Buy the Brooks Levitate 5 if…
- You’re looking for a neutral running shoe with a springy energy return
- You want a shoe that will force you to focus on your form
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The Brooks Levitate 5 was recommended to me directly by the Brooks Running website. Prior to the Levitate, the only Brooks shoe I had worn was the Ghost, and I was curious to try other lines from the brand. Unsure of which shoe to start with, I took Brooks’ “shoe finder” quiz (multiple times, I may add) and consistently got the Levitate 5 as my recommended shoe. The TL;DR is that I like this shoe very much, perhaps more than the Brooks Ghost, but it’s not for everyone and I don’t really need a trainer like this taking up space in my closet.
Keep reading for the full Run the Shoes Brooks Levitate 5 review.
Weight: 9.6 oz (Women) // 10.4 oz (Men)
There are actually four variations of the Brooks Levitate 5; there are two types of fit to choose from, classic or StealthFit, and two support styles, neutral or GTS. The fit refers to the upper—the classic fit has a traditional padded ankle collar and a slightly fit upper that hugs your feet, while the StealthFit has more of a snug, sock-like upper that emphasizes stretch and compression. In terms of support, the neutral fit is for runners who neither overpronate nor supinate, while the GTS (“Go-To Support”) style is for runners that do. According to Brooks’ website, if you feel place your hand between your knees and feel the pressure on it increase or decrease when you squat with your feet together, you should choose the GTS style. I’m a neutral runner who prefers a traditional upper, so I bought the standard Levitate 5 (classic fit, neutral support).
DNA AMP Midsole
One of Brooks’ four proprietary midsole cushioning materials, DNA AMP is all about energy return. It’s designed to absorb the force of your stride and return that energy back into your next step, yielding a super springy ride. This is a stark difference to the Brooks Ghost, which is designed with the super-soft DNA LOFT midsole.
Fit Knit Upper
No matter if you opt for the sock-like Stealthfit or the more classic upper, all models of the Levitate 5 have a breathable, mesh upper.
How I tested
I wore these shoes for about a total of 50 miles to test their efficacy. Most of those miles were run on the road, though about 25% were run on the treadmill and on the track. I paid attention to how the shoe handled transitions while running and how it felt when running both easy and tempo paces.
What to love about the Brooks Levitate 5
I found the energy return and quick transitions of the Levitate 5 to be quite remarkable when compared to the two other Brooks shoes I was testing around the same time, the Ghost and Glycerin. Another thing to like is the super durable outsole—this shoe could easily last 400 miles. Overall, I found that it was a good shoe to wear on easy-to-medium effort runs at an aerobic pace. I can see it being a viable choice for casual hobby joggers looking for a single pair of shoes that can handle a variety of terrains and paces.
What not to love about the Brooks Levitate 5
Though I liked the Levitate 5 and found it to be quite comfortable, there are some obvious downsides. One, it’s surprisingly heavy for a shoe that isn’t a plush recovery trainer. I found it to be quite narrow too, so it’s not a great option for runners with wide feet. (I have a medium-width feet and they fit just right.) If you’re the type of runner who owns multiple training shoes, it’s not entirely clear where this one would fall in your weekly rotation—it’s too springy for recovery runs and too heavy for speed workouts. It could be a good-enough tempo shoe but there are better options out there, even from Brooks.
The bottom line
The Brooks Levitate 5 is a comfortable and durable shoe that yields a springy ride. It’s a great option for casual runners with narrow to medium-sized feet who are looking for a daily trainer that can handle both easy runs and faster paces. If you’re a serious runner who tends to split their weekly running between recovery runs and workouts, the Levitate 5 doesn’t have a place in your rotation.
What other reviewers are saying
“The Brooks Levitate is a tempo shoe that feels like a speed shoe from 5 years ago complete with stiff foam, low stack heights, and a ride that pushes you to focus on your form rather than letting the shoe do the work for you.” – RunRepeat
“Honestly, I figured the Levitate 5 would feel eerily similar to the Levitate 4. Yep. About the same. Aside from the upper changes, [we] still disliked the ride…[we] wouldn’t call the ride harsh, but the firmness made the first mile, at minimum, feel clunky in every run.” – Believe In The Run
“These shoes are perfect for runners who want a smooth, responsive ride without sacrificing cushion.” – Fleet Feet
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