Our verdict

If you're on the hunt for a shoe with a futuristic design and NASA-like vibes, look no further than the Aurora-BL. This head-turning daily trainer offers a plush and comfortable ride in a surprisingly lightweight package, although we found that it sacrifices some durability. We believe that the Aurora-BL certainly delivers for folks in search of a standout premium workhorse.

Pros

  • Exceptionally plush ride
  • Highly flexible design
  • Distinctive, eye-catching style
  • Devours miles effortlessly
  • Ideal for easy runs
  • Fun ride
  • Cutting-edge design

Cons

  • Durability concerns
  • Lacks tongue padding
  • Premium price point

Audience verdict

90
Superb!

Who should buy

We've thoroughly tested the Brooks Aurora-BL and confidently recommend it for those who:

  • Seek a daily trainer that not only stands out visually but also offers an incredibly fun and unique ride.
  • Prefer plush running shoes but require a model with decent stability, thanks to its wide midsole.
  • Are fans of Brooks looking to experience the cutting-edge innovation from its BlueLine lab.

Brooks Aurora-BL

Who should NOT buy

While the Aurora-BL might resemble something from a Mars mission with its standout design, we believe its high price tag of £200 might deter many potential buyers, especially since more affordable options like the ASICS Novablast 4 or the Hoka Clifton 9 offer similar cushioning at a lower cost.

We also have serious concerns about its durability. Our lab tests showed that this Brooks has a lot of exposed foam and an upper that isn't built to last. Comparatively, the Nike Invincible 3 offers better plush foam and full-length rubber coverage, and the On Cloudmonster 2 delivers outstanding durability with premium features and a neck-turning design.

Brooks Aurora-BL parts

Breathability

In our initial test with the futuristic Aurora-BL, we filled the upper with smoke to gauge its ventilation capabilities.

We observed a below-average performance in smoke evacuation, which we rated 3/5. While not detrimental—for instance, an ultra-ventilated upper isn't ideal for cold winter runs—it's worth noting the potential for insufficient airflow on hotter days.

Using a light, we discovered that the Aurora-BL features a paper-thin toebox. However, Brooks has significantly increased the thickness throughout the rest of the shoe to enhance stability and comfort.

Brooks Aurora-BL microscope

We then examined the engineered mesh of the toebox under a microscope and found it to be incredibly thin—truly one of the most remarkable layers of mesh that we've encountered in the lab.

Brooks Aurora-BL mesh

This pic from our microscope looks so stunning that we're setting it as our screen background.

Driven to fully understand the upper, we analysed a cross-section and found that the tongue system extends to the midfoot.

This design increases thickness and provides substantial comfort in that region, albeit at the expense of full-length airflow.

Test results
Aurora-BL 3
Average 3.8
Compared to 234 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Despite the shoe's unique design, the insole remains quite average and can be easily removed.

Brooks Aurora-BL Toebox durability
Test results
Aurora-BL 1
Average 2.4
Compared to 168 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The heel counter is exceptionally comfortable and feels genuinely premium, justifying its £200 price tag. But does it offer durability?

Regrettably, it does not (1/5). Those who experience wear in this area from their Achilles tendon should consider a more durable high-end trainer, such as the ASICS Nimbus 26.

Brooks Aurora-BL Heel padding durability
Test results
Aurora-BL 1
Average 3.2
Compared to 164 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

After two consecutive disappointing tests, we hoped for an improvement with the outsole. Our initial test involved measuring the hardness of the rubber, which registered at 81.0 HC—an average score that aims to balance durability and grip.

Brooks Aurora-BL outsole

Yet, the Aurora-BL is not your average trainer. It features a significant amount of exposed foam with only four pieces of rubber strategically placed to protect the most wear-prone areas.

Brooks Aurora-BL Outsole hardness
Test results
Aurora-BL 81.0 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 285 running shoes
Number of shoes
52.1 HC
Outsole hardness
93.0 HC

Outsole durability

We were aware that the Aurora-BL couldn't afford another disappointing Dremel test, given the minimal coverage on its outsole.

Fortunately, this test yielded much better results, as we discovered only a 0.7 mm mark on the rubber. That's definitely a positive outcome!

