brooks levitate 6 stealthfit cover
RoadShoe Reviews

Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit Review: Six Points to Gryffindor

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 9.9 oz. (280 g.) for a US M9 / 9.1 oz. (258 g.) for a US W7.5
  • Is it the 99th version of the Levitate? Maybe
  • We never say no to more foam — a full 2 mm this time
  • This one is a little better than the standard issue
  • Available now for $150

LINDSAY: According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, *sips tea with pinky up*, stealth is defined as a movement that is quiet and careful in order not to be seen or heard. For example, “The silence and stealth of a hungry cat.” Much like the hungry stray cat you’ve been feeding, Brooks is back. This time with the Levitate 6 featuring the Stealthfit upper.

Stealthfit was introduced in Levitate 5, and I’m glad they kept it around for this update. Compared to its original model, the Stealthfit is a tighter-fitting version of the Levitate without the discomfort of a too-tight shoe. Are you following? Well, I wouldn’t use the word “tight” to describe this shoe. It’s more “form-fitting” without being stiff. But I digress.

Unique to the Levitate line is Brooks’ DNA Amp v2 foam. It is considered their most energetic and responsive midsole, but it still sits on the firmer side. Even with an extra 2mm in this version, the Levitate 6 original and StealthFit are definitely among the lower-stack daily trainers, which is a nice change for some considering most of the newer daily trainers have max height.

While the Levitate 6 comes in the original, StealthFit, and Go To Stability (GTS) versions, we’re only here to talk Stealthfit. Let’s get to it.

CHAD: Let me briefly introduce myself as I’m the new guy at Believe in the Run, and this is my first shoe review. I’m here to provide a slightly different perspective on running shoes and gear from what you’re used to seeing on this site and many others. Basically, I’ll provide insight on how shoes and gear work for people with what I politely refer to as a “non-traditional” runner’s build (aka bigger and taller). I’m a little bit of column A and column B. Hence, the nickname Robbe gave me: Clydesdale Chad. I wish I could say it was from some fun backstory, like getting drunk on Budweiser and hooking myself up to a sleigh like a draft horse in a blizzard. But alas, it’s simply due to my Brobdingnagian build.

As a latecomer to running, not starting until 2014 when I was in my late 20s, my background is not as long as most of my compatriots here at BITR. Before that time, I would actively avoid running at all costs. That all changed when I decided I wanted to get my life in order, including my physical health. Running seemed the way to go, so I jumped in with both feet. My first step was doing a bunch of online research for 5k training plans and what running shoes would suit me best.

After a visit to a local running store, I purchased my first pair of actual running shoes. And what brand did I buy? Based on their reputation for durability, quality, and making shoes that satisfy the majority of runners, I ended up in a pair of Brooks. Since 2014, my feet have seen as much Adrenaline as a professional roller coaster tester, not to mention several pairs of Ravenna, a few pairs of Launch, and even a pair of Bedlam (a precursor to the Levitate 5 GTS Stealthfit).

I was excited when I discovered that the first shoe I would review for BITR was the Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit. Anytime I lace up a pair of Brooks, it brings me back to my roots and how I fell in love with running in the first place. When I heard the term levitate in the past, my immediate reaction would be to bust out my wand from Ollivander’s, swish and flick, and say, “wingardium leviosa.” Not the case here, though, as we’re here to rap about running shoes, not my (imaginary) time at Hogwarts.

We’ll dig deeper into it later, but one of the main changes is the DNA AMP v2 midsole, which Brooks claims is 10% lighter than its predecessor. Despite 2mm more foam underfoot, the shoe comes in only 0.1 oz heavier than the Levitate 5 Stealthfit, at 9.9 oz for a US M9. Lastly, the outsole pattern remains similar to the previous model and provides pretty solid grip when the rubber meets the road.

brooks levitate 6 stealthfit angle

The Good

LINDSAY: If you’ve read my other reviews, you might remember that I’m not a fan of one-piece uppers. Until now. Other one-piece uppers (cough, Mizuno Wave Neo Wind, cough) were stiff and hard to slip on, but the Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit glided swiftly and carefully onto my foot without a sound. See what I did there? (If not, see my intro).

It has the feel of a thick sock hugging my foot’s contours without the added warmth. The knit upper is also quite stretchy, making it an excellent option for those with wider feet or bunions. The heel is rigid but has a nice little pillow to protect the heel bone without making the foot feel suffocated.

This is the first Brooks shoe I’ve tried with the DNA Amp v2 midsole, and I’m a fan. Compared to Brooks Ghost 15 with the DNA Loft V2 midsole, the Levitate has much more spring and pop. The Backstreet Boys of midsole foams, if you will. I’d even go as far as to say it’s got more cushion and energy return than its foamy brethren.

There’s a solid amount of rubber coverage on the outsole and a slight widening under the forefoot and heel. This helped keep me stable in what is essentially a neutral shoe. I took these for a spin after a rainy day when the pavement was still wet, and I can’t say I felt a monstrous grip on the road, but I didn’t feel like I was ice skating either, so pretty neutral in that regard.

CHAD: The biggest pro for the Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit is its versatility. I took this shoe on a speedwork run with fast-paced intervals, a recovery run on a treadmill, a Christmas Day long run, and some easy outdoor miles. Overall, the shoe held its own during all of the varied runs. It has a Frankenstein-like combination of decent cushioning, suitable responsiveness, solid underfoot support, and nice outsole grip, all in a reasonably lightweight shoe.

