For Brooks fans, the latest version of the company’s Levitate running shoe series represents the next logical step in the evolution of these shoes. Read my thoughts in this Brooks Levitate 4 Review.
For more open-minded runners casting a wider net, the Levitate 4 is a solid mid-level trainer that represents an interesting choice because of the way Brooks has juggled several important factors in designing this shoe.
Brooks Levitate 4 Review
Start with the tradeoffs. The Levitate 4 has plenty of cushioning, especially in the midsole—one reviewer referred to it as a “fantastic brick”—but at 10.3 ounces it somehow manages to be 20 percent lighter than its immediate predecessor.
There’s another side to the cushioning as well. Brooks is touting new technology that it calls its DNA AMP cushioning and the energy return it provides, which has led to something of a split decision between runners who like the lightness of the shoe and those who still find it too heavy. Call it a bit of a coin flip.
Brooks has also made an effort to add to the ground feel, if that’s the right word to describe it. The stack height has been reduced from 12 mm to 8 mm—definitely not minimalist by any means, but there does seem to be a distinct effort to try to be all things to all runners.
That emphasis is also reflected in the design, where the clear goal is to give the Levitate 4 some athletic curb appeal. The upper now has a modern, sleep appeal—Brooks calls it the Fit Knit—and the pearlescent midsole has a light, fun summer feel to it. The outsole has been trimmed, with the sea foam design for the women’s version drawing the most accolades.
Despite the curb appeal though, a narrower, sleeker shoe also means a smaller toe box. Some initial buyers have already commented on this aspect of the shoe, saying the tight fit and having the tongue sewn to the body makes the Levitate 4 a no-go for steady training. This wasn’t an issue in my experience, though foot shape will obviously be a factor.
So what’s the overall verdict?
Call it a solid-to-good shoe, depending on whether you like the Brooks approach and the the balance between cushioning, weight, stack height and appearance. If three out of four of these factors work for you, you’ll probably love this shoe, especially if you’re a Brooks fan. If you come up with a split decision or worse, you may want to also consider other choices in this segment of the market.
On the commercial side, look for Brooks to do well with this set of advances. The first version of the Levitate was described by some reviewers as “heavy” and “clunky,” and the efforts to change that impression certainly seem successful.
The last thing that needs to be mentioned is the price point. At £120-£140, the Levitate 4 is a good choice as a mid-level trainer. It’s not the fastest shoe on the market, and it may not be the first choice for longer runs of 10K or more, but if you’re looking for a springy shoe that will add some bounce to your step for shorter runs, you probably owe it to yourself to add it to your “check it out” list and take the Levitate 4 for a test run.
>> Official Brooks Running Levitate 4 website
The shoe is available in 6 colours:
- Red/Cherry Tomato/ White
- Black/Blackended Pearl/ White