What changed on the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 vs Hyperion Elite? In short, half the shoe is radically updated and half stayed exactly the same. The original Hyperion Elite saw a limited release at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in February with a wider release shortly thereafter.
Why is the Hyperion Elite getting a second iteration six months later?
As soon as the original Hyperion Elite released, two large complaints emerged. First, the shoe was only meant to last 50-100 miles. With its $250 price tag, runners were understandably skeptical about buying something with such a small lifespan. The second complaint was that the midsole and its DNA Zero foam were way too firm with almost no bounce. In a world with road racing shoes using soft, bouncy Pebax (like the Saucony Endorphin Pro and the Nike Alphafly Next%), a shoe with a firm midsole just can’t compete.
At WearTesters, we’ve been patiently waiting for our chance to get the Hyperion Elite 2 in hand and write about what it offers. Thanks to the team at Brooks, we can give you our first impression and compare the Hyperion Elite 2 vs the Hyperion Elite.
Hyperion Elite 2 vs the Hyperion Elite: What’s the same?
- Upper. The stretch woven upper is exactly the same. The materials, shape, ventilation, laces, tongue, achilles pillow…it’s all a repeat. The only difference is the “2” on the tongue of the Hyperion Elite 2 instead of the vertical line (that might be a “1”) on the original. You’ll be happy if you enjoyed the Hyperion Elite’s upper. It does, however, come with some issues. A slippy tongue, sloppy fit, and lockdown issues that can cause heel hot spots. I would have preferred Brooks use the upper from the Brooks Hyperion Tempo because that upper, while it also had a slippy tongue, has a better all around fit and is a similar light stretch weave.
- Carbon Fiber Propulsion Plate. Just like in the Hyperion Elite, the Hyperion Elite 2 features a full-length carbon fiber plate sandwiched by two layers of foam. The plate stabilizes the foam and works with it to provide a bouncy feeling. Carbon Fiber plates are HUGE in running right now. It’s a must have for all top racing shoes.
- Rapid Roll Technology. Both midsoles feature the sculpted heel and toe curvature that “guides” the foot through a quick heel to toe transition and lift off. This is becoming standard on any shoe meant for racing or speed training.
- Fit. Since both shoes have the same upper, the fit hasn’t changed. It’s slightly sloppy, the tongue’s a little too long and too slick, and the heel can be a problem. It will take you several runs to get the lacing and lockdown tuned to what your foot needs. And with the heel hot spots, make sure you wear longer, thicker socks until the heel feels broken in.
- Laces. The nice touch of small barbs on the laces is back. It helps prevent the laces from coming untied when they’re soaked with sweat.
- Insole. The thin foam insoles are the same.
- Drop. Despite different midsoles, both shoes have an 8mm offset (heel to toe).
- Length. Both Hyperion Elite models fit true to size. Feel free to grab the size you normally wear. Wide footers will have plenty of room without sizing up.
- Price. At $250, the Hyperion Elite 2 retails for the same price as the Hyperion Elite.
Hyperion Elite 2 vs the Hyperion Elite: What’s the difference?
- Midsole. The Hyperion Elite 2 swaps the lifeless DNA Zero midsole foam of the Hyperion Elite for the bouncy, responsive DNA Flash found on the Brooks Catamount and Hyperion Tempo. DNA Flash is a nitrogen infused foam that feels great under foot. The Hyperion Elite 2’s midsole is soft enough to run a marathon and bouncy enough to push you faster during speed workouts.
- Stack height. The two shoe’s midsole heights are different. The difference is only two millimeters. It’s not a big variance, but I do feel higher off the ground in the Hyperion Elite 2. And while 2 mm of extra foam is nice, the real difference in cushioning is from the type of foam used (as mentioned in the Midsole section).
- Outsole. The Hyperion Elite 2’s outsole is redesigned and features less rubber in the both the forefoot and the heel. The rubber compound used is stickier. My first run indicated the traction is slightly better than on the original Hyperion Elite. I didn’t notice any slippage in the dry conditions so we’ll see how they do in the rain. I’ll need to run more miles in the Hyperion Elite 2 before I can predict how durable it will be.
- Support. The midsole of the Hyperion Elite 2 flares out wider at both the forefoot and heel than its predecessor. The original Hyperion Elite wasn’t tippy, so I think Brooks did this to balance out the softness of the DNA Flash midsole. The extra midsole width does the job. In my initial run, I took some sharp turns and never felt tippy or unstable. So while the Support is similar, each shoe achieves it in a different way.
- Weight. The DNA Flash midsole comes with a price. The Hyperion Elite 2 (7.6 oz) is heavier than the Hyperion Elite (6.9 oz). Based on my initial run in them, it’s an acceptable trade off. I feel confident that the extra cushion and bounce is well worth less than an ounce of weight.
- Lifespan. Brooks says the original Hyperion Elite will last 50-100 miles whereas the Hyperion Elite 2 will last 200-400 miles. That’s more like what I’d expect out of this type of shoe.
The Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 vs the Hyperion Elite battle is an interesting one. It’s a case of a brand releasing an initial model that didn’t live up to expectations and immediately pivoting to fix the majority of what was wrong with the original version. It’s cool they moved so fast.
And while there’s still some issues Brooks should fix in future versions, I think we’ll see plenty of the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2s alongside other carbon plate racing shoes on the starting lines of major marathons and half marathons (when they happen again ?).
My initial impression is that if you thought the only thing wrong with the Hyperion Elite was the cushioning and midsole, you’ll love the Hyperion Elite 2. Also, if you’re a big fan of the Brooks Hyperion Tempo for your training runs, the Hyperion Elite 2 is worth a try as your racing shoe.
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