Monday, August 31, 2020

Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 Multi Tester Review

Article by Ivan Luca Corda, Jacob Brady, Michael Ellenberger, Sally Reiley, Ryan Eiler, and Derek Li 

Brooks Running Hyperion Elite 2 ($250)


Estimated Weight Unisex Sizing.: men's 7.4 oz/  210g (US9)  /  women's 6.6 oz / 185g (US8)

  Samples: unisex  US 8.5 7.16 oz  /203g, unisex 9.5: 7.65 oz / 217g

                  Sally’s unisex size 6.5, equivalent to a W8: 6.6 oz / 185 g

Note: Elite 1 in a US 8.5 men’s: 6.52 oz  /185 g, estimated 6.8 oz / 193g

Stack Height: 

Hyperion Elite 2: 29mm Forefoot and 37mm Heel (8mm drop)

Hyperion Elite 1:   27mm Forefoot and 35mm Heel (8mm drop)

Available now.  $250

Editor’s Note: We welcome Ivan Luca Corda from Denmark to the RTR test team for this his first review.

Ivan Luca Corda

Copenhagen, Denmark

Age 44

Height: 5’11 Weight:140 lbs

AP Graduate in Logistics Management

Began running in 2012 (age 36)

Weekly mileage: 50-80 miles (mostly roads and light paths/trails)

Favorite distance: Marathon

Memorable running experiences: 

  • Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon ‘17 (above Arctic Circle starting at midnight in full daylight)
  • Valencia Marathon PB in 2019 in 2:39:28
  • First Ultramarathon in 2020 (100 km) and 3rd at Danish National Championship

Passionate about analyzing all sort of data by using every possible gadget. This also includes comparing running shoes by measuring running mechanics.


Derek: I didn’t get to try the HE1 but I really enjoy the Hyperion Tempo as a more traditional lightweight trainer. It is therefore already off to a very promising start when Brooks decided to use the same DNA flash midsole from the Tempo in the HE2. I am generally a big fan of unstructured uppers (e.g. Vaporfly 4% OG, Zoom Fly SP, Skechers Speed Elite Hyper) so I am looking forward to seeing how this shoe stack# up with an upper that looks to have the same sort of minimalist support. The question mark for me is the ride. With Hyperion Tempo being on the firmer side to begin with, would the addition of a plate into the mix make it excessively harsh, even with the added stack? 

Ivan: The first time I saw the original Brooks Hyperion Elite I was intrigued by the design (especially at the heel section) and the fact that Brooks had created what appeared to be a serious competitor in the “super shoes” race. However, I never got to try it and the reviews, mostly focusing on the harsh ride, kept me from ever giving it a try. When I heard about the update and the high stacked DNA Flash midsole I knew that I had to give it a try. Also, I have long been looking for a more stable racer and it was visually obvious that this shoe could probably provide this with such a wide underfoot platform.

Ryan: Like Ivan, I was curious about what version 2 would hold, with such mixed reviews of version 1. Brooks understandably felt the need to rush V1 of the Elite in order to fend off the Vaporfly. Did Brooks learn from its mistakes, or would this be merely a box of repackaged potential durability mishaps? The DNA Flash midsole is very different from incumbents’ foams, and certainly had me wondering what its stability and energy conservation would be like.

Jacob: The Hyperion Elite 2 is the second iteration of Brooks’ high-end carbon-plated marathon racing shoe. The HE2 is a rapid follow-up to the first-generation Hyperion Elite released in February 2020. The original HE arrived amidst the wave of running shoe brands’ first carbon-plated racers prior to the 2020 olympics, at the time all attempting to catch up to Nike’s industry-leading Vaporfly 4%/NEXT%. In a short period of time in late 2019 to early 2020, many of the major shoe companies released their first carbon-plated racing shoe. Brooks’ first entry into the carbon-plated realm with the Hyperion Elite was a bit of a disappointment. The consensus was that the shoe had an underwhelming ride (firm with low “fun factor”) and poor expected durability. However, by the time the HE was released, Brooks’ elite runners were already running in something new with a more substantial looking midsole, more reminiscent of Nike’s VF series, the HE2.

The HE2 ditches Brooks’ short-lived DNA Zero midsole used in the HE1 and employs the also light but bouncier and softer DNA Flash midsole used in the Hyperion Tempo (uptempo trainer released alongside the HE1) and Catamount (trail racer). The stack height in the heel and forefoot is also raised by 2mm. Brooks says the HE 2 has 14 percent more energy return and that the midsole foam compresses 37 percent more than the original HE. This combination shoe given both the softness, springiness, and fun-factor the HE1 was lacking as well as bring the ride closer to the famous VF series, making it a closer competitor.

Michael: I was (and still am) a fan of the original Hyperion Elite from Brooks; it’s remained in my lineup since its release earlier this year, and while I am cautious with it due to its reported limited lifespan, I have nearly 100 miles on my pair (including some track miles from a comparative test earlier this week!) and haven’t noticed any significant changes. Heck, I ran 10 miles in just over 54 minutes in the original variant, so they’re doing something right. With that in mind, I set out to see if the Hyperion Elite 2 represented a meaningful change over its predecessor. I knew it would be different - but is it better?

