Our verdict

We found that Brooks' latest effort to deliver a competitive supershoe almost reaches the top tier, yet it still trails behind the best. In our lab tests, we observed impressive upgrades in the knit upper, outsole and carbon plate. Despite these enhancements, the supercritical EVA midsole still falls short on energy return, and the Hyperion Elite 4's weight is again hefty for its category. Given its steep $250 price tag, we believe further improvements are necessary for it to compete with the top racing shoes on the market.

Pros

  • World-class upper
  • Cushioned to legal limit
  • Personalized carbon plate
  • Good stability
  • Notched laces
  • Durable outsole
  • Less extreme than other supershoes
  • Superior build quality

Cons

  • Narrow toebox and heel
  • Foam lacks energy return
  • Excessive weight for supershoe

Audience verdict

88
Great!

Who should buy

We've rigorously tested the Hyperion Elite 4 and confidently recommend it for:

  • Those with narrow feet looking for a carbon-plated shoe with a gentler ride than typical supershoes.
  • Brooks aficionados desiring the premier racing shoe from their beloved brand.
  • Marathoners who heel strike and want a durable outsole in their racing footwear.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

Who should NOT buy

The Hyperion Elite 4 lacks the world-class foam typical of top supershoes, and its energy return significantly trails behind. Thus, we do not recommend it for runners aiming to shave seconds off their race times. Instead, we suggest the Hoka Rocket X 2 or the Saucony Endorphin Pro 4 as superior alternatives with PEBA midsoles.

Additionally, the Hyperion Elite 4 needs to shed some weight—it's noticeably heavier compared to its competitors. For those seeking the ultimate featherweight experience in their next race, we think the Nike Vaporfly 3 or the Saucony Endorphin Elite are better choices.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 parts

Breathability

As soon as we unboxed the Hyperion Elite 4, we were instantly captivated by its knit upper. Apart from the Nike Vaporfly 3 with its Flyknit fancy tech, it's challenging to recall any other shoe with such meticulously crafted and high-quality ventilation.

During our smoke-pumping test, it became clear that this shoe was destined for a top score of 5/5. It boasts large, exceptional ventilation holes that allow air to flow seamlessly. In fact, we suggest wearing thick socks in cooler temperatures due to the extensive airflow.

After the smoke test, we shone a light through the upper to inspect it further, and wow—never before have we observed such incredible full-length ventilation. It goes from the heel to the toe, ensuring that overheating won't be an issue, even during the late miles of a summer marathon.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 microscope

We then took a deeper look at the upper using a microscope and what we saw was truly stunning.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 micro 2

However, our focus wasn't on the largest holes but on those in the center of the toebox, which were equally impressive.

In our final manual assessment of the upper, we noted that, as expected in a race day shoe, it isn't very padded. Additionally, the knit is quite stretchy, which might raise some concerns about durability.

Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 235 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Turning now to durability—let's fire up the Dremel! In our initial test, we're eager to see how this paper-thin, minimally padded upper stands up to the tool.

We were pleasantly surprised. Although it scored just 2/5, we view this as a positive outcome for such a featherweight upper. In other words—while we assess all shoes by the same standards, we recognize the significant achievement of obtaining this score with an upper like this one.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Toebox durability
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 2
Average 2.4
Compared to 169 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

After examining the exceptional upper, we shifted our focus to the heel padding, hopeful for a high score.

The outcome was extraordinary—the minimal padding Brooks incorporated in the heel area demonstrated remarkable durability (5/5). It was truly a fantastic performance.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Heel padding durability
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 5
Average 3.2
Compared to 165 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Now it's time to evaluate the outsole. While the traction was satisfactory—it wasn't as impressive as PumaGrip (PUMA Deviate Nitro Elite 2) or Continental (Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3).

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Outsole

The outsole boasts decent rubber coverage in the forefoot and strategically-placed rubber in the heel, plus a massive central groove that reveals the Speedvault+ carbon plate.

First, we tested the rubber's hardness with a durometer in our lab. It registered at 79.4 HC, positioning it on the harder end of the spectrum for a race-oriented outsole.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Outsole hardness
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 79.4 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 286 running shoes
Number of shoes
52.1 HC
Outsole hardness
93.0 HC

Outsole durability

The previous measurement indicated promising durability for a racing shoe. To confirm this, we fired up the Dremel one last time until the next shoe comes into the lab.

After the Dremel finished its work, we observed a minimal 0.8 mm indentation—a remarkable result for a top-tier marathon shoe. Those worried about the durability of this rubber can rest easy!

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Outsole durability
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 0.8 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 147 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

We believe Brooks saw the outsole's durability as a unique opportunity to distinguish itself from other supershoes, so they included a 2.3 mm thickness to boost its longevity.

