Friday, June 05, 2020

Brooks Running Revel 4 Review: No Nonsense, Affordable, Durable, Fun

Article by Peter Stuart and Renee Krusemark

Brooks Running Revel 4 ($100)


Weight:: men's 8.9 oz / 252g US9   women's 7.9oz / 224g  (US8)

Samples: women’s US8 7.9oz/224grams

8mm drop

Available July 2020. $100


Peter: The Revel seems to fly under the radar in the Brooks lineup. It hasn’t been around as long as the Ghost or Adrenaline and seems to lack the cult following of the Launch. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great little secret that more people should know about. What if I told you there was a really fun shoe out there that looks good and costs $100. Well, meet the Revel. Not a huge overhaul for the 4th, but there are some key changes. The Revel 4 sees a move to a nice, form fitting engineered knit and the outsole is Green Rubber with some well placed decoupling that helps make it a very smooth riding shoe. 


Peter: SMOOTH ride. Fun.

Peter/Renee: no nonsense and affordable

Renee: comfortable


Peter/Renee: a little warm. Would love mesh instead of knit.

Renee: somewhat lackluster (i.e. not an exciting ride as compared to other options)

Tester Profiles

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:25 half marathoner in recent years

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She runs a half marathon around 1:40 and hopes to get a full marathon at 3:30(ish) some day. Not today. But some day!

First Impressions and Fit

Peter: This is my first Revel. Ran 10 miles in them for a first run.. Total win. Fit is true-to-size and the Revel 4 required no muss and fuss to dial in. I put them on, tied them and went out for a run. The ride is soft, fun and bouncy and the miles just flew by. The only concern I had at all was that the engineered knit might be a little warm. I’m not sure they’re going to be a great summer shoe--but I’ll have to see if that was a first-run thing or a real problem. Overall, the Revel 4 made a great first impression. Is it the new Launch? 

Renee: Overall, comfortable in every way. As with Peter, this was my first Revel. I ran in the Ravenna 10, which also has the “energize” ride. I was expecting the experience type to be “cushion,” as was the case in the Revel 3 (which again, I did not run in). With all of the other popular Brooks shoes, the Revel 4 likely is not on everyone’s radar of new models. 

I had no issues taking the shoe for a 10.25 mile run on the hilly country roads right from the box. The Revel 4 works in a variety of ways for me, and so far (like the Ravenna 10), the Revel 4 seems extremely durable and versatile (and only $100!). I have no significant cons with this shoe, although I have notes about areas of improvement and how the shoe compares to other options. Keep reading!


Peter: The Revel 4 is a simple shoe from a company that’s been making running shoes for a long time. 

The upper is made of engineered knit in varying degrees of density. It is most breathable and open over the toes and on the outside of the foot, while there are more structured and thicker areas around the outside of the toe box and around the heel. There’s a pull tab at the back for easy and off. 

The ankle collar is decently padded without being obtrusive. The tongue is protective without being too thick and is attached to the sides of the shoe about halfway down. The tongue stays in place just fine. Lacing is basic laces through woven eyelets--nothing fancy but plenty effective and the flat laces seem to stay tied just fine. I’m not generally a huge fan of knit uppers--I prefer mesh--but this is a fine upper that holds the foot very well. It may run a little warm, I’d consider getting the white colorway for the summer.

Renee: Peter covered the upper with good detail. I found it comfortable in every way. The heel counter and ankle collar are a good height for me. The padding is enough for daily running without being obtrusive. The pull tab is great. The tongue seemed oddly narrow, but it covers what it needs to. I like the look of the “Revel 4” label sewn on the tongue, which is something other Brooks models have too. Although comfortable, I found the upper to be too much material, which was not bothersome but I have to really tighten the laces to get a good fit for running. The excess material in the upper might be beneficial for runners with wide feet, or runners who have bunions on the medial side of their feet. The laces were a bit long and I had to double knot them. The toe box height and width were great. 

The warmest temperature I ran using these shoes (so far) was 90 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity and “feels like” temperature close to 100 degrees. Breathability might be a concern during the hotter summer months (I too had the black shoes, so I agree with Peter about considering a lighter colorway). Some air enters the shoe through the tongue, but otherwise the shoe gets warm. The warmth isn’t horrible, especially with thin socks. On the positive side, this also means the shoe can be warm during my below freezing winter runs.  


Peter: The midsole is good old standard BioMoGo DNA from Brooks. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but it works fine. In the Revel it feels soft but still stays bouncy and energetic. It’s not mushy, but it’s not annoyingly firm. It’s a goldilocks midsole--not too soft, not too firm. Just right. 

