Brooks Levitate

8.7
8.7 score
[Editors rating (9.2) + Users rating (7.2)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.7)/10

Our RunnerClick score is based on our editors overall rating compared to the user ratings in order to generate the most accurate and unbiased score of each product we review.

If there are less than 10 user reviews for the product in total, the weight of user reviews is decreased from 50% to 25% to make sure that new products are not rated too high.
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Editor rating: 9.2 / 10
User's rating: based on 8 user ratings
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Brooks LevitateReview Facts
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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.

Pros
  • Very responsive
  • Super comfortable
  • Fairly lightweight
  • Excellent traction
  • Great fit
  • Extremely durable
Cons
  • Limited styles available
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The Brooks Levitate outsole is made up of your standard rubber. Underside, you'll find a chevron-shaped lug pattern with interspersed grooves that provide a bit of flexibility. I've been running several times a week in these for two months and I've barely noticed any wear on the bottom of the shoes. Even in high-wear areas. The lug pattern, too, is surprisingly effective.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

Ah. The midsole. The Brooks Levitate features probably one of the most comfortable midsoles I've ever had the pleasure of running on. Seriously. It's actually hard to describe. It would be a misnomer to say it's cloudlike because there's a firm feel to it that's not mushy at all. I like soft shoes and I wasn't sure that I'd like a shoe with a firm feel underfoot, but these are heavenly. The firmness isn't harsh. Instead, it does the job of returning all of your hard work back to you so each step is filled with more energy than the last.

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.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The Brooks Levitate features a seamless upper with a knit construction. At a glance, it looks really simple and, it kind of is. The slim overlays included on the upper provide some support and the ankle collar is really well padded. Brooks has also taken care to add padding to the tongue that doesn't feel bulky or obtrusive. The laces are flat but textured and they never come untied. You'll also notice the shoe has perforations in the tongue area and forefoot for a little extra bit of ventilation.

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.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The Brooks Levitate weighs about 10 oz (I tested the women's size 7). They're not the lightest shoe you can buy but I honestly find they're so comfortable, I barely felt them at all on my feet. I'd feel completely fine doing speed work in these.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The upper on the Brooks Levitate is made of a seamless knit-type material. The forefoot and tongue area feature perforations for a bit of extra ventilation. I had zero issues with overheating in the Brooks Levitate. I have the sweatiest feet on the planet and I overheat A LOT. This usually causes painful blisters or hotspots. No matter what shoe I've tried in the past, the problem cropped up.

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.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

I'll say it again, the Brooks Levitate is the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn. The upper fits perfectly and seemed to move with me (thanks to 3D and FitKnit technologies). The ankle collar provides plush padding and the interior reveals no uncomfortable seams or stitches. The toe box is just roomy enough to allow me to wiggle my toes but not so wide that I felt like I was swimming in the shoe. The midsole DNA Amp cushioning is, in my opinion, the best thing since sliced bread. My feet, usually tired and achy after a run, felt fresher than ever after every morning outdoors in the Brooks Levitate.
Style
Style

Style

At first, I wasn't a fan of the Brooks Levitate's design. The shoe is available in either bright blue or a light grey. The color options are seriously lacking. Normally, Brooks offers shoes in arrays of bright, vibrant colors but that's not the case with the Brooks Levitate. It's either cobalt blue or plain jane grey.

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.
Durability
Durability

Durability

It's been about two months that I've been running in the Brooks Levitate and I swear they look like they just came out of the box. I've been running almost entirely outdoors - except for one treadmill run during a snowstorm - and the outsole looks a little dirty but practically unscathed. The upper has been through muddy rainy weather and the shoe looks clean as a whistle. I did have to wash off some dog poop from the bottom of the shoe the first week I tested them, but after that, I've run countless times in crappy weather and the shoes have held up incredibly well. Nothing feels like it's unraveling or falling apart. I expect these to last well into the late spring.

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.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The Brooks Levitate is a standard running shoe, so there are no extra bells and whistles to protect you from trail debris and such. But the shoe does a super great job of preventing slips and falls. There's the grippy rubber outsole to thank for that.

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.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Yeehaw! These are incredibly responsive. The DNA amp midsole really does its job. Every step feels a little easier in the Brooks Levitate. It's not so bouncy and energy-filled a ride that I feel like I'm in moon boots, but I definitely feel a difference compared to other shoes I've worn.
Support
Support

Support

The Brooks Levitate features plenty of overlays around its upper. They span the distance from the laces to the midsole and look like mini zebra stripes. They're not at all rigid so the support is minimal but it's definitely enough to allow users to run confidently.

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.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

I'd probably feel comfortable running on the trails with the Brooks Levitate, but really they're a road shoe. In muddy weather, the outsole does tend to pick up dirt between the grooves, so I can't imagine running too long off-road on a rainy day. On pavement, the shoe works perfectly. It has excellent traction and I felt confident running through the streets. I did have a minor wipe out when I had to cut through a grassy field. It seems the lugs underfoot are no match for wet grass. I wouldn't recommend using the Brooks Levitate for a game of Ultimate Frisbee in a grassy park.
Price
Price

Price

As a runner on a budget, I need to know that when I buy a running shoe, I'm getting my money's worth. The Brooks Levitate definitely provides exceptional value. It's a shoe I'm willing to put down money for. I am confident it will last me at least two seasons and I've never run in a shoe that's felt better for my foot. The combination of durability, comfort, and responsiveness, make it worth every penny.
Traction
Traction

Traction

I was sure I'd have trouble when winter weather rolled around but just this past week we had a snowstorm and the shoe had no issues at all in terms of grip. And, believe me, it was really icy. I'm certain it'll be a while before I need to slap on my crampons, which I'm really happy about.

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.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The shoe provides a nice degree of flexibility. The outsole features shallow grooves that add some flex and the Brooks Levitate delivers a pretty smooth ride. The flexibility isn't so much that you feel like you're running in a pair of flip-flops, on the contrary, there's enough to encourage natural movement without compromising efficiency.
Stability
Stability

Stability

I'm a neutral runner and I found the Brooks Levitate provided me with enough stability to enjoy my runs injury free. The fit is great and I never ever felt like I was wearing a sloppily fitting shoe. The upper's overlays offer just the right amount of support I needed but best of all, was the outsole. The traction provided underfoot meant I got the most stable ride possible.