While it might appear thin at first glance, rest assured, it's quite generous for a marathon shoe.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Outsole thickness
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 2.3 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

Here's our first major issue with the Brooks Hyperion Elite 4.

Weighing in at 7.8 oz or 220g, it's noticeably heavier than expected for a supershoe. For comparison, it's 0.7 oz heavier than the Nike Alphafly 3, which offers more a broader midsole and more cushioning underfoot.

Where does this extra weight originate? The Hyperion Elite 4 includes a state-of-the-art, razor-thin upper, so the real culprits are the midsole and the outsole. We strongly believe that to truly compete in the supershoe arena, Brooks needs to adopt a thinner rubber and a lighter, next-generation midsole in order to put the next version below 7 ounces.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Weight
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 7.76 oz (220g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 306 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The midsole is always a key focus in any supershoe as it's where the performance enhancements really shine.

Our first observation concerns the heel stack, which we measured at an impressive 39.1 mm in the lab, nearly reaching the 40-mm limit set by World Athletics. This is excellent news for heel strikers who are preparing for the marathon.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Heel stack
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 39.1 mm
Average 33.7 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
45.7 mm

Forefoot stack

Contrary to expectations, we measured the forefoot at just 27.3 mm, which was unexpectedly low given the official 8 mm drop.

This measurement might make the shoe less suitable for forefoot strikers, who may find it doesn't align well with their running style.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Forefoot stack
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 27.3 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
36.9 mm

Drop

We recorded an 11.8-mm heel-to-toe drop, quite substantial and ideally suited for heel strikers or those experiencing Achilles tendon or calf issues, as a significant drop can help alleviate stress in these areas.

Oh, you may be wondering why there are sometimes differences between our measurements and the brand's offsets, but don't worry—we have a guide that fully explains it.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Drop
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 11.8 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

The insole is exactly what we look for in a high-quality racing shoe—it's incredibly thin at just 3.0 mm.

Why is this beneficial? Well, because it enables the brand to maximize the use of performance-enhancing foam, crucial for boosting overall performance keeping the HE4 below the 40-mm legal limit imposed by World Athletics.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Insole thickness
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 3.0 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 301 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Turning our attention to the midsole, there's a significant discussion point—it represents the most disappointing aspect of the Hyperion Elite 4 and ultimately hinders our recommendation for those pursuing top-tier performance.

We found that Brooks opted for DNA Flash v2 foam, which doesn't measure up to the leading foams on the market like ZoomX or FF Turbo+. This shortfall is due to its composition as a supercritical, EVA-based foam rather than a PEBA-based material.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Nitrogen

Nitrogen-injected. That's cool, but it's still not PEBA. Come on, Brooks!

Despite Brooks' efforts to enhance it (less weight, more energy return) by infusing nitrogen, we discovered that it lacks the performance characteristics found in world-class foams. In essence, the midsole is adequate for training but falls short for serious racing by current standards.

Moreover, the price remains steep at $250, equivalent to other elite racing shoes. This makes the Hyperion Elite 4 suitable only for those willing to sacrifice some responsiveness. And we think that it’s unfortunate, especially for elite athletes like the Des Linden, a former Boston Marathon champ that deserve a fair competition with the rest of the field.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Midsole softness
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 23.9 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 233 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

To assess the Hyperion's adaptability to cold conditions, we conducted a test where it was frozen for 20 minutes before re-evaluating its performance. The results showed a 15.7% change—a solid performance for an EVA-based foam, which is generally less resilient in such temperature variations.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 15.7%
Average 25.5%
Compared to 232 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Plate

While Brooks may be somewhat behind with its EVA-based foam, they've truly did a great job with the innovative carbon plate in the Hyperion Elite 4.

The Speedvault+ carbon plate, crafted in partnership with ARRIS Composites in Berkeley, stands out from the typical carbon plates. We found that it's uniquely designed with several cutouts in the carbon fiber, maintaining rigidity while also reducing weight, which is evident through the midsole cutout.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 plate

Another remarkable feature of this spoon-shaped carbon plate is that its stiffness varies with each shoe size—a departure from the usual practice where other supershoes use the same plate stiffness across different sizes. It’s great to see Brooks pushing the envelope!

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Plate

Rocker

We discovered that the early-stage rocker of the Hyperion Elite 4 isn't as pronounced as in shoes like the Hoka Cielo X1, but it definitely provides a rockered ride, which is clear when observing its forefoot profile.