Renee: I was expecting Brooks’ “cushion” experience type, but the Revel 4 is the “energize” type. I ran with the Ravenna 10, and I liked the “energize” experience then. The midsole is soft enough for long runs but firm enough to keep a light foot. That combination works well for me when running on hilly, dirt roads. In terms of performance, I’m not sure the midsole offers anything specific: it’s not a race shoe, it’s not an interval shoe, and it’s not an easy day, cushioned shoe. I can run a variety of runs with this shoe , but it might not be the perfect choice. In short, the midsole is versatile (that’s good) because it’s not a specific run-type shoe. That’s the whole point of a daily trainer. The midsole of my Ravenna 10 (similar to the Revel 4) feels basically the same now after several hundred miles as it did during mile one. I am expecting the midsole of the Revel 4 to be similarly indestructible. 


Peter: Green Rubber (still trying to figure out what that means) with a ton of coverage---durability should be excellent. Brooks is touting the “Arrow Point” pattern on the outsole as helping to provide quicker heel-toe transition. So  far, so good. The decoupled sections on the forefoot along with the ‘arrow point’ pattern help make the transitions on the Revel 4 feel very smooth and fast. 

Renee: I love a road shoe that can survive country shoes, and Brooks delivers.

I have several hundred miles with my Ravenna 10s and they show little signs of wear and tear. I expect that same durability from the outsole of the Revel 4. After 50 miles on the country roads (gravel, hills, some mud), the outsole looks great with no wear. Dirt and mud get trapped in the small crevices, but that’s to be expected. The pattern of the outsole is enough to provide some traction on the loose gravel without adding too much weight (i.e. if I need more from an outsole, I can switch to a trail shoe, but it’s nice to have a lightweight road shoe when a trail shoe is not necessary). 


Peter: The Revel 4’s ride reminds me of the original Brooks Launch. The ride is soft, snappy and fun. I should be careful to say that it’s not too soft. It’s soft compared to some of the firmer, less fun shoes out there--but not Clifton soft. The ride is a little bit unstructured--it’s truly a neutral shoe. If I had to pick some shoes with a similar level of cushion/softness I’d say the Skechers GoRun 7+ Hyper and the Nike Pegasus Turbo. Ride is such a subjective thing and at the most basic level I’m either having fun running in a shoe or trying to figure out why I’m not having fun. The Revel is fun. 

Renee: Right now, the ride works best for me during a mid-pace run or between an 8:15-9:15 min/mile pace. The midsole doesn’t have the cushion for an easy, slow run. I did push to run a .25 mile at a 6:15 min/mile pace. I wouldn’t choose the Revel 4 for intervals, but it is versatile. The 8mm drop, comfortable fit, and relatively light weight make this shoe a solid choice, especially because I run mostly rolling hills. I would choose this shoe for the days when I’m not really sure how fast I want to run, or I don’t really care about my pace. If I want to run slow, I can. If I want to pick up the pace, I can. The ride is smoother when I heel or midfoot strike, which I do when running hills. When running on flat surfaces, I tend to strike with the forefoot first. I wanted a bit more responsiveness in the forefoot for those flat surfaced, faster paced runs, but for a daily trainer that forefoot responsiveness is probably not necessary. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Peter: The Revel 4 seems to bring back some of the things that got lost as the Brooks Launch iterated up to the current, much less enjoyable, Launch 7. There was a simple, basic, fun quality to the original Launch that the Revel 4 really reminds me of. I think this is a terrific, enjoyable basic running shoe that is very affordable. I’d highly recommend it to new runners looking for an entry shoe that just works and to long-time runners looking for a good, versatile shoe to put in the line up. It’s good for easy days and would be fine for some tempo work or strides too. I’ve put about 100 miles into the Revel 4 at this point, including running in them 6 days in a row (not a usual move for me) as well as running an 18 miler in them.
Score 9.4/10 

The upper is a tiny bit warm, I’d prefer mesh to knit. 

Renee: The Revel 4 is basic and simple, like Peter said. However, basic and simple is not a bad thing. Brooks gives quality to the Revel 4, so basic and simple can mean versatile and durable for many runners. Plus, it’s not a heavy shoe, which I like. For serious runners or runners who use several pairs of shoes, the Revel 4 might not be the prime choice. I agree with Peter: new runners or runners who want one pair of quality shoes should consider the Revel 4. Runners seeking a niche shoe for each type of run might find the Revel 4 to be lackluster, or lacking excitement in the ride for a specific type of run. However, the midsole of a “exciting ride” shoe often means a lack of durability. The Revel 4 is durable in every way. The more I run in the Revel 4, the more I like it. The shoe disappears on foot, which is fantastic for a daily trainer.

Renee’s score: 8.75/10

 -.25 for excess upper material, -1.0 for at times a lackluster or non-exciting ride.


