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Brooks Revel 3 Review


The Brooks Revel 3 is a lightweight neutral trainer on the market that has a lower price tag than some of the other shoes out there. After wear testing these shoes, I feel that the price tag may be lower just because it is lacking some bells and whistles, not because it is a lower quality shoe.  It is meant to be a light and plush ride for the road and does just that!

Specifications
Weight: 8.8 ounces
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Neutral Lightweight Trainer/ Lifestyle

HIGHLIGHTS

David: I think the biggest highlight for this shoe is the light plush ride.  For easy days and long days on the road, this shoe runs smooth like butter.  The upper is breathable and does not produce any hot spots (longest run in shoe to date 10 miles, 85 degree weather).  The 8mm drop ratio should agree with most runners as well.

FIT

David: The Brooks Revel 3 fits true to size with an upper that holds the foot well enough.  It is not the most snug upper out there, but with lacing down I have never had any problems with foot slippage.  I would classify the shoe "fit" as moderate since it is neither snug or excessively loose in any portions of the shoe.  The forefoot and toe box is a little spacious but not necessarily wide, the same goes for the midfoot and the heel cup.  The fit is what I consider a very "safe" design.

RIDE

David: The Revel 3 has a plush ride that is coupled with a lightweight shoe.  Because of the plush components of the DNA foam in the shoe, it is not the most responsive shoe out there but this is saved by the weight of the shoe.  The Revel 3 hosts an 8 mm drop ratio that I also consider "safe".  This shoe is a jack of many trades, but not necessarily a king in any categories.  I feel that forefoot strikers and heel strikers will both do just fine in this shoe. The full contact outsole does help give the shoe a little more responsiveness as well (just by making the shoe a wee bit more rigid).  The shoe feels best over roads or packed dirt surfaces, and may be a little unstable in uneven ground or grass terrain. Turning is ok in this shoe as long as you are on a firm surface.

STABILITY

David: This may be the category that scores the lowest in this review.  In it's defense, the shoe is a neutral shoe... but with the upper not being very snug, a plush midsole, and a heel cup that has some give to it without that much force, it is not the most stable shoe in the market even for neutral trainers. However, if someone is intrinsically stable and runs relatively efficient, those things will probably not matter too much.  The full contact outsole helps provide some stability in the shoe making it more rigid with sagittal (forward and back) and torsional (rotational) forces.  As noted earlier in the review, on roads or packed dirt trails that are relatively even the shoe does well.  The instability will be noticed most on uneven surfaces and grass.
SPEED

David: The Revel 3 does pretty well in the speed category.  Weighing in at 8.8 ounces, the shoe is pretty easy to turnover when doing progression runs, long tempo runs, or even daily runs with some fartlek portions.  Because of the plush nature of the shoe, it loses some snap when the pace really starts to pick up, but for moderate paces it actually does pretty well.  I did a progression run and got the shoe down to about 5:40 pace towards the end of the run and the shoe was hanging in there.

DURABILITY

David: For being a budget shoe, this shoe does really well in the durability category.  After 35 miles the outsole shows nearly no wear at all and the ride has been maintained pretty well.  The DNA foam appears to be getting some creases and cracks, but is holding up ok.  I could see it to potentially start breaking down around 75 miles potentially, with the outsole lasting as long as any other trainer on the market. I have no concerns for the upper with durability.  The mesh is flexible and should be just fine with roads.
THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

As a physical therapist, I think this is a shoe that will please many who enjoy running in neutral shoes.  However, the plush midsole, slightly spacious fit, and moderately stable heel cup make this shoe not very stable. With that said, if someone runs relatively efficient and has medial lateral stability, they should enjoy this shoe.  I will go into further detail below. The drop ratio of the shoe is not very aggressive, which also makes this shoe more enjoyable for a wider variety of runners.  I love the full contact outsole, for it adds a little stability and rigidity to the shoe (making it more versatile).

Anytime a midsole emphasizes high cushioning and a plush ride, the shoe will lose stability and the runner will have to rely on their own muscles to create the stable environment when running.  The muscles that usually do this in the foot and ankle are the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior, fibularis longus, and the intrinsic foot muscles.  Stability can also occur at the hip with the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus controlling frontal and transverse plane faults when landing. In English, side to side and rotation movements will need to be controlled by you.  It is similar to being barefoot and having to balance on a piece of foam, sand, or a surface with a little give.  You will feel all your muscles kick in and take on the work of keeping you from falling on your face.  I tend to prefer shoes this way actually... but the shoe should still hold the foot well and have a stable heel cup.  This gives your foot a little more feedback with touch, and the cup will help keep your foot from moving around side to side when running.  Sometimes... even though the runner is stable, if the shoe is too spacious they will still slide around a little.  With tying things down tight I was able to avoid that in this shoe, but it can be a possibility for some if they don't have the balancing act of running locked down.

RECOMMENDATIONS 

David:
My recommendations for the Brooks Revel 3 lie mainly in making the shoe more stable without sacrificing the neutral tag on the shoe.  If the shoe remains plush in future models, Brooks will need to figure out how to add proprioceptive input (joint awareness) into the shoe.  The upper can made a little more snug and the heel cup can be made more rigid and snug.  In doing so the foot and ankle will have more tactile feedback and a hint more stability.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

David: The Brooks Revel 3 is a lightweight neutral trainer for those who are looking for a simple shoe that they can do most things in without breaking the bank.  Someone who decides to run in the Revel 3 should be relatively efficient and not have too much wobble in their step.  The shoe should be ok for both forefoot and heel strikers.  The shoe is marketed to have a lifestyle component as well, so this is a shoe that you can ideally run in and walk around in and still look good.  It is lightweight and is a nice shoe to have in progression runs and long runs.
GRADING

David
Fit                     8/10 (slightly spacious throughout entire foot, upper incredibly breathable)
Ride                  9/10 (great for roads and packed dirt, unstable over grass, not highly responsive)
Stability            7.75/10 (plush midsole coupled with spacious fit and non rigid heel cup, not good on grass)
Speed                8.5/10 (Lightweight, easy to turnover, full contact outsole helps get this shoe to long workout type of speed)
Durability         9/10 (Foam appears to be least durable component of shoe, outsole no problems)

Total Score: 84% (D: 8.4/10)

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area or Inland Empire, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
***Disclaimer: These shoes were a personal purchase and are being actively used in a shoe rotation.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 35 miles (David) on my pair. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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