Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 Review: A Fresh Coat of Paint
MEAGHAN: After wearing last year’s Aurora-BL, a surprisingly fun shoe with a supercritical outsole called DNA Loft v3, I was convinced that Brooks would incorporate that same foam into its next racing shoe, the Hyperion Elite 3. I mean, it’s the liveliest, most responsive foam the brand has ever used. So, as you can imagine, I wasn’t thrilled to find that the midsole went unchanged from the Hyperion Elite 2, especially since it’s made an appearance in both the Glycerin 20 and the Caldera 6. There are still some updates, so let’s dive in.
THOMAS: The most exciting category of running shoes is the race day super shoe. It’s the tip of the spear and usually showcases the most exciting new technology. Getting to try those super shoes is one of the best perks in our line of work, and we were incredibly excited to see what Brooks had up its sleeve this year. After all, Brooks is the top running shoe brand (in terms of sales), so we’re always excited to see what will land in most runners’ wheelhouses.
However, Meg is right about the midsole and outsole. There’s no update to the formula except for a tiny bit of paint that looks like a shark’s fin on the side of the shoe. Considering that the Hyperion Elite 2 made its debut at the Olympic Trials on Des Linden’s feet in February of 0 B.C. (i.e. Before Covid), I expected something more radical after two years of development.
So basically what we’re getting with this shoe is an upper update slapped on the two-year-old midsole. It makes the shoe easier to review in some ways, as we’ve had lots of miles in the previous version. Heads up — we were a bit more forgiving on the Hyperion Elite 2. It was a significant improvement over the Hyperion Elite, and there weren’t as many challengers to Nike two years ago. It’s a more competitive market now.
BRANDON: Brooks, the staple of all good mom and pop running stores. The company has been at the forefront of shoe sales across the US, but are its shoes as good as the sales show? Well, we might have to dive a little deeper to find out.
The Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 is Brooks’ super shoe and a competitor to all other marathon racers. It’s eerily similar to its predecessor, the Hyperion Elite 2. Off the bat, what can you expect in terms of changes from the old to the new? It’s an almost carbon copy design, performance, and style of the midsole with a completely revamped and redesigned upper. Sometimes, a new upper is all it takes to turn a shoe from good to great. The Saucony Endorphin Pro to Endorphin Pro+ is a perfect example.
The question remains that remains is this: What exactly is this shoe all about? Let’s find out.
MEAGHAN: First things first, I absolutely love the colorway I received. I’ll call it a Seafoam Green. While not as ‘flashy’ as a typical race day shoe, it’s a good-looking trainer.
The most noticeable update is the upper design and materials. The mechanical woven mesh has been replaced with QuicKnit, a stretchy knit fabric that’s durable but breathes well. What’s nice about a knit upper is the support features are masked (tighter-knit equals more support). Without many overlays, you get a clean-looking shoe.
The heel and collar have also been revamped for a better lockdown fit and added comfort. I experienced some heel rubbing and blisters in the last version but had no issues this time. I really love the fit. It’s designed with a wider platform than most super shoes, so it accommodates my wide feet, but it also provides a stable ride.
As noted, nothing has changed underfoot. You’ve got a big slab of DNA Flash foam (35mm heel / 27mm forefoot), a full-length carbon fiber plate, Rapid Roll Technology, and some rubber coverage in the forefoot and heel. It feels great… for a daily trainer. More on that below.
The good news is the shoes have stayed pretty light. My W7.5 came in at exactly 7 ounces (198 g).
THOMAS: If you like the Hyperion Elite 2, you won’t have to get used to an updated ride. The upper is an improvement and fits well, and I even think it’s my favorite upper on a Brooks shoe. The QuicKnit fits both Meg’s wider foot and my narrow foot nicely. As Meg mentioned, the mesh upper does breathe well while remaining structured and supportive. The toe-down design is race-ready and looks quick on the feet. Laces are usually an afterthought, but Brooks upgraded its set to a heartier, knobbier version that stays tied without a double knot (Vaporfly fans know what I’m talking about). What’s more, Brooks incorporated an elastic band (Lace Catch) that you can tuck the laces into to avoid floppy bunny ears.
The ride of the Hyperion Elite 3 remains the same, with an aggressive pivot point behind the toes that helps speed up the feeling of a fast transition. It’s easy to get your feet to turn over in the Hyperion Elite 3.
BRANDON: Brooks shoes aren’t that complicated. Over the years, innovation has been stale, but sometimes the brand comes out with a banger like the Aurora-BL. But for the most part, their shoes are pretty straightforward.
