Our verdict

With its astonishingly light build and bouncy midsole that brings a spring to every step, the Brooks Hyperion Max truly offers an exceptional running experience that's good for all four seasons. That said, we found the shoe's upper is on the snug side and is particularly optimized for neutral runners. If this fits your running profile, this agile shoe stands out as an excellent daily trainer that can also keep up with quicker tempos.

Pros

  • Seamless, comfortable upper
  • Exceptionally bouncy DNA Flash midsole
  • Remarkably lightweight
  • Secure, snug fit
  • Fantastic performance in winter
  • Versatile across various paces
  • Excellent stability
  • Superior breathability
  • Highly durable

Cons

  • High price tag at $170
  • Subpar grip in wet conditions
  • Not for wide feet

Audience verdict

89
Great!

Who should buy

We think that the Brooks Hyperion Max is a top choice for:

  • Folks who find regular daily trainers like the Nike Pegasus 40 heavy and boring.
  • Neutral runners craving a feather-light daily training shoe.
  • Anyone on the hunt for a do-it-all shoe that's cool with any running pace.

Brooks Hyperion Max

Who should NOT buy

If you have wide feet, this Brooks probably isn't for you. Based on our tests, better options with more room inside include the Nike InfinityRN 4 and the Saucony Triumph 21.

Likewise, the $170 price tag might be a stretch for your budget. In that case, you could look at more affordable options like the regular Brooks Hyperion or the popular ASICS Novablast 3.

Brooks Hyperion Max parts

Breathability

We're kicking off this lab review on a high note: the Brooks Hyperion Max really shines when it comes to breathability.

In our lab, we typically run a series of tests in this regard, but the first one was enough to show us that this shoe is a top pick for summer training. Just look at how well it ventilates!

We've covered various ways to make a shoe breathable in our detailed guide on the topic. Of all the options, Brooks chose to use ventilation holes, and it's a choice that paid off. This shoe scored a perfect 5 out of 5 in our breathability test.

During our light test, we observed numerous ventilation holes extending from the toe box to the midfoot area. To get a close-up view of these holes, we used a microscope. And what we found was fascinating.

Brooks Hyperion Max microscope

The white background behind the ventilation hole isn't part of the shoe's upper. We added it to highlight the hole. Actually, you'll see your sock there!

Brooks uses a thick engineered mesh in the shoe's design. Without these large holes, the mesh would not have provided adequate breathability. However, the size of these holes ensures the shoe stays well-ventilated.

Brooks Hyperion Max microscope close

Lastly, we discovered that this shoe prioritizes breathability over comfort. We love examining uppers, and we noticed that, unlike most other shoes, the inside of this shoe's upper lacks any fabric.

Test results
Hyperion Max 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 204 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Breathable shoes often come up short in the durability department, so we were eager to see how the Hyperion Max would hold up.

To our delight, the shoe earned a 2/5 score in our dremel test. It's an impressive achievement for a model that's both incredibly light and well-ventilated.

Brooks Hyperion Max Toebox durability
Test results
Hyperion Max 2
Average 2.3
Compared to 138 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

We found that the heel area also scored a 2/5, which was a bit underwhelming. We expected a bit more durability in this area from the Hyperion Max.

Still, since it didn't score a low 1/5, it shouldn't be a concern for almost all runners.

Brooks Hyperion Max Heel padding durability
Test results
Hyperion Max 2
Average 3.1
Compared to 134 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Next, we focused on the outsole to check its durability. Our first test measured the hardness of the material. In the lab, we determined that it was a bit below average at 78.6 HC.

Brooks Hyperion Max Outsole hardness
Test results
Hyperion Max 78.6 HC
Average 80.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 255 running shoes
Number of shoes
55.5 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

For the ultimate test of the outsole's durability, we rev up the Dremel one final time.

We measured a 0.7 mm indentation in the outsole—truly a good result that points to long-lasting wear.

Brooks Hyperion Max Outsole durability
Test results
Hyperion Max 0.7 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 116 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

We measured the thickness of the outsole and found it to be 3.0 mm, clearly aimed at keeping the shoe lightweight. This seems like enough, but it's important to note that there's a lot of exposed foam on the shoe.

Brooks Hyperion Max outsole

We observed that the rubber is smartly placed to cover the areas that take the most beating while running, so it should hold up well over time.

Brooks Hyperion Max Outsole thickness
Test results
Hyperion Max 3.0 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

The major highlight of this shoe is its mind-blowing lightness.

Tipping the scales at a mere 7.5 oz (213g), it easily holds its own against racing shoes but offers far superior comfort.

Brooks Hyperion Max Weight
Test results
Hyperion Max 7.51 oz (213g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

We measured the Hyperion Max stack and found that it has a height of 32.4 mm in the heel.

This should be comfortable for most runners, including heel strikers—even for long runs.

Brooks Hyperion Max Heel stack
Test results
Hyperion Max 32.4 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot has a thickness of 24.2 mm. This should work well for most forefoot strikers and it doesn't mute the ground feel at all.

However, if you're on the heavier side and you strike with your forefoot, you might want to go for a shoe with more cushioning, like the ASICS Superblast.

Brooks Hyperion Max Forefoot stack
Test results
Hyperion Max 24.2 mm
Average 24.8 mm
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

We measured the heel-to-toe drop in the Hyperion Max and found it to be 8.8 mm. This is pretty close to the 8 mm drop that Brooks claims.

Brooks Hyperion Max Drop
Test results
Hyperion Max 8.2 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

When we cut in half the Hyperion Max, one of the first things we observed was its incredibly thin insole. A 2.6-mm insole is really unusual, but we think it's great for this particular shoe. Weight savings!