Editor's Note: Unfortunately neither Peter or Renee ran in the Revel 3. Our review is here. The Revel 4 weighs about the same, gets a knit upper, and the new arrow shaped Green Rubber outsole.

Hoka One One Cavu 3 (RTR Review)

Peter: I pulled out the Cavu 3 for comparison because I thought the ride was pretty similar. Yup, they both have a nice balanced and relatively soft ride. The upper of the Cavu 3 is surprisingly hot and tight in comparison to the Revel 4's. The Revel 4 isn’t the most breathable upper I’ve ever run in, but it’s cooler than the Cavu.

Saucony Ride 13 (RTR Review soon)

Peter: I’m still early in the review process for the Ride 13, but I thought I’d put them back to back with the Revel 4. While the Ride 13 has a nice, quick turnover, there’s something going on with the forefoot that feels a little harsh to me. The Ride’s upper is a nicer, more breathable mesh, but the Revel 4 wins out on a more enjoyable ride at a lower price to boot. 

Brooks Launch 7  (RTR Review)

Peter: The Revel 4 is what I wish the Launch 7 was. As I mentioned in the review, the Revel 4 reminds me of the original Launch. It’s a simple, efficient everyday shoe that can handle pretty much anything. 

Nike Zoom Pegasus 37  (RTR Review)

Renee: Both shoes can be seen as a daily trainer or do-it-all shoe. While the Nike Pegasus 37 may be more exciting with the React form, I would pick the Revel 4. The Revel 4 is lighter and the 8mm drop works better for me to run hilly country roads. The Pegasus 37 seemed chunky in part because of the weight and in part because I could not get a good lockdown. The Revel 4 has none of those issues for me (although I do think there is more material than necessary in the upper). 

Peter: I prefer the Revel 4 to the Pegasus 37. There, I said it. It’s more fun to run in and feels like it flows more naturally through the gait cycle. 

Reebok Forever Floatride Energy  (RTR Review)

Renee: I did not run in FFE2, but like the Revel 4, the FFE models are a $100 everyday, neutral shoe. I prefer the midsole performance of the FFE, so between the two, I would choose the Reebok FFE. However, the Revel 4 is a much better choice for a daily trainer. The outsole is far more durable and the 8mm drop of the Revel 4 makes it a better choice for me running hills and uneven surfaces. 

Peter: These are pretty similar, but I find the ride of the Revel 4 a little more forgiving and the upper much softer.

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was a provided at no charge. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Will Bates said...

How do they compare to the Hyperion Tempo? More of a pairing as the Revel for easier days or is the Tempo similar in terms of use just with nicer materials and foam

Anonymous said...

My daughter and I love running in our Calderas, but I still can't figure out what the road shoe version of the Caldera is...could this be it? If not, which brooks roadie would it be.

Sam Winebaum said...

@will bates
I did not run Revel 4 but did very similar underfoot Revel 3 and I have run the Tempo. The Tempo serves a similar purpose (more up tempo than daily training) but Tempo is lighter and I would say also more supportive and stable as well as stiffer. It has plenty of durable rubber. If you like a relatively snappy not super cushioned training ride they might make a good pairing but if getting one Tempo unless price is an issue.

A Brooks road pairing with Cascadia might be a shoe such as the Ghost 12 (neutral), or Ravenna 11 or Adrenaline GTS (stability from side rails). If you do occasional shorter distance road at relatively brisk paces the Revel 4 would be good choice. See reviews below
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
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Bach Pham, MA said...

Interesting review. Would you say it's enough of an update to take over an on sale Revel 3?

Sam Winebaum said...

I ran the 3 but not the 4 and our testers the 4 but not the 3. Changes yes but don’t think significant enough to pass up a bargain. Wait at full price 4 is also a bargain! Sam ,Editor

Nee said...

Just wondering if someone can offer a comparison between the Revel 4 and Launch 6.
I am looking for a replacement for my Launch 6 and it seems that the Launch 7 has gotten rather lackluster reviews.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Nee,
You will get a far livelier, more flexible, bouncier ride with Revel 4 but somewhat less cushion than Launch 7.
Sam, Editor

effika said...

Nee-- I made the switch this year from the Launch 6 to the Revel 4. You won't regret it! (Well, except the lack of fun colors.) I tried out the Launch 7 in store and it's... something isn't right about it this year. It felt slow to me. The Revel 4 is definitely a better Launch than the Launch 7!

Anonymous said...

What about Revel 4 vs Asics Novablast?

Tom said...

I have both and the Hyperions are more dialled in, serious shoe. But, yes, the Revel are a good companion shoe. A bit softer, plusher and a good shoe for cruising around in at easy paces. The materials feel a bit cheaper, but still a sturdy shoe.