Brooks Levitate 2 – Too heavy to levitate?

I’ve come across so many runners that really like their Brooks running shoes. So, I wanted to know what that was all about. Thus, when I found a pair of Brooks Levitate 2 on sale, I decided to buy them. It wasn’t just a pair of the regular Levitate 2, it was the Ugly Christmas Sweater edition. They are quite green and quite in your face christmassy, but I do think they’re funny. Although it is a bit weird to run in them during warm spring or summer days. 

Brooks often brings out a special edition of their running shoes, for example during Christmas or for St. Patrick’s day. The Ugly Christmas Sweater edition even comes with little jingle bells attached to the laces, which I immediately took off, because it quickly drives you crazy. 

The levitate 2 is a neutral shoe with an 8 mm drop, a 25 mm heel height and a 17 mm forefoot height. It is not a very light shoe, it comes in at 281 grams. Which surprises me a bit, because it doesn’t feel that heavy under foot. I guess because the weight is pretty well distributed. 

Upper

The Fit Knit upper adapts pretty well to your foot and there is enough room in the toe box. However, the lacing system doesn’t provide you with an extra eyelet and the other eyelets are pretty narrow, so adjusting the laces isn’t that easy. 

The Levitate 2 has a lightly padded tongue and there is some padding on the inside of the heel counter, but I’m missing the padding on the collar of this shoe. The padding is stitched up to part of the collar, but the rim has no padding and for me this creates a hot spot. I cannot run in these shoes unless I tape my achilles. 

The knit is pretty thick and therefore provides some support together with the internal heel counter. But due to the thickly knitted fabric this isn’t a super breathable shoe, which I guess is alright if you wear it around Christmas time, but a bit hot during the warmer months of the year. 

Midsole

The midsole is made out of Brooks DNA AMP material, which means it has a polyurethane foam covered by an outer layer of thermoplastic skin. Out of the different midsole materials that Brooks produces, the DNA AMP provides the most energy return. 

Outsole

The outsole of the Levitate 2 is fully covered by a layer of rubber with flex grooves providing some flexibility in the forefoot. It does provide a nice amount of grip. So far the outsole is holding up well and I expect you can get some decent mileage out of this shoe.

Fit

Because I bought these on sale they didn’t have that many sizes left and I got stuck with half a size bigger than my regular running size. That wasn’t necessary. If I would have had the choice I would have gone with my regular running shoe size. 

Performance

Brooks had categorized the Levitate 2 with experience type energize. And they weren’t lying about that. This shoe does give good energy return and it sure is springy. I like the shoes for 10k runs, but I do find them a little less comfortable for longer distances, they just aren’t cushioned enough for those longer runs. That might also be because I’m a heel striker, maybe this shoe works a little better it you’re a forefoot striker.  

Conclusion

This shoe is good for those medium runs where you do want to pick up the pace a little bit, but also still want a bit of a plush feel. It’s a responsive shoe, but definitely not a racing shoe, since it’s simply too heavy for that. It has a bit of a plush feel to it, but it’s not plush enough for those long runs or recovery runs. 

It doesn’t make you feel like you’re flying, but it does give you a nice energy return. The knit upper does form nicely to your foot and this shoe has a roomy toe box. And although I like the look of the upper, the upper is a bit warm and this shoe is missing a decent heel collar to help protect your ankles and achilles a bit better and a lacing system that is a bit more adaptable. 

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