Brooks Levitate Running Shoe Review & Ghost, Glycerin, Launch Comparison

by Sportitude
6 Nov 2017

The Brooks Levitate is a new favourite in the Brooks running family that's transforming the experience of runners in Australia and across the globe. Josh highlights the features and benefits of this cushioned, high mileage shoe and compares it to the Brooks Ghost, Glycerin and Launch.

The Levitate fills a gap in the market, being both durable and responsive in a lightweight package. Enjoy smooth transitions from midstance to toe off with a feel like gliding on clouds.

Check out the full review with transcript below.

Hi guys,

Josh here from Sportitude today to talk to you about the new Brooks Levitate that just landed in spring in Australia. It’s obviously globally taking over the world from what we’ve heard and all the people that have given us some feedback in the shoe that have currently been using it from an R and D perspective.

The Levitate is Brook’s first crack at a blended polyurethane midsole. Polyurethane midsole blends have been around for a number of years but they’ve only started engineering them in shoes recently.

One that springs to mind is the Adidas Boost. They were the first brand that really launched onto that polyurethane blend and they’ve done pretty well. It’s been a very popular shoe across nearly all countries.

When we’re talking about the Brooks blending of this specific PU midsole, I will be upfront and honest with you. It’s not quite as soft as what you get from your Boost family. When you put on the Adidas Boost it feels incredibly soft underneath the foot.

Why do Brooks not make the Levitate as soft? Probably because they want to stick to their core running range and their core values. Essentially they make great cushion but mileage shoes. The shoe itself holds its shape and doesn’t tweak from the first K right through the end of its life.

The Levitate is a neutral shoe and is designed to fit a foot that has a higher arch, not a pronated foot type. It is on an 8mm heel to toe gradient, so essentially not quite as pitched as their traditional mileage running shoes from their Brooks family.

We're talking about the Glycerin that comes in a 10mm heel to toe gradient and the Ghost which sits at a 12mm heel to toe gradient. The reason I brought those shoes out today is to tell you want runner could potentially transfer into this specific shoe, the Brooks Levitate.

I can confidently say I ran in Ghost, Glycerin and Launch. The Launch is like Brook's tempo style running shoe. It’s on a lightweight platform, 10mm heel to toe and it’s fantastically responsive through to the forefoot. However, it doesn’t last as long as the Glycerins and the Ghosts in the past.

Therefore, Brooks have probably sat there and thought about the gap in the market - we need to make a light, responsive shoe that actually lasts longer, hence the Brooks Levitate. It has taken two years to engineer this shoe.

I’m going to show you a couple of features and benefits of this little guy. If I tip it upside down you can see the outsole itself. You’ve got the flex grooves that almost work in an arrow dimension through the forefoot. What that does is provide a really flexible toe off phase.

They haven’t put any extra Trusstic systems which Brooks have done in the past and a lot of other brands do as well. They’ve just kept it nice and stable without the amount of real estate you’ve got through the way of toe off phase.

If you're looking at the bottom of this shoe and saying “It’s a little bit dirty,” that’s because I’ve done about 35km and have been on three runs to get a feel for it. It's ridiculously comfortable underneath the foot.

My foot type ever so slightly pronates so technically if I walked into the shop and I was a customer I wouldn’t encourage myself to put this on my foot. My orthotics on the other hand fitted very easily inside this shoe, so I can still run in this shoe because I get the stability and control from my orthotic.

Geez, I love the performance of this little guy! It’s fantastic underneath the heel so if you come down on heel strike on this shoe you get that impact guidance.

What I love most about the shoe is that from midstance to toe off the response is the same. The transition is so smooth it almost feels like your floating on top of the pavement.

That being said one of my favourite running shoes is the Glycerin. It’s great for longer, slower runs and I do like this specific shoe for high mileage running. I’ve always enjoyed the Ghost but I’ll always go the Glycerine over the Ghost. That’s just me personally.

I hope I’ve made sense where the Brooks Levitate sits. It’s for a neutral foot type or if you have an orthotic you can slip it in there quite easily.

What you do need to know is it's only is made in standard widths. You’ve got B in the ladies and D in the men’s.

One other feature which I would like to talk to you about is the upper. It’s not quite a knitted upper that we’ve seen from other brands in the last couple of years. It has the same fit and feel but on top the shoe is incredibly breathable. It’s very strong.

Sometimes with the polyurethane midsole of slightly softer shoes I get nervous that my foot is going to move off the platform. That’s not the case with this little guy here.

Brooks have a great way of providing midfoot stability with their navicular straps or navicular support on top of the shoe and you get that with the Brooks Levitate. It’s nice and stable in the upper through midstance and toe off.

There you go guys, Brooks Levitate and where it sits in the Brooks running family. I highly recommend it for that specific foot type.

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Happy running guys, we’re here to help. See you next time.