I’ll cut to the chase. The Hyperion Elite 3 is great if you want to do some tempo work in it. This shoe will provide you with great features, starting with the vastly improved upper from the first two iterations. The Hyperion Elite 3 features a new QuicKnit that keeps the foot locked in place while maintaining a breathable feel through the stride. Of course, no upper is complete without its lacing system, which is vastly improved. Brooks switched from traditionally thin laces to serrated ones that will help keep a strong lockdown through the mid-foot. The tongue is semi-gusseted, and the heel lock is solid and well-padded, so there are no issues with blisters.
Like Meaghan stated earlier, the look and design of this shoe are great. Who can’t love this beautiful Seafoam Green colorway? I know it doesn’t scream at you on race day, but I dig the subtle, toned-down look.Shop Hyperion Elite – Men Shop Hyperion Elite – Women
MEAGHAN: As I alluded to in my introduction, I’m pretty disappointed in the update, or lack thereof. I love this shoe as an everyday trainer but as a super shoe? Not so much. I don’t feel the plate at all, and it lacks the ‘pop’ and ‘bounce’ that you get in competitors like the Nike Alphafly, Asics Metaspeed Sky, and New Balance RC Elite. Yes, I was happy with the Hyperion Elite 2 update, but I was comparing it to the original and (lack of) other super shoes on the market in September 2020.
THOMAS: There’s a formula for super shoes: lightweight, highly responsive cushioning, and mechanical forward propulsion through a plate or a mixture of a plate and air pods. The Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 misses on weight. My US M10.5 weighs 8.8 oz/252 grams — over an ounce heavier than the Nike Vaporfly or Asics Metaspeed Sky. The DNA Flash is comfortable and cushioned but lacks a responsive feel. Finally, the plate in the Hyperion Elite is difficult to feel. There’s no pop from the cushion or plate. Instead, the forward propulsion comes from the shape of the midsole.
Unfortunately, you can get a similar feel from the Saucony Axon 2, Endorphin Shift, the Asics GlideRide 2, and EvoRide 2. All those shoes I just mentioned also cost $100 less than the Hyperion Elite 3. Also, not a single one of ’em is a “super shoe.”
BRANDON: Is the Hyperion really “the god above?” I’m not so sure. Okay, yes, Brooks has had some successful athletes come through and win big races in this shoe, Des Linden being the most notable of the bunch. Yet if you’ve ever been at a race 5K or longer, there aren’t many Brooks racing shoes toeing the line. Usually, Nike wins by a landslide, and there’s a good reason for this.
The Hyperion Elite 3 doesn’t perform at the elite level of all these other super shoes. Brooks’ DNA Flash midsole simply doesn’t offer enough. It feels dense and doesn’t provide the same comfort or responsive toe-off as the ASICS Metaspeed Sky, Puma Fast-R, or Nike Alphafly. There’s a carbon fiber plate in this shoe, but I’m not so sure it needs one. I didn’t really feel the plate, but the foam is definitely dense and stable enough to ride on its own.
If I had to choose between the Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 and any other random race day racers on the market, I’d choose the latter. Odds are, I’ll have a better racing experience.Shop Hyperion Elite – Men Shop Hyperion Elite – Women
MEAGHAN: The Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 is a great shoe but lacks the qualities you want for race day. It looks great, fits well, but it’s just missing that pop. I wore this shoe for several longer (10-12 mile) runs and really enjoyed it. The rapid roll technology provides a smooth ride, and the foam, while a little firm, works for all sorts of paces. Honestly, I’ll probably keep this shoe in my rotation for those longer, easy marathon training days. But you definitely won’t find it on my feet on any start line.
THOMAS: Meaghan sums it up nicely. The Hyperion Elite is a good running shoe, and fun to run in, but it isn’t in consideration for race day. The quality is there, the look is pleasing, and it hits the mark as a possible do-it-all trainer. It’s one shoe you could do training and racing in, but not a specialist at either one. Again, if you want to compare it to other shoes, look to the Saucony Axon 2, Endorphin Shift, the Asics GlideRide 2, and EvoRide.
BRANDON: I don’t want to destroy this shoe too much because it’s a good shoe, but it’s just placed in the wrong category. This is a tempo day shoe, and it’s way too expensive at $250. This is a $160 shoe at best. I’m surprised Brooks shoes sell as well as they do because I don’t believe the product’s performance meets its extremely high monetary turnover.
You can pick up the Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 on April 1 for $250 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Hyperion Elite – Men Shop Hyperion Elite – Women
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