Brian Metzler reviews the Brooks Bedlam 3, the stability partner of the Brooks Levitate 4.
The Brooks Bedlam is an energetic stability shoe that offers copious cushioning and a good amount of support for runners who tend to overpronate.
It has a comfortable interior and a sleek and a modern look that could double as a casual shoe with shorts or jeans.
The Bedlam was overhauled quite a bit from the previous edition and is lighter and bouncier than ever before.
The big changes in the Brooks Bedlam 3 include:
- A lighter formulation of the super-springy DNA Amp polyurethane foam in the midsole
- New GuideRails for improved stability
- An improved outsole design for better traction
- An updated knit upper for a more stabilizing fit and more breathability.
The updated GuideRails system will guide your feet forward. They offer subtle stability, as much as you need it without inhibiting the flex and flow for the shoe’s undercarriage.
These GuideRails act as a holistic approach to support. They are aimed at keeping your ankles, legs, knees and hips aligned through the gait cycle while reducing unwanted side-to-side motion. There’s also excellent rear-foot support from the firm, exoskeletal heel counter.
The Bedlam 3 is a near-identical cousin to the neutral-oriented Brooks Levitate 4, only it’s sturdier and not quite as flexible. If you want slightly less support in every stride, give the Levitate 4 a try.
The new diagonally lugged, arrow-pointed outsole on the Brooks Bedlam 3 provides more flexibility and better traction than the previous edition. It’s integrated into the midsole to promote better transitions to the toe-off phase of your stride and help put more spring into every step.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Bedlam 3 fits true to size with a slightly more narrow forefoot and toe box than some shoes. Although the tongue isn’t gusseted, the sleek fabric of the upper and its smooth interior lining allow it to snug up around the foot with a sock-like fit with a soft step-in feel. (While our narrow-footed wear-testers loved the fit and feel, those with slightly wider feet found it a bit constricting.)
The ride is smooth and semi-firm, but there’s noticeable cushioning and in every foot strike. There’s a nice a boost of energy in the forefoot at the apex of every stride.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
Runners who appreciate soft, energetic shoes and need or want a bit of stability to compensate for a overpronating stride will love the Bedlam 3.
Because the fit and feel have been enhanced and it’s much lighter, it’s a much more versatile shoe that it was in the past.
Beginner, novice and advanced runners will love this model as an everyday training shoe for long runs, recovery runs and faster workout sessions.
It might be a good shoe to consider for your next half marathon. It could help offset the form breakdown from your fatigued legs over the final miles.
The Beldam 3’s DNA AMP midsole is now 20 percent lighter and considerably springier. Combined with the new upper and outsole, it creates an amazing feeling of energy return in every stride.
Runners accustomed to wearing stability shoes with firm medial-side wedges of foam will appreciate the smooth, energetic ride of the Bedlam 3. Not only does the Bedlam have a modern design, it’s lighter and more effortless than most stability shoes available.
The Bedlam doesn’t ooze a feeling of agility, but OK that’s expected.
The improvements have made it lighter and faster, but it’s still not to be confused with a performance trainer.
SHOP BROOKS BEDLAM 3
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Metzler was the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine and formerly the editor of Competitor Magazine. He is the author of Kicksology: The Science, Hype, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes. (2019, VeloPress)