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Brooks Hyperion Max Review: A Conundrum
By David Salas, Andrea Myers and Matthew Klein

As shoes get more complicated foams and increasingly stiffer plates, finding simple, lightweight and faster shoes has become increasingly difficult. The Hyperion Tempo is one of the few that has fit into this category, but does little for those who want a little more shoe that can still move fast. Enter the Brooks Hyperion Max. A slight name conundrum as it is not the most max stack height shoe out there, this shoe maintains a lighter weight while introducing a strong rocker and a little more stack height. The result is a simple fast roller for those who don't want the stiffness of a plate, but still want something fast and light that can handle almost any distance you throw at it. 

Price: $169.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.5 oz, 213 g (men's size 9), 6.7 oz, 190 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 34mm / 26mm
Drop: 8 mm 
Classification: Performance Trainer/Workout shoe



RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The Brooks Hyperion Max is a lightweight, highly rockered, non-plated performance trainer/workout shoe. Featuring a full-length DNA FLASH (nitrogen-infused EVA) cushioning combined with a rockered sole, the ride is snappy, rolling, and quick. A comfortable and adaptable mesh sits up top, featuring a slightly snug forefoot and normal-width heel. The Hyperion Max works great for those who do not want a plate but still want a shoe that is comfortable during easy, uptempo and harder efforts. An option for many as a lightweight trainer and others as a non-plated racing shoe, the Hyperion Max serves as a unique hybrid between old and new footwear concepts.

David: The Brooks Hyperion Max is a lightweight training shoe blending daily mileage and performance wear. The shoe is very light on foot and gives you a very pronounced rocker profile. The shoe keeps you in a constant rolling motion and will work well for those that like that profile. The shoe uses the same super critical DNA Flash midsole seen in the Hyperion Tempo and Hyperion Elite.

Andrea: The Brooks Hyperion Max is a lightweight, rockered performance trainer that is equally comfortable at easy and uptempo paces. The nitrogen-infused DNA FLASH midsole provides ample underfoot protection while retaining a snappy and responsive ride. The rearfoot and forefoot rockers, which Brooks calls Rapid Roll technology, contribute to smooth transitions without forcing motion. I have been asking the shoe universe to send me a replacement for my beloved, discontinued New Balance Beacon, and this shoe may help fill the void. The Hyperion Max is a great option for runners looking for a lightweight trainer that can handle uptempo paces and easy miles.

SIMILAR SHOES: Hoka Rincon 3, ASICS Evoride 3, Altra Vanish Tempo




FIT

Matt: The Brooks Hyperion Max fits me true to size, with a full thumbs width between my longest toe and the end of the shoe, in my normal men's US size 10. The width is slightly snug in the forefoot and midfoot while being more normal width in the heel. The stretch woven upper mesh is lightweight and does stretch a little. This offsets the slight taper at the toes. This is a faster and is meant to be a bit snug, so expect that going into the front part of the shoe. The midfoot is slightly snug with a non-gusseted tongue. The laces interact well with the upper and can easily tighten or loosen. I have not had any security issues in the Hyperion Max, so did not have to lace lock it. The heel fits normal in width with a little bit of heel collar cushioning. The heel counter is large, but is moderately flexible. It is hard enough in the posterior section that I would caution those that are sensitive to pressure on their heels to approach this shoe cautiously. The sides of the counter are more flexible despite traveling fairly far forward. The security overall is decent and my ankle feels fairly locked in. Side-to-side stability is fair as quick turns caused me to slide a little in teh shoe, but nothing major. The internal mesh of the upper is decently comfortable and I have had no major issues running sockless in these. Those looking for a lighter upper than can handle socks or no socks will enjoy this especially if they want a slightly snug (but not too snug) fit. 

David: The Hyperion Max fits true to size in my normal Men's 9.5. The width of the shoe is normal to slightly snug throughout. The forefoot is normal width. The volume through the tongue and dorsal aspect of the foot leans on the snug end, though the tongue pads it just enough. The tongue is thin and performance oriented. The mesh is very lightweight and breathable. The material feels more on the synthetic plastic like mesh similar to other lightweight performance shoes. For me, the fit was pretty dialed in, though I would like to see a tad bit more volume through the midfoot section or a slightly more padded tongue.

Andrea: I generally find women's Brooks shoes to be too narrow in the toe box, so I requested the men's version of the Hyperion Max. I received a men's size 8, which corresponds to my usual women's size 9.5. I found the fit of the men's 8 to be near perfect, both in length and in toe box width. I have a full thumb's width from the front of my big toe to the end of the shoe, and I had enough width in the toe box for mild toe splay. I did not experience any irritation at my 1st or 5th MTPs, which I tend to find in women's Brooks or other shoes with a more narrow toe box. The width in the midfoot and rearfoot is normal and I had no issues with lockdown in this shoe. The tongue is thin and non-gusseted, and it does tend to fold on the sides unless you are careful when donning the shoe. There is a lace loop on the tongue close to the toes that does mildly help hold the tongue in place. I found the semi-rigid and lightly padded heel counter to be comfortable and secure. The stretch woven upper is thin and has minimal stretch. The fit and lockdown of the upper is excellent and this was a shoe that I felt comfortable in from my first run. 



