The arrival of the Brooks Levitate 4 is reviewed by shoe guru Brian Metzler.
The Brooks Levitate is a neutral-oriented everyday training shoe. It offers copious amounts of cushioning, comfort and springiness in every stride.
The new Levitate 4 has a comfortable interior and a sleek and a modern look that can double as a casual shoe with shorts or jeans.
Like it’s cousin the stability-enhancing Bedlam 3, the Brooks Levitate 4 was overhauled considerably from the previous edition. The result is it’s now lighter and bouncier than ever before.
The big modifications include:
- A lighter formulation of the super-springy DNA Amp polyurethane foam in the midsole,
- An improved outsole design for better traction and
- An updated knit upper for a better fit and improved breathability.
The new diagonally lugged, arrow-pointed outsole design provides more flexibility and better traction than the previous edition. It’s integrated into the midsole and promotes better transitions to the toe-off phase of your stride. This helps put more spring into every step. While there’s a lot of cushioning under foot, the new Levitate has a low-to-the-ground feel in the forefoot.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Levitate 4 fits true to size with a similarly snug fit from heel to toe. 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. This gives the upper a sock-like fit with a soft step-in feel.
The Levitate 4 feels semi-firm going through the gait cycle, but there’s loads of cushioning and a boost of energy. Although not especially agile and fast, the ride is reliably consistent and smooth.
The Levitate 4’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.
WHO’S IT BEST FOR?
Runners who appreciate soft, energetic shoes with a twinge of inherent support from a wide footprint will love this edition of the Levitate.
Because the fit and feel have been enhanced and it’s much lighter, it’s a much more versatile shoe than previous editions.
Beginner, novice and advanced runners will love this model as an everyday training shoe for long runs, recovery runs. It can also double duty for select faster workout sessions.
The Levitate is not a stability shoe, but it does offer a stable ride from its wide outsole/midsole chassis and moderate firm heel counter. For runners who appreciate the style, features and comfort of the Levitate 4 but need more support, check out the Bedlam 3.
While Levitate will never feel like a light, fast and agile performance trainer or race-day shoe, our wear-testers love how light and lively this shoe feels now that it’s almost a full ounce lighter than its predecessor.
Not only is this year’s edition of the Levitate lighter, softer and springier, but it also fits and feels better. The updated Fit Knit Upper hugs the contours of your feet, creating a near-custom fit that conforms to your specific foot shape and moves with the natural motion of your feet on the run.
Our wear-testers with narrow feet said it was hard to get this shoe snugged down tight enough without really torquing on the laces.
But those with wider feet seem to love the size and shape.
SHOP BROOKS LEVITATE 4
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)