Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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Brooks Levitate 6 Review: Not Quite Floating, but Springy
By Contributors David Salas and Andrea Myers

Brooks continues upon the Levitate lineage with a progression of their DNA Amp midsole to version 2. They also update the fit to help with improving lockdown and overall running experience. The Levitate 6 is designed to compliment daily training for those that want a little more spring in their step for daily training or potential workouts. The Levitate will be coming in 3 different offerings. These will be the classic fit model, a stealthfit knit upper, and a GTS (Go To Stability) version. Read on to check out our review of the classic and stealthfit, and turn to page two to find our review of the GTS.

Brooks Levitate 6
Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.9 oz (Normal), 9.9 oz (Stealthfit) (men's size 9); 9.5 oz (normal), 9.1 oz (Stealthfit) (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not provided, though 2mm extra DNA Amp V2 midsole
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Daily Trainer 


David: The Brooks Levitate 6 is a daily trainer for those that want a little extra spring in the step upon toe off from their trainer. The DNA Amp v2 midsole maintains its resilience well and has a unique feel to it. The shoe almost feels like it has a firmer gel sensation to it providing cushion and responsiveness when running. It is an interesting offering in the daily trainer category.

Andrea: The Brooks Leviate 6 is a neutral daily trainer with a lower stack and responsive ride. The mesh upper of the classic fit version strikes a nice balance between accommodation and security, particularly in the forefoot. The DNA Amp v2 midsole provides a firmer, yet protective ride while maintaining sufficient ground feel. The Levitate 6 is a nice option for runners who prefer a firmer, yet responsive daily trainer that keeps the foot closer to the ground. 

SIMILAR SHOES: Karhu Synchron


My version of the Brooks Levitate 6 is the Stealthfit version. This is a one piece knit upper that holds everything together on the foot. The Levitate 6 Stealthknit fits true to size in my Men's 9.5 though a tad long. The volume throughout is good and the upper has a nice hold on the foot. The width is very neutral throughout and I would classify it as normal through the heel, midfoot, forefoot, and toe box. The material itself is very comfortable on foot and feels similar to a thick sock. The lacing system is integrated pretty well, though does have a little bite to it at the upper laces. There is a flexible heel counter that holds the structure in the heel. This sits pretty shallow and does not extend very far medially or laterally. The fit is dialed in pretty well in these regions and is comfortable. I did have a slight heel raise initially and needed to tighten the laces more because of this. I believe this is most likely due to the shoe running a little long on length.

Andrea: I received the classic fit version of the Levitate 6, which has a mesh upper. I tend to find Brooks shoes to run a little narrow in the toe box for me, but the mesh has just enough stretch that the shoe fit comfortably without any irritation at my 1st or 5th MTPs. I received a women's 9.5, which fit true to size and gave a comfortable thumb's width to the end of the shoe from my big toe. The width of the midfoot and heel are normal. The mesh is multi-layered and on the thicker side, which has been perfect for the cold winter weather here in CT. The upper may be a little warm in summer months, but I have not had a chance to test it in temps above the low 40s. The tongue is also on the thicker side and non-gusseted, which requires some manipulation to keep it from folding over when donning the shoe. Once the tongue is in place, the upper and laces provide comfortable and secure lockdown without difficulty. There is a lace loop on the middle part of the tongue that helps hold the tongue securely in place. The semi-rigid heel counter in combination with the moderately padded heel collar also contributes to a secure, comfortable fit. I was impressed with how comfortably the shoe fit right out the box, without much adjustment needed to the laces.

