Brooks Levitate review

The new Levitate boasts of “infinite energy return” through its DNA AMP midsole technology. The fit was extremely comfortable, but the midsole and outsole combined with the lightweight knit upper seemed to make the shoes a little too bottom-heavy.

Aside from that though, the shoes provide a spacious toe-box, ample arch support, and firm-but-comfortable heel support. Of all the shoes I’ve worn recently, this shoe has been the most comfortable fit for my feet.

General function of the Levitate

The Levitates are comfortable, flexible, and very springy.

Even though they seemed a bit heavy, the shoes are a superb choice for a daily trainer. I ran 206 miles in the Levitates, building up to the 2018 Phoenix Marathon.

From easy runs, to hill workouts, to speed intervals, to a tune-up 15k race, and even the Marathon itself, the Levitates were nearly flawless in function.

One of the only problems I faced with the shoes is their limited traction on wet surfaces, causing me to slip quite often.

Training flexibility

On long runs and recovery to easy runs, the Levitates are perfect, providing a cushioned, springy ride for unending miles.

I felt like I was running on cushioned pillows from time to time. For speedwork and interval runs, the shoes performed satisfactorily, though their weight was noticeable.

Steady performance of the Levitate

In addition to peak marathon training, I subjected my Levitates to a few longer races: A 15k and a full Marathon.

Obviously, these are not race day flats, being double the weight of my usual pick of shoes for races. However, I wanted to see if they would be suitable for longer race uses.

In both races, I set personal records: 1:03:03 in the Dallas Running Club 15k and a Boston Qualifying 3:12:41 in the Phoenix Marathon.

What the Levitates may give up in additional weight, they more than makeup for in cushioned, bouncy responsiveness over the duration of longer races. I could not have been happier with their performance.

As I am writing this, I am 5 days post-marathon and my legs feel fully recovered already. I have to acknowledge the possibility that the Levitates’ energy return design and cushioned midsole have everything to do with my quick recovery.

Expected durability

With 206 miles on them, my Levitates feel like they are just now getting into the groove.

There is some wear on the outsole’s tread, and the lifespan of the midsole remains to be seen, but I speculate these shoes could last well beyond 500 miles with no problem.

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 318g / Women 275g
Drop: 8mm
Arch support: Neutral
Update: Brooks Levitate 5
Forefoot height: 18mm
Heel height: 26mm

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Author
Mark Clements
Mark Clements

My name is Mark Clements. I’m an avid runner in my 40’s and I run races from 5Ks to Marathons. I’m always training for a race and run at least 40 miles/week, rotating up to 5 pairs of shoes through my runs. My long term goal is to run into old age, remaining injury-free, which comes in part by being equipped with the best shoes out there!