Brooks Levitate 5
While most neutral runners are geared more towards speed and agility rather than distance, the Levitate 5 is designed for pretty much anything. Whether you want to shave a few seconds off of your PR, or you are looking to push yourself just a mile further, this is an excellent shoe.
It's one of those rare neutral trainers that boasts a high level of plush cushioning while still offering a high level of speed and agility. It offers the plush cushioning of a stability shoe without all of the extra cumbersome features that can weigh you down.
Overall, I would recommend this running shoe for new runners that need extra cushioning, or advanced runners that need something that is insanely durable, responsive, and supportive.
The circular-knit material offers excellent lockdown
DNA AMP midsole provides a light and springy ride
Arrow grooves in the rubber outsole naturally propel you forward
Very durable rubber outsole
Excellent for speed or long distances
Runs true to size
Heavier than expected
Narrow toe box
The midsole of the Levitate 5 is composed of Brooks’ proprietary DNA AMP polyurethane-based foam material that is encased in a TPU shell. What makes this midsole unique is that the TPU shell resists the foam from expanding and spreading inside of the shoe.
As this foam heats up from your daily runs, the foam expands vertically, which is what gives this midsole its classic springiness. As you run, this midsole material becomes even more responsive which is what makes it ideal for long distances.
The DNA AMP midsole walks that fine line between cushioned and responsive. When you slip your feet inside of this shoe, it offers that coveted step-in feel that we all love in our running shoes. When a shoe is overly cushioned, it often turns your stride into mush.
While this shoe is plush, the material firms up as you run which helps to propel your forward and also mitigate the impact on your joints.
Brooks running shoes are known for their heightened durability, and the Levitate 5 is no exception to that rule. The outsole of this design is composed of a solid piece of durable rubber that runs the full length of the shoe, with only small hints of exposed EVA foam underneath.
The outsole is designed to last for hundreds of miles of daily runs and showing little signs of wear and tear even after 100 miles. By implementing a full-length rubber outsole, this shoe is slightly heavier than other neutral trainers out there on the market (it weighs in at just over 10 ounces), but it is far more durable.
The rubber outsole also boasts an arrow point design towards the front of the foot. This pattern in the rubber helps to naturally propel your foot forward for easy landings and snappy toe-offs. The rubber may be slightly heavier than most, but the grooved patterns help to keep your gait cycle nice and bright and won’t weigh you down too much.
It’s also important to note that the grooves on the outsole are rather shallow, which means that it’s not ideal to take out on the trails.
The upper is composed of a circular knit material that helps to move hot air up and away from your feet. The Fit Knit material used in this upper is incredibly stretchy and provides a sock-like feel. It is able to contour to the shape of your foot that helps boost lockdown without creating irritating hot spots or chafing. The flexible and low-profile design of this upper helps to boost flexibility and movement without sacrificing stability.
The padding provided on the tongue and heel collar are the perfect blend of padding and flexibility. The heel collar offers runners modest padding along the heel to help lock it in place, and prevent rubbing and chafing on long runs.
What I also love about the construction of the upper is that the tongue isn’t overly bulky, and sits flush against your foot. This design in the tongue helps to keep your feet nice and cool, as well as boost agility.
Overall, the Brooks Levitate 5 is designed for all runners. It has a modest and sleek design that sits low on your feet to boost agility and hits that sweet spot between cushioning and responsiveness. If you love the overall cushioning offered in stability trainers, but don’t want to be bogged down in stability features such as guide rails and heavy synthetic overlays, this shoe is a great option.
The DNA AMP midsole provides runners with plush cushioning to help reduce the impact with the sidewalk. If you are a neutral runner that often finds your knees and lower back are screaming at the end of a run, the cushioning offered in this design is a great option that will make your joints very happy.
What I also love about the performance of this shoe is that it is designed for both speed and distance. The flexible upper and responsive midsole are great for agility work such as HIIT and cross-training.
The insanely durable outsole and cushioned midsole are a great choice for long-distance runs as well. Basically, the Brooks Levitate 5 is built to tackle almost anything that you can throw at it!
The update to the upper makes this shoe fit better than ever. The circular fit construction is super stretchy, and contours to the shape of your foot with ease without creating uncomfortable hot spots. It has a slightly wider forefoot than most, but the stretchy materials help to boost lockdown. The downside of this shoe is that the toe box doesn’t quite give my toes enough room to naturally splay inside.
If you need plenty of room to let your puppies breathe, I would recommend giving a half size up a try to ensure your toes aren’t jamming at the end of the shoe.
Overall, this shoe runs fairly true to size. If you are a size 10 in other Brooks running shoes, the same can be said for the Levitate 5. If you are unsure about your size, be sure to take ample measurements of your feet and compare them to Brooks’ sizing chart.
Also, if you need a little extra room in the toe box, be sure to try a half size bigger than you would normally wear. Due to the slightly narrow toe box, I highly recommend heading to your local shoe store to give them a test run before you make your purchase.
I’m a huge fan of the performance and durability of Brooks shoes, but their designs leave much to be desired. The design of this shoe is fairly simple. It boasts a low profile that hangs low on your foot, and it is free of any big and bulky features- which I love.
It is available in only a few very neutral color options. If you love bright and poppy colors, you will be a bit underwhelmed with the color options of the Levitate 5. Color options include blue, black, and gray. It’s not exciting and cutting edge, but it’s not terrible.
The price tag is a little higher than I would expect from a neutral runner, but I feel that it's well worth every penny. Few neutral trainers out there on the market provide the same level of durability, cushioning, performance and versatility as the Brooks Levitate 5.
It’s perfect for long-distance running, HIIT, cross-fit, and even weight training. These shoes are so comfortable, many users select them as their go-to casual shoes for running errands.
Comparisons to Previous Versions
This newly designed upper provides runners with more padding along the heel collar and the tongue and provides runners with a more customized fit.
The previous version of this shoe was a little lacking in fit and lockdown, and the circular knit material is much more stretchy and helps boost overall lockdown more so than previous versions. The added padding makes this design slightly more heavy than previous versions by almost an ounce, but it is worth it!
What I love most about this running shoe is the DNA AMP midsole provides a light and responsive ride, and it only gets better with age. The durable rubber outsole helps to naturally propel feet forward, and it is designed to last for hundreds of miles before showing signs of wear and tear.
It is a little more expensive than your average daily trainer, but this is much more than your standard run-of-the-mill neutral running shoe!