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Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 review

7 expert score
8 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 28th February by Brandon Law Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
157 other reviews

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Verdict

The Brooks Hyperion Elite is an average racer with a premium price but it feels more like a speed trainer. It doesn’t feel as propulsive or energetic as other super shoes due to its dense EVA midsole and its lack of a prominent rocker, however it has one of the best executed racing uppers to date. The Hyperion Elite 4 also has the best durability of any super shoe.

The pros

  • Most breathable upper on any running shoe to date
  • Lighter than previous version
  • Outstanding durability
  • Smooth ride

The cons

  • Midsole foam is too dense
  • Not much energy return
  • Feels like a trainer

Where to buy

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Rating breakdown

Comfort
8.0
Build quality
9.0
Upper
10
Sole unit
7.0
Landing
7.0
Transition
7.0
Toe-off
7.0
Traction
8.0
Durability
9.0
Value / Price
5.0

Facts / Specs

Brand
Model
Hyperion Elite 4
Previous model
Weight
7.8 oz (221 g)
MSRP
$250.00

Heel
mm.
Toe
mm.
Heel drop
8 mm.
Carbon plate
Full length carbon plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
True to size
Heel fit
Normal
Midfoot fit
Normal
Toebox fit
Normal

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Balanced
Amount of cushioning
Highly cushioned
Stability
Some stability
Flexibility
Rigid

Usage

Racing
Speedwork  
Daily training
Long distance racing
Ultra distance racing

Who should buy the Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 ?

If you’re looking for a really accommodating, breathable upper with excellent comfort, the Hyperion Elite 4 is the shoe for you. If you want a durable super shoe that you can do a lot of training in in addition to racing in, it’s also suitable for you.

Who should not buy the Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 ?

If you want a really explosive racer with a high level of speed assist, the Hyperion Elite 4 is not for you. If you enjoy soft, squishy racers, it’s also not for you.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Introduction

Picture of Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

Brooks has become a brand known for their excellent uppers. Their meticulously crafted uppers have the perfect fit while exuding plushness and comfort in spades. Their uppers are so good in fact that they carry the rest of the shoe.

Brooks’ most famous daily trainers, the Ghost, Glycerin and Adrenaline models form the backbone of their business. They all have excellent uppers with mediocre midsoles. By mediocre, I mean firm, flat and dull.

On the racing front, they have neglected their long-distance racers and are not a force to be reckoned with when it comes to super shoes. With racers, you can’t get away with having a great upper but an average midsole. At the starting line of races, the only runners using the Hyperion Elite are Brooks sponsored athletes.

This is my first time testing the Hyperion Elite. Brooks racing shoes have never gotten my heart racing, mainly because of the dated midsole foams they’ve been using in it. Even though they’ve been using the best foams they have, they can’t compete with the foams from other brands which are made from PEBA: a lightweight, high energy returning foam.

Brooks is not a small company and even newcomers to the super shoe category like Decathlon are using PEBA in their racing shoes so there’s no excuse for Brooks.

Recently, there’s been a shift at Brooks though. They launched the Ghost Max last year, a modernised version of their most popular trainer. They also upgraded the Glycerin to a Nitrogen injected EVA midsole and the Ghost 16 and Ghost Max 2 will get the same foam. The Hyperion Elite 4 gets the brand new DNA Flash v2 foam.

The Elite is the long-distance racer in the Hyperion road range. There’s also the Hyperion Max (maximalist speed trainer), the Hyperion (lightweight speed trainer) and the Hyperion GTS (supportive speed trainer).

The Hyperion Elite 4 weighs 7.8 oz (221 g) which is 0.3 oz (11 g) lighter than version 3. It costs $250, the standard price for a carbon plated super shoe from any of the top brands. It also has 4 mm of extra stack height in the heel compared to its predecessor.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 First Impressions

Picture of Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

My first run was 20 kilometres at my steady pace. It felt comfortable, smooth and firm. I was most impressed with the upper which felt amazing but the ride was very ordinary. I didn’t feel like it was giving me much speed assistance. 

The ride was slightly firmer than I expected and the carbon plate was very indistinct. There wasn’t much of a forward-tipping sensation either. It wasn’t urging me to go faster like most super shoes do. With the upper being so lightweight and the midsole being so dense, it felt bottom heavy.

The shoe that it reminded me of most was the Hyperion Max, the training version of the Hyperion Elite. The Elite felt a bit softer because of its DNA Flash v2 midsole, and it felt much stiffer because the Hyperion Max doesn’t have a plate. 

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Upper

Picture of Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

The Hyperion Elite 4’s upper is a masterclass on how to make a racing upper. There isn’t one thing I would change about it- it’s minimal but it’s effective.

The soft open knit material is the most breathable I’ve ever experienced while overall foot lockdown is excellent. I didn’t experience any irritation or hot spots.

Picture of Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

The tongue is stitched to one side only which prevents any tongue slide and there’s an additional loop on the tongue for the laces to go through for extra security.

