Brooks Levitate 2 Review

 

Energize Your Run With the Fast, Sleek Levitate 2

The Brooks Levitate 2 features a DNA AMP midsole that propels you forward run after run. While other running shoes lose their cushioning and responsiveness over the life of a shoe (and sometimes at the end of a long run), the Levitate 2 maintains its springy, cushioned ride mile after mile.

The streamlined upper looks good and provides a glove-like fit. But the energized feel of the midsole can also overpush your feet when running on uneven ground.

PROS:

  • Fast, sleek shoe with springy feel
  • Nice design and colors
  • Upper wraps heel nicely
  • Durable, should last

CONS:

  • Feels wonky on uneven terrain
  • Pricey

Introduction

The Brooks Levitate 2 is a luxurious neutral road running shoe with a good amount of cushioning that was designed to propel you forward. The Levitate 2 is a great shoe for picking up the pace for short and fast runs and is versatile enough for longer runs.

The Levitate 2 is perfect for runners looking for a narrow secure fit. While it does come with a higher price point, the Levitate 2 is made of high-quality materials and built to last.

Brooks Levitate 2 Running Shoe Review

Upper

The upper makes the shoe extremely comfortable right out of the box. Made from stretchy knit material, you get a glove-like fit. The snug fit of the Levitate 2 gives you the feeling that the shoe is an extension of your foot.

There is still a decent amount of structure to provide additional support to your foot so you feel pretty stable. The upper holds its shape well and even after many miles will hold its shape.

Additionally, the internal built-in bootie helps create a great snug fit and gives you more comfort. The heel collar on the upper also gives you a plush feel, but at the same time provides comfort that you forget you’re wearing the shoe.

The heel of the upper is comfortable with the extra foam that Brooks added, but can cause some rubbing on your heel until you break them in.

The cushioning in the Levitate 2 is firm and springy. The shoe isn’t too cushioned, which helps the shoe give that great energy return we love. At 11.2 ounces for men and 9.9 ounces for women, this shoe is heavier than most shoes that provide the same level of springback.

The lacing system on the Levitate 2 helps provide lockdown, but at the same time is a bit more complicated than other comparable shoes and harder to achieve the perfect fit. Breathability is a factor in this shoe, as the new knit doesn’t breathe as well in hot and humid environments.

While the overall fit of the shoe is narrow, there is plenty of room in the toe box with a slightly wider forefoot. Your foot will stay in place without being too tight. If you are a runner with wide feet, the Levitate 2 may not be the best option for you. Otherwise, these shoes fit true to size and are just plain comfortable.

Midsole

The Levitate 2 performs and propels you forward thanks to the full-length DNA AMP midsole that Brooks first introduced in the first version of the Levitate.

This midsole avoids compression in order to provide energy return, but takes creates a firmer ride as a result. The feeling of being propelled forward with great springback is what makes this shoe.

The Levitate 2’s DNA Amp midsole returns 10-20% more energy (70% total!) than average shoes on the market. Brooks switched to this polyurethane midsole which holds up better over time over the standard EVA midsole. The foam works by resisting horizontal expansion when you take a step, which directs the force of your stride back up towards you.

When you run with the Levitate 2 you get a bouncy, springy feel that helps you stay energized throughout your entire run. The energy return with these shoes is excellent, especially if you are running at really fast speeds.

But a downside we found was that running on gravel and uneven surfaces propelled our feet often in directions that didn’t suit our running. They kind of bounced all over the place. But this only happened on non-road surfaces.

The cushioning in the Levitate 2 comes from the DNA AMP midsole. Since the shoe focuses on energy return, you still get a decent amount of cushioning but it’s a firmer feel.

The external area of the midsole is noticeable silver, which provides runners extra protection with reflectivity for night running. The medium 8 mm heel drop on the shoe helps promote a forefoot or midfoot strike.

Outsole

The outsole on the Levitate 2 is made of 95% sticky rubber compound, which contributes to the heavyweight of the shoe. The outsole is pretty heavy, but the rubber composition means that the shoe will take you the distance and brings in great durability.

The outsole also has a unique arrow pattern. This unique design helps increase flexibility within the shoe to create quick transitions and help you move from heel to toe with no energy loss. Overall though due to the outsole, the shoe doesn’t have the amount of flexibility that others in the same category have.

The shoe has a midfoot transition zone which helps create a quick transition and places pressure on the ball of the foot. You can expect that the heel and midfoot are the most responsive areas, while the forefoot is more cushioned and less responsive.

Overall, the grip and traction with the Levitate 2 is great. The shoe performs well on dry road surfaces but can get a little slick on wet surfaces, as with many other Brooks models.

Summary

The Levitate 2 continues to provide great energy return through all your runs, regardless of the distance. This well-made shoe is durable, and you can expect the Levitate 2 to last 300-500 miles.

If you are looking for a shoe that provides extra comfort and support for your Achilles, with firm cushioning and really good energy return, the Levitate 2 is a great option for you. You can expect to pay a little more for the Levitate 2, but with the great durability and high-quality materials used, we think it’s a great buy for the right runner.

Levitate 2 versus Levitate (first version)

As far as the major differences between the Levitate and Levitate 2 goes, you can expect to find a redesigned upper with the Levitate 2. Both models share the same 8 mm drop and have the same DNA AMP midsole technology, so the ride will feel similar. The new upper on the 2 is stretchier, but still breathable and flexible.

If the shoe does get wet, the upper of the Levitate 2 will hold moisture for the remainder of the run and does take some time to dry out. This shoe is definitely not made for water resistance, so take into account the weather when planning a run.

Many runners actually prefer the flat color designs of the original Levitate, but Brooks made 3 versions of colors with the Levitate 2 that definitely pop in a crowd. I would describe the look as an 80’s retro look, and whether or not you like the shoe appearance seems to be more a matter of personal preference.

Aside from the upper redesign and colors, foam was also added to the heel to protect your Achilles and increase comfort. There is a suede heel tab that reduced the thickness of the heel collar that was added to reduce Achilles tendon irritation.

Brooks also changed up the eyelet closure, but many runners have issues finding a perfect fit with this new lacing.

The Levitate 2 has a new flyknit collar that helps achieve the shoe’s snug fit. The fit was still really good with the original Levitate, so this change is less noticeable than others.

Brooks Levitate 2 Stats

Type: Neutral

Terrain: Road

Weight: 11.2 oz (men’s) // 9.9 oz (women’s)

Heel-to-toe drop: 8 mm

Width Options: Standard

The Wired Runner