Brooks Levitate 4 Shoe Review

The updated Brooks Levitate 4 brings a few welcomed changes. If you’ve read my previous Levitate reviews, you know I’ve never loved the shoe. Spoiler: I still don’t love the shoe. The upper of the Levitate cut my heels (and is one of only a handful of shoes to do so), and the bottom has always felt “clunky” to me. It’s more responsive than the Brooks Glycerin but also significantly heavier.

Brooks Levitate 4 Shoe Review

Brooks Levitate 4 Quick Facts:

Weight: 9.2 oz

Heel to Toe Drop: 8 mm

Brooks Levitate 4 Shoe Review

Brooks Levitate 4 Introduction:

The Brooks Levitate is a responsive neutral training shoe. It’s designed with a cushion but also spring. Most people agree that Brooks Levitate 4 is one of the “better looking” training options from Brooks. Don’t choose your shoes by how they look but it’s nice when they look decent.

The Brooks Levitate 4 brings several major updates, and according to Brooks, it’s “lighter and bouncier than ever.”  I can say a lot of not so positive things about the Levitate, but these claims are true and it is lighter and bouncier than previous versions.

A few of the updates with the Levitate include:

  • A 20% lighter DNA Amp midsole
  • An improved outsole design for better traction
  • An updated knit upper for a better fit and improved breathability. (Thank goodness)
  • An updated arrow-point pattern on the outsole for faster transitions.

Brooks Levitate 4 Fit:

In my opinion, the original Levitate without the sock-like upper was the best fit. The second version of the Levitate cut up my heels, which only about 5 running shoes have ever done. So, needless to say, I wasn’t a fan. The third was similar to the second version of the Levitate, and I didn’t spend much time in the shoe. So I was curious to see how the Brooks Levitate 4 would feel on my foot.

Does it cut the heel? This is the first version of the Levitate since the original doesn’t cut holes into the back of my foot. Obviously a “me problem,” but since it’s happened in very few shoes, it’s worth noting. The thin heel padding is still there, but it hasn’t caused any fouls.

Brooks Levitate 4 Shoe Review
Thin heel collar. Can we please get rid of these Brooks?

The upper is incredibly simple and basically just a sock. There are no seams, and it fits snug. If you have bunions or struggle with seams irritating your feet, it’s a great upper for that.

The Brooks Levitate 4 fits true to size. I typically wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide, and the 10.5 fits well. The Brooks Levitate 4 does fit more snug with the upper material than mesh uppers, such as the Brooks Ghost 13.

Brooks Levitate 4 Ride:

The Brooks Levitate 4 is in the energized category from Brooks. It’s more firm and responsive than shoes such as the Brooks Glycerin and Brooks Ghost, but it’s also heavier.

That being said, this year the best update to the Brooks Levitate came with it being 20% lighter. That is a huge amount to take off the weight but somehow Brooks was able to keep the same amount of cushion. So Kudos to them.

To understand how Brooks Levitate 4 works and why it’s “so heavy,” you need to understand Brooks’ cushioning. In the energized category, Brooks uses their midsole material called ‘DNA AMP.’ According to Brooks, it has more energy return. The DNA Amp is made from 2 materials:  polyurethane (PU) with a layer of TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) wrapped around the midsole.

So? PU is much heavier than the traditional EVA used in running shoes, but PU is more elastic, flexible, and durable. Together with the just heavy TPU, the Brooks Levitate becomes a chonk. So why use all of this heavy material in a world of lightweight shoes? The DNA AMP is significantly more durable than other materials. This is true, and in typical running shoes, I get about 300 miles. I can definitely get more out of the Brooks Levitate 4.

Brooks Levitate 4 Shoe Review

And heavy is all relative. This would have been considered a lightweight shoe just 10 years ago but technology is running shoes is advancing (I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that twice).

Even though it’s heavy the Levitate transitions and rolls through well and you do feel that responsive and springy ride that Brooks touts.

I’ve done several different runs in the Brooks Levitate 4, including easy runs, recovery runs, and longer tempos. For me, it fits well into a daily run shoe. I want something softer for my recovery runs, and for my faster runs, I want something lighter.

Brooks Levitate 4 Shoe Review

Conclusion:

If you love the Brooks Levitate, you’ll probably love this version too. It’s not a terrible shoe, but many shoes do the same thing that is either lighter or just cheaper. (The Brooks Ricochet is a prime example). The update is moving in the right direction but is this the greatest running shoe out there? No. Is the Brooks Levitate 4 the greatest running shoe from Brooks? Also no. Is the Brooks Levitate 4 a durable trainer that you’ll get a lot of mileage out of? Yes.

Brooks Levitate 4 Shoe Review

My Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs Saloman Sonic 3 Balance,  Brooks Glycerin 18 Mizuno Rider Waveknit 3, Brooks Levitate 4, Nike Pegasus 37, New Balance 1080 v10Diadora Mythos Blushield Blushield Hip 5,  Hoka Bondi 7Asics GlideRide.

Speed Work: Nike Tempo Next%, New Balance Fuelcell TC Shoe ReviewReebok Float Ride Run fast Pro,

Long Runs: Hoka Clifton Edge,  Under Armour Sonic HOVR 3

Trail Running/Hiking: Hoka Torrent 2Saucony Peregrine 10New Balance Hierro v5 

Races: adidas Adizero Pro, Asics MetaRacerNew Balance Fuelcell 5280Nike Next%,  Saucony Endorphin ProNew Balance fuelcell TCReebok Run fast Pro 

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.

Questions for you:

Have you tried Brooks Levitate 4?

What is your favorite running shoe?