PERFORMANCE

Matt: The Brooks Hyperion Max is a light weight, rapidly rolling shoe. The DNA Flash is slightly firmer at first, but breaks in to provide a cushioned but not bouncy ride. The Rapid Roll is named appropriately as it takes some time to get used to have quickly the shoe rolls. It feels best landing at the anterior rearfoot and rolling through the length of the shoe. There is an 8mm drop but it feels far lower due to the aggressive bevels. The toe-off is more quick than snappy, although starts to relax as the shoe breaks in and the forefoot becomes more flexible. The thicker rubber up front helps maintain some stiffness and the outsole grip is quite good even on wet pavement. I have 35 miles on my pair and have only seen a little wear at my usual spot, so expect this lightweight trainer to last as long as most daily trainers.

I have used the Hyperion Max for a variety of efforts, from easy runs to tempo runs and intervals. It performs decently at all of these, making it fairly versatile as most lightweight trainers shoe. It is not the fastest shoe, which is also why it works well at training paces. However, it still works well for running fast. I did find that the faster my turnover and cadence, the better this shoe tended to work due to its fast roll. The unique geometry make it a unique tool for those with certain mechanics. Those able to maximize these functions and not wanting a stiff plated shoe may also find this a solid choice for half to full marathon. It has the ability to hold uptempo paces for longer periods, so may work as a less aggressive distance racing shoe for many. This is exactly what I would expect out of solid lightweight and performance trainers, which the Hyperion Max fits nicely into category-wise.

David: The Hyperion Max was a solid shoe for me. The shoe is very lightweight on foot and keeps you in a rolling motion. Ironically this actually felt better at daily paces for me. I could forget about what I was doing and settle into pace. The shoe can turn over pretty well, though I do wish the foam had a little more pop to it. This is the type of shoe I like to do a daily run in followed by some drills and strides. I have noticed that if I am around the marathon pace and above it rolls pretty smooth. For faster paces it is almost too rounded for me. The heel is very rounded with a moderate toe spring. The shoe is constantly pitching you onto the midfoot and forefoot for a fast toe off. The traction underfoot is decent and did pretty well for me in most conditions. The shoe has some minor sole flaring that also kept me feeling centered. Outside of wanting a little more bounce out of the DNA flash the shoe is a really nice lightweight trainer option. From a cushioning standpoint the shoe feels like it is in the middle of the spectrum between firm and soft. The Max nomenclature feels a little misleading, but this is a moderately cushioned shoe with a quickly transitioning rocker profile.

Andrea: There are three characteristics of the Hyperion Max that I really enjoyed: its low weight, the responsiveness of the DNA FLASH midsole, and the Rapid Roll technology combined with the lateral sole flare in the forefoot. This is a shoe that you put on and it feels ready to go, no matter what you have planned or how tired you are. Despite the shoe's 8mm drop, the significant heel bevel made midfoot landings feel natural and comfortable. For me, the shoe performs more like a 4-6mm drop shoe. The lateral sole flare combined with the forefoot rocker contribute to a smooth transition to push off. I did feel like it was easier to load my 1st MTP in this shoe, likely due to these features. The forefoot is on the stiffer side due to the extensive rubber outsole coverage of the forefoot, which also contributes to a quick push off.

At easy paces, the shoe feels peppy and smooth. At marathon pace, the forefoot rocker comes alive and the ride becomes more rolling, while still providing plenty of underfoot protection thanks to the moderate stack height. I also tested the Hyperion Max for some 2 mile pace intervals as well as a couple of sessions with mile pace strides. The low weight and snappy push off of the forefoot rocker made it a great choice for these faster efforts. I am really impressed with the versatility of the Hyperion Max at this large range of paces. For runners who prefer to train (and even race) in non-plated shoes, the Hyperion Max could be a great one-shoe option. The extensive rubber outsole provides excellent traction, including on sand covered pavement, a muddy rail trail, and a few patches of ice. My longest run in the Hyperion Max was 12 miles and feel like it will become my go-to easy long run shoe thanks to its peppy and rolling ride. I would expect greater than average durability in this shoe due to the outsole. I have 50 miles on my pair and there is no visible wear on the outsole, including on the small areas of exposed midsole. 



