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The Brooks Levitate 4 won a highly commended award in our shoe guide, here's why

Kerry McCarthy
·3-min read

From Runner's World

  • Weight: 286g (M) 258g (W)

  • Heel/toe Drop: 8mm

  • Type: Road

  • Price £140

Buy now - men's

Buy now - women's

RW Summary:

A reliable, consistently firm ride for runners who don’t want the slightest bit of faff.

General Comments

Sometimes you test a shoe that you just is going to end up being a fixture in a brand’s stable for a long time to come, and since we laced up the first Levitate, we thought this would be one such shoe for Brooks. Happily, for fans of the model, version 4 is broadly the same.

Cushioning update

The foam used in this shoe is Brooks’s normally uber-bouncy DNA Amp, and on this shoe, it has been upgraded. The formulation has been changed so it’s 20% lighter. We applaud the stripping away of unnecessary weight but the Levitate remains a curiously firm shoe. This is not a bad thing, jus an oddity given the make-up of its components. It offers bounce, but very little plushness, which is why heavier runners and those who prefer a more solid sensation underfoot love it so much. There’s plenty of zap when you push off, but no give upon landing. The overall feeling is a little harsh but very effective, a bit like a strict headmistress.

Two other small changes

The upper has been made lighter, more breathable, and a snugger fit too. It’s octopus-like in its smothering of your foot. Whether you like that or not is a personal choice; our testers, on the whole, loved the reassurance this gave, although a couple of wider footed testers noted that their feet felt constricted in the later stages of long runs as their feet swelled – there wasn’t enough give to accommodate this.

The outsole grooves have also been played with, apparently for a smoother roll-through, and while any difference in feel to version 3 was negligible, the transition is not at all bad for what is normally quite a stiff shoe.

It'll love you long time

While £140 is not cheap, we think the Levitate 4 still provides good bang for your buck because it’s exceptionally durable and shows less wear after a couple of hundred miles than many of its competitors. We were also impressed with the consistency of the ride with the midsole showing few signs of degradation at half its expected life span, and the feeling remained the same too. Often as a shoe starts to age the upper will sag, the cushioning will offer less bounce and other features will become less effective. The Levitate 4 is not one of these shoes.

Conclusion

Think of this one as a loyal buddy for any run where all you want is to switch off and not think about it.

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