I forget I’m wearing them sometimes in the house. 

    It also has a good fluid tongue connection with the upper, much better than previous Bedlam (1). The sole of the shoe is not incredibly flexible due to these Guiderails, but the upper makes up for that by providing more flexibility.

    I believe some of this stiffness is necessary to provide the support and springy responsiveness in the sole. It provides more than enough support to keep the heel/ankle snug for rear to midfoot strikers who are pronators.

    It also has just enough cushion to allow more responsiveness/energy return than I’ve gotten from similar weight shoes. I felt it was easy on my legs at most distances’ training runs (up to 10 milers), with a springier transition compared to other more cushioned shoes at runs of the same distance.

    Lastly, zero overlays and seamless underlay points created no rubbing or friction on longer runs, nor do I see where there could be. 

    As mentioned previously, it is a springy, responsive ride with good transition for midfoot to forefoot strikers, even at my 7:30 to 8 min/mile tempo pace. I could still feel the terrain and pavement well at race pace, which is part of the joy of running.

    More importantly, I never felt I was sinking into the midsole or that my shoes were getting stuck anywhere in the gait cycle. This indicates good responsiveness. I got more miles in the shoe and began racing 5K and 10Ks with it. I was grateful for the more "racey" feel to my turnover.  

    DNA AMP technology 

    The new DNA AMP midsole technology is wrapped around the entire shoe and provides a responsive and fast ride due to this construction. However, it adds a tad bit more weight to the shoe that some other daily trainer category from Brooks (but still much lighter than many stability shoes).

    Normally, a stability shoe has thicker blown foam on the inside and some support gel/foam in the middle and normal, less dense foam on the outside of the foot. 

    This shoe feels very low to the ground and responsive, like the Altras. It must be due to the new type of stability foam and the all-around application rather than using different types of foam in different parts of the shoe.

    This resulted in a much better connection to the terrain I was running on, and also less likelihood of turning an ankle for feeling “above the ground,” I felt like I was riding with the pavement and trail rather than above it. 

     

    Weight

    The weight may be a few ounces heavier than the lighter models of Hoka, Brooks, and New Balance this year (at 11.5 oz), but I believe this is great for training.

    If I then switch to a less supportive lighter shoe for a race, as I have done for a 5K and 10K recently, legs feel energized having built up endurance with slightly heavier shoes.

    This may or may not be a selling point for you, but I felt extremely good in this shoe for walking or standing. This is probably due to the new all-around knee/hip/ankle support technology as opposed to the traditional approach.

    As mentioned above, the feel when walking or standing is similar to my favorite Teva hiking sandals, with very similar sole rigidity. For this same reason, they feel VERY different in my running stride from all of the major running shoe lineups released the past several years.

    I welcomed this as a nice break in training runs, but I would very much suggest you do a good treadmill run before committing to see that it suits your stride.    

    Style

    With regard to style, this may be a mute point for some, but I loved the simple patterns and color choices.

    The Bedlam 2 stands out in a subtle way, not a traditional flashy running shoe. The new rear pull tab looks stylish, also one of my favorite functional things about this shoe, which makes for easy transitions. 

    Sizing

    For a foot on the slightly narrower side, the fit is snug and close to perfect. While the fabric does synch/overlap a bit in the generous toe box area, it doesn’t bother my foot in any spots at all, and fit is still seamless.

    You may find the toebox more roomy than other Brooks of the same size. Otherwise, it fits true to size compared to other running shoes I’ve worn, including Hoka Clifton, Brooks Ghost 11/12, and New Balance 1080s, for example. 

    Upper & fit

    The Bedlam 2 has a knit upper that I could barely feel, and is very roomy due to this stretch, so thin yet has proven to be strong and durable! One cannot see a neon sock through the material, though, except for maybe an odd spot around the lace eyelets.

    The upper is made of this thin, very pliable, soft, non-stretch single-layer mesh that has variation in appearance, much like a traditional running shoe. The outer mesh is completely lined with an underlay with large circular holes.

