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Road Running Shoes • August 4, 2023

Brooks Hyperion Review: This is Different… Right? Right??

A Brooks Hyperion running shoe in black and green.

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What You Need To Know


7.6 oz. (215 g) for a US M9,

6.8 oz. (193 g) for a US W7

Stack Height / Drop

22 mm in heel, 14 mm in forefoot (8 mm drop)

Best For

Uptempo and budget race day

Key Features

DNA Flash midsole, generous layer of rubber, gusseted tongue

On The Run
Very lightweight Simple and straightforward Maybe boring, maybe not, we stand divided


Introduction to the Brooks Hyperion

ROBBE: Way back when I was a younger lad and a fresh face at Believe in the Run, Brooks released the Hyperion Tempo, a lightweight trainer with a supercritical midsole, meant for– you guessed it– tempo runs. It was the complement to the original Brooks Hyperion Elite, one of the worst shoes ever created, which quickly evolved into the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, a perennially-okay race day shoe. Our review for that shoe came out three and a half years ago (to the day!) of writing this review. That was in the before-times of Covid, if you can believe it. That’s how long it’s been between versions of this shoe.

We enjoyed that shoe a lot. In fact, it was one of my favorite shoes of 2020. Simple, lightweight, and responsive. It was a pure running shoe. Obviously, a lot has changed since then. Pretty much every brand has increased stack heights across the board, foams have become bouncier and bouncier, plates are more prevalent than a bus bin at Waffle House. Obviously the Hyperion has changed as well, and more than just the name. 

According to Brooks, there are some changes. Namely, an updated midsole and outsole. Sites like Running Warehouse had the previous stack height at 31 mm, which… was just not accurate. I just measured both versions with a caliper tool and the stack is pretty much identical at 22 mm in the heel and 14 mm in the forefoot (the previous version was maybe a 2 millimeters higher). So that hasn’t changed. Neither has the midsole formula, made of supercritical DNA Flash.

The upper is slightly different (Brooks says it’s more breathable, it’s objectively not), and there is now a gusseted tongue, which was needed. Outsole rubber is a bit different as well. 

The question remains: did this need to change? Or is it fine as it was and still maybe is? Let’s find out.

brooks hyperion - on wall

Ecto cooler upper

LINDSAY: I’ve always thought more cushion was better for my feet and legs in the continuous pounding that is running. Lately I’ve learned from various resources including a book I highly recommend, Anatomy for Runners, as well as my physical therapist, that more cushion does not always mean more better. 

People always talk about the benefits of doing barefoot running drills and wearing shoes with minimal stack height and/or drop. I’ve just never been able to dabble in that because it just felt so uncomfortable. That is, until I tried the Brooks Hyperion. This shoe gives the benefit of being a neutral shoe without all the extra cushion. It keeps you close to the ground and is lightweight which makes for a smooth and snappy ride. 

The Brooks Hyperion fit true to size for me. The heel and ankle support and contour is very similar to previous models with the same minimally padded, gusseted tongue. The tongue on this version is wearing a V-neck rather than a scoop neck and sits really well at the ankle. This may be just the shoe I need to help me transition to being a more minimalist shoe wearer. Let’s get into the why.

KALEB: In juxtaposition to Lindsay, I was raised to lean slightly more towards the “cushion might not be the devil, but you’ve also never seen both cushion and the devil in the same room at the same time, have you?” side of running. That mindset mellowed out on account of the maximalist shoe movement, and while I’ve learned to appreciate (and sure, maybe even crave sometimes) a good ol’ chonk-ified shoe, the best shoes are always the light, fast ones.

With technological improvements like superfoams and carbon plates, we no longer have to strip a shoe down to racing-flat-status to reduce its weight, but every now and again, a slimmer shoe still shines on the pavement. In 2020, the first iteration of the Hyperion (called the Hyperion Tempo), proved this: our reviewers loved the simplicity and speed of the DNA Flash midsole, and frankly, the simple fact that a Brooks shoe didn’t suck thrilled them to tears.

Now, three years later, Brooks has released the (totally most definitely very different) Brooks Hyperion with exciting new updates (pronounced: virtually nothing changed). Does the Hyperion still stand up with the rest of the titans, or does DNA Flash fall flat in the face of modern tech?

brooks hyperion pink 1

Enough hot pink to make an airbrush artist jealous

CARYN: Let’s get one thing out of the way: The Hyperion is essentially the same as its predecessor, the Hyperion Tempo. Ok, great! Now that we’ve cleared that up, we can get rolling on reviewing Brooks’ latest lightweight addition to their lineup, designed for uptempo work and race day (their words, not mine). While I certainly don’t look to Brooks for earth-shattering designs and technology, I Iiken them to an elderly neighbor: endearing, wise and reliable enough to keep your plants alive for you while you’re away. The Brooks Ghost has actually been one of my favorite daily trainers in the past, a set-it-and-forget-it bestie that you can put hundreds of easy miles on day after day. 

