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 Brooks Hyperion Elite Review

   At the 2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon, the Brooks Hyperion Elite was the third most common racing shoe of choice (at least among the men's field). Billed as Brook's elite distance racing shoe, the Hyperion Elite is very different from the other maximalist racing shoes on the market.  While many of these shoes use soft foams, the Hyperion Elite stuck with the traditional firm racing flat feel, but combined with a maximalist, rockered racing shoe design. The result is a racing flat that may work for some and not for others.


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 6.9 oz (men's size 9)
Stack Height: 33mm / 25 mm
Drop: 8mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Marathon Racer




HIGHLIGHTS


   The Brooks Hyperion Elite is the firmest and most stable of the current carbon fiber distance racing shoes out there. With a plate that facilitates a fast transition and several design elements that provide very mild stability, this shoe works best for 5k to half marathon races. The firmness of the midsole and stiffness of the plate works best for faster pace runs and races and is a little less forgiving over longer miles. The Hyperion Elite will keep you going straight, but it is up to your body to see if you can handle the distance.


FIT


   The Brooks Hyperion Elite fits me true to size in my normal size 10. Although I have plenty of room between my toes and the end of the shoe, the light toe guard still caused some additional pressure on my first to that took about 15 miles to go away. The fit of the Hyperion Elite is a little loose for a racing flat. The laces can be tightened down to lock the midfoot down well as they are unique and lock in very well. The heel however has extra room that initially caused me to experience heel slippage until I lace locked the shoe. There is a very small heel counter in only the most rear part of the heel. The heel collar is padded, supposadly to help with fit, but still fit a bit loose for me. I had some heel slippage initially until I lace locked the shoe and still felt things were a little loose. This feeling dissappears on the run though. There is plenty of room in the forefoot, especially for a racing shoe. The forefoot is especially breathable thanks to the small holes that provide excellent ventilation.


RIDE


   The ride of the Brooks Hyperion Elite is very firm side and has a pronounced rocker, particularly at the forefoot. The DNA Zero combined with the plate makes for a firm ride that shines far more at faster paces. The firmer ride combined with the rocker creates one of the most pronounced rockers I have experienced. Combined with the carbon fiber plate, the transition from heel to toe is extremely fast. The ride is so firm that it is borderline unpleasant, but the rocker saves it (somewhat). There is little to no flexibility in the sole as the plate is so stiff, but thankfully there is significant toe spring to get you forward. There is a large heel bevel that makes for a very smooth landing and roll forward. The ride is very uniform throughout. Extremely firm and feels best when you pick the pace up and get the rocker going. People trying this shoe on should know the Hyperion Elite does not have a soft or forgiving sole. The ride is very firm, very rockered and takes some getting used to in order to figure out how to get it to move. Thanks to the pronounced rocker, landing further midfoot to heel feels better than landing farther forward. The pronounced toe spring and stiff plate leave little flexibility for landing, so those who land farther back may enjoy this shoe more.

STABILITY


   The Brooks Hyperion Elite is a technically neutral racing shoe, but there are a ton of elements that make this a stable shoe. I would say this is the most stable of the super shoes I have tried thus far. Assessing the back of the shoe, the rearfoot has a mild lateral pitch, which means it acts like a wedge resisting medial motion at the heel (those who are sensitive to a medial wedge should be aware of this in the Hyperion Elite). The Carbon Fiber Spine/Plate is by far the stiffest of any shoe I have tried those far. The entire shoe has no torsional mobility and rolls the foot forward extremely quickly, leaving little time for side to side motion. The forefoot is wider and very stiff thanks to the full length plate and is the most stable part. The toe spring, plate and wider platform provide a very stable platform to push off from. The midfoot is on the narrow side, but I barely notice it as the plate rolls you over it so quickly and resists and motion side to side. So those who need a ton of posting or stability found in a motion control shoe may not find enough here, but those with mild to moderate stability shoes may benefit from checking this stable, "technically" neutral racing shoe out.


SPEED


   The Brooks Hyperion Elite is a fast shoe. Not a fast long distance shoe, but a fast, firm maximally cushioned shoe for 5k to half marathon at most. The Hyperion Elite felt best running faster intervals and tempo runs rather than sustained efforts. The plate and firmness of the DNA Zero midsole lends itself far more to running very fast. I do not think most people will be able to tolerate this level of firmness for a marathon, especially given the fact that people in the United States tend to gravitate toward softer shoes. When trying to run at max speed though, this shoe feels awesome when you figure out how to push it. Over long distances, the firmness tends to wear on the legs a bit.


