Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 with Excellent Upper and Durability

Hyperion Elite 4 on feet

The Brooks Hyperion Elite, while priced as a premium racer, performs more like a speed trainer. Its dense EVA midsole and minimal rocker result in less propulsion, but its exceptionally crafted racing upper and superior durability set it apart in the super shoe category.

Do you Deserve Brooks Hyperion Elite 4?

If you prioritize a highly accommodating, breathable upper and top-notch comfort, the Hyperion Elite 4 is an ideal choice. Moreover, if you seek a durable super shoe suitable for both training and racing, it fits the bill perfectly.

If you seek a highly explosive racer with significant speed assistance, the Hyperion Elite 4 may not meet your expectations. Similarly, if you prefer soft and squishy racers, this shoe may not be the right fit for you.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Brief Introduction

Hyperion Elite 4 toebox

Brooks has earned recognition for its superb uppers, meticulously crafted to offer an impeccable fit and abundant plushness and comfort. These uppers are so exceptional that they often overshadow the rest of the shoe's features.

Brooks' flagship daily trainers, including the Ghost, Glycerin, and Adrenaline models, serve as the cornerstone of their product line. While these shoes boast excellent uppers, their midsoles are often described as lackluster, characterized by firmness, flatness, and a lack of responsiveness.

In the realm of racing shoes, Brooks has lagged behind, particularly in long-distance racers. It isn't considered as a major player in the super shoe category. In racing, a superior upper alone isn't sufficient; a standout midsole is equally crucial. Consequently, at race events, only Brooks-sponsored athletes are commonly seen donning the Hyperion Elite.

This marks my debut with the Hyperion Elite. Brooks' racing footwear hasn't previously sparked my enthusiasm, largely due to the antiquated midsole materials they've employed. Despite their efforts to utilize top-tier foams, they fall short compared to competitors utilizing PEBA—a lightweight, high-energy-return material.

Brooks is a substantial company. And even newcomers like Decathlon are incorporating PEBA into their racing footwear, entering the super shoe category. Therefore, there's no justification for Brooks not to follow suit.

Lately, Brooks has undergone a transformation. They introduced the Ghost Max last year, a revamped edition of their highly favored trainer. Additionally, they enhanced the Glycerin with a Nitrogen-injected EVA midsole, with plans to implement the same foam in the Ghost 16 and Ghost Max 2. Moreover, the Hyperion Elite 4 receives the innovative DNA Flash v2 foam.

The Elite serves as the long-distance racer within the Hyperion road series, complemented by the Hyperion Max (maximalist speed trainer), the Hyperion (lightweight speed trainer), and the Hyperion GTS (supportive speed trainer).

The Hyperion Elite 4, weighing 7.8 oz (221 g), is 0.3 oz (11 g) lighter than its predecessor. Priced at $250, it aligns with standard rates for carbon-plated super shoes. Additionally, it boasts an extra 4 mm of stack height in the heel compared to the previous version.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Running Experience

Hyperion Elite 4 side overlays

During my initial 20-kilometer run at a steady pace, the experience was comfortable, smooth, and firm. While the upper felt amazing, the ride itself was rather ordinary, lacking the anticipated speed assistance.

The ride turned out to be slightly firmer than anticipated, with the carbon plate providing a very subtle effect. Surprisingly, there was little forward-tipping sensation, typical of super shoes. So it didn't push me to go faster. The lightweight upper contrasted with the dense midsole, resulting in a sensation of being bottom-heavy.

The shoe that it most resembled was the Hyperion Max, which serves as the training counterpart to the Hyperion Elite. While the Elite had a slightly softer feel due to its DNA Flash v2 midsole, it also felt notably stiffer, as the Hyperion Max lacks a plate.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Vamp / Upper

Hyperion Elite 4 upper

The upper of the Hyperion Elite 4 sets a benchmark for racing shoes, showcasing exceptional design with minimal yet highly effective features.

The Hyperion Elite 4 boasts an incredibly breathable soft open knit material, providing unparalleled ventilation. Its excellent overall foot lockdown ensures no irritation or hot spots during wear.

The tongue of the shoe is stitched to one side, preventing any sliding, and features an additional loop for the laces, ensuring extra security and stability.

The shoe fits true to size and offers a spacious forefoot and toe box, making it suitable for runners with wide feet. The notched laces, reminiscent of those on the Alphafly, enhance both the appearance and the premium feel of the shoe, while the reflective strips on the lacing section add a unique touch rarely seen in super shoes.

Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 Sole Units

Hyperion Elite 4 sole

When investing $250 in a racing shoe, the anticipation is to experience a sensation of speed during use. However, the Hyperion Elite 4 falls short in delivering this feeling compared to its competitors. Primarily, its lackluster performance can be attributed to its flat ride. This flatness stems from the absence of a forefoot rocker and a midsole foam that fails to provide significant energy return.