    The heel area is surprisingly supportive, although it is the opposite of “built-up” and does not have hard material. It does have a nice back loop to help in easily sliding on and off, taking a cue from popular shoes recently in the Hoka line. 

    Due to the very light upper knit upper, I at first thought they might be unsupportive in the midfoot as I’m slightly on the narrower side. However, the material is surprisingly strong, mid to forefoot held steady and secure on longer runs. 

     

    Tongue

    The tongue isn’t built up, which I love as this is one of my biggest complaints in running shoes. In fact, I did not like the tongue in the first Bedlam as it was odd to put on and latched to one side of the shoe.

    Fortunately, Brooks listened and improved it on this model. It is thin, but it also doesn’t scrunch or get caught folded over when tightening the laces at all. 

    Laces

    The laces are nothing spectacular, what I would call “simple standard,” glide very easily through eyelets and tie well. It also really cinch up well with the knit upper. 

    One thing I do really like about this shoe is that you can easily adjust the overall fit in just a few seconds. Therefore, if you go from a pleasant walk to a spontaneous gym visit or run, you can tighten/loosen them quickly. 

    Crossover story

    Recently, I did a few day's winter sightseeing trip to DC while my wife was at a December conference. I had to make a tough choice between running, walking, casual dining, and sightseeing shoes!

    We were limited in luggage space, and I could only bring one pair of shoes for travel/walking and running, and a pair of sandals for the hotel. I chose these due to their versatility in all conditions and was super happy with the result.

    They look great with jeans and khakis, and I could walk all day in them, then go out at night too with just a change of socks. I got up and used them for my morning runs, let them sit for a while to shower and get ready, then hit the pavement again for an all-day tour.

    Quick caveat: The Bedlam 2 is probably not ideal for icy/snowy conditions, due to the sole not being lugged or having deep tread, and is not a “Vibram sticky” type material. They did fine in light snow on sidewalks.

    This would, however, be a great improvement area for future editions (hint, hint Brooks!). However, it was the best breathability and crossover shoe I have worn in my decades of running and coaching.

    There's no sweating/overheating after an all-day wear when I was out exploring Washington, DC. I did wear a pair of light merino wool blend socks with them, which probably helped with this too.

    I have since worn them for full days of teaching and evening sports activities, still outstanding durability and comfort.

    Durability 

    No issues at 100+ miles for me. My only real concern at all with the durability of this shoe was the material around the tongue/eyelets. It looks thin, but it has proven very durable and works well with the minimalist laces because it doesn’t put too much pressure on any part of the shoe.

    The Aero pattern tread on the bottom has also held up incredibly well. I have had to use a cleaning scrub brush to clear out mud and rocks a few times when doing trail runs so that I could wear them to the gym or out and about later, as they are patterned close together and can catch things.

    This may not be an issue if most of your miles are on pavement and depends on other factors, of course. Please note I am a 140 lb midfoot striker. As a coach, I would recommend rotating them with another favorite shoe to let your foot adjust to this type of support and landing over time.

    Lastly, they are extremely easy to slip on and off. Not sure if Brooks engineered them this way, but I love how quickly they come on and off as a parent of a very active young child, and this helps with transitions! 

    Conclusion

    To paint a more concise picture, it was the best overall stability/supportive shoe of a dozen I have worn/tested.

    I think this is such a light and durable yet stylish shoe. It could easily be used for walks, cross-training, informal work environments, and social occasions.

    This shoe can do just about anything but is ideal for me on the road or hard-packed trails, not designed for technical trails or icy/slippery conditions.

    The Bedlam 2 has much less stack and built-up foam than a traditional support shoe and supports your body from the hips/knees down with Brook’s newest technology instead of focusing on the ankle and arches.

    It has a good flex point midfoot in the shoe and provides a smooth ride with good transition. The AVP AMP feels great and responsive. Also, this is the springiest and most responsive support/stability shoe I have ever worn.

    The shoe is very breathable and flexible due to its knit upper and offers plenty of room in the toe box.

