With the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, Brooks created a carbon plate racing shoe that competes with Nike Vaporfly Next%, Nike Alphafly Next%, and the Saucony Endorphin Pro. Brooks’ first attempt with the Hyperion Elite wasn’t well received. To Brooks’ credit, they took the criticism and then created a second generation that solved the majority of people’s issues with the original.
The Hyperion Elite 2 is good enough that you’ll see it at the starting lines of road races immediately. How did Brooks make a shoe that will be trusted by racers worldwide? Let me walk you through the five most important categories, cushion, traction, fit, materials, and support.
FYI, I wrote a comparison of the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 vs Hyperion Elite here. That’s a good starting place if you’ve run in the original Hyperion Elite.
Brooks’ DNA Flash nitrogen-infused foam is great. It was introduced in the Brooks Hyperion Tempo where it was the star of the shoe. Then, Brooks added it to a new trail shoe, the Brooks Catamount. The midsole was a little stiffer in the Catamount but performed extremely well on the trails.
The DNA Flash on the Hyperion Elite 2 is the softest DNA Flash yet and is dual-layered with a Carbon Fiber propulsion plate sandwiched between the layers. It’s really forgiving on your joints and still firm enough to entice those that feel the Vaporfly is too soft. The midsole has a nice bounce and makes it easy to pick up speed.
The Hyperion Elite 2’s DNA Flash midsole is the best midsole Brooks has made to date. It’s great for long distances and racing. You’ll soon see plenty of marathoners rocking them.
Two millimeters of rubber is placed in patches at the toe and heel leaving the midfoot foam exposed. This is pretty typical of most carbon fiber plated racing shoes.
The grip is also typical of most racing shoes. It’s amazing in dry conditions, solid when the ground is slightly wet, and not ideal in pouring rain or snow. It delivers exactly what I expected in terms of traction.
Now, the durability of the traction? So far so good. I can hardly see any wear except at my toe off point. Getting up to 400 miles in these bad boys is within reach.
The Hyperion Elite 2’s fit is slightly sloppy. The tongue is too long and too slick and the heel can be a problem. Based on my experience and what I’ve heard from others, it will take you several runs to get the lacing and lockdown where you want them. And since the heel’s synthetic suede lining can cause hot spots, make sure you wear longer, thicker socks until the heel feels breaks in.
Oh, and the upper is exactly like the Hyperion Elite 1, so if it worked for you on that shoe, you’ll get the same exact experience in the 2nd generation.
The Hyperion Elite 2’s stretch woven upper feels good and breathes well. Sure, it’s sloppy in a couple places, but the minimalism is probably worth the trade off. Woven mesh, fuse around the lace holes, synthetic suede for the lining, and nicely barbed laces are everything that’s used.
The materials are simple, and for the most part, they work.
A very thin vertical line of a heel counter, an internal toe cap, and a wraparound achilles/ankle pillow are what passes for support in the upper. But the majority of the support is provided by the shoe’s wide base and flared misole.
Despite the lack of support-specific features, the cornering was solid and uneven pavement didn’t cause any issues. If the road races you run feature cobblestone, pavers, or broken roads, the Hyperion Elite 2 matches up with the Saucony Endorphin Pro as race day shoes that keep you on top of the footbed even when the path gets dicey.
The Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 is a great marathon racing shoe. On the cost side, I wish it had been priced $25 less than its $250 price tag. I think a lower price would convince more runners to choose the Hyperion Elite 2 over the Vaporfly. Since they’re priced the same, personal preferences and shoe stock will probably be the determining factors (for most people).
If you’re intrigued by the Hyperion Elite 2, it’s worth buying and trying. It performs well and gets better as you speed up. It’s a worthy addition to your speed and race day rotation.
Thanks to Brooks for sending a pair to test. Brooks had no editorial control of the review. This review is based on our weartesters’ experiences using the shoes for speed workouts, trail runs, treadmill training, long runs, casual wear, and more.