I’ve eagerly awaited the Brooks Levitate 5 update after I heard they were finally changing the upper. The upper who cares? Previous versions of the Brooks Levitate cut through my heel like a razor blade. I rarely have that problem with running shoes, and I was also not the only one too. There were a few design flaws with the shoe in general after it changed uppers: it always felt awkward because the bottom was so heavy. With the lightweight upper and heavy bottom, the shoe just felt clunky. Anyway, this year Brooks is giving people the option of the original upper or the upper they’ve used the last few versions.
Another thing to note is the Brooks Levitate 5, and the Brooks Levitate 5 GTS are two different shoes. The GTS is the stability version (that was once the Bedlam). Brooks has named all of their stability versions “GTS,” which I think was a dumb move. Now people think they discontinued their favorite shoe or might mix and match the GTS versions to the neutral. Brooks did this by renaming Moving Comfort sports bras, and it did not do well for them.
Brooks Levitate 5 Quick Facts:
Weight: 9.6 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 8 mm
Brooks Levitate 5 Introduction:
The Brooks Levitate 5 is a neutral shoe made to be both “energetic and springy.” Unlike the Brooks Ghost and Glycerin, which are softer shoes, the Brooks Levitate 5 uses “DNA Amp” to make a more responsive ride. As I mentioned, new this year is the option for two different fits.
Brooks Levitate 5 Fit:
The fit has been drastically updated, but Brooks gives you the option to choose the “classic-fit” or the “stealth fit.” The Stealthfit is what Levitate fans will remember from the last few versions. It’s snug and secure and even slightly compressive. Despite trying every version of that fit, it hasn’t worked for me and continued to cut my ankles. It’s not a “me problem,” and I’ve heard many people have the same issue. So I was excited to try the classic fit. Excited is an understatement, really.
The classic fit upper uses an engineered circular-knit fit. This provides breathability as well as keeps it flexible. To me, it feels great. It feels exactly what an upper should feel like, and the best uppers disappear off your feet. What I do love is the look. It looks cheap and not like a $150 shoe. Compared to say the Glycerin, the Levitate doesn’t look like it should cost as much as it does. The laces are cheap, and the ribbon on the back looks goofy. It looks like it should cost about the same as the Revel.
As far as sizing, I typically wear between a size 10-11 wide. I found the 10.5 to fit the best and would say the Brooks Levitate 5 fits true to size.
Brooks Levitate 5 Ride:
Unlike many Brooks shoes, the Levitate 5 uses DNA Amp. To get nerdy with you, this technology is a soft, lively polyurethane-based foam encased in a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) skin. It’s designed to resist horizontal expansion. Ok, so who cares? Because the midsole does not expand laterally, it only expands vertically and results in a springy effect. DNA Amp is also fairly heavy, and shoes that use it are also on the heavier side of running shoes. The Brooks Levitate is not a light shoe, and it has never been a light shoe.
On the outsole, the arrow-point pattern of the rubber outsole lets your foot roll quickly from the heel to toe. The Brooks Levitate 5 is one of the smoothest shoes to roll from heel to toe.
Finally, the Levitate 5 is decoupled under the heel of the shoe. This helps it absorb shock and promote flexibility.
Durability and Traction: Two things I’ve always admired about the Brooks Levitate 5 is how much traction and rubber the bottom has. This allows the shoe to respond well in inclement weather but also get a substantial amount of mileage.
I’ve run several different types of runs in the Levitate 5, from workouts to easy runs and recovery days. To me, this is a good daily shoe. I think the weight is a little too heavy to do workouts and faster runs in (sometimes it still feels clunky), but I’m usually looking for something softer with an easy-run shoe. So it falls into a daily run shoe that I’m not recovering from a workout and might want to run a touch faster.
Brooks Levitate 5 Conclusion:
Besides the first version of the Levitate, I think this is the best Levitate to date. I’m glad they offered the classic and traditional fit again, and it will be interesting to see if they continue to do that. While still a heavy trainer, it is durable and responsive.
The Brooks Levitate 5 is the best version of the last few years. I don’t know if it will ever be a favorite shoe of mine, but it’s made significant progress. That being said, it looks like a $100 shoe, not $150.
I think Brooks has made the Levitate confusing, and they’ll have a lot of people ordering the Levitate and the Levitate GTS thinking it’s the same shoe. Once again, it’s not.
My Current Shoe Rotation:
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 the Brooks Levitate 5?
What’s your current favorite running shoe?