The fit is true to size with an accommodating forefoot and toe box so I recommend this shoe for runners with wide feet. The notched laces which are similar to the Alphafly laces make it look and feel more premium, as do the reflective strips on the lacing section which are extremely rare on a super shoe.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Sole Unit

Picture of Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

If you pay $250 for a racing shoe, you expect to feel fast when you use it. The Hyperion Elite 4 just doesn’t feel as fast as the competition. The main reason for this is how flat its ride feels. The flat ride comes from the lack of a forefoot rocker, and a midsole foam which doesn’t return much energy.

A good racing foam needs to compress a considerable amount during footstrikes and then decompress very quickly, a characteristic of PEBA. The DNA Flash v2 (Nitrogen injected EVA) in the Hyperion Elite 4 doesn’t compress enough. That’s why PEBA is used by most brands in their flagship racing shoes.

The Hyperion Elite 4 is best suited to short distances like intervals and short tempo runs due to its firmness. It feels better during faster efforts. For long runs and marathons, it doesn’t feel as efficient as other super shoes.

The longest run I did in the Hyperion Elite 4 was 37 kilometres. 22 kilometres of it was at my steady pace and 15 kilometres was at my marathon pace. The steady-paced section felt comfortable but when I needed to increase my pace, I found it really difficult to. I did a similar type of run in the Alphafly 3 the previous week and the Alpha felt so much more punchy and aggressive.

The most interesting thing about the Hyperion Elite 4 is its carbon plate which is manufactured by Arris. The plate in the shoe is an open-lattice structure (lots of holes in it) which allows the plate to be stiff but lightweight at the same time.

Picture of Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

The problem is that the DNA Flash v2 midsole is so firm and dense that you can’t really feel the carbon plate inside the midsole. It feels as if the plate is muted because the foam isn’t very lively.

The one area where the Hyperion Elite 4 beats all the other super shoes is durability. The midsole foam is firmer and less vulnerable to scuffing/chipping so it holds up much better over time. After 85 kilometres, the outsole on my pair looks immaculate. This is a shoe that you can use for a lot of training and racing.

The forefoot rubber section has large holes in it and mimics the carbon plate to save weight. 2 small rubber pads protect the medial and lateral sections of the heel. I used the Hyperion Elite 4 in some light rain and outsole traction was good.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Conclusions

Picture of Brooks Hyperion Elite 4

The Hyperion Elite 4 is a $250 racing shoe that feels like a training shoe. It doesn’t have that special pop or explosive energy return that you usually associate with super shoes because of its flat DNA Flash v2 midsole.

For me, it’s on a lower tier than the Alphafly, Vaporfly, Adios Pro, Rocket X, and the new SC Elite.The $120 Atreyu Race Model offers a similar level of speed assistance and ride at less than half the price.

The Hyperion Elite 4 doesn’t have any flaws when it comes to design: it’s extremely comfortable, smooth, light and stable enough but it’s missing something. I don’t feel fast when I wear it. It’s crucial that Brooks switches to a PEBA-based midsole in the next Hyperion Elite version in order to catch up with their competitors.

Following the trend of most Brooks running shoes, the Hyperion Elite 4 has a stellar upper but a very average midsole. This flawless upper deserves better. I won’t be racing in the Hyperion Elite 4 because it won’t give me an advantage when it counts.

How does the Hyperion Elite 4 compare?

Nike Alphafly 3
Brooks Hyperion Elite 4
New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4
Expert score
9
7
8
User score
Retail price
US$285
US$250
US$249.95
Shoe type
Weight
7.7 oz
7.8 oz
8.1 oz
Heel Drop
8 mm
8 mm
4 mm
Recommended for
Racing, speedwork
Speedwork
Racing, speedwork, long distance racing
Cushioning type
balanced
balanced
balanced/plush
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
rigid
rigid
rigid
Stability
some stability
some stability
some stability
Sizing
buy half size bigger
true to size
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Brooks at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.
Lowest price:

$249

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 price comparison

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Reviewed by Brandon

This review was written by Brandon Law on 28th February.
Brandon is a South African who lives and trains in Malaysia. He is a marathon runner who eats, sleeps and dreams running shoes. While most people wear shoes to run, he runs to wear shoes.

User feedback (1)

  • avatar-comment-1035832
    Ee-Van
    2 months ago
    8 score

    The foam is not EVA though. It is super-critical foam with nitrogen gas infused in the process. One can argue it’s just EVA “blown up”, similarly with other midsole foam with different polymer/bonds.

    Received my pair a few days ago and I agree it is firmer than Elite 2 and 3. Less Squishy compared to 2 and 3 (because they are both same midsole just different upper).

    As per Hyperion Max, i felt the rocker to be the same on Elite4, much less on 2 and 3.

    Also, 2 and 3 were similarly responsive to 4, and the highlight for me over these 3 iteration is the stability when i compared this with two other plated shoes I own (Magic 2 and Peak UP3.0)

Lowest price:
$249

Where to buy

Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD
This page contains affiliate links Read more

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