Thursday, July 07, 2016

Review Brooks Hyperion- Icarus Descending

Article by Peter Stuart

The Brooks Running Hyperion is a 6.6 oz road racing flat: 27mm heel/17mm forefoot, 10mm drop. $130. Available now.  Unfortunately It’s got some major issues.

Upper and Fit:

The upper on the Hyperion is lightweight, woven and minimal. It’s described as “Stretch Woven” and that about sums it up. It looks and feels different than the flyknit or the Skechers knit uppers— more lycra than knit.

There are some ventilation holes by the toe that allow the shoe to breathe nicely and the initial step-in experience was terrific. The shoes are narrow but the stretch of the upper keeps them from feeling restrictive. The insole is glued in. I noticed a very slight bump under the mid-foot, but it went away within minutes of wearing the shoes.

The Hyperion fits true-to-size and is nice looking shoe. The tongue is decently padded and the lacing is simple, efficient and holds the foot down well. So what’s the problem?

There is a minor problem, a medium sized problem and, for me, a deal breaker.

Minor Problem: The ankle collar on the Hyperion flares out pretty severely when you step down—-particularly if you’re loading the heel at all. On the step, the ankle collar bulges out to the sides almost like a little pair of wings. Doesn’t seem to compromise the fit or feel, but looks awfully strange and may exacerbate heel problems (see below).

Medium sized problem: I got blisters on the tops of both feet. The inside of the shoe is relatively smooth, but it appears that the seam where the laces start (towards the toe) may be the culprit. More pronounced on one foot than the other, but in the exact same spot on each foot. Relatively minor compared to the biggest problem:

Deal Breaker: The back of the ankle collar—at  the heel— is fairly high and, worst of all, protrudes in towards the achilles. Over the first couple of runs, the Hyperion dug a solid hole in the back of both achilles. Ok, not a hole, but a massive blister. I don’t know if other folks are having this problem, but wow does this shoe rip the back of my achilles apart. It’s too bad because, as you’ll see below, I really like running in this shoe.
I ran in my usual socks and have never experienced this kind of blistering.
Midsole and Outsole: 

The midsole is Brooks’ proprietary BioMoGo material with their DNA cushioning. What that translates to is a nice, low to the ground super responsive and flexible ride with just enough cushioning to be comfortable for longer runs.

The outsole has flex-grooves and what Brooks calls “propulsion pods”. These are not pods in the sense of the Brooks Neuro or the old NB 890’s, these are more the suggestion of pods. There are sections of blown rubber outlining sections of BioMoGo (the yellow is blown rubber and the white is the BioMoGo). Again, this all pretty much disappears underfoot, but there is a nice pop off of the ground.

The Hyperion runs like a dream. If I weren’t in near constant pain from the way the shoe cuts into my heel I would absolutely race in these. They feel good at any speed and are pretty invisible underfoot. It’s one of those shoes that feel good slow and even better fast. There’s enough cushion underfoot to go 1/2 marathon for sure.

The Brooks Hyperion would be a terrific race and fast training shoe if it weren’t for the fit issues. If it doesn’t happen to irritate your heel I’d highly recommend it. They are super light, the upper is a nice, stretchy material, they breathe well and run well at any tempo. Unfortunately they give me blisters in places no other shoe does, and for that reason I’m not a fan.

Hyperion vs. NB 1400 V4 (Peter's RTR review here)
The Hyperion is lighter and has 2mm more underfoot in the front and the heel. To me the Hyperion feels just a hair firmer than the NB. Both great rides, but the fit of the NB is better for me.

Hyperion vs. Asics Hyperspeed 7 (Peter's RTR review here)
Hyperspeed feels a little more cushioned than the Hyperion and fits a bit better. Both are super light.

 Hyperion vs. Skechers GoMeb 3 (Peter's RTR review here)
The Hyperion feels like less shoe. It’s far more flexible, but may not be as solid over the longer miles.

Hyperion vs. Adidas Adios Boost 3 (Sam's RTR review here)
Similar firmness for me on these two. Adidas wins out on fit and resilience over miles.

Editor's Note: We recently tested the upcoming  Brooks Asteria a light racer/trainer with some stability features at the heel and a roomy soft toe box. We are not seeing the T-5 and T-7 for fall but will confirm with Brooks. Asteria review here

Score 3.5 of out 5
-1.0 for fit issues.
-0.5 for price ($130 pretty high for a racing flat).

All Photos Credit: Peter Stuart
The Brooks Hyperion were a personal purchase at retail.

Peter Stuart's Running Bio

My running career got off to a slow start…in high school I was told I ran like a race walker and was thus relegated to race walking on the track team. I got back into running about 15 years ago and then into triathlon. Triathlon really rekindled my love for running, so about two years ago I hired a coach and really focused on the half and full marathons.  I broke a bad habit of putting in tons of moderately hard miles (and no easy or hard ones) and after plateauing at 3:25 (with some disastrous marathons in there), this past year I brought my marathon under 3:00 and my half under 1:25. Along the way I’ve developed a bit of a shoe problem.

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