Revel 2 has a lot of good things going for it, for a low-priced shoe. It’s designed to be a running shoe that looks like a casual shoe, and it hits the mark. The 3D knit of the upper is mesmerizing–I love it!
Beneath it in the front half of the shoe is a soft, thin “sock.” It seems the look that adidas was going for in their Ultraboost, but this shoe combines the outer knit and inner bootie into one more flattened-knit sheath.
Brooks Revel 2 General Info
I’ve never run in Ghost, but based on spec information and Andrew’s review of the first Revel, I can safely say Revel is a scaled-back version of the Brooks Ghost, a more beefed-out “running-looking” trainer.
The last shoe that I ran in, ASICS GT 1000 7, is also a budget shoe, and I prefer Revel 2 in all but one category. Revel wins in heel fit (narrow, medium-plush, no-slip), overall comfort, appearance, and midsole cushion (close to a tie on this one).
The 1000’s resistance to torsion in the mid-foot is something that I would appreciate coming over into Revel, but since it is a neutral, not stability, shoe, I’m not counting this against it.
Brooks lists this shoe for med-high arches, so I was expecting a bit more material under my arch where instead there’s a small, short rise.
Upon unboxing, the look of Revel 2 struck me as comfortably intriguing. There’s a lot going on for a gray-black shoe, with the raised texture of the forefoot switching to a close-knit midfoot and then a wider weave in the heel.
Add in the shiny logo on both sides and spotted shoe strings, and what threatens to appear an artist’s collection of scraps comes together in an appealing way: the look works.
Revel 2 reminds me a lot of Nike Odyssey React in function and purpose. They are both cheaper versions of more expensive shoes, both have a great look for running and casual wear.
To follow are a few differences to help you decide between them:
- Odyssey React has a more broad arch running vertically in the shoe (sagittal plane), is approximately 1.5 oz. lighter, and sports a slimmer fit.
- Revel 2 provides a similarly snug fit but with slightly more give to comfortably accommodate my little bunions on both sides of my feet, has a 2 mm higher drop (12 vs 10mm), and boasts a slightly more torsion-resistant midsole.
- Odyssey React is a very light-stability shoe, and Revel 2 is a stability-leaning neutral, so they’re in the same zone.
Brooks Revel 2 Sole Unit
Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA is one of my favorite midsole foams and a big reason why I wanted to try this neutral model.
The non-Newtonian gel blended throughout the biodegradable BioMoGo foam is adaptive to the force applied to it, meaning that the higher the force, the stiffer it becomes.
Thus, the cushioning firms up for heavier runners and when more force is applied during up-tempo running.
The viscosity (thickness due to internal friction) of the midsole becomes softer and more flexible at low impact, allowing it to actually adapt to each unique combination of weight, stride, and pace applied to it.
The outsole is a basic segmented blown-rubber platform that offers smooth transitions but maintains some stiffness, more than say, the Brooks Ghost with its fully-segmented crash pad.
I am all-for this midfoot stiffness and could go for a small piece of plastic under the arch, like Brooks put in their Ravenna 8 (not the 9!), but hey, this is a NEUTRAL shoe.
So I’d say it leans toward the “low stability” side of neutral…just like the Ravenna 9 brought that line a step closer to the neutral side of low-stability, by removing the midfoot support. The outsole catches a small stone now and then.
Brooks Revel 2 Upper Info
Heat-activated yarn in this updated flat-knit upper holds its shape over time but has just enough flexibility to accommodate my “baby bunions” on both sides of my feet, to wrap the foot in a secure mold.
This upper is one of my absolute favorites: starting from the back a heel counter guides the foot, covered by medium-weave knit and topped with a plush, no-slip collar that extends down into the shoe.
The pattern changes to a tight loop into the midfoot, opening up into a breathably-attractive “3D” forefoot. All of this is subtly bicolor and lined by a thin, soft bootie.
The tongue is moderately plush and is secured to the liner on both sides to create a comfortable no-slip wrap, very reminiscent of Saucony’s ISOFIT technology in this aspect and in the heel collar.
All of this makes a winner for me, and then Brooks throws some extra spice on top with spotted shoe strings to complete the look.
I thought that the shiny logos on both sides of the shoe would bring in a low-light visibility aspect that was missing in the first iteration.
But unfortunately while the logos glimmer a bit closer up, they don’t “light up” reflective like my other shoes when I shine a beam across the lot.
Brooks Revel 2 Conclusions
Revel 2 is a comfortable, attractive trainer and all-day shoe at a surprisingly low price for all this bounty: adaptive, responsive cushion (check), quality heel fit and control (check) , supportive upper (check), FUN look (check).
Brooks was able to maintain the “run” in the shoe while making it look more “street.” You’re WINNING with this one, Brooks; keep it up 🙂.
We purchased a pair of Brooks Revel 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.