Brooks Hyperion Max Insole thickness
Test results
Hyperion Max 2.6 mm
Average 4.4 mm
Compared to 271 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.

Before running any tests in the lab, we wanted to get a feel for the Hyperion Max by taking it for a first run.

This shoe uses DNA Flash foam, which gives a snappy feel underfoot. It's not super cushy, but that's not a bad thing for many runners that favor a more old-school feel.

After that initial run, we measured the foam's softness with a durometer. The result, at 20.8 HA, confirmed what we felt. The shoe offers a balanced feel—neither too soft nor too firm.

Brooks Hyperion Max Midsole softness
Test results
Hyperion Max 20.8 HA
Average 21.3 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 202 running shoes
Number of shoes
9.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

We put the shoe in the freezer for a quick 20-minute nap and then measured its softness again. We found that the reading was 22.5 HA, which is pretty much the same as what we got at room temperature.

We observed just an 8.4% increase from the first test, and let that's one of the best results we've ever seen in the lab. Many other running shoes in the same price range can't even come close in this test.

Brooks Hyperion Max Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Hyperion Max 8.4%
Average 25.7%
Compared to 201 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

We found that the Hyperion Max is a 100% neutral shoe. It doesn't have any extra features to help with stability—no side walls either. So if you're a pronator, this might not be the best fit for you. It's really best-suited only for neutral runners.

Torsional rigidity

Another thing that caught our attention is the shoe's flexibility. We measured it and gave it a score of 2 out of 5 in our twist test.

This low score means the shoe offers lots of agility and a smooth ride. But just like we mentioned earlier, this flexibility also means the shoe isn't that stable for non-neutral runners.

Test results
Hyperion Max 2
Average 3.2
Compared to 253 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

We found that the heel counter has a moderate level of firmness, which we rated as 3 out of 5. This should suit most runners just fine.

However, if you have a particularly sensitive Achilles tendon, you might find it a bit on the stiff side.

Test results
Hyperion Max 3
Average 2.8
Compared to 237 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The shoe weighs just 7.5 oz, so we thought it would have a narrow platform. However, when we measured it in the lab, the forefoot was 110.0 mm wide. That's actually pretty close to the average width.

We also found that the shoe felt safe and secure when we landed on the forefoot at any pace.

Brooks Hyperion Max Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Hyperion Max 110.0 mm
Average 113.5 mm
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel design is pretty similar to the forefoot. We measured this one at at 88.1 mm in the lab, which is close to average.

Brooks Hyperion Max Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Hyperion Max 88.1 mm
Average 90.3 mm
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

When we first twisted the shoe in our previous flexibility test, it felt really pliable. To get a better idea of just how flexible the Hyperion Max is, we pushed it to a 90-degree angle in the lab and measured how much force it took from us.

We found that it only took 25.8N of force, which shows that Brooks aimed to make a flexible and comfy shoe.

Test results
Hyperion Max 25.8N
Average 29.3N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 258 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

After putting the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes, just like we did for the foam softness test, we measured the force again. This time, we found that it took 27.9N of force.

That's only an 8.3% increase in force, a truly remarkable result compared to most other shoes out there. Once again, we have to congratulate Brooks for this outstanding performance under cold temperatures.

Test results
Hyperion Max 8.3%
Average 36.8%
Compared to 258 running shoes
Number of shoes
-100%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Internal length

The internal length of the shoe comes at 265.7 mm, pretty close to what we were expecting.

Brooks Hyperion Max Internal length
Test results
Hyperion Max 265.7 mm
Average 268.9 mm
Compared to 138 running shoes
Number of shoes
259.9 mm
Internal length
277.4 mm

Toebox width at the widest part

We clocked the toebox width at the widest part of the upper and found it to be only 96.1 mm.

Brooks Hyperion Max

If you have narrow feet, you'll likely enjoy this shoe. It's also a good choice for people with regular-width feet who like a snug, race-like fit. But if you have wide feet, you might consider going up a size, although that's not a surefire solution.

Brooks Hyperion Max Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Hyperion Max 96.1 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 276 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Surprisingly, there's room for toe splay. We really appreciate Brooks' choice to design a rounded toebox (78.4 mm at the big toe area). It's a rare and fantastic feature that offers a natural and comfy fit for your feet.

Brooks Hyperion Max Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Hyperion Max 78.4 mm
Average 78.1 mm
Compared to 149 running shoes
Number of shoes
67.6 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
91.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

Sadly, in the quest to make the shoe lighter, Brooks left out a gusset in the tongue. For a $170 shoe designed for fast runs, we find this to be disappointing.

Brooks Hyperion Max Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Hyperion Max None

Comfort

Tongue padding

Brooks probably left out the gusseted tongue to make the shoe lighter. But they could have used a thinner tongue and added a gusset with the saved weight.

That said, we found that the 5.4-mm tongue is actually quite comfortable for long runs!

Brooks Hyperion Max Tongue padding
Test results
Hyperion Max 5.4 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 273 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

Brooks skipped the heel tab, but honestly, we didn't even miss it when putting on the shoes.

It's more about the look than function. And they did throw in a branded strip in the heel, so you'll always remember who's got your feet covered!

Brooks Hyperion Max Heel tab
Test results
Hyperion Max None

Removable insole

The Hyperion Max comes with a removable insole. However, as we said before, the shoe has a unique shape—it's snug in the forefoot but has a rounded toebox.

Because of this, most third-party insoles don't really fit well. However, if you're looking for that perfect fit, we discovered that custom-made orthotics can be a solid option.

Brooks Hyperion Max Removable insole
Test results
Hyperion Max Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Sure, the shoe has some reflective elements, but the tiny strips Brooks added are barely noticeable. It's disappointing, especially if you're counting on them for visibility.

Brooks Hyperion Max Reflective elements
Test results
Hyperion Max Yes