DURABILITY


   Brooks notes that the Hyperion Elite are only supposed to last 50-100 miles. Based on what I am seeing and experiencing, I expect far more miles out of them. I have 35 miles of almost exclusively hard workouts and am seeing next to no wear on the outsole. The midsole has actually softened just a little, but still has a very firm ride. I expect these shoes to last quite a bit of time as I don't think the midsole can get much harder.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 


   The Brooks Hyperion Elite is NOT a Nike Vaporfly competitor. The DNA zero foam is very firm, has little to no give, and certainly will not keep your legs fresh over long miles. I discussed in my post on the recent super shoe trend that you have to have all the elements to truly be compared to that shoe (REVIEW). The Brooks Hyperion Elite is not that. It is a firm, maximal stack height (not cushioned), carbon fiber plated, stable racing flat. The firmness is comparable to many traditional racing flats seen previously on the market, but the rocker and plate make it different. Not different enough to be compared to something like the Vaporfly or the Endorphin Pro, but different enough to fit in the general category of carbon fiber plated racers. The issue with the rocker is that so far, while it may unload the ankle joint (Sobhani et al., 2014), it has not been shown to improve economy over traditional shoe designs (Mercer et al., 2018). This may be due to the fact that forces work is transmitted up to the knees and hips and the fact that the shoes in the study by Mercer et al. were heavy traditional trainers and lighter weight racing shoes were not included in the analysis. The limited research on plates available to the public has demonstrated they only improve economy by 1-2% at most (Roy and Stefanyshyn, 2006). So the Hyperion Elite, while an interesting shoe, may not provide that much more benefit over other carbon fiber only shoes.  The stability elements do make this shoe unique among the carbon fiber plate shoes and may work for a unique group that want to try a high stack height shoe but need some stability. This is a competitor to other carbon fiber plate racers on the market, but not other carbon fiber plate racers that have special new foams. DNA Zero isn't special. It has next to zero rebound and would honestly ruin this shoe if it wasn't for the significant rocker. However, DNA Flash is unique and I am very curious to see some research on nitrogen injected soles like New Balance's Fuel Cell or Skecher's HYPERBURST (which is both CO2 and nitrogen injected). So things may get a little more exciting with the full length DNA Flash midsole in the Hyperion Elite 2.

RECOMMENDATIONS


   Personally, I like the ride of the Hyperion Elite for shorter and faster distances. If the goal is to create a marathon shoe, the mdisole likely needs to be a little more bouncy and forgiving. I understand the Hyperion Elite 2 is already in the works and there will be a DNA Flash midsole (nitrogen injected sole) like the Hyperion Tempo (which is very comfortable), so sounds like the midsole firmness will be taken care of. The upper needs some work. The fit is a little more sloppy than I would like in the heel and midfoot, so a little more lock down in the rearfoot may be beneficial. Brooks states that the plate and shape is supposed to provide guidance. I would like to see the midfoot filled in a little bit. The last of the shoe is straighter than many others out there, but the wider the based, the more stable a shoe will be.

  Finally, this shoe is way too expensive. It is not anything radically different from what is already on the market and honestly I like the Hyperion Tempo's midsole more. I think $180-200 would be much more appropriate (Note: I purchased mine for full price from Running Warehouse).


CONCLUSION


   The Brooks Hyperion Elite is a carbon fiber plated, stable, firmer racing shoe that will work best for 5k-half marathon for most people. The firm ride and rockered sole are fantastic at higher speeds, but may leave the legs a little beat up over long runs and marathon workouts. Those who are used to or prefer firmer shoes should definitely give these a look as they are the firmest of the available maximalist carbon fiber racing shoes. For those that need a little more room in the upper and want a firmer, slightly more stable and fast racing shoe, the Hyperion Elite should be on your try list. This is a very unique shoe that will work for a specific group of people. However, you might want to wait until the Hyperion Elite 2 comes out to get these on sale.






GRADING


Fit/Upper       8.5 /10 (Plenty of room for a racer, -1.5 for sloppy heel fit)
Ride/Midsole  7 /10 (Firm but smooth rocker. -3 for very firm harsh ride with maximal sole)
Stability          9.5 /10  (Most stable of the carbon fiber super shoes. Mild wedge + Stable Plate, -.5 for narrow midfoot)
Speed              9 /10 (Best for high speed intervals and races 5k-HM, less comfortable at steady paces).
Durability       9 /10 (More miles are needed, but so far expecting FAR more than 50-100 miles)

TOTAL (%): 86%


TESTER PROFILES


Dr. Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 5k, 31L36 10k, 1:11:11 half marathon and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG handle: @kleinrunsdpt

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, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased for their full US retail price from Running Warehouse.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 35 miles on my pair. My 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.

References

Mercer, M. A., Stone, T. M., Young, J. C., & Mercer, J. A. (2018). Running economy while running in shoes categorized as maximal cushioning. International Journal of Exercise Science, 11(2), 1031. 

Roy, J. P. R., & Stefanyshyn, D. J. (2006). Shoe midsole longitudinal bending stiffness and running economy, joint energy, and EMG. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 38(3), 562-569.

Sobhani, S., Bredeweg, S., Dekker, R., Kluitenberg, B., van den Heuvel, E., Hijmans, J., & Postema, K. (2014). Rocker shoe, minimalist shoe, and standard running shoe: a comparison of running economy. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 17(3), 312-316.
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