The Specifics

Who: Brooks.

The product: Brooks Levitate (available in a range of colours).

The specs: Neutral / 8mm Midsole Drop, 11.2oz / 317.5g weight / Medium, High Arch.

What are they selling us: "The most energy return of leading performance running shoes, for runners looking for a springy, responsive ride."

What we liked

Based on my exhaustive research, it seems that the accepted mileage increase for runners is 10% per week. This is based on the idea that we're all just bags of fluid and bones, and that if you want to lessen the likelihood of injury, smaller steps are better than say, going from running 10ks to marathons without much training in-between. As someone that loves to run, I find it difficult to stick to that rule of thumb. Here's what I did yesterday:

"Oh wow, some actual sunshine! What a lovely day! Everyone is happy! That runner I passed just gave me the thumbs up. That's nice! Maybe I'll ditch the 14k I had planned today and just run a half marathon instead? I know the furthest I've ever run is 14.5k, and that this will be my fourth run in 4 days, but an extra 7km isn't gonna do much damage."

About 30 minutes ago I had to have an ice-cold shower to stop the intense burning from rubbing heat rub massage cream all over my legs. Lesson learned.

While my legs feel like creaky staircases today, I can't help but feel relieved that I'd chosen to run in the Levitate shoes. Over the past month of testing, they've become my go-to long run shoes. They're by far the most comfortable and cushioned running shoes I've ever used, which more or less can be attributed to the DNA AMP midsole. The PR quote sort of sums up it well:

“The Brooks Levitate features our revolutionary new DNA AMP midsole technology that releases energy straight back to the runner, making the experience so fun they might feel like running forever.”

And that's precisely what happened yesterday on my impromptu half-marathon. I kept wondering when I was going to hit the wall, and thankfully I managed to make it 20k before my ankles told me my time was running out. Had I gone out in anything else, I suspect that moment would've come a lot sooner.

Like most running shoes that discuss 'energy return', the Levitate works on the idea the more you put in, the more you'll get out, and that's exactly what I've experienced thus far. And it's pretty easy when you have such a plush ride on your feet. Actually, 'plush' is the perfect word to describe these shoes. Oh, and 'springy'. Definitely springy.

The trade-off typically associated with cushioned shoes is a lack of breathability, yet Brooks have somehow managed to sidestep that issue with a fit knit upper that provides a nice amount of circulation. No overheating here!

What we didn't like

Continuing with the theme of 'energy return', while you might be tempted to throw these on to beat your current Parkrun PB, these shoes might be a bit too heavy for 5Ks, or speed runs for that matter. For cushioned shoes, they're not as weighted as I was expecting, but the few times I've tried to go flat-out in them, I've struggled to get anywhere near my usual speed. Where these truly excel is in the 10k to Half Marathon distance.

The only other thing worth mentioning is the colour of the midsole. It's a relatively garish silver, which I actually don't mind, but I can imagine could be a put-off for some people.

Would we recommend them?

I wasn't expecting to love these shoes as much as I did, but I've fallen pretty hard. Sure, they're not the fastest shoes in the world, but for a comfortable and consistent run over longer distances, these are what dreams are made of.

You can purchase a pair of Brooks Levitate shoes by heading here. They retail for £130.