While I tend to prefer more cushion in my shoes, I did have a chance to run in the original Hyperion Tempo several years ago. I was interested to see how the updated DNA flash midsole did (or didn’t) improve the ride of the Hyperion. Can this lightweight update hold up in an ever-expanding market of shoes with carbon plates, supercritical foams, and rockered rides? Let’s lace it up.

What we like about the Brooks Hyperion

ROBBE: As weird as this sounds, the good news is that they didn’t change the shoe that much. I forgot how much I loved the simplicity of this shoe, and that rings true even more these days, as most brands are neck deep in the marshmallow soup of max cushion midsoles. 

The Hyperion Tempo was great because of that, and the Hyperion picks up where its predecessor left off. The DNA Flash midsole is responsive and quick underfoot, allowing for tempo paces but still providing enough cushion that it can be taken on runs up to 10 miles (or farther, depending on your preferences). The upper isn’t as breathable (the previous version had literal holes in it), but it’s still very breathable compared to most uppers. It’s also more supportive, thanks in part to a more durable mesh and a gusseted tongue. Lockdown wasn’t a problem at all.

The outsole rubber seems more substantial than the first version and provides better grip. It really digs in when cornering and gripping the pavement for a more aggressive toe-off. Unlike a lot of tempo shoes these days that straight up forego a standard rubber outsole, this one will definitely hold up over many miles. 

I have to say, I really enjoyed this shoe, and even took it on a 7-mile trail run because it’s all I had with me on vacation and I needed some shady miles on a hot summer day. Because of the low stack, it’s pretty stable, much more than the first version. I believe the overall platform is a bit wider, which certainly helps.

At the end of the day, this just feels like a pure running shoe. You can feel the road but it’s not firm and it has just the right amount of pep. Again, this is a shoe that just makes running enjoyable, the way you remember loving it. 

brooks hyperion - hyperion name

DNA Flash midsole

LINDSAY: This shoe is very light, weighing in at only 6.8 ounces, slightly less than the Endorphin Speed 3, and just a hair more than the Asics Magic Speed 3. Where I felt like I was just floating along in the Brooks Hyperion, I noticed the gait change and effort increase when I transitioned into my heavier shoes for casual walking.

The upper is lightweight and breathable. I did end up running through a rainstorm in these and while my socks did get wet, the shoe itself was quick to dry and did not feel sloppy during those soggy miles. The outsole also really shined here as it held great traction on the slippery downhill trots.

One of the things runners are always cautioned about is transitioning too quickly to shoes with a different drop than they are accustomed to due to risk of injury. Fortunately, the 8 mm drop in the Brooks Hyperion is quite standard for most neutral shoes across the board. The difference is, they sit incredibly close to the ground at a 22 mm stack height at the heel and 14 mm in the toe. This compared to the Brooks Ghost, for example, which is 36 mm at the heel and 24 mm at the toe with a 12 mm drop. 

The DNA Flash midsole isn’t very bouncy but it is responsive and cushioned just enough to keep these feeling good on each step. I also think that played a role in its usefulness for speed workouts. They move really well and keep the legs turning over quickly.

KALEB: Hyperion was the name of the Greek titan of heavenly light, and the Brooks Hyperion lives up to its namesake with its heavenly lightness (I spent an unbelievable amount of time trying to turn heavenly into an adverb and it just never came together). Coming in at 7.6 oz for a US men’s 9, the Hyperion maintains its standing as a shoe comparable to other featherweight champions like the New Balance Rebel v2 and the Saucony Kinvara. This is the primary factor that helps the shoe pick up the pace when you do. 

While the original Hyperion Tempo had a rather slim silhouette, the new Hyperion seems to have an overall wider footprint, so I was able to get a solid lockdown without any cramped feet. The upper has been further stripped down to save weight, and the laces have been improved from the previous version to stay securely tied. Underfoot is a tire’s worth of rubber that will provide hundreds upon hundreds of miles of durability for the Hyperion.

brooks hyperion - heel wall

Quite similar to the Hyperion Tempo

brooks hyperion - logo

In case you were wondering who made the shoe

CARYN: I was fortunate to put some miles on Brooks’ predecessor to the Hyperion, the Hyperion Tempo. At the time, I appreciated the lightweight feel and simplicity of the shoe, and felt like it would be a favorite for those seeking more ground feel but still running a good bit every day. The new Hyperion’s fit is definitely improved over its predecessor, which I found ran narrow and long.

