Our senior fitness editor dishes on the new running shoe.
Attention, runners! Brooks Running just dropped a completely new silhouette.
Ideal for neutral pavement pounders, the Levitate ($150; brooksrunning.com or dickssportinggoods.com) is designed to be "responsive and springy to add extra lift to your stride," helping you run faster. And according to the folks over at Brooks, this shoe was built on seven years of research. In other words, they did their due diligence.
I’ve been wear-testing the Levitate for about six weeks now, and I can honestly say that I'm in love with it—but it wasn't love at first run. My initial reaction was that it was cute, and I liked the vibrant aqua hue (they're also available in silver). The shiny detail along the side of the midsole, which I eventually learned serves a purpose (more on that later), is cool-looking too. This shoe also gets major points for its knitted upper, which hugs the foot without being restrictive, and the plush collar that offers extra cushioning around the ankle. Plus, it has lifestyle appeal, so I wouldn't hesitate to rock it around town.
After my first run, a six-miler through the streets of New York City and across the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn, I thought the Levitate was just OK. I wasn't thrilled with the shoe, but I also didn't hate it.
Luckily, I decided to give them another shot. The more miles I logged, the more these shoes won me over—and I noticed it was the shorter, faster runs where they really shone. Each set of push-the-pace miles had me feeling like I was Simone Biles propelling off of the springboard right before the vault. (OK, that might be an exaggeration, but you catch my drift.)
Which brings be back to that silver side strip I mentioned earlier. I learned it acts like a gatekeeper for all that springy energy generated in every step. "It’s a thermoplastic sheet, and as the foam or polyurethane tries to dissipate or disperse, the sheet holds it in so it doesn't lose as much energy," explains Carson Caprara, Global Director of Footwear Product Line Management for Brooks Running. "It’s like a compression sleeve; it prevents some of the vibrations and prevents energy loss and pushes it right back." In other words, if you want a feel-fast runner that thrusts you forward, this is your shoe.
The bottom line? I have grown very fond of my Levitates. In fact, I can’t wait to sign up for a 5K or 4-mile race to see how they—OK, and I—perform. I’m thinking all that Levitate energy return, paired with my own adrenaline from toeing the start line, will definitely result in a PR. One caveat: For now, I’ll reserve them for distances shorter than a 10K; anything longer, and they just don't seem to have the same oomph, at least for me.