STABILITY

Matt: The Brooks Hyperion Max is a neutral shoe. There are no traditional elements of stability. The midfoot and shape of the sole is wider, which creates an inherently stable foundation. There are no side walls for those that are sensitive to those. The ride is highly rockered and rolls you forward quickly. The aggressive heel bevel does a slight medial bias, but you will only hit this you are an extreme heel striker. The most significant thing is the large amount of lateral flare at the heel and forefoot. This works great to pivot me off the first toe, but any posterior lateral landing pivots me inward quickly. This is an excellent shoe for those who tend to deviate too lateral and the heel and midfoot, but those with more medial tendencies may find themselves pushed even more in that direction.

David: The Hyperion Max is certainly a neutral shoe. The upper provides pretty good security with minimal stretch. The lockdown throughout is good and you do feel as though you are connected with the platform. The outsole design has done pretty good in most situations for me as well. There is some sole flaring throughout the platform alongside side walls. The heel gives you a bucket like sensation around the calcaneus and then a more broad sole flare in the forefoot. For the most part you feel pretty secure throughout your transitions, despite them being really fast. The foam has a little bit of give to it and I did notice minor medial collapse. The mechanics of this shoe will suit someone well if they like quickly rockered neutral shoes.

Andrea: The Brooks Hyperion Max is a neutral shoe that has some nice features that contribute to a smooth and centered ride. The Rapid Roll technology makes midfoot landings feel quite natural and feels similar to Skechers' M Strike geometry. For runners who have difficulty loading their 1st MTP (like myself) and tend to push off at the lateral forefoot, the lateral sole flare provides some assistance in loading the medial forefoot. Runners who already tend to transition too quickly to the medial forefoot may not enjoy the shoe as much as I have. The extensive rubber coverage in the forefoot provides stiffness in this area, which also helps to encourage a smooth push off. The upper provides exceptional lockdown while remaining quite comfortable. 



Thoughts as a DPT: Forefoot Lateral Sole Flare
By Andrea Myers

One of the features I appreciate in the Brooks Hyperion Max is the lateral sole flare in the forefoot. Due in part to many ankle sprains over my lifetime from trail running and basketball, I tend to land excessively on my lateral midfoot on both feet. More recently, I have had difficulty loading my left 1st MTP joint since a bad sprain during a 15 mile trail race a few years ago. I find shoes that have lateral sole flare in the forefoot help me to land a little less severely laterally and help me push off properly at my left 1st MTP. 

How does forefoot sole flare work? You can think of sole flare as a bumper that resists motion - if the midsole is wider than the upper in a lateral direction (towards the little toe), then it will resist forefoot motion in that direction. Specifically, it resists forefoot inversion, or rolling out. The Hyperion Max has both medial and lateral forefoot sole flare, but the lateral sole flare appears wider than the medial sole flare. This, in combination with the shoe’s forefoot rocker and the overall stiffness of the forefoot, helps load the 1st MTP and then guides the foot into push off.

Lateral forefoot sole flare in running shoes is not the only thing that helps with my foot and ankle issue. I also work on strengthening my ankle evertors (particularly peroneus longus), work on single leg stability on various surfaces, including a Mobo Board, which is designed to train you to load the 1st MTP in single leg stance; and of course continue to work on whole-body strength and stability. If you are experiencing a similar issue to mine, remember that shoes are tools, but they are rarely the only tool that you need to solve a running-related problem. Optimizing both your equipment and your body is the key to improving your running performance.



RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: While I have enjoyed the Hyperion Max, it has not stood out as a shoe that I would continue to reach for. It isn't truly maximal stack height shoe (we do not have the exact measurements) but is not a super light shoe either. The foam isn't super bouncy and the ride is more rolling yet cushioned. I agree with Andrea below that the name is misleading. I don't really understand the purpose of this compared to the Hyperion Tempo, so some differentiation is needed. Additionally, for the price of this shoe ($170) I expect far more out of the midsole. I have already commented that Brooks needs to update the DNA Flash as it is trailing behind faster shoe development (DNA Flash is still EVA based). Finally I would suggest gusseting or securing the tongue better. 

It isn't that I dislike this shoe, I'm just not sure of its place. I can see this being an excellent racing shoe for those who want a similar ride to the Hyperion Elite without the plate or a slightly taller stack, non-plated racing shoe. However, I would suggest that Brooks work to make the foam more aggressive/bouncier to justify the price tag and placement of this model.

From a stability standpoint, the heel bevel is far too aggressive and is overshadowed by the large amount of lateral heel flare. Most people land at the posterior lateral heel and not the extreme posterior heel, so it may be more helpful to offset the bevel over there. Additionally, the bevel is too aggressive for most people to even use, so I would suggest lengthening it out rather than making it so steep.