The upper of the original felt flimsy, whereas Brooks’ new upper is still light but offers structure. While I know arch feel is really anatomy-dependent, it’s worth noting that the combination of the upper and arch profile really hugs the foot and provides a nice, secure lockdown. The new toe box is nice and roomy, and I didn’t have any hotspots on the run. Like Kaleb, I found the shoe reminiscent of the Saucony Kinvara, New Balance Rebel, and even the Brooks Launch. 

Most importantly, this shoe is light! Its 6.8 ounces actually feels weightless on foot, which is a nice contrast to the chonky shoe market right now. Additionally, I’m not a super fan of a low heel-toe drop, and have been sad to see the number of companies reducing the drop in shoes intended for uptempo work. It’s nice that Brooks kept the Hyperion’s drop at 8 mm, a nice sweet spot in my humble opinion.

What we don’t like about the Brooks Hyperion

ROBBE: I mean, this is just about the same shoe as the first version from 2020. Sure, there’s some minor changes here and there, but the performance and underfoot feel is pretty much identical. At first I thought that was a bad thing, and maybe it is, but it’s not as bad as I originally thought. Especially since the Hyperion Max now exists, which is basically the evolution of the original Hyperion Tempo.

I should say that if you’re a fan of any kind of max cushion shoe, then skip this one, or at least move up to the Hyperion Max. You’re not getting a sensational bouncy feel from this shoe at all. It’s definitely a more traditional feel.

However, as with the first version, this one runs long for some reason. The midfoot and heel lockdown are all on point, so sizing down is not the right move. It’s just weirdly long in the toe, which can be annoying because you can’t get as aggressive of a toe-off as you’d like and it also gets caught on sidewalk cracks from time to time.

I’m not particularly fond of the upper. It does lock down fine, but it feels cheap and more of an afterthought. I much prefer the upper on the previous version, which actually felt performance-based.

It’s still the same price at $150. That’s kind of a lot for a tempo shoe, especially when you can pick up ultra-lightweight shoes with Peba midsoles at almost the same price point, namely the Topo Athletic Cyclone 2 ($150) and the Hoka Cielo Road ($160). 

I also just think it’s ugly, but then again, someone actually shouted “nice shoes!” as I was running past them, so what do I know?

Lastly– I’m going to say what everyone knows: Brooks has become boring. The reaction I have when I see another “new” Brooks shoe is the same way I felt whenever I saw a M*A*S*H rerun come on TV as a kid. The last actual exciting shoe from the brand was the Aurora-BL which they didn’t seem to actually care about. But I guess when the assembly line is churning at full force, local running stores are covering their walls with your product, and the printer is spitting Benjamins, then why change anything at all?

brooks hyperion - medial

Medial side of the Brooks Hyperion

LINDSAY: As a disclaimer, I truly appreciate that Brooks sent this one because I love it. I simply could never with the hot pink colorway though. All jokes aside, the hot pink is actually not that bad. Yeah, Barbie is all the rage, but when it comes to the feet, give me a Ken. If you’re anything like me though, not to worry, this shoe comes in all the colorways! White, black, blue, and, yes, pink. There is a colorway for every palate. 

I don’t have much bad to say about this shoe aside from one small mishap. The laces came untied during my run. The material really seems like they’d have a good grip but I double knot mine and they are always loose by the end of my run. Maybe it’s user error, maybe not. 

I also don’t see myself using these for longer runs. They are definitely best for shorter tempo runs or speed work (which makes sense considering this used to be called the “Hyperion Tempo”).

KALEB: I really anticipated enjoying the ride of the Brooks Hyperion. Afterall, I’ve always liked a snappy, responsive shoe and I’m not squeamish about it being on the firm side. However, for whatever reason, the Hyperion just felt flat everytime I ran in it. On one of my runs, I took the Hyperion on a 10 mile workout, and it just never clicked, no matter what pace I was moving. The supercritical DNA FLASH midsole just felt slappy and harsh, without any discernible bounce to it, to the point where I briefly wondered if I had gotten a defective shoe.

Then, I saw the Brooks logo on the side, resigned myself to my remaining test miles, and kept running. My best guess for this deadness is the unnecessarily thick outsole rubber. It slaps on the pavement, brings up the weight of the shoe, and it didn’t really have the bite on fast turns that I would’ve liked.

Also, the upper kind of sucks. I understand stripping down an upper to save weight, but the Hyperion just felt too thin, wrinkly, and uncomfortable when the laces were tied. I personally would rather take a tiny bit of extra weight for some minimalist padding up top.

brooks hyperion - outsole

Durable rubber outsole

CARYN: I feel like you either *are* or *are not* a hot pink girlie. Like Lindsay, I am…not. However, you never know when you’ll want to hit up a rave while out on the run, so Brooks arguably improves the versatility of the Hyperion by offering this neon colorway. Bravo.