Conversely, the heel doesn't showcase a large bevel but features a modest one that starts quite far back, offering some guidance for rearfoot strikers without being intrusive. Overall, this shoe presents one of the most traditional racing dynamics in a contemporary racing shoe, a quality that many runners might find appealing.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Rocker

Stability

Lateral stability test

Having evaluated the midsole, we now shift our focus to the stability features of the Hyperion Elite 4. Surprisingly, we found that despite its tall and narrow profile, it ranks as one of the most stable racing shoes available.

Interestingly, this stability advantage comes from an unexpected source—the DNA Flash v2 foam. While typically less favored than PEBA-based foams for responsiveness, it actually contributes to making this shoe more supportive than many of its competitors. This scenario is a perfect example of how a perceived shortcoming can at least enhance performance in another area.

Torsional rigidity

With a carbon-fiber plate, we expected this test to score at least a 4 out of 5, but it actually reached a 5. We attempted to bend and twist it, but it was incredibly rigid...

Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 5
Average 3.3
Compared to 284 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter is composed of a thin pliable piece of cardboard, so it was no surprise to us that it offered virtually no resistance. Naturally, this led to a low rating of 1 out of 5 on our scale.

Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 1
Average 2.8
Compared to 268 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

We've noted previously in this lab review that the Hyperion Elite 4 feels quite narrow, and now we have the measurements to support that observation.

Our initial measurement focused on the forefoot area, where we recorded a width of 110.3 mm. This indeed confirms the feelings we had during our runs.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 110.3 mm
Average 113.8 mm
Compared to 306 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Although the Hyperion Elite 4 is somewhat more stable than other supershoes, its heel is notably narrow at just 78.5 mm. This could pose challenges for heel strikers, though runners with a neutral stride may not find it problematic. Ultimately, we must remember that this is primarily a racing shoe.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 heel width

If heel width is a concern for you, consider alternatives like the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4. Not only does it have an infinite name, but it also offers a broader heel width of 88.7 mm.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 78.5 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 306 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Equipped with a carbon plate nestled between two layers of DNA Flash v2 foam, it was virtually guaranteed that the Hyperion Elite 4 would exhibit extreme rigidity. And true to expectations, it felt exceptionally stiff during our test runs.

Using our force gauge, we applied a significant 63.0N to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. That's quite stiff—just notice how the table vibrates after we release the tool!

Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 63.0N
Average 29.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 288 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

To assess how the stiffness would be affected by cold, we put it in the freezer for 20 minutes before testing again with the force gauge. Afterwards, we noted a modest 6.8% increase in stiffness—a good result that likely stems from the presence of the carbon plate in between the foam.

Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 6.8%
Average 35.9%
Compared to 288 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

We consistently take two measurements to ensure accuracy, and the first is always at the upper's widest point.

The initial measurement we recorded here in the lab was only 93.0 mm, clearly indicating that the Hyperion Elite 4 is quite narrow. Let's see what delivers our second measurement.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 93.0 mm
Average 98.4 mm
Compared to 306 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Unfortunately for those with wider feet, we've confirmed with our second measurement that the Hyperion Elite 4 offers a performance-oriented, track-spike-like fit.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 toebox

At just 74.9 mm across the big toe area, we recommend this shoe only for runners with narrow feet or those who prefer a very tight fit. Others may find it uncomfortably snug, particularly during the looong 26.2 miles of a marathon.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 74.9 mm
Average 78.2 mm
Compared to 180 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The tongue of the HE4 is quite unique, as it's one of the few shoes we've analyzed in the lab that features a one-side semi-gusseted design. 

In our view, having a semi-gusseted tongue even if it's only in one side is preferable to a non-gusseted one, particularly since tongues tend to shift toward the arch rather than the outer part of the foot.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 One side (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue of the Hyperion Elite 4 stands out from most racing shoes by offering a cushioned 5.5 mm padding; however, not throughout its entire length.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 laces

A great touch from Brooks is the inclusion of Vaporfly-like, notched laces. We absolutely deserve them after shelling out 250 bucks!

This design is a boon for runners who find the ultra-thin tongues of typical supershoes uncomfortable, particularly during marathons where tightly tied laces can cause lace bite. However, this added comfort does increase the shoe's weight slightly.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Tongue padding
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 5.5 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 303 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

Unlike other Brooks daily trainers such as the Ghost 15 or Adrenaline GTS 23, the Hyperion Elite 4 includes a handy finger-loop heel tab. It appears that Brooks recognized the challenge of slipping into this shoe compared to its more standard models and added this useful feature.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Heel tab
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 Finger loop

Removable insole

This competition shoe allows you to swap out the insole, as we discovered it's not glued down.

However, it's essential to keep in mind that the interior space is quite snug as we proved before, so if you opt for a replacement, choose a razor-thin third-party footbed to ensure a proper fit.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Removable insole
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

We found that the Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 does not include reflective elements.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Reflective elements
Test results
Hyperion Elite 4 No