    If you are a diverse distance runner looking for a supportive daily trainer and walking shoe combo, travel often or simply want a very versatile shoe that feels great all day on a variety of occasions, this could be the best all-around shoe you purchase in 2020. 

    Overall, I’d say it’s definitely worth a try to get a feel for this new option in stability technology and see if it works for you!

  • 82 / 100 |

    Brooks Bedlam 2: Stability ride in sock-like fit

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    The Brooks Bedlam 2 is a sexy shoe! Brooks continues to embrace the balance between performance and aesthetics with the Bedlam 2 stability road running shoe.

    I love the sleek profile, the materials used, and the design/color scheme options. But will the good looks of the Bedlam 2 carry over onto the road test?

    Let’s talk about some of the specifics...

     

    Upper

    The upper of the shoe looks great. Brooks updated a flat-knit upper to provide for a comfortable sock-like feel throughout the upper, including the collar.

    The laces sit flat on the upper, along with a “pseudo-integrated” tongue for a compact, uniform feel throughout. The shoe is exquisite out of the box!

     

     

    Unfortunately, the performance of the upper left me wanting more stability.

    The first thing that I noticed was that the material provided for a snug feel throughout the upper, which is great to an extent but felt a little overbearing, especially in the toe box, creating a cramped run.

    I found the sizing to be true by measure, but running slightly on the snug side, mostly in the toe box. My toes feel compact, especially my big toes. The feel was more comfortable wearing very thin running socks to adjust for the compact fit.

    The collar of the shoe does create a sock-like experience, which is designed to move with the motion of the foot. This is very attractive, but the performance left me feeling unsecured, especially around the Achilles.

    For a shoe designed to be in the support genre, this can be problematic.

    Midsole

    The Bedlam 2 is designed as a support/stability shoe, with what Brooks calls DNA AMP cushioning and GuideRails technology. This is to provide a smooth, responsive run that won’t leave your feet and knees begging for relief.

    The arches run a bit high compared to other shoes; my feet adjusted to this feel pretty quickly. The cushioning is moderate throughout the shoe, even with a forefoot strike.

    This shoe has an 8mm heel to toe measurement, which is a nice moderate design for a support shoe, where others tend to go big; many over 10mm.

     

     

    The road test felt a bit stiff, especially the first 50 miles. While the upper feels super flexible and light, I found the midsole to feel tight, unresponsive, and heavy.

    This feeling has subsided a bit after breaking them in, but I still wonder about the disparity between the upper and midsole in this regard.

    Overall, I experienced a supported run throughout the midsole on paved surfaces, but I was hoping for more responsiveness and agility from the midsole.

    Outsole

    The outsole of the Brooks Bedlam 2 feels to be on par for most road shoes, with durable rubber and basic traction.

    I felt some slipping while running in the rain, but for the most part, I felt safe and secure (even in the snow). This is definitely a road shoe, but the outsole should be able to withstand a slight variety of terrain and surface.

     

    Performance

    I ran in the rain a lot with the Brooks Bedlam 2. Unfortunately, the upper material is very absorbent, and I came back with soggy, heavy feet just about every time.

    Weighing in at 11.6oz, the shoes feel a bit heavy (especially in relation between the upper and midsole). The shoes do break in over time, but overall the "support technology" does rule the day.

    You will get a supported ride, but not super responsive or agile.

    Conclusion

    Brooks makes great running shoes. When I run in Brooks, I never doubt the quality of construction with materials or technology.

    However, I do wonder about the balance between the agility of the upper versus the stability of the midsole for the Bedlam 2 — great in theory, perhaps not in practice.

    Overall, the feel of the shoe feels a bit disjointed, and I’m not sure what the true personality is. It’s not a racing shoe, but I don’t feel very comfortable putting in long distances with this either.

    I’ll enjoy these shoes as a mid-distance trainer, enjoying another fine Brooks product for the road running scene.

  • 95 / 100 | RunRepeat | | Level 3 expert

    This is the most breathable shoe that I have ever run in...