An effective racing foam should exhibit substantial compression upon footstrikes, followed by rapid decompression—a trait commonly found in PEBA materials. However, the DNA Flash v2 (Nitrogen-injected EVA) utilized in the Hyperion Elite 4 fails to compress adequately. This is precisely why most leading brands opt for PEBA in their premier racing shoe models.

The Hyperion Elite 4 excels in shorter distances such as intervals and short tempo runs, owing to its firmness which provides optimal support during faster efforts. However, for longer runs and marathons, it lacks the efficiency observed in other high-performance shoes, making it less suitable for long distance runnings.

The farthest distance I covered wearing the Hyperion Elite 4 was 37 kilometers. Of this, 22 kilometers were at my steady pace, while the remaining 15 kilometers were at my marathon pace. During the steady-paced segment, I felt comfortable. However, when I attempted to increase my pace, I encountered considerable difficulty. Interestingly, the week prior, I undertook a similar run wearing the Alphafly 3, and I found it to be significantly more dynamic and aggressive in comparison.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Hyperion Elite 4 is its carbon plate, crafted by Arris. The design of the plate features an open-lattice structure, characterized by numerous perforations. This unique construction enables the plate to maintain stiffness while remaining lightweight.

The issue lies in the dense and firm nature of the DNA Flash v2 midsole, which effectively masks the presence of the carbon plate within. The foam's lack of responsiveness results in a sensation where the carbon plate feels subdued or muted.

The standout feature of the Hyperion Elite 4 compared to other super shoes is its exceptional durability. Its firmer midsole foam is less prone to scuffing or chipping, ensuring longevity. Even after covering 85 kilometers, the outsole of my pair remains immaculate. This shoe is built to withstand extensive training and racing alike.

The forefoot rubber section features sizable perforations, mirroring the design of the carbon plate to reduce weight. Additionally, two small rubber pads safeguard the medial and lateral areas of the heel. During use in light rain, I found the outsole traction of the Hyperion Elite 4 to be commendable.

Summary & Conclusions

Hyperion Elite 4 heel

Priced at $250, the Hyperion Elite 4 presents itself as a racing shoe but tends to deliver a sensation akin to a training shoe. It lacks the distinctive bounce or vigorous energy return typically associated with super shoes due to its flat DNA Flash v2 midsole.

In my assessment, it falls below the Alphafly, Vaporfly, Adios Pro, Rocket X, and the new SC Elite models in terms of performance. Surprisingly, the $120 Atreyu Race Model provides a comparable level of speed assistance and ride experience at less than half the price.

The design of the Hyperion Elite 4 is impeccable; it boasts exceptional comfort, smoothness, lightness, and adequate stability. However, despite these attributes, it lacks a certain element: the sensation of speed. To keep pace with competitors, it's essential for Brooks to transition to a PEBA-based midsole in the next iteration of the Hyperion Elite.

In line with the typical Brooks running shoe style, the Hyperion Elite 4 boasts an outstanding upper but falls short with its rather ordinary midsole. Such a flawless upper deserves superior support. As a result, I won't be using the Hyperion Elite 4 for racing as it fails to provide the competitive edge I seek when it matters most.

User Reviews

Hyperion Elite 4 midsole

Zac W: Relatively lightweight with good torsional stability for a safer feel but less launch than Nike Vaporfly.

Zac R: Very comfortable upper. The toe box is wide enough and my feet feel locked in. I’ve ran a 20 miler in them and a track workout without feeling any hotspots or soreness in my feet. The foam doesn’t feel as responsive as my Vaporfly or adidas prime x2. I will be wearing these for my next marathon. Hope the foam is better with the next version.

Deborah S: I love these running shoes, they make me feel like I can really run. It was the first time I've gone running in a while, so it was important for me to get good shoes. They're very light, airy, and comfortable.

TJ G: Terrific addition and exceeded expectations. I’ve committed to the Hyperion model and my Hyperion Elite 4 exclusively for once daily treadmill workouts. Excellently ventilated structure, pleasingly single style helps keep focus uniform, the laces are an improvement even after the success of the Hyperion elite 3 which had a wider lace. The back interior cushion has been redesigned and my hope is that it will provide greater durability over the previous elite 3. I’m 6/ft. 216/lbs and at 35yr with an hour daily afternoon walk/jog/run routine and these are worth every cent. What’s next and looking forward to more.

Yonatan B: I am 6'1 tall 170 lbs, ran several 10mile runs in those, and am super-hyped abbot them. Probably one of the best in the carbon-plated family. They provide the perfect balance between stability and bounciness.

Sabrina Z: Love racing in these!! First time wearing them and I won a half-marathon!! Pretty much no break-in time required and super duper responsive. Decent amount of cushion but not so much that it feels heavy or unstable. This shoe is great at those fast transitions and keeping your cadence high!!

  • Product: Brooks Hyperion Elite 4
  • Price: $250
  • Usage:
    • Racing
    • Speed training
    • Interval training
    • Short tempo running
  • Other Features:
    • Heel-drop: 8mm
    • Weight: 7.8oz / 221.1g
    • Most cushioning level
    • Neutral support level
Hyperion Elite 4 toebox