While I did enjoy the fit and style of this shoe, it just wasn’t enough cushion for my marathon-training legs. While I’m certainly not purchasing every max cushion shoe that hits the market, this just swung the pendulum a little too far in the other direction (Call me Goldilocks, what can I say).

Outside of a long run, most of my daily runs are 9-12 miles, and I just can’t see enjoying this on runs over 4-5 miles given the firmness of the shoe and the low, 22 mm stack. While the shoe is fantastically light, I did not find the DNA Flash foam midsole responsive or peppy, in fact it felt flat the majority of the time.

There was no bounce or rocker, so I really wouldn’t reach for it for a workout. In my head, this could be a nice shoe for a 5k, if that was something I ran… ever. I’d personally be curious to try out the Hyperion Max, the Hyperion’s slightly beefier cousin, to see how that stacks up (lol puns) against some of my other thicc daily trainers.

Brooks Hyperion Conclusion

ROBBE: This shoe is meant for those Saucony Kinvara 14, Atreyu Base Model, or Altra Escalante lovers– something low to the ground that’s simple and sweet. Some people love that traditional running feel; if that’s you, then you’ll enjoy this shoe. 

I definitely came into this review with doubts. And yes, while not much has changed since the first version, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. There’s still a place in this Barbie world for a simple, no-makeup kind of gal. 

It seems we’re split on this review, and Thomas wasn’t a huge fan for the same reasons listed by Kaleb and Caryn. The moral of the story– it’s a subjective shoe. Nevertheless, It’s good to have options, and the Brooks Hyperion remains a viable one for those who seek simplicity.

LINDSAY: I know I talked a lot about the minimalism of this model and it’s just because I never saw myself transitioning to this shoe type. Even my boyfriend pointed out that this was “much less” of a shoe than he normally sees me wearing. But I really enjoy it!

Despite the pink, I will continue to wear this regularly. May even need to try out other DNA Flash foam midsole shoes from Brooks in the future. At $150, you really can’t beat it. So if you’re looking for a snappy, light weight, tempo shoe or you’re like me and are hesitant to dabble in the likes of a low stack, give the Brooks Hyperion a try!

KALEB: It seems the jury is split on the Hyperion. I find it interesting that while Lindsay is usually a more maximalist runner, she enjoyed this shoe, while I, the more ground feel-loving type, couldn’t get myself in sync with it. The specs were there, but the parts just never added to anything special. Just like the titan Hyperion was eventually forced to give way to the newer Greek gods and goddesses, I think the Brooks Hyperion will be quickly overshadowed by more modern tempo-shoes. Brooks is going to have to change and innovate before the Hyperion can truly return to the spotlight.

CARYN: There are those people out there (I think) that like to “feel the road.” After I tried to run a half marathon in the NB1500, I determined very quickly that I am A-okay having very minimal contact with the road. While that isn’t my vibe, I think that this shoe would provide a familiar feeling for folks that have worn and enjoyed new age racing flats like the New Balance Zante (RIP), Saucony Sinister or Asics Metaracer. Obviously this shoe has slightly more cushion than the flats of yore, but the vibe and ground feel– if that’s your thing– is definitely there in the Hyperion.

Solid heel lockdown

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Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. steffo says:

    Are you sure the shoe really had “literal” holes in it?

  2. David Walser says:

    How would you compare the Hyperion to the ASICS Hyper Speed 3?

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Robbe Reddinger
Senior Editor
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Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.

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Lindsay Agro
Baltimore Road Reviewer
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Lindsay is an optometrist by day and runner by… all other hours. Originally from south Florida, Lindsay started running with Believe Run Club when she moved to Baltimore and the rest is history. When she’s not running or fixing eyeballs, you can find her exploring with her dog, Iris, or grabbing a beer with friends.

All-time favorite shoes: Asics Novablast, Saucony Endorphin line, Nike Vaporfly NEXT%

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Kaleb Kabakjian
Track and XC Reviewer

Kaleb is one of the younger, “both of my knees still work” reviewers on the BITR team. As a high school cross country, track and field, and road racing athlete in Pennsylvania, Kaleb loves hearing about the latest endurance-athletics studies and seeing how everything out there can fit into a well-rounded training program. If you don’t see him drinking a weird health concoction or doing some strange warmup technique, he’s probably already started the race.

All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Ride 14, Nike ZoomX Dragonfly

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Caryn Just
Road Reviewer
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Caryn is a recovering ball sports athlete and native Baltimorean who used to cry before the timed mile in gym class. Discovered running somewhat reluctantly when her pants stopped fitting in college, now a big fan of the marathon– go figure! Pediatric ICU nurse and avid UVA sports fan. Can usually be found with her chocolate lab, Gus, looking for a good cup of coffee.

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