To understand the Brooks Aurora-BL, you’ve got to know the backstory. Brooks created the BlueLine lab to figure out the future of running shoes. The BlueLine Lab is responsible for recent cutting edge Brooks models like the Hyperion Tempo, Hyperion Elite 2, and the Catamount.
We loved the Hyperion Tempo and Catamount. Both Jodi and I know what the Brooks BlueLine Lab is capable of so we were excited to get our hands on the Aurora-BL. How does this space shoe perform on the streets? Let’s find out…
Jodi: You can’t look at the Brooks Aurora without noticing the cushion. It truly is the focal point. And I’m gonna let y’all in a little secret…it performs the way that it looks. I had other people I ran into tell me, “you’re not gonna have knee problems with all that cushion you’re running on!” They were right. This nitrogen-injected midsole easily gave me the smoothest and most comfortable runs to date.
Drew: Similar to the Hyperion Tempo, Hyperion Elite 2, and Catamount, the Aurora-BL uses a nitrogen-injected foam compound. Brooks tweaked it again and this time named it DNA Loft V3. It feels similarly bouncy to what Brooks used on those previous models but also feels softer. And while it doesn’t feel lighter (8.5oz in Men’s & 7.6oz in Women’s), Brooks added a lot more foam to the Aurora-BL. It definitely fits into the high stack height category (also the newly created marshmallow midsole category ?).
Whether its the amount of foam or the type of foam, the mix is correct. The shoe’s bounciness sticks around a long time. I’m over 100 miles on my pair and the midsole feels like it did when it was new. That’s impressive durability (the traction’s durability is another story which we’ll cover later).
And I have to note something we don’t see often in running shoes., the decoupled midsole. Many in our audience will have fond memories of decoupled midsoles from the Air Jordan 28 and subsequent Jordan models. Decoupled midsoles are fairly common in basketball shoes.
Why are decoupled midsoles common in basketball shoes? Good question. The quick changes of pace and direction in basketball often result in the forefoot and heel needing to move independently of each other. The best way to allow that movement is to decouple the midsole and use a torsional support shank at the midfoot (so your midfoot doesn’t get twisted).
Why include it in a running shoe? I think Brooks tried it so that runners could adopt a more natural stride. In theory, this would make running smoother for a lot of people. For me? It felt great. I felt the flexibility often and loved cornering in these shoes. Planting and pivoting was more natural than it is in most runners. Will everyone like the decoupled feeling? No, but a lot will. One run in the Aurora-BL and you’ll know your personal preference. The cushion/midsole setup really delivers the extra flexibility and bounce Brooks promised in the marketing materials.
Jodi: The traction is used sparingly but implemented perfectly. We haven’t had a lot of rain in Northern California throughout the testing period but I sought out any and all available sprinklers. I can attest that they gripped well while wet. There’s some pretty good wear and tear after 100+ miles, but I’m confident I can get at least another good 200 miles out of these before retiring them.
Drew: There’s minimal rubber on the bottom of the Aurora-BL arranged in loops and lines to cover all the typical high wear areas and protect the foam underneath. The rubber is about as thick as you’d find in race day shoes. It feels like the same rubber used on the Hyperion Elite 2. That does affect durability and I burned through the rubber’s lined pattern fairly quick (in my high wear areas). Even without the pattern, the rubber sticks around and functions well. The only slips I experienced were on mildew-ridden wooden bridges. So you’ll get the traction you need. Like Jodi, I expect to get 300 miles out of the outsole.
Jodi: The upper is interesting. It’s this weird plastic shell for the most part. I’ve never had a shoe rip fibers out of my socks the way the Brooks Aurora-BL does. But man is it breathable. And I am completely in love with the mid foot strap/tongue. The Aurora-BL managed to keep me feeling secure and enough room to expand and sweat.
Drew: The ripstop-esque monomesh upper is a little plasticky but it’s also really thin and has a barely there feel. It won’t bug you like fuse shoes do. The hollow laces are soft and never come untied. And I have to agree with Jodi, the half bootie tongue is super comfortable. It rachets your foot down onto the footbed in a really nice way that feels super secure without feeling too tight. The sculpted heel’s 3M is a nice touch but takes some getting used to, which I’ll cover more in depth in the fit section.
Jodi: As airy as the upper is upon first look, there are still plenty of reinforced areas. Between the fully reflective heel counter, the wide base, the mid foot strap, and the reinforced toe rand, there’s no where really for you to go… except for a run. Ba dum dum…
Drew: The internal bootie, reinforced midfoot supports, and the sculpted heel lock the foot down enough that I felt comfortable doing some light high intensity interval movements in these bad boys. Would I try that in many high stack height running shoes? Hell no! But this upper just feels mega supportive and the 6mm drop isn’t too much of a slant. I really hope Brooks takes this upper concept and applies it to other models.
Jodi: As our residential wide foot runner, I can attest that these are wide foot friendly. Brooks was kind enough to send me my normal runner size, which is a half size up from my day to day shoe size and they fit great. Plenty of room for my feet to swell without getting claustrophobic.
Drew: True to size (your running shoes size) with room for any foot shape to breath and not feel constricted. Kudos to Brooks on a midfoot strap design that makes that possible. I did have some heel fit/slip issues on my first couple runs, but once I broke in the heel area it molded nicely to my achilles area and the slippage stopped.
Jodi: The Brooks Aurora-BL is on the top of my list as far as go-to running shoes in 2021. It checks the most important boxes for me which are fit and cushion. They may look a little odd at first glance (to be honest, even at 109th glance) but the comfort they give me while putting them to work easily compensates for all of that.
Drew: At $200, the Aurora-BL is pricey but worth it. Cushion, stability, and comfort are all on point. If you’re an early adopter of shoe tech or just wanting something to completely switch it up from typical everyday running shoes, the Aurora-BL is a no brainer. It’s soft, bouncy, and usable for easy runs, speed training, and everything in between.
Where to Buy the Brook Aurora-BL
- Men’s Colorway: Persimmon/Antartica
- Men’s Style Code: 110367-079
- Women’s Colorway: Grey/Coral/Black
- Women’s Style Code: 120354-068
- Release Date: June 17, 2021
- Retail Price: $200