Is The Brooks Revel a Running Revelation?

94 / 100 by Joseph Arellano • Level 4 expert

According to one source, the Brooks Revel is “A cushioned trainer that is ready for anything from short recovery runs to long distance efforts.” (Running Warehouse) Is it ready for anything?

See the verdict below.



The Shoe

The Revel weighs 10.5 ounces, but it feels lighter on one’s feet. It feels like 9.4 ounces.

The Revel’s heel drop is an unexpected 11mm, but it does not feel like it. It feels like a 6 to 8 mm drop. After initial runs in the shoe, I would have confidently said 6mm.



The Revel has a flat knit upper which is styled in the latest urban-suburban “work and play” look trend. It’s a style that draws comments and compliments if you like that sort of thing.

The Revel offers a near-perfect fit. There’s room up front for one’s toes to comfortably splay, and yet the fit is nicely snug around the heel.

The best part of the fit is midfoot where Brooks uses a Midfoot Stretch Saddle for “a personalized and secure midfoot fit.” It is most definitely secure.

The Revel is based on a BioMoGo DNA biodegradable midsole that is intended to be responsive. And, surprisingly, the entire sole is made of high abrasion-resistant rubber.



The Revel’s sock liner also makes use of BioMoGo materials. The insole fits well, and while it feels soft, it’s nicely protective. (I was dealing with heel soreness issues when I began to use the Revel. Those issues faded away.)


The Ride

One can feel a nice amount of punch in the Revel on concrete, and that responsiveness becomes downright bouncy on asphalt.

There’s quite decent forefoot flexibility due to four pronounced flex grooves, and the Revel has enough stability to meet the needs of mild to moderate pronators. While the shoe facilitates the midfoot striking runner, the heel drop is large enough for heel strikers.



What’s a bit of a shock about the Revel’s forefoot is that there’s hard rubber up there; in fact, it feels firmer than the rubber in the rear of the sole that provides for a soft heel landing. But the ride is smooth, quite smooth.

In the Revel, one is not restricted to either running close to the ground or to lifting the feet high up. The Revel is happy to facilitate either running style.


The Grades 


Adaptability/Versatility: A

Some running shoes lock you into a certain style, which is a problem when it does not coincide with your natural style. This is not an issue with the Revel, it will adapt to your needs.


Cushioning: A- to A

The Revel delivers all the cushioning one could ask for in a trainer.


Responsiveness: B+ to A

The Revel is loaded with bounce-back, but not so much so that it produces wasted energy.


Speed: B- to B

The Revel will allow a runner to build up momentum at faster tempos – and it’s a very good shoe to use for tempo runs, but it is not a naturally fast shoe due to its weight and relative lack of firmness.


Price: A to A+

I was initially shocked to discover that the Revel (like the Brooks Launch) sells for $100. It looks and feels underfoot like a shoe costing $120 to $125.



Brooks Rotation 

Because both the Revel and the Launch share a bargain price point, for $200 a runner can build a two-shoe rotation.

The Revel can be used on standard training days, and the Launch – which is lighter and more neutral, can be used on short race days or for fast tempo sessions. Both models are quite durable for trainers.

The runner who needs a mild stability racing shoe and/or speed trainer can add the Asteria from Brooks, while the runner needing a protective recovery day and long run shoe can add the excellent Glycerin 15.


The Next Step 

As I put in miles in the Revel trainer, it struck me that by the time the Revel 3 is released, Brooks might want to consider releasing a cousin of the shoe. How about the Revel Racer?

A racing flat version of the Revel would be lighter, might contain a midfoot shank in the sole for some stability, would be firmer in the midfoot/forefoot for quicker step-offs and would – best of all – be loaded with glorious blown rubber in the forefoot.

(Such a racing version of the Revel might cost more rather than less, but such is life.)

OK, Brooks at least think about it.



The Verdict 

Yes, the Brooks Revel is a shoe that’s ready for just about anything. This is a high-quality daily trainer that will make a fine shoe for races from 3.1 to 26.2 miles. It offers some stability but not enough to negatively affect neutral runners. Best of all, the price point is exemplary for an excellent product.

With the Revel on your feet, you can revel in your abandon.

Highly recommended.

Joseph Arellano

Joseph Arellano • Level 4 expert

Joseph Arellano has run in and reviewed running shoes produced by more than 20 different brands. When he finds a "perfect" running shoe, he picks up about six pairs. He believes that most problems can be solved through the purchase of a new pair of running shoes.

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Brooks Revel