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  • Featuring Brook’s up-to-date midsole cushioning technology, the Brooks Bedlam 2 offers a springier and more responsive ride. This stability running shoe now uses an updated flat-knit upper for a more secure and comfortable fit. 
  • Other notable updates included in this road running shoe are the pseudo-integrated tongue and collar for added protection. The integrated collar delivers a sock-like fit, while the Pseudo-integrated tongue offers a once-piece comfort.

When it comes to size, the Brooks Bedlam 2 has used the standard shoe measurement to accommodate the usual expectations of consumers. However, it is recommended to get a proper shoe fitting or utilize the general feedback about sizing before making a purchase decision to ensure a comfortable fit. 

Several components affect the fit of this Brook running shoe. This includes the traditional lacing system and tongue, which aim to provide a snugger fit. Another element is the flat-knit upper that adapts to the natural shape of the foot, providing a breathable and flexible in-shoe wrap. 

In the outsole of the Brooks Bedlam 2 is a rubber material that protects the entire platform against the abrasive elements. This component also offers an aggressive grip on various surfaces. 

Providing excellent flexibility is the arrow-point Midfoot Transition Zone technology. It is an outsole configuration that aims to help direct the pressure towards the forefoot, allowing for flexibility and quick transitions from heel to toe. 

The second edition of the Brooks Bedlam utilizes the BioMoGo DNA midsole, which provides good energy return with each stride. This component delivers a springy sensation, energizing the runner through long distances. The  BioMoGo DNA is also featured in other popular running shoes from Brooks, such as Brooks Addiction 13 and Brooks Beast 18

The BioMoGo DNA cushioning is coupled with the GuideRails® technology to provide more holistic comfort. The GuideRails® technology offers maximum support by guiding the joints, hips, and knees to move within their unique motion path while running. It helps the user maintain an efficient and natural motion throughout the running session. 

This running shoe utilizes a flat-knit upper that delivers a plush in-shoe fit. This material is designed to flex and conform to the natural shape of the foot. It also allows the air to continuously flow in and out of the shoe, keeping the foot dry and comfortable. 

The internal bootie secures the foot without adding any pressure points, while the suede heel tab protects the Achilles tendon from irritation. 

The Pseudo-integrated tongue delivers a one-piece comfort while the updated collar offers added protection and a sock-like fit. 

The traditional lacing system is incorporated into the shoe to allow the user to easily adjust the tightness around the shoe. 

The Brooks Bedlam 2 is classified as stability running shoe designed for runners with flat feet or severe overpronation. It offers a balance of cushioning and motion control.

Just like the Brooks Bedlam 2, the Brooks Beast 18 and Brooks Addiction 13 are designed to reduce the amount of pronation and help improve the stability of the foot. The Brooks Beast 18 and Brooks Addiction 13 are categorized as motion control running shoes. These types of shoes are manufactured to provide support for those who have moderate to severe overpronation. 

Brooks Beast 18 

One obvious difference between the Bedlam 2 and Beast 18 is their heel to toe drop. Beast 18 has a higher stack height at 12 mm compared to the 8 mm drop of the Bedlam 2. The Brooks Beast 18 also looks bulkier and weighs heavier when compared to the Brooks Bedlam 2.  

Aside from their physical features, there are also differences in the types of materials used in the outsole and upper units of the Bedlam 2 and Beast 18. The outsole unit of the Bedlam 2 utilizes a rubber material enhanced by the arrow-shaped Midfoot Transition Zone points for a quick transition. Beast 18, on the other hand, makes use of the HPR Plus rubber outsole that is highly resistant to abrasion and provides a good grip.

The Bedlam 2 uses a flat-knit upper for a plush in-shoe wrap, while the Beast 18 features an engineered mesh for light and flexible coverage. 

Brooks Addiction 13

Just like the Beast 18, the Addiction 13 features a 12 mm drop and thick midsole foam, making it heavier than the Bedlam 2. It also utilizes the HPR Plus rubber outsole for maximum durability and an engineered mesh upper for breathable comfort. 

One of the similarities between Bedlam 2, Beast 18, and Addiction 13 is the used of the DNA foam midsole for a more energized and responsive ride. 

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com