Brooks completely revamped the shoe from top to bottom, after the original version received a “meh” response from many runners. The improvements are notable, and this shoe offers appeal straight out of the box.
Brooks Neuro 2 General Info
When I tore into the box, I thought to myself, “Wow, these look incredibly slick and fast.” When I first put on the Neuros, the high ridge on the inside of each shoe was a little odd but otherwise they felt like a comfortable pair of slippers.
After a few runs, my initial hunch about the toe box was correct: it’s a bit wider than it is in other shoes, allowing the toes to splay out, similar to Altras.
However, the 6 mm drop in Neuros is not what minimalist fans would prefer. Still, the expanded toe box works well, especially for a road trainer.
Overall, the Brooke Neuro 2 weighs in at 10.1 ounces for men and 8.5 ounces for women. Personally, that’s too heavy for me when I am racing.
However, I used the Neuros nearly exclusively while maintaining my fitness going into my final marathon of 2016. I found them to be smooth, comfortable and supportive.
At times, the weight seems to encourage the foot to hit the ground harder. That is often early during a run on the roads or treadmill.
After 10 minutes or so, I don’t notice that anymore as my feet and stride adjust to the shoe. Injury-prone runners may favor the Neuro 2s, given their cushion and support.
In a nutshell, they achieve a balance between comfortable cushion and desired firmness.
Brooks Neuro 2 Sole Unit
Taking a close look at the changes in the Nuero 2, the most significant is the completely revamped midsole and outsole.
The original shoe had massive oversized pods (think astronauts’ footwear) that were replaced by smaller propulsion pods.
These pods work to help the runner achieve decent cadence in a more normal shoe, appearance-wise. Likewise, the shoe’s propulsion plates work together to create powerful push-offs.
The midsole has the same technology — BioMoGo DNA — that works so well in the pods. The rounded heel provides improved alignment, which minimizes stress on a runner’s joints.
There are two “gearing mechanisms” — a deep groove that allows the outsole to bend, even before any wear. Brooks says this helps the forefoot and heel move independently for a powerful toe-off.
After more than 50 miles of running on roads and the treadmill, I could definitely feel the shoe working for me during the runs, and did not have as much soreness or inflammation post-run as I have with other models.
Brooks Neuro 2 Upper Info
The new lightweight mesh upper is among the most welcome upgrades. The new material provides a softer wrap, giving the foot a greater ability to breathe.
(The original Neuro upper was plastic, and many runners complained that it trapped heat, making for a very warm or hot run regardless of actual temperature.)
The Neuro 2 still utilizes Brooks’ “dynamic hammock system,” which works to give the foot room while holding it in smoothly. Once a runner slides on the Neuro 2, he or she will welcome the comfortable fit and finish.
Also notable are the thin shoelaces. These make for a seemingly loose but secure tie. They are easy to double knot and don’t squeeze the foot.
Brooks Neuro 2 Conclusions
There is a lot of good about the revamped Neuro 2s — they are a significant upgrade from the earlier version.
For training, they would be beneficial for half marathoners and marathoners. They would also be a good shoe to wear during recovery runs.
That said, however, the weight and bulkiness are not what I want to contend with during a race, or even a timed training run.
The Neuros are kind of like the old, broken-in sofa in the entertainment room — comfortable and perfect for a low-key day. But you wouldn’t want to trot it out when trying to make a favorable impression (or race PR).
We thank the nice people at Brooks for sending us a pair of Neuro 2 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.