Brooks Aurora-BL Outsole durability
Test results
Aurora-BL 0.7 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 146 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

This test also turned out positive, as we discovered enough rubber—at 3.1 mm—to sustain decent mileage.

Brooks Aurora-BL rubber

Had Brooks used less rubber, it would have been too risky, considering the minimal contact area with the ground, which naturally accelerates outsole wear on this shoe.

Brooks Aurora-BL Outsole thickness
Test results
Aurora-BL 3.1 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

After placing the BL in the freezer for a second time, we conducted another bend test. This time, we had to exert 36.3% more force, a result that feels disappointing for a shoe priced at £200.

Weight

At just 8.7 oz (247g), the Aurora-BL felt exceptionally light during runs and tips the scales below most shoes offering similar cushioning—a surprising feat given its deceptively sturdy appearance.

How did Brooks achieve this? It boils down to three key elements: a razor-thin upper, a supercritical midsole, and a minimal rubber coverage as we proved before. While this design leads to some durability concerns, the impressive lightness of the shoe stands out.

Brooks Aurora-BL Weight
Test results
Aurora-BL 8.71 oz (247g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The Aurora-BL sports a maximalist design, and indeed it delivers. We measured a substantial 37.0 mm of cushioning in the heel, providing ample height to comfortably support even the heaviest heel strikers.

Brooks Aurora-BL Heel stack
Test results
Aurora-BL 37.0 mm
Average 33.7 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
45.7 mm

Forefoot stack

Throughout our test runs, we consistently noticed a total lack of ground feel even when landing with our forefoot, and an impressive level of padding beneath the ball of our feet.

This was hardly a shock for us, given that our measurement in this region showed a generous 28.3 mm of cushioning.

Brooks Aurora-BL Forefoot stack
Test results
Aurora-BL 28.3 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
36.9 mm

Drop

The difference between our measurements indicates a real 8.7 mm drop. This moderate approach suits all types of footstrikes well.

However, it was somewhat surprising to us here in the lab, as Brooks officially lists the drop at 6 mm. This discrepancy is notable, but it's crucial to mention that our measurements adhere strictly to World Athletics guidelines.

Brooks Aurora-BL Drop
Test results
Aurora-BL 8.7 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

We discovered that the Aurora-BL uses a standard 5.0-mm insole, and it feels like at £200, we might have expected an insole made from the same advanced foam as the midsole, right?

Brooks Aurora-BL Insole thickness
Test results
Aurora-BL 5.0 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 300 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.

The midsole is another standout feature of the Aurora-BL, offering a plush and bouncy feel, thanks to its full-length DNA Loft v3 nitrogen-infused, supercritical foam.

During our testing with a Shore A durometer, the Aurora-BL performed as anticipated—delivering a low score of 15.3 HA. This measurement underscores the cloud-like comfort we experienced during our runs.

Given these results, we do not recommend the Aurora-BL for those who prefer a firmer, responsive ride. For a more balanced experience in a premium package, consider the ASICS Superblast instead.

Brooks Aurora-BL Midsole softness
Test results
Aurora-BL 15.3 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 232 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

How does the DNA Loft v3 foam perform in cold temperatures? Quite well, actually.

After placing it in our freezer for 20 minutes, we observed a 22.2% change in performance, which is impressive for an EVA-based foam. It’s clear to us that the addition of nitrogen to the formula really enhances its cold-weather performance!

Brooks Aurora-BL Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Aurora-BL 22.2%
Average 25.5%
Compared to 231 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Rocker

Brooks typically offers a more traditional ride in their trainers, often steering clear of heavily rockered designs. However, the Aurora-BL stands out as an exception.

Dubbed the Glide Roll, this design features noticeable forefoot and heel rockers that significantly enhance the running experience, particularly for those who use a heel striking technique.

Brooks Aurora-BL Rocker

Stability

Lateral stability test

At first glance, the Aurora-BL might not seem stable due to its substantial, pillow-like foam, which could suggest a wobbly ride.

However, that's not the case. The shoe's ultra-wide platform and significant midsole sidewalls in the heel area provide decent support, particularly for heel strikers. While it won't perform exactly like a Kayano 30, we found it offers more support than one might expect.