Additional Fit Thoughts

The classic fit version of the Levitate 6 features a mesh upper. The upper is a layered mesh that has more stretch available in the toe box and transitions to a more secure/less accommodating material in the midfoot. The transition is seamless and allows for an accommodating toe box and secure midfoot. The upper material is soft and feels high quality, and is on the slightly thicker end, which is nice for winter running here in Wisconsin. The heel features a rigid heel counter with padding to protect the heel bone. I find the padding the right amount of protection without being overstuffed. The tongue is not gusseted but has stayed in place well, and the lack of gusset allows for loosening the lacing system if you were to add a different insert. The width is standard to just a bit narrow (both in terms of the platform and the upper itself). The length may be slightly long, but has not been sloppy or uncomfortable. The classic fit is overall a bit more relaxed and accommodating despite the slightly narrow platform.

- Nathan Brown


The Brooks Levitate 6 provides a unique ride compared to many daily trainers. The most unique piece of the Levitate 6 is the DNA Amp v2 midsole. The foam is very resilient and holds its structure well while still having some give. The foam almost feels gel like with its absorption and rebound. The transitions throughout are pretty smooth, though I did have a little bit of slapping in the midfoot. Despite this, the transitions were otherwise solid. The geometry of the shoe follows more of a traditional design and does not have an exaggerated rocker seen in many recent shoe models. The heel is gently beveled and the toe spring is very gradual. There are flex grooves in the forefoot of the outsole that help with providing a smooth and balanced toe off. The outsole is filled through the midfoot region and has a small crash pad in the heel. I found that the midfoot was a little more rigid than I'd like it to be, resulting in that slap sensation I was getting. This is me being picky though, as I did really enjoy all of the other elements of the shoe. I found the heel and forefoot transitions to work very well with my mechanics. The midsole has a generally firmer feel though still maintains some cushioning and bounce at toe off. I found the shoe to be surprisingly responsive when I pushed the paces. This isn't the fastest shoe per se, but it can still turn over decent. For me, this is one of the daily trainers I have been reaching for as of late. I think the midfoot can be cleaned up a tad, but the overall experience feels very balanced with a splash of life in the foam.

Andrea: The Brooks Levitate 6 has a very different ride as compared to the higher stack daily trainers that have become more commonplace in recent years. While we don't know the exact stack height, I would guess it is in the low 30 mm range in the heel and mid-20 mm in the forefoot. This gives the Levitate 6 more ground feel as compared to most of the daily trainers I've tested in the past year. The DNA Amp v2 midsole provides an unquestionably firm ride, but has enough flex in the forefoot to keep the ride from being harsh. I have really been enjoying running in the Levitate 6 as I've been building my mileage back up after a short break. In addition to the increased ground feel, the shoe has a very mild heel bevel and forefoot rocker, allowing the runner to do the work, as opposed to the shoe. It did take about 15 miles of easy running for the midsole to break in and soften up slightly, but the ride remains firm and responsive. The flex grooves feel like they help soften the ride up slightly at push off. The Levitate 6 is on the heavier side at 9.5oz for a women's size 8, but it does not feel that heavy while running at easy paces. While the shoe can pick up the pace thanks to the firm and responsive midsole, it would not be my first choice due to the weight. The near-full coverage rubber outsole provides excellent traction on wet roads and should contribute to excellent durability.


Though it is a neutral shoe, Brooks did some things well in the Levitate 6. The foam maintains its structure well and gives you a confident base from the beginning. The full contact outsole also firms up the platform while giving you some traction in a multitude of environments. The Brooks logo acts like a thickened overlay and cradles along the medial and lateral aspect of the midfoot. The knit upper has some stretch to it but holds the material well enough for most conditions. There are no major sidewalls throughout the shoe, but you feel decently centered. There is a small amount of sole flare in the forefoot and in the heel that I believe is noticeable in the experience. This is very much a neutral shoe, but it does give you decent confidence running in it.

The Levitate 6 is a very neutral shoe with no significant stability features. The main features that provides stability is the more rigid midsole and the extensive rubber coverage of the outsole. The mesh upper does not stretch and provides excellent foot security and lockdown. I agree with David that the Brooks logo on the medial and lateral midfoot contributes to midfoot security. The minimal sole flare in the heel and forefoot is balanced medially and laterally and do not provide much guidance in either direction. The secure upper in combination with the firm sole provide a solid platform for runners without true stability needs.

