When I tried the first Brooks Hyperion Elite in early 2020, I wondered if any company would be able to challenge Nike’s dominance in the racing shoe market.
After doing all of my top races in 2019 in the Vaporfly NEXT%, I tested other shoes with carbon plates, but none came close to the performance level of the Nike record breaker. The Hoka Carbon X was a nice shoe, but felt more like a training option – a lot heavier and not as fast as the Vaporfly.
And the Hyperion Elite? It was a complete failure. It had the tough, firm ride of a racing apartment made tougher and tighter by the plate, and none of the joyous leap of the Vaporfly. To top it off, it was £ 21
Since then I’ve tried some excellent shoes with carbon plates, such as the Saucony Endorphin Pro, which Nike can run for its money with. And now, after a couple of runs, I can say that the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 will join the leading pack.
The main difference between the editions of the Hyperion Elite is the foam used in the midsole, which switches from DNA Zero to DNA Flash. Not only was DNA Flash a bit heavier, it was also superior to Zero in every way, offering a faster and much more bouncy ride.
The difference in weight is also hardly overwhelming. The first Hyperion Elite, weighing 205 g in my UK size 9, the Elite 2, weighs 223 g – a price that’s well worth it for the improved ride.
I’ve used the Elite 2 for two runs so far, a hard-track session of four 2km repetitions in a mix of steps, and a one-hour run that transitions from easy to steady pace. It was surprisingly good on the track even when I was faster than my 5k pace, and the extra cushioning compared to a plain meant I could finish the session strong. Be aware, however, that the high pile on the shoe means that it is not allowed in course racing under new guidelines.
The Elite 2 felt even better on the hour-long, easy-to-stabilize run, a session I did based on heart rate, and I was consistently amazed at the pace my watch got for the effort I made It felt strong at the end of the run, thanks to all the cushioning underfoot and the added impetus from the carbon plate.
It’s still early days but my impressions so far of the Elite 2 are that it will be a brilliant option for road racing. It’s still not as soft as the Vaporfly or the Alphafly, and it doesn’t have the great rollability of the Endorphin Pro, but while a bit firmer it seems to protect your legs just like these shoes and help you keep your racing pace. It’s also more sturdy than the Nike shoes and feels more like a traditional shoe – just one that’s been pimped up.
I found that the Hyperion Elite 2 fits the size and the toe box is comfortably roomy despite a tight, locked fit around the metatarsus. The upper is very thin and light, although there is extra padding around the heel to protect your Achilles tendon.
The outsole contains very little rubber to protect the midsole foam – this is a road racing shoe that is not suitable for gravel roads or even the lightest trails. My second run in the shoe involved a heavy shower and I could feel a slight slip on wet sidewalks, but nothing so drastic that it stopped me from walking. I could go for the exceptionally streamlined Asics Metaracer rather than a wet 5K or 10K.
As the midsole foam changes, the expected life of the shoe also increases. Brooks has suggested the Elite 2 will be 320 km, but has run many miles in the Hyperion Tempo (which was released as a fast training shoe alongside the first Hyperion Elite) and the Brooks Catamount trail shoe (both also use DNA Flash foam). I am confident the Elite 2 will last longer than expected.
I have another tough session planned in the shoe and I’ll see how it behaves over longer distances. But from now on I’m a big fan.
Buy the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 at Brooks | £ 210