Immediately two things struck me about the Hyperion Elite 2; despite sharing the same name as the original Hyperion Elite they are nothing alike and these are the closest shoes I’ve tested to the Nike Vaporfly 4%.
I’m hesitant to say the Vaporfly 4%, but that’s now the measuring stick for all carbon fiber plated racing shoes these days. Head-to-head test I would still pick the Vaporfly 4%, but Brooks has produced what I would say is the only shoe worthy of a performance level comparison.
Right off the bat the ride is smooth and bouncy. The shoe naturally wants to run faster and encourages a forefoot strike. Brooks uses what they call Rapid Roll Technology which is essentially a rocker design aided by the curved carbon plate to propel you forward, nothing new for today’s carbon fiber shoes. I tested out how they would feel for a heel striker, and it certainly changed their effectiveness. Not sure I’d recommend these for pure heel strikers.
One thing that surprised me was how well they ran on firm grass. Most of the carbon fiber shoes I’ve tested perform like crap on anything except concrete. The Hyperion Elite 2 performed well on grass and dirt.
It’s a noticeably thick soled shoe with a wide, stable forefoot. I think this is why I felt it most resembles the Nike Vaporfly 4%. Stack height including the insole is a whopping 29mm/37mm. Underfoot, however the cushioning is much firmer than Nike ZoomX, but much softer than the DNA Zero midsole found in the Hyperion Elite. Brooks uses a fairly new midsole compound called DNA Flash, which is striking similar to HyperBurst midsole found in Skechers shoes.
Here’s how Brooks describes DNA Flash midsole, “Using our proprietary DNA cushioning as our base, we infuse it with nitrogen through a supercritical fluid foaming process — a super fancy way of saying that we apply pressure and heat to liquid nitrogen until it starts to transform into a gas.
As the nitrogen transforms from liquid to gas, millions of microscopic bubbles form, providing cell structure that naturally returns energy without adding extra weight. We fine- tune temperature and pressure during the process to ensure a perfect balance between the foam’s responsiveness and light weight.
The end result is a DNA midsole full of tightly packed nitrogen- infused cell structures, producing an incredibly lightweight and responsive cushioning. Combined with nitrogen infusion’s inherent energy return, the overall experience is one of sustainable speed — perfect for nailing tough workouts so you can crush your goal on race day.”
One thing is for certain, the DNA Flash is much more durable than Nike ZoomX. You’ll certainly get more of your $250 worth out of the Hyperion Elite 2 versus the Vaporfly 4%. I would even predict as I put more miles on them, they will run better as they soften up. Brooks marketing material claims 200 to 400 miles, and I could potentially see that.
Bottomline after my first run, well done Brooks. A worthy carbon fiber shoe among the noise. Not quite a Nike Vaporfly 4% replacement, but a durable, light bouncy racing/speedy training shoe. More to come as I log more miles in them.
For additional expert reviews on the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 visit RunRepeat.
Stats: $250; 8mm drop; 7.6 oz; Released 9/1/2020