Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Review: New Foam, Please

Whilst Brooks is known for traditional, comfortable shoes which eat daily distance for breakfast, it their yearning for the status quo blunting them as a force for race day?

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4: Lacking Pizzazz 

Whilst they have a fantastic range of daily shoes which are some of the best selling in the world, the race market is not Brooks’ strong suit. The Hyperion Elite works on the feet of world champions such as Josh Kerr. However, they have not found so much favour amongst the mere mortals of the running world. Comfortable fitting sure, but they lack the midsole compound and pop of their competitors to make it worth the big money. With a big redesign from the Hyperion Elite 3, have the Seattle squad managed to build a top tier contender for race day?

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4-13
Brooks Hyperion Elite 4-06


Product details from Brooks

Weight: 221g | 7.8oz (men’s US9)

Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm

Price: €250 | $250 | £220

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4-14
Brooks Hyperion Elite 4-02

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Upper: Breathability is no Issue

As soon as the Hyperion Elite 4 leaves the box, there is no question about its breathability. With more holes than material, the upper lets the air flow freely around the foot. That being said, the mesh material is certainly not lacking in robustness. Lockdown is easy to achieve and the foot hold is quite comfortable. Well, for my left foot. 


I am not sure whether my legs are odd or it is a strangeness in the manufacture of my version of the Hyperion Elite 4. However, my first run in the shoe saw the skin on my right achilles being flayed off. I could feel some rubbing, but when I returned home, the rear of the shoe was red with blood. The damage was done. Obviously, this gave me great trepidation about using it again. Such is the lot of a shoe reviewer. I can almost feel your sympathy flooding through the screen. 


However, a lot of kinesiology tape and 60km later, here we are. With the achilles taped, I have had no further injuries from the shoe and actually found the fit pleasant and comfortable. Everything holds in place. The lockdown adds to the stability of the ride. There is certainly no overheating of the foot and, other than my right achilles, no rubbing or pinch points. Had it not been for my initial experience, I would really love the upper.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4-11

Midsole: Dull

The midsole is firm. It does not offer much bounce or energy return when compared to similarly priced competitors. Decathlon can offer a PEBA based midsole in a shoe which costs less than £100. Why Brooks can’t do similar in their flagship shoe escapes me. The aversion to using a modern superfoam in a shoe which comes in at nearly £220 is a real misstep in my opinion. For a shoe which is designed for the roads, it really offers me nothing when running on them. 


The DNA Flash midsole offers some dampening. However, it doesn’t offer the propulsive, energy filled bounce we have come to expect from shoes in this bracket. Instead, it is a rather dead feeling which really lacks a sense of joy. On the right feet, it is clearly a fast shoe. Although, with so much choice on the market, I find it hard to justify spending the money on this when there are multiple competitors which offer more fun.


That being said, my running club is lucky enough to train on a very new and very bouncy track. This, for me, is where the Hyperion Elite 4 is a more useful shoe. With the track providing the bounce, the firm midsole and stiff carbon plate of the Hyperion Elite 4 do provide a good toe spring. The firmness of the DNA Flash provides stability and it is a much more pleasant experience to run in.


When the floor is offering the bounce, I have used the Hyperion Elite to run some fast 200s and very consistent mile reps. However, on roads when I expect the shoe to offer me more, I have found similar workouts sapping and far harder to get my rhythm. I really hope Brooks moves into the modern world of midsole foams with the release of their next top level race shoe.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4-08
Brooks Hyperion Elite 4-07

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Outsole: Works Where It Is

Brooks provides a lattice-work outsole which is much reminiscent of the design of the SpeedVault Race + plate ensconced in the midsole. I have run in pouring rain along with far more clement conditions. At no time have I felt let down by the outsole. On track and road, I have felt that I can push power through the shoe without worry of slips. 


Whilst the rubber itself is durable with very little sign of wear after my testing miles so far, the same is not true for the exposed midsole foam. On both of my high strike areas, which are rubber free on the Hyperion Elite 4, the foam is starting to flake away and tear. On the main part of the forefoot, there are also clear dents and some puncture marks in the foam from stones in the road. 


I can see the midsole material failing many, many kilometres before the rubber gives way.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4-03

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Conclusion: Not Mad, Just Dissapointed

When I knew I was due to receive the Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 for review, I was excited to give them a go. They look great, in my opinion. The upper is truly race ready and the pedigree is sound. However, I was very disappointed when I got them on foot. In a world of bounce, energy return, propulsion and just really fun shoes, the Hyperion Elite falls flat for me. When the competition offer so much and can usually be found at far lower prices than the Hyperion Elite 4, it is so hard to justify the price for a shoe which only shines when the floor is doing all the work.


Maybe next time, Brooks.



45 years old

173cm (5’8″) – 66kg (145lbs)

Forefoot striker – (Very) high cadence runner


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