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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, fast runs, and is versatile enough for longer runs.

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

Brooks Levitate 2 Running Shoe Review

Upper

It’s no secret we are big fans of knit mesh uppers. With the Levitate 2, the upper makes the shoe extremely comfortable right out of the box. The snug, glove-like fit gives you the feeling that the shoe is an extension of your foot.

There is a decent amount of structure providing additional support to your foot. 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 gives you a plush feel without making itself noticeable.

The lacing system on the Levitate 2 helps provide lockdown. At the same time, it 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. 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, a carry-over from the first version of the Levitate.

This midsole avoids compression in order to provide energy return. The result is a firmer, more responsive ride. This shoe is defined by the feeling of being propelled forward.

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 than a 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 reduces fatigue. The energy return with these shoes is excellent, especially if you are running hard paces.

But a downside we found was that the shoes struggles to perform well on unpaved surfaces. Even on relatively smooth gravel or packed dirt, the springiness of the shoe seemed to be a hindrance rather than a benefit. This is a finely-tuned road shoe, and should probably be kept on the road.

The external area of the midsole is noticeable silver, which provides runners extra protection with reflectivity for night running. The medium 8mm heel drop 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 heavy weight of the shoe. The benefit of this added weight is added durability.

The outsole also has a unique arrow pattern. This design helps increase the sole’s flexibility, 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 that 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 the weather into account when planning your run.

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

Aside from the upper redesign and colors, the update adds foam to the heel to protect your Achilles and increase comfort. There is a suede heel tab that reduced the thickness of the heel collar and 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