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The Brooks Levitate 2 is a durable, well-made shoe that has a lot to offer but is far from perfect. Compared to the Brooks Levitate, the biggest change has been made to the upper, which offers a snug, more stable fit, although there are some lacing problems to encounter there. It is a heavy shoe, but the high-quality, dense DNA Amp midsole might just make the weight worth it – if you’re not a fan of sprints, that is. It is ideal for runners who have Achilles tendonitis issues and prefer going on short or medium-length, moderately-paced runs while being supported by a bouncy, firmly-cushioned sole. If you do choose the Levitate 2 to be your running buddy, one thing is certain – it’s so well-made and durable that you’ll run in it for a long time.
The Brooks Levitate 2 outsole is made out of a sticky rubber compound that provides good durability and traction. It features an arrow-like pattern which allows for flexibility and smooth transition from heel-strike to toe-off while running. There is a midfoot transition zone made for transferring the weight and pressure towards the ball of the foot, which also contributes to the fast heel-toe transition. The most interesting part of the outsole is around the heel, which is wrapped with a faux-suede coated foam material, specifically designed to help with Achilles tendonitis
The Levitate 2 midsole is made out of polyurethane foam that provides energy-return cushioning, and that foam is encased in a thermoplastic skin (TPU) which helps to resist the foam’s expansion that happens when force is applied to it and return it back to its starting point. This midsole compound is called the DNA AMP, and it continues to be one of the most high-quality, midsole compounds on the market. With the DNA AMP, the Brooks Levitate 2 boasts one of the most responsive
, bouncy running shoe midsoles around. This, in turn, allows for an energized run and the ability to tackle longer distances without an issue.
The upper is the main thing that differentiates the Levitate 2 from the original. While both of the uppers feature a Fit Knit upper, the one on the Levitate 2 is less flimsy, more flexible and provides a tighter fit. The 3D knit used in the upper gives it a plush, ultra-soft feel, but it also keeps it surprisingly structured. The upper is firmer than what you’d expect just by looking at it, which is a great thing because often times foot-wrap type uppers are prone to stretching out as you run. The ankle collar on the upper is low-cut and provides added support for the tendon, although the sock-like collar liner could easily irritate the skin around it. There is also a removable Energize insole
for extra comfort and cushioning. On the downside, a few customers have complained about the lacing system and the fact it doesn’t provide a secure fit, resulting in the heel slipping and moving around while running. Furthermore, the upper isn’t breathable and will soak up all moisture, be it sweat or rain, so don’t count on the Levitate 2 as your go-to everyday running shoe.
Ironically, the Levitate 2 is pretty far from levitating – at 11.3oz, it is considered a very heavy running shoe, which is especially prominent if it gets wet by any chance. However, the mere weight of the shoe shouldn’t scare you off! One can easily get accustomed to wearing them, especially on occasional short or medium-length runs that won’t tire the feet in the slightest. If you were a fan of the original Levitate
, you won’t have any problem with the Levitate 2, because the most significant changes here are made to the upper, and not the weight.
The breathability of the Levitate 2 will probably be a deal-breaker for some. Even though there are certain holes in the upper material, dedicated for enabling airflow, the shoe doesn’t actually offer much of it. Expect your feet to feel really hot, especially on long runs and hot days. Also, keep in mind that the upper will absorb sweat and any water it comes in contact with; if you get caught wearing them in the rain, it might take days for them to dry out. The Brooks Levitate 2 are at their best when worn in cool, breezy, dry weather, so make sure you have another pair
of outside running shoes at hand, just in case.
This responsive running shoe runs true to size and is considered to be an exceptionally comfortable one. It has a wider forefoot with enough space, regardless of the upper’s snug midfoot fit, and features an anatomical foot shape. The sock liner might irritate some, but our guess is that most people will get used to it by mile 10. The Levitate 2’s sole is really cushiony, responsive, and provides a great bounce-back, and combined with the Achilles tendonitis foam support, makes for an amazing solution for short runs where you want to save your feet as much as possible.
Most customers agree upon the design of the Levitate 2 being somewhat underwhelming. There are 3 color options for both the men’s and women’s shoe, but all of the options seem too bland to look modern and too complicated to be minimalist. Due to the upper material and the collar that is reminiscent of a sweater, the Levitate 2 hoovers between being a retro-looking shoe with charm, to a not-pretty-but-has-a-nice-soul type of situation. In an effort to make it recognizable, the DNA AMP midsole is silver in each color combination. We don’t doubt that there are people who will find this shoe appealing – to each his own; we find it difficult to place the Levitate 2 in a style category, but we sure know we won’t be placing it under ‘beautiful’.
What the Levitate 2 lacks in looks it makes up for in quality; its durability mirrors the quality of the compounds used in the upper and midsole. This resilient shoe could last you up to 300-500 miles, thanks to its advanced midsole. The first thing to go on this shoe will be the looks – the 3D Fit Knit material will start to look a bit shabby about 60-70 miles in, but the feel of the shoe will remain the same. The outsole quality is in line with other Brooks running shoes, which makes the Levitate 2’s durability
one of its key features.
