Brooks Levitate 5 - Shoe Review

 Soft, bouncy and responsive, the Brooks Levitate will be your go-to training shoe for getting the most out of your sessions
out of 5 rating | Weight – 295g (men’s) | weight – 272g (women’s) | Drop – 8mm | Neutral Road Shoe | £140 

First impressions out of the box:

Reka says: I was excited to try the new version of the Brooks Levitate, particularly because of the new upper which has been updated, and now looks more like a traditional running shoe. I love the new colour of this shoe, very lively and great for summer. The step in the shoe feels soft and cosy, thanks to the nicely padded heel cup and tongue. It is a true Brooks experience.

Adam says: What a breath of fresh air. I didn’t really like the look of the previous version, the Levitate 4. The thin upper on this earlier shoe which gave a sock-like fit just didn't work for me. I had received a lot of feedback saying the Levitate 4 didn’t feel supportive enough around the foot, so I was uncertain about what would be in store with the Levitate 5.

This shoe is going in a different direction. It’s more like the earlier models (before the Levitate 4) where the upper appears plusher around the foot, and the material around the forefoot looks even more flexible, and much more forgiving. The Levitate 5 sticks with its DNA AMP midsole, which is designed to give full energy return, and make you bounce along those miles. For the rubber underneath the foot, Brooks sticks to its traditional arrow-point pattern, which should allow a smoother transition through the heel to toe.

Our thoughts: 

Reka says: The material of the upper provides breathability and ensures a more flexible, accommodating fit especially on the run. The toe box is wide, offering a lot of toe room which I really liked during my runs.  The midsole material is soft and bouncy just like the previous model. 

Adam says: It’s a soft, yet bouncy shoe that can transition you through your heel to toe and spring you forward. It does this by applying flexibility through the shoe, whilst keeping the shoe well cushioned. Flexible DNA AMP cushioning, quick transitioning rubber and flexible upper materials all help achieve this propulsion.

Brooks intend this shoe for racing and training, but what about wearing it for a gentle plod? I decided to give it a go. Quietly I was hoping that the Levitate was going to pick up my slow pace, and inject some energy but it didn’t, and really, I didn’t expect it to. I wanted the shoe to feel amazing on this run; I wanted it to be the answer to getting the legs moving quicker, but my heart wasn’t in the run. Instead the shoe didn’t respond; it didn't allow me to push through the toe off; it sat there like a ‘stiffer’ shoe on my foot and became a little flat. I  could hear the stomp with each footstrike, but that is what I expected from a shoe which is designed to give energy back. 

I’ve challenged the Levitate 5 in a run that it’s not intended for, so it’s only fair to test it out in the environment it was designed for. An interval session - this is where it got fun. Even with my 6ft 4” frame, and close to 90kgs going through the Levitate 5, it responded beautifully. I was aiming to keep the pace down to around 4 mins/km, but I went through 5k in just over 20 minutes, well under my 5k pb. It felt so different from the previous run. The energy feedback that Brooks brag about was there, the DNA AMP was kicking in and it felt super-springy. 

Fit and width:

Reka says: Previously, I had the Levitate 4 which were too narrow for me, but this new knit engineered mesh upper is very true to size and much more comfortable than the previous model was.

Adam says: I'm a little concerned about the width offered in the forefoot. For those Brooks fans out there, I’m a typical Brooks Ghost wearer, where the forefoot seems to allow a little bit more space in the width. The Levitate 5, not so much. I’m aware of the small knuckles on my toes protruding on the lateral side. It’s probably worth noting though that this is a typical issue for my broad forefoot. However, that was my concern before I had run and the 3D fit print really did hug my foot, and my concerns about it being a little narrow really were unfounded.

Where it works best: 

Reka says: I recommend the Levitate 5 for runners who are looking for a well cushioned shoe which puts spring into every step during the run. It’s a very good everyday training shoe for slow to fast running pace over any distance, but ideally for runners who run around 20-50 km a week. 

Adam says: For me, the Levitate 5 will be my go-to shoe when it comes to turning the legs over at a quicker pace and longer ‘capable’ distance. I’m more likely to do a session where I get home and feel good after a fast-paced run, than if I was going to tire and fatigue on the run. For a much heavier and bigger guy, I would choose the Levitate 5 over my Brooks Launch (Launch also sits in Brooks energize range) for that additional cushioning, and keep my Brooks Launch for the shorter and sharper runs.

Any sticking points... 

Reka says: The only setback is that the shoe is slightly heavier than the previous version. However, this slight increase in weight is a worthwhile compromise for the new updated upper.

Adam says: A little bit narrow in the forefoot for me, but actually with the 3D fit print it isn’t an issue, so I do think it will work for most foot shapes. 
  
This shoe has been tested by Reka and guest reviewed by Adam from our Leeds City Centre store. They have run in the shoes for a minimum of 4 weeks or about 50 miles before submitting their reviews. The scores they have given the shoes are based on their experiences, their running styles and their training types. These shoes were gifted by Brooks for the purpose of this review, no input was made by Brooks. The views are entirely that of our testers. 

Hi I'm Reka,

I love running, running has been in my life since I was 11 years old. I have done many cross-country races, Triathlons/ Duathlons too. I have run a dozen half marathons and half a dozen marathons over the years, but now I am training for my first ultramarathon. I found running is a great way to explore London and the countryside. My mileage is between 30-50 miles, mainly run commuting and long run on a weekend.

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