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Road Running Shoes • June 23, 2020

Brooks Revel 4 Performance Review

brooks revel 4 feature 2

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 8.9 oz. (252 g) for a US M9.0/ 7.9 oz. (223 g) for a US W8.0
  • New update: BioMoGo DNA midsole paired with Green Rubber outsole for a springier ride
  • One of the best values out there for a do-it-all shoe
  • Does some blue-collar work at non-union wages

DAVE: While not the biggest fan of most of the Brooks lineup due to a “staleness” in underfoot feel from them, the Revel has always produced for me. It’s cheap, it does honest work, and my legs are not crushed from it afterward. Essentially how I feel most shoes should be nowadays (what’s up, Atreyu).

The Revel 4 comes to us hot off some a sleeper success in the Revel 3. A shoe that was quite smooth and got a good amount of those “maintenance” miles done for me. The BioMoGo DNA midsole did the job just fine, and whether it was a 60-minute recovery run or a mid-week medium-long run of 10-12, the shoe performed.

So here we are with the 4. And guess what? It’s invited back to the dinner table.

GRAY: Lightweight trainers have made it increasingly clear just how undisciplined I can be as a runner. Give me something with reasonable weight specs and responsive midsole foam and it’ll bring out the very worst of my training habits. In other words: Maffetone method? Never heard of ya. Easy run? Who do I look like? Recovery? Psh. *cue injury*

Putting me in the Revel 4 was a gamble, because it could go one of two ways. Would it be the serpent in my ear, tempting me away from sound training principles? Or, would it be like that responsible friend who’s always down to be the DD? Ya know, the one that has fun just going for the ride and wants to make sure everyone gets home okay.

In any case, since I’m relatively new here at BITR, this was my first Brooks experience since the OG Transcend and my how things have changed. Gotta say, Brooks, where you been? We should’ve caught up sooner.

brooks revel 4 front


The Good

DAVE: Coming in just under 9 oz. in my US M9.0, it’s lightweight and doesn’t feel like most traditional daily trainers on your foot. It molds well via the new Fit Knit upper and lets you enjoy the surroundings on your run, not what’s on your feet and how it’s not working well.

The BioMogo DNA midsole is hit or miss for me. There was a time that I liked it a lot. But that time was well before today’s “midsole wars.” Right now, there’s just so much to offer that is far more advanced than this today, including Brooks’ own DNA Flash. But somehow it has managed to always work for me on the Revel and it continues to do so in the 4. It’s smooth through the gait cycle– stiff, yet flexible enough on the toe-off, providing some nice knee lift and drive to your mechanics. In short, a pleasurable running experience.

In the days of far-overpriced trainers that may or may not work with one’s mechanics, this one is nice. One-hundred bones will take you all the way. Safe, reliable, and the Revel 4 comes with a side dish of fun. It may not look like much, but your legs should like it.

GRAY: The Revel 4 reminds me a lot of the Nike Pegasus 35 or the Reebok Forever Floatride Energy––with one major difference.

It fixed pretty much everything I didn’t like about those shoes.

The Peg 35 was a solid (albeit bland) daily trainer that could hold its own against pretty much anything you threw its way. The FFE basically took this concept and amped it up to a 10. Far better cushioning, much livelier midsole––that TPU good-good that’s all the rage. Only problem? In both of these shoes, the forefoot was severely lacking in terms of squish factor.

Not so with the Revel 4. The BioMoGo DNA midsole has abundant cushioning. Forefoot, midfoot, heel… for a shoe that’s nowhere near maximal, it’s got it all. Even on legs tired from strength work I was able to bust out a pretty solid tempo effort with these. And for easy day runs? No problem at all. They’re super smooth and just roll along with your stride––no matter how easy you take it.

I’m also a huge fan of the laces, both in terms of style and length. As I’ve continued to break in the Revels, I’ve cinched my shoes tighter and tighter; they’re still well within what I consider to be reasonable. They’re also a flat nylon material with a good bit of bite to them, keeping them tied with no fear of coming loose.

For a shoe with a mostly knit upper, I was impressed with the lockdown through the midfoot. No slippage, no hotspots, just welcome security with plenty of room for your toes to splay. The tongue was a perfect balance of plush and streamlined––just enough to keep the pressure off the top of your foot.

With 50+ miles on my pair, I’ve yet to see much (if any) wear on the outsole. Brooks certainly didn’t skimp on the tread with the Revel, so I would expect lots of good miles out of these.

Shop Brooks Revel – Men Shop Brooks Revel – Women brooks revel 4 feature1

The Bad

DAVE: The Fit Knit upper is kind of cheap. But let’s not forget what we are paying for this shoe. Could it be a bit softer, or produce a bit more flex in the toe box? Sure. But honestly– and don’t let this steer you away from the R4– it shouldn’t produce any problems.

One last minor gripe: it appears that the heel tab is sewed onto the shoe pretty cheaply; I can see this ripping over time.

GRAY: Although the BioMoGo DNA midsole is super bouncy and fun most of the time, it comes at a cost. When I really wanted to pick up the pace, it felt kinda mushy––like a sponge soaking up what little speed I have. Not unbearably so, but enough that I noticed myself having to work harder over longer sustained efforts.

So as great as the fit of the knit upper was through the midfoot, it’s still very much a knit upper. What does that mean for you? Well, two things: 1) It’s only May, and here in the Carolinas the Revels already feel hot (unless you’re Mike Meyers, they’ll likely be a little swampy), and 2) You’re not looking at the most stable of rides. They’re better than most, but you won’t be doing yourself any favors if you’re looking for a lot of support.

Shop Brooks Revel – Men Shop Brooks Revel – Women

Brooks Revel 4 Conclusion

DAVE: I think this is one of the best shoes Brooks makes. There’s a lot of higher-priced options in their line that are hit or miss for me. And while they may steal the show and get all the marketing, the sleeper of the entire bag of offerings is the Revel. And the 4 comes back for another year, ready to party.

GRAY: Dave wasn’t wrong when he told me that the last iteration of the Revel was a sleeper. I’m here saying that needs to change. Brooks put together a solid offering with the Revel 4, pairing a fun midsole with a quality upper at a very reasonable price point. More folks need these on their feet.

It’s not the fastest shoe out there, but damn is it smooth. I see it working as a perfect daily shoe that’ll handle almost all of your running needs. Easy runs, long runs, or tempos, the Revel will take what’s thrown at it in stride (just don’t ask for more speed than it can dish out).

Whether it’s part of the job or just my own tendency toward fickleness, I switch out shoes pretty often. The Revel 4 is one that’s quickly stolen its way into my heart, and I don’t expect its lease to expire anytime soon.

The Brooks Revel 4 releases July 1 for $100. You’ll be able to pick it up at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Brooks Revel – Men Shop Brooks Revel – Women

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Running Noob says:

    Could you guys review any of the Adidas 4d shoes? It’s supposed to made of “air” and laser constructed. Thinking it might be a good competitor to the Bondi, but is several times more expensive.

  2. BNee76 says:

    Just wondering if someone can offer a comparison between the Launch 6 and the Revel 4. I am looking to replace my Launch 6’s and it seems that the Launch 7 has gotten rather lackluster reviews.

    1. Dave Ames says:

      Smoother from heel to toe than Launch due to a wider midfoot platform. And, less cash!! Sleeper shoe last year and same this year! Revel packs a ton of punch for a 100 bones.

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