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I Tried Brooks’ New Hyperion Elite 4 Shoes & Felt Faster Than I Have in Years

Home Fashion I Tried Brooks’ New Hyperion Elite 4 Shoes & Felt Faster Than I Have in Years
I Tried Brooks’ New Hyperion Elite 4 Shoes & Felt Faster Than I Have in Years
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Running shoes these days have thick soles and prominent rockers. It’s like trying to run with a bean bag strapped to each foot: too much shoe for my liking. As someone who grew up in the minimalist era, I prefer a firmer shoe and like to feel the ground under my feet. So when I discovered Brooks’ new Hyperion Elite 4 running shoes, I felt hopeful.

In my 20s I was an avid runner. No Olympian by any means, but pretty fast by most standards. Running was central to my military training, and I regularly competed in local races, including one marathon. Yet as many people can relate, the demands of office life and other priorities over subsequent years have sidelined running to an inconsistent pastime. I still recall the feeling of zipping along the racecourse; however, my feet just don’t move as quickly as they once did.

That’s about to change this year. I’ve committed with colleagues to run the NYC marathon in November and am determined to flirt with my 3:17 personal record. In addition to the whole fitness component of this endeavor, I knew I needed better running shoes. So over the past few weeks I’ve been searching for the right footwear to carry me across the finish line.

Despite visiting a number of specialty stores, I hadn’t been able to find anything that felt quite right—until I received my Brooks Hyperion 4s.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Honest Review

I knew when I plucked one from the box—this is a fast shoe. The Hyperion Elite 4 is Brooks’ top-of-the-line running shoe, designed for road racing 5k to marathon distances. It’s the first shoe I’ve found that properly balances the need for cushioning with my preference for less shoe. I’ve added Hyperions to my training rotation and expect they’ll be my go-to come race day this fall.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4.

JUST RIGHT road RUNNERS

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

With light cusioning to absorb impact and a carbon fiber propulsion plate, the Hyperion Elite 4’s perfect proportions propel you forward without feeling like too much shoe. 

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How Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Look & Feel

What’s nearly as important as being fast? Looking fast. Perusing the Brooks website, I wasn’t sure if I would like the hot orange color as I typically opt for a more subdued look. In person, however, the orange tastefully highlights an otherwise white shoe with black accents. It gives a clean look with a nod to the flames that ought to be produced by a speedy runner.

Hyperions are true to size, with a light upper mesh that wraps comfortably around my perfectly average-shaped feet. The tongue is so paper-thin that it feels almost like just another layer of skin. Brooks managed to balance that firm and responsive feel with sufficient cushioning to limit the pounding that running on pavement would otherwise have on my joints over long distances.

Running In Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

For my initial test run, it was pouring rain and cold, but I slipped them on and headed to Central Park. There’s something motivating about new shoes that pulls you into that first run.

Hyperion Elite 4s are neutral shoes with greater stability than many of their competitors. They facilitate my natural stride with a smooth transition from the point when my foot strikes the ground through the acceleration of my toe drive, propelling me forward. I immediately felt well-balanced and light on my feet. The upper mesh held my foot securely in place while retaining the comfort I first felt when I laced them up.

As I picked up the tempo, I felt my shoes springing me forward. Before testing out Hyperions, I had no idea what a carbon plate is or why I would want one in my shoe. Modern high-end running shoes now often contain a carbon fiber plate in the mid-sole. This technology causes the shoe’s foam to compress and expand more rapidly, which transfers energy back to the runner’s stride rather than being lost. The effect is a spring-like feel that helps improve forward momentum. I also train with a pair of Ghosts, Brooks’ durable entry-level shoe, but I really felt the difference of the carbon plate mid-sole and Hyperion’s featherlight materials as I floated over rolling hills on that first run.

Despite the heavy rain and resulting puddles, I took my usual route through the park over both paved and fine gravel/dirt paths. Hyperions are designed for road running, but I found the treads gave me secure footing even in those less-than-ideal wet and muddy conditions.

Cleaning Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

Yes, I did get my brand new, pearly white shoes filthy with mud on the very first run (what better way to make them your own). Yet with a quick soak in ordinary laundry detergent the mud rinsed right off, leaving them looking like new.

Based on that first test and a few subsequent runs, plus reading what other runners had to say, below are my pros and cons for the Brooks Hyperion Elite 4.

Pros

  • Optimal combination of lightweight material and durability
  • Breathable and comfortable upper mesh and tongue
  • Facilitates a smooth, stable, and natural stride
  • Firm and responsive feel with ample cushioning for mid-distance road running
  • Durable and easy cleaning

Cons

  • No rocker and less bounce than some other super-shoes

Overall, I’m extremely satisfied with my new go-to shoe for high tempo runs and race day. With the Hyperion Elite 4, Brooks took its always dependable trainers and made them elite. Don’t blink during this November’s NYC marathon, or you might miss the orange flash of these ultra-light runners whizzing by.


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