Thoughts as a DPT: Sole Flare 101
By David Salas, PT, DPT, CSCS

There is certainly an art and a science to making footwear. It is easy to over simplify the construction of a shoe as an upper, midsole, and oustole. There is so much more that contributes to the footwear experience. The Levitate 6 is very much a neutral shoe. Despite this they do some things well that change the experience for me. The shoe does not have any major geometric changes that make it unique, but it does have a nice balance of sole flare in the forefoot and the heel. A sole flare is a slight widening of the foam platform underfoot either medially or laterally. This increases the cross-sectional area and widens the platform for you upon landing. Sole flaring can also help with keeping you feel centered. If this is overdone it can create early contact in the region and actually increase muscular demand and workload, though they do not do this in the Levitate. For those wanting a little more stability elements, the Brooks Levitate 6 GTS will be incorporating some Guiderails in the midsole as well. The Brooks Levitate 6 does a good job of balancing a neutral design while still giving you some sensations of stability. 


David: I really enjoyed my time in the Levitate Stealthfit 6. My main recommendations would be in upper and outsole design. The shoe does run on the longer end so making the shoe taper more or decreasing the length would help with preventing any heel slippage. The second would be in the outsole design. I am happy with the design, though I feel I would appreciate one more flex groove in the distal midfoot. The foam is already really resilient and the outsole provides more rigidity. I found the midfoot to be a little more rigid than I'd like longitudinal-wise. Otherwise, I have really enjoyed the Levitate 6. 

Andrea: The Levitate 6 is a great neutral daily trainer. I have enjoyed testing the shoe and will definitely keep it in my rotation for easy days when I want a more "natural" feeling shoe. My only recommendation would be to find a way to reduce the weight of the shoe, possibly by thinning out the mesh upper. This may also make the shoe a better option for year round running, as I suspect it will be too hot in the summer months. 


David: The Brooks Levitate 6 is for someone wants a shoe with daily trainer DNA, but with a small splash of bounce and responsiveness. The Levitate 6 is a nice option for me as a daily trainer when I know I am going to be doing some strides en route or after the run. Workouts are possible in this shoe, though I'd most likely look at something lighter or in the performance trainer category for those. The Levitate 6 is a workhorse with a little bit of pop. 

Andrea: The Brooks Levitate 6 is for runners who prefer a lower stack, neutral daily trainer that runs on the firm side. The classic  fit version has a thick mesh upper that is accommodates a slightly wider forefoot and is a warm option for winter running. If you are tired of max stack height daily trainers, the Levitate 6 may be a great option for you.


Fit: B+/A- (Really solid knit upper, though runs a little long and laces bite a little bit)
A- (Smooth transitions throughout with a little life, though midfoot has a little slap)
Stability: B+/A- (Good for a neutral shoe with foam and traction, though some stretch to the upper or no sidewalls. )
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Interesting integration of midsole to be daily training focused but with some responsivenss)
Personal: A- (One of the daily trainers that I have been reaching for lately, midfoot a tad slappy, but otherwise I really enjoy it)
Overall: B+/A- (A fun shoe in the daily training category, still solid workhorse but has a touch of responsiveness as well)
Fit: A- (comfortable and accommodating mesh upper, but still would prefer a little addition width in the forefoot for longer runs)
Performance: A- 
(lower stack and firmer midsole provide enhanced ground feel, flex grooves provide enough give at pushoff for a smoother ride)
Stability (stable neutral): B+ (well fitting upper provides excellent lockdown and an overall secure shoe without any true stability features)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (flex grooves soften the ride of an otherwise firm midsole; upper extremely well done except for probably warmth in summer)
Personal: A- (a great neutral daily trainer with a more natural ride that I've enjoyed testing the past few weeks)
Overall: A- (great neutral daily trainer, could be improved with some weight loss from a more refined mesh upper)

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