I’ll tell you a secret, I hate wearing shoes and socks. I’m a barefoot kind of gal around the house. When it comes to running shoes, I wear them out of necessity. I need protection from the pavement I run on and when the weather gets cold, I need to trap in some warmth to avoid freezing my toes. I prefer a shoe that’s lightweight and barely there, but the reality is that if I run longer than a few miles, I need cushioning to remain comfortable. It’s hard to find a shoe that’s lightweight and but also well-cushioned. The Brooks Levitate promised to provide a responsive, energy-filled ride with a great fit and a not too heavy package.
I was a bit skeptical. I’ve been a loyal Brooks fan for a while, opting for their PureFlow line to give me a comfortable bouncy ride, as a forefoot runner. The most recent iterations were disappointing, to say the least. Just as I was considering replacing my current pair of Flows and contemplating trying out a different brand, I was given the opportunity to try out the brand new Brooks Levitate. Part of me thought the promises sounded too good to be true, the other part of me really hoped I would be wowed.
Spoiler alert: You’ll have to pry the Brooks Levitate from my cold dead hands if you want to try them for yourself. And, you really should. They’re an outstanding shoe.
- Very responsive
- Super comfortable
- Fairly lightweight
- Excellent traction
- Great fit
- Extremely durable
- Limited styles available
That feel is all thanks to a new DNA Amp midsole material. The DNA Amp stuff sits inside a TPU case and together they help propel you forward. It's a thing of beauty. I think the most impressive thing about the midsole is that you don't really notice a 'feeling' at all. I just realized one day as I was running that my feet didn't feel tired like they usually do. Running will never feel effortless for me, but the midsole of the Brooks Levitate ensures that my feet are screaming at me by the end of a long run.
The upper isn't super thin but I never felt suffocated wearing the shoe. I usually have so much trouble with socks and shoe fit. I run all year round so it's tough to get a shoe that fits right with thick and thin socks. Somehow, the Brooks Levitate does. The upper seems to conform perfectly to the foot. I'm not exaggerating, from the first time I put the shoe on, I barely had to make any adjustments to the lacing. The shoe fits incredibly well.
I didn't realize it at first, but I finished every single run in the Brooks Levitate without developing hot spots. My feet have never looked or felt better - for a runner's feet, at least. I'm kind of stumped as to how the shoes ventilate so well. The upper doesn't look particularly impressive. The overlays are thin, which must help prevent heat from getting trapped inside, but other than that, the shoe looks like it would keep heat in, not circulate air. The shoe does feature a neat bit of technology. A 3D Fit Print design and FitKnit construction allow the upper to conform to the foot and move with you. What ends up happening is you never feel like the shoe is hugging you in too tightly.
The blue doesn't suit my particular tastes, but I don't care too much about what my running shoes look like. I used to own a pair of Hokas and a pair of neon orange shoes. I'm not picky. Even though I wasn't a fan of the blue, I ended up getting a ton of compliments on the shoes. I've warmed up to the style significantly. Color aside, the shoe has a sleek profile that makes them really look great with a pair of running tights. They well-cushioned but don't look bulky at all.
I was a little worried about how well the midsole would hold up. I've been burned before. Some shoes seem to quickly lose their responsiveness but the Brooks Levitate feel the same as when I tried them on for the first time.
It also manages to prevent overheating, almost as if by magic. Except, it's really the 3D Print and FitKnit upper technologies. As you move, the upper expands and contracts to ensure you never feel squeezed in. In hotter weather, I never felt like my feet were burning up. And now that winter has rolled around, my feet are the last thing I'm worried about. Somehow, the breathable shoes are capable of keeping my feet protected from the cold, too.
I felt properly supported in the Brooks Levitate. Even on slippery pavement, I didn't feel unsteady inside the shoe. The shoe provides a nice combination of freedom and fit. What I mean by that is that I really never felt like I was 'locked-down' in the shoe. And, that's not a bad thing. Instead, the upper works with you as you move to provide you with the appropriate amount of security and support. It sounds gimmicky, but I assure you it's not.
The Brooks Levitate provide an exceptional amount of traction. I'm clumsy, in my everyday life and when I run, so I need shoes with enough grip underfoot. I ran on icy streets and snowy sidewalks without issue. I even took them for a spin on a rainy day right when the streets were littered with slick fallen leaves. Usually, that would be a death trap but the Brooks Levitate was able to keep me grounded.