Torsional rigidity

This is one of the few shoes on the market featuring a decoupled heel—a design element we'd love to see more often in daily trainers due to its significant boost in comfort. On the other hand, such designs are more costly and complex to manufacture, which explains their rarity.

As demonstrated in our video, the BL bends like a yoga master. This flexibility led us to rate it a 1/5 for torsional rigidity.

Test results
Aurora-BL 1
Average 3.2
Compared to 283 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

We discovered that the heel counter performs adequately, earning a 3/5, comparable to a typical running shoe. It offers sufficient rigidity to maintain structure and prevent lateral heel collapse, yet it remains non-intrusive.

Test results
Aurora-BL 3
Average 2.8
Compared to 267 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

We recently highlighted the substantial size of the Aurora-BL, which significantly contributes to its stability.

It combines a standard fit with a broad base, offering a secure feel upon landing. In the forefoot area, we measured 119.4 mm, comparable to many stability shoes, enhancing its secure footing.

Brooks Aurora-BL Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Aurora-BL 119.4 mm
Average 113.7 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel tells a similar, yet more pronounced story than the forefoot, measuring a massive 102.1 mm.

This substantial size greatly benefits heel strikers, as the shoe also includes a well-designed heel bevel that smooths the transition to the decoupled forefoot, enhancing overall efficiency.

Brooks Aurora-BL Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Aurora-BL 102.1 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

With the market increasingly dominated by stiff and maximalist shoes, we're thrilled to report that Brooks has made the Aurora-BL exceptionally flexible by integrating a decoupled heel into its design—making it an excellent choice for easy paces.

In our 90-degree bend test, we only needed to apply 20.2N of force to flex the shoe to 90 degrees. Truly remarkable!

Test results
Aurora-BL 20.2N
Average 29.2N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 287 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

After placing the BL in the freezer for a second time, we conducted another bend test. This time, we had to exert 36.3% more force, a result that feels disappointing for a shoe priced at £200.

Test results
Aurora-BL 36.3%
Average 35.9%
Compared to 287 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

One of our initial concerns was that this shoe might have a narrow upper, as it appeared so upon unboxing. However, after testing it on our feet and taking precise measurements with our callipers, we found the fit to be quite standard at 97.3 mm, though it leans slightly towards the narrower side.

Brooks Aurora-BL Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Aurora-BL 97.3 mm
Average 98.4 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Our second measurement, focused on the big toe area, is crucial for truly understanding the shoe's fit.

Brooks Aurora-BL fit

We were pleased to find that it doesn’t taper much at 78.3 mm. Overall, we can confirm—based on our tests—that this shoe fits similarly to most average daily trainers.

Brooks Aurora-BL Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Aurora-BL 78.3 mm
Average 78.2 mm
Compared to 179 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The design is so unique that a standard tongue was clearly not an option.

Instead, we discovered a bootie construction, which proved to be extremely comfortable and effective during our runs. This setup ensures that the tongue stays fixed in place, eliminating any potential side-to-side movement.

Brooks Aurora-BL Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Aurora-BL Bootie

Comfort

Tongue padding

 For a shoe intended for daily miles, we found it surprising that the tongue lacks sufficient padding at just 1.0 mm.

Brooks Aurora-BL pull tab tongue

The tongue features a convenient pull tab, a MUST in every bootie-like upper.

It's perplexing to us that the Hyperion Elite 4—Brooks' premier racing shoe—features a far more padded and comfortable tongue.

Brooks Aurora-BL Tongue padding
Test results
Aurora-BL 1.0 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 302 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

Although there's no heel tab, we discovered that Brooks compensated with an extended heel collar, which is easy to grab. This design makes it simpler to slip your feet into the bootie-like upper without any struggle.

Brooks Aurora-BL Heel tab
Test results
Aurora-BL Extended heel collar

Removable insole

Despite the shoe's unique design, the insole remains quite average and can be easily removed.

Brooks Aurora-BL Removable insole
Test results
Aurora-BL Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

At £200, we expected Brooks to include reflective elements to enhance our safety during night runs. It seems to us that the absence of such features is a significant oversight, particularly given the shoe's futuristic design—a real missed opportunity to integrate something both functional and cool!

Brooks Aurora-BL Reflective elements
Test results
Aurora-BL No