David: The Hyperion Max was a lively shoe, though I do feel that it could use a little more pop through the midsole. The geometry and light weight is fun and makes for a high cadence and feather like feel. With that said I did not feel like I got as much as I wanted to out of my toe off for a speed shoe. It almost felt like a daily training shoe that transitions quick, but something that I still wouldn't grab for a workout. The Hyperion Max could also improve in fit. I felt the volume through the midfoot was lower than most shoes I have tried and could be increased a tad. This did put some pressure on the dorsum of my foot. 

Andrea: In general, I think the Hyperion Max is a well-done shoe. I would recommend that Brooks improve the stability of the tongue, either by gusseting or an additional lace loop. I think that the name is a little misleading and may lead runners to expect a max cushion shoe, in the way of the New Balance More v4. While we do not have stack height numbers from Brooks, this is clearly not a max cushioned shoe and does not perform like one. Changing the name may help runners discover the shoe for what it is: an exceptional, lightweight performance trainer. 

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

Matt: The Brooks Hyperion Max is a lightweight/performance trainer for those who want a highly rockered, moderately cushioned and non-plated shoe that can handle uptempo workouts, distance races and some daily training. The rocker geometry is highly aggressive but isn't stiff enough to feel forced. The fit is slightly snug, so those with narrow or normal-width feet may enjoy this most. The ride is rolling, slightly flexible as the shoe breaks in and not bouncy. It is simple outside of the aggressive rolling, so those wanting a non-plated distance shoe for training, workouts and long-distance racing may find the Hyperion Max to be a suitable choice. 

David: The Hyperion Max is a training shoe for someone that wants a highly rockered profile in a lightweight package. The shoe has moderate cushioning throughout with a touch of responsiveness. For me this is a shoe that I'll use for daily training mileage, strides, and occasional longer tempo runs. The fit throughout is more on the snug end so those that like their fit more narrow and low volume will like the fit. 

Andrea: The Brooks Hyperion Max is a lightweight performance trainer that will work well for runners with neutral mechanics and/or those who have difficulty loading their 1st MTP. It performs well at a variety of paces and at $170, is a good value considering its utility as both an easy day shoe and a performance shoe in addition to its durability. The rocker geometry in the forefoot and rearfoot provide a smooth, rolling ride that works well for me as a midfoot striker. I personally find Brooks shoes to run narrow, so I prefer their men's shoes for the additional width. The shoe is not available in widths greater than D, so men with a wider forefoot may find the Hyperion Max too narrow. I am happy to have tested the Hyperion Max because it has filled a Beacon-shaped hole in my lineup and I am looking forward to putting many more miles on it. 


GRADING

Matt
Fit: B+ (Slightly more snug front than back. Light upper that disappears but tongue that moves a little)
Performance: B+ 
(Solid workout shoe and light weight trainer for those that want a rockered ride)
Stability: B [Neutral] (Stable foundation. Lateral sole flare resists motion that direction but facilitates more medial motion)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Aggressive roll without a plate. Lateral flare in forefoot facilitates push off from 1st MTP. Lateral heel flare causes abrupt heel transition despite bevel. Bevel angle too aggressive for most)
Personal: B- (A fun shoe, but one that I have difficulty finding a place for in my current line up. Too aggressively rockered for me, but others may like that)
Overall: B

David
Fit: B+ (Material is light and breathable, volume low through the midfoot, tongue had some biting)
Performance: B+ 
(Really fun and quick moving transitions, though I do wish it had a little more pop to it at toe off)
Stabilty: B (Pretty good stability throughout, though some medial give through the midfoot)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (It is good to see Brooks playing around with some of the lightweight rockered options. The DNA is there and with some tweaking this could be a stellar shoe.)
Personal: B (The Hyperion Max is really fun and lightweight. For daily miles I can just roll. I would like a little more out of it for faster efforts.)
Overall: B/B+ (A nice option for a lightweight trainer and a highly rockered profile)
  
Andrea
Fit: A- (exceptional fit and comfort, but I need to wear men's version for the width and the tongue stability could be improved with gusseting)
Performance: 
A (a true do-it-all shoe that can be used for easy runs, workouts, and races for runners who prefer a non-plated shoe)
Stability: A- (Nice use of rocker technology and sole flaring to provide a smooth, rolling ride. Lateral sole flare in the forefoot improved loading of 1st MTP for me)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (nice use of lateral sole flare to improve 1st MTP loading, but may not work for those with medial stability needs at the forefoot)
Personal: A (If I was going on a trip and could only take 1 pair of shoes, this would be it.)
Overall: A- (Nice addition to lightweight performance trainer options. May not work for runners with medial forefoot stability issues or heavy heel strikers.)


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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
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***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Brooks and Running Warehouse for sending us pairs.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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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