While the Levitate 2 offers a lot of protection, especially for those who have a tendonitis issue. The faux-suede heel tab and heel collar are designed to reduce Achilles tendon irritation and increase the overall comfort. The Fit Knit upper will adapt to your foot and move with it while securing it at the same time. The breathability might be an issue on hot days, but the upper will successfully shield your feet from the wind on cold ones – depending on your location, this might be a valuable feature.
The Brooks Levitate 2 is a winner in the responsiveness category. It has a smooth cushion with exceptional energy-return which provides a seamless stride and easy transition from the heel-strike to toe-off. The midsole feels springy, bouncy, flexible, but firm and well-constructed at the same time. Your feet won’t fall through mid-step – on the contrary, the DNA AMP midsole is designed to resist the inward expansion and return all the force you implement by stepping on it upwards and forward. However, some users have noted that while cushioned, the forefoot isn’t equally as responsive
as the heel and midfoot and that the responsiveness lessened if the running form broke in any way.
If you feel like you need to save your legs and give them a bit of extra support on a short jog or a recovery run, the Levitate 2 is your best friend. The high-quality insole is neither hard nor too soft and will provide you with enough support, but keep in mind that this isn’t a support shoe. It is a neutral running shoe and it’s meant to cater to the needs of people with normal, high, or medium-high arches, who don’t require any additional arch support. Perhaps unsurprising, giving the tendonitis support it offers, the Levitate 2 is best suited for slow or moderately-paced runs; its build and weight won’t offer adequate support if you try to take them on a fast-paced run.
The sticky rubber compound on the outsole is great for dry pavement runs, but it’s not as good at gripping on a wet surface. Any type of road, pavement or light gravel will suit this running shoe, and an occasional puddle won’t pose an issue. However, given the materials used on the upper and the outsole, it’s clear that the Levitate 2 isn’t designed to be a water-resistant shoe. However, if you’re looking for a good gym shoe that offers support for the Achilles tendon, you won’t be disappointed.
One of the downsides of this neutral running shoe is its price. On one hand, it’s understandable for it to have a triple-digit price for the quality compounds used for the midsole; on the other, it’s a bit too pricey to be someone’s second outdoor running shoe (the upper soaking issue). The only runners who would really be making a good deal by getting the Levitate 2 are the ones who need it for recovery treadmill running. Other than that situation, it might be best to wait for it to go on sale.
The outsole grooves are closely spaced, which causes some doubts about the traction of the Levitate 2. Despite some doubts, the rubber grips well to dry surfaces, but the opinions on their effectiveness on the wet surfaces
are divided. Some users claim they had no issues with slipping, be it on dirt, grass or wet pavement, while others advise to slow down a bit when running on wet surfaces, especially when rounding the corners.
This is a moderately flexible running shoe that will allow for a natural foot movement while maintaining much of the Achilles tendon support. They are just flexible enough so as to no one can say anything bad about the flexibility, but it’s definitely not their main selling point.
Interestingly, what stands out in the Levitate 2’s stability is the upper. The snug, firm fit that adapts to the foot and keeps it from moving around offers a great deal of stability
, especially when you tighten the laces to the max, which might take a little bit of practice, but it’s well worth the effort, otherwise, your heel will slip forward. The weight of the shoe does it a favor in the stability department as well – the dense midsole gives a great, stable, pneumatic feel to the stride.
The Brooks Levitate 2 features a medium drop of 8.6mm, which promotes a stable, midfoot strike. The heel height is 32.2.mm, while the forefoot height is 23.7mm, which means that the sole is not only dense but its stack height buffers out a lot of the road bumps you might come across.
- Sticky rubber outsole with an arrow-like groove pattern
- Advanced DNA AMP midsole
- Extremely comfortable, toe box allows for stretching and movement
- Not breathable, retains moisture
- Good for neutral runners and those who have Achilles tendonitis
- 8.6mm drop
- Medium-to-high price
- Lacing system is tricky
- Not the best-looking shoe, retro vibes
The Brooks Levitate 2 is an amazing choice in some categories, while it’s fairly disappointing in others. It is a neutral shoe with a firmly cushioned, responsive insole and a supportive upper, made to lessen the irritation on the Achilles tendon. The Levitate 2 is one of the heaviest shoes on the market, and it gets even heavier when wet. It’s not breathable and hence not suitable for a variety of weather conditions. The lacing system takes time to master, and the price point will make you hesitant about the purchase. That being said, a lot of customers have purchased the Levitate 2 and have nothing but good things to say about it. A lot of the negative aspects mentioned are completely individual and might be irrelevant to a lot of runners. If you require some extra support for your Achilles tendon, need a shoe for medium to short steady-paced runs that will provide good cushioning and great energy return, and you don’t live in an area that has a lot of rain – this shoe is a great purchase, indeed.