Brooks is a brand I’ve run in the past. The Ghost line is one of my favorites so getting a chance to put some miles in the Levitate 2 was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Unfortunately, the opportunity wasn’t what I hoped for.
When I unboxed the shoes, I was underwhelmed by the looks, the heft, and the lacing system. Brooks has never been at the top of my list for cool colorways and the Levitate 2 continues this trend.
Besides the bland looks I found the ankle collar reminded me of a 1980’s sweater. Taking the shoes out of the box the weight of the shoe is immediate.
It is noticeably heavy, and the shoe only gets heavier as it gets wet from sweat or rain. Even before putting on the shoe I was immediately disappointed in the lacing system Brooks is using in the Levitate 2.
It resembles the ISOFIT system used by Saucony minus the additional eyelet needed for the heel lock lacing method. This lacing system is new from the original Levitate.
The lacing system is not conducive to dialing in the fit and I found getting a secure fit in the heel impossible.
After running nearly 100 miles in this shoe with several long runs up to 20 miles I’m disappointed to report I didn’t find many redeeming qualities in the Brooks Levitate 2.
The few qualities I did like or that others may like are a wider forefoot, firm cushioning and it is responsive.
The shoe is heavy, noticeably so. Running in hot and humid weather I also found it gets heavier as it soaks up sweat. The upper soaks up and retains moisture.
I got caught in a rain storm during one run and the shoe took several days to dry out. The upper is soft but not flimsy. It has enough structure to it so that your toes have room to move without feeling cramped from the top.
The heel collar is decently soft, and I found it is prone to rubbing. I think this is mainly caused by the poor lacing system and the need to really synch the laces tight which draws the ankle color close to the skin.
Fortunately, the upper material is forgiving enough that my foot was still accommodated. Unfortunately, I did find heel lift and slippage a problem. Sizing down isn’t an option.
While my toes had plenty of room in the shoe, I wouldn’t have room in a smaller size.
The shoe seems well made and durable. The sole is showing minimal wear given the mileage. The upper is the same. I would anticipate the shoe would last upwards of 300-400 miles.
The shoe gripped well for me on dry road surfaces. The shoe was noticeably slick on wet concrete and I intentionally slowed if the surface was wet and I was rounding a corner. The same thing happened in other Brooks shoes I’ve run in.
Brooks Levitate 2 General Info
The Brooks Levitate 2 is the newest version in the new Levitate line. The shoe is updated noticeably from the first iteration. The lacing system, heel collar design, and upper are the more noticeable updates.
The shoe is meant to be able to do short tempo runs, recovery runs, and long runs. The shoe is cushioned but it is firmer than your traditional cushion. That firmness contributes to the responsiveness.
This shoe has adequate room in the toe-box and designed for road running up to marathon distance. The heel drop isn’t min or max and while the shoe looks light it feels heavy.
Brooks Levitate 2 Sole Unit
The sole works well on dry pavement but is slippery on wet pavement. I never felt like I needed to exaggerate knee lift to keep from dragging the shoe on pavement.
The sole is designed in such a way that it contributes to a quicker turnover. I don’t know if it does, but I think the firmness of the cushioning contributed more to quicker turnover than the sole.
When I ran in the shoes I never felt like I was fighting them or that my foot strike was altered. I felt stable on foot strike and lift off. The grip and sole worked well on dry pavement.
The sole is holding up well with hardly any wear. The sole will likely last a long time and appears to be well constructed for increased durability.
Brooks Levitate 2 Upper Info
The upper is a stretchy knit material that has enough flexibility to wrap the mid and forefoot but enough structure, so you feel stable and so your toes don’t feel crowded.
The lacing system didn’t function well for me and I was never able to feel locked in as my heel slipped and moved during runs. The heel lock lacing system isn’t an option.
I didn’t find the upper to be very breathable. The upper also tended to absorb and hold water. It doesn’t shed moisture and can take several days to dry out.
If you sweat a lot or get caught in the rain, be prepared for the shoe to get even heavier and plan on wearing a different pair of shoes until the Brooks Levitate 2 dry out.
I found the heel collar unappealing from a looks and functionality perspective. It looks like a dated sweater collar and I found the material rubbed my ankle. I found myself adjusting my socks to prevent the rubbing.
The heel is lightly padded some and I found it difficult to get a snug fit. This is mostly due to the lacing system. My heal would lift and slip during runs. I never got a blister but the movement in the heel was noticeable.
Brooks Levitate 2 Conclusions
I found this shoe to be lacking in almost everything I was looking for. While there was ample room in the toe box and the shoe is responsive, the cushioning was too firm, the fit was poor, it is heavy, and the shoe overall isn’t appealing visually.
I’ve done short runs, tempo runs, track runs, and long runs in this shoe. This would not be my first or second pick for any of those runs, let alone as a daily trainer. There are better shoes in this class.
The longest I ran in this shoe was 20 miles. The firmness of the cushioning left my feet feeling sore and bruised. For track and speed work the heaviness of the shoe mitigated the intended responsiveness of that firmness.
I would not recommend these to a friend.
We purchased a pair of Brooks Levitate 2 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.