That being said, I wouldn’t say that the shoe excelled in any of these categories but landed closer to “good enough” in all of them. The cushioning underfoot satisfied my need for relief during recovery miles or slower efforts during a speedwork run like warm-ups and cool-downs. Further, the spring-like response was adequate to help dial up the pace during speedwork, and the weight was light enough to help me turn over the shoe. The wider platform of the shoe provides ample underfoot support on all types of runs.

If you want one shoe that can handle all your workouts and all your miles, the Levitate 6 Stealthfit would probably suit you well. The same is true if you enjoy a sense of ground feel in your daily trainer. Also, a tick mark in the pro column is that it is a very comfortable shoe from the get-go. The ultra-breathable and flexible mesh upper does hug the entire foot, and I got a fantastic lockdown in my heel — eventually (you’ll see what I mean later).

Shop Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit – Men Shop Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit – Women

brooks levitate 6 stealthfit outsole

The Bad

LINDSAY: What’s up with these women’s colorways? It looks like they just dunked the entire shoe into a solid color dye and called it a day. Also, I’m going out on a limb here to question why the only colorways for women are variations of pink, purple, and black with (you guessed it) pink. The only colorway I’d consider wearing is the white one. I’m pretty happy I got that pair because I do like this shoe otherwise.

I know the Levitate 6 and the Stealthfit versions have the same outsole, but they felt different. I think that’s because of the difference in the uppers — mesh vs knit. The more structured Levitate 6 gave the feel of a shoe on the stiffer side. It’s also a bit heavier and less breathable, whereas the conforming upper of the Stealthfit just gives the whole shoe a more cushioned feel.

I didn’t think this was a versatile shoe like Chad said. Strictly mid to long easy runs, and that’s all she wrote (literally). He does make a good point about the laces, though. There’s not much in the way of finagling this one, and there are no extra lacing eyelets. It either fits or doesn’t, and if it doesn’t, there’s not much you can do to lock it down. That’s probably why I didn’t prefer it for speed workouts.

CHAD: Remember that ultra-breathable and flexible upper I just put in “The Good” section above? It also has its cons for me, which is why it ends up here as well. I’m not sure if the Stealthfit version of the Levitate 6 is a shoe that I would choose to invest in, living in a climate with unpredictable weather during the winter months. I’m glad I had some merino wool socks on hand because my toes would have been angry with me if I hadn’t. Also, any mesh designed to be breathable and let air in and out will do the same with other elements, like water.

I’m very thankful I didn’t encounter much snow/slush/ice on my outdoor runs, only a few small puddles here and there. If you run primarily in warmer conditions or indoors during the winter, this is probably a moot point for you.

Additionally, as a bigger runner, I felt a bit of instability when I was doing my speedwork in a neighborhood and cornering at intersections. I believe this is based solely on the flexibility of the upper. If Brooks hadn’t widened the base for this version, I might have been ass over tea kettle.

The lacing system also presented some issues for me. My feet are usually very sensitive when laces are tied too tight, and the tongue doesn’t have the padding to cushion the blow. I had to tie and re-tie several times to get to a point where I felt comfortable with the tightness level, in that it was loose enough that it wouldn’t hurt my extensor tendons but would be tight enough to give me a good lockdown. Even after all that effort, I still had some extensor tendon pain in my right foot after my long run.

Lastly, and some would argue most importantly, the look of the shoe was… okay. While I did like the glossy finish around the edge of the midsole, the black and gray color scheme was a bit dull. None of the colorways released for this model are particularly inspiring. However, this is coming from a guy who ran the Paris Marathon in a pair of neon pink shoes, a neon pink Under Armour shirt, and neon yellow Under Armour tights. So, take my style opinions for what they’re worth.

Shop Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit – Men Shop Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit – Women

brooks levitate 6 stealthfit side

Conclusion

LINDSAY: Overall, I did enjoy the Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit. Emphasis on Stealthfit. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the Brooks Levitate 6 original, but I’ll leave that one in the competent hands of Sam, Reno, and Kaleb.

The Brooks Levitate 6 StealthFit is a flexible, springy shoe with an upper that accommodates well to the foot. At $150, it’s comparable to most daily trainers and not a bad option to boot.

CHAD: To summarize my thoughts like the reference I made earlier, the Levitate 6 Stealthfit just got back the results from its OWL exams. Despite high hopes for some Outstandings or Exceeds Expectations, it only received an Acceptable grade on every subject. It did the work and passed each class and could move on to take its NEWT exams, but it didn’t do anything to amaze the professors.

For the non-Harry Potter fans, I think this is a fine shoe. It is comfortable underfoot with good base support and can be very versatile as it does a lot of things well. It can go slow, and it can go fast. You can run shorter recovery runs and long run efforts in it. For the right person, this could be a solid option as a do-it-all daily trainer.

Given the option, I don’t think the Stealthfit version of the Levitate 6 would be my choice. This is based mainly on the instability of the upper I felt and the top-foot sensitivity I have to thin uppers and the shoe’s lacing system. But overall, the shoe performed well, and most of the negatives I experienced were personal preferences. All-in-all, Brooks continued its tradition of never letting me down when it comes to the quality or performance of a shoe.

You can pick up the Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit for $150 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit – Men Shop Brooks Levitate 6 Stealthfit – Women

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