Sally: I did not have the chance to run in the original HE version, and was really psyched to test out this second version. I am admittedly a huge fan of the Nike Next %, but was then pleasantly surprised by Saucony’s carbon plated entry the Endorphin Pro. Brooks shoes tend to fit me well and are much loved by so many runners, so I was excited to try the HE2. The others have all summarized the genesis of this shoe - now let’s take it on a run!


Derek: Stable, light, breathable, 

Ivan:  Light, breathable and secure fit

Ivan/Sally: Very versatile despite advertised as a racer, but fast when it needs to be

Ivan/Ryan/Jacob/Michael: Stable and well-balanced ride

Ryan: Noticeable fatigue reduction 

Jacob/Michael: Pleasant, not-too-aggressive, but still fast ride

Jacob: Accommodating, comfortable, and secure fit


Ivan/Michael/Sally: Added pad in the heel collar could possibly bother achilles tendon

Derek/Ivan/Jacob/Sally: Missing a bit of that very soft/bouncy sensation from some other “super shoes”

Derek/Ivan/Sally:  Not the fastest toe/roll-off compared to competitors in this category

Derek: Outsole grip is not great on wet surfaces

Ryan: Alphafly-level price tag

Ryan: Showing some early signs of wear on the outer rubber & inner heel “suede” collar

Jacob: Outsole durability

Jacob: Notably less leg-saving ability than the VF NEXT%, for the same price

Jacob: Tongue is very thin and takes a while to place

Michael: Same upper concerns as v1 - a little loose for fast running

Michael: Outsole does not scream durable - and is literally unusable on my treadmill.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Altra Superior 4.5 Review: A Trail Runner for Fast Fun. Improved!

Article by Dom Layfield

Altra Superior 4.5 ($110)


The Altra Superior 4.5 is a minor update to version 4.0.  In this revision, the upper fabric is changed to a (presumably) tougher mesh, and the sole is made slightly stiffer.   The Superior 4.0 was a lightweight, super soft, slipper-like shoe, and version 4.5 retains this same character while making the shoe slightly more mainstream.


  • Retains glove-like fit, and slipper-like feel

  • A hair more midsole stiffness makes shoe more forgiving

  • Grip slightly better


  • A tiny bit heavier than before (+8 g/0.3 oz per shoe)

  • Still too minimal for many

Tester Profile

Dom 48, trains and competes mainly on trails in Southern California running about 3000 miles and 500k ft of vert per year.  In 2017 he was 14th at Western States 100 and in 2018 finished 50th at UTMB and 32nd at the 2018 Los Angeles marathon in a time of 2:46.  2019 was a quiet year, with his only notable finish at the multi-day Dragon Back race in the UK.


Weight: men's 8.4 oz / 238g(US9)  /  women's 7.3 oz / 207g (US8)

  Sample: 9.0 oz / 255 g  (US M10)

Stack Height:  21 mm (official number - not sure if this includes Stone Guard plate)

Available now including Running Warehouse here ($82.50 through Sept 7)

Friday, August 28, 2020

S/Lab Ultra 3 Multi Tester Review: Outsole, Midsole, and Upper Working in Perfect All Terrain Unison

Article by Adam Glueck and Jeff Valliere

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 ($180)

The S/Lab Ultra 3 in its natural habitat. 


Adam-  The S/Lab Ultra 3 occupies a relatively unique spot in Salomon’s line up.  While most of their S/Lab shoes are light, stripped down, firm racing shoes, the Ultras are designed for long distance comfort, performance, and traction.  My favorite of the Ultras so far was the original S/Lab Sense Ultra, which took a lightweight, minimalist upper from the S/Lab Sense 6 and stuck it onto a protective enough midsole for longer runs.  I’ve ran so many miles in my original pair that the traction is almost smooth and I can’t bear to leave them.  

Since then, the S/Lab Ultra became more protective and heavy, and the S/Lab Ultra 2 streamlined the upper slightly with the same heavier midsole.  I’ve grown to like the protection and cushion offered by the S/Lab Ultra and Ultra 2, but still have been wishing the upper was lighter and more minimalist as was the original’s.  Thus when I saw that the Ultra 3 would include slightly more foam underfoot (2mm) in a more responsive midsole with a completely redesigned upper I was excited to see how this new shoe would perform.

Adam on a Test Run in Ascutney, Vermont


Adam/Jeff V:  Underfoot Protection:  I can run on rocks, roots, rock plate is very protective, feet don’t feel beat up from aggressive trail running.  

Adam/Jeff V:  Responsive, firm, yet cushioned midsole.  

Adam/Jeff V:  New Upper  

Adam/Jeff V:  Outsole grip  


Adam/Jeff V:  Weight:  Although lighter and moving in a good direction, this still isn’t the lightweight S/Lab Sense Ultra.  That shoe encouraged me to run with higher tempos and felt even more agile.

Adam:  Possible heel chafing with the new upper, (though after my first run this didn’t bother me over another 90 miles at all, probably a fluke).  

Adam:  Color isn’t for everyone, but it is unique and sleek.  

Jeff V:  Price, as always, $180 is a lot to drop on a shoe, even if S/Lab.

Tester Profiles

Adam is a cross country ski racer from New Hampshire.  Along with skiing, he’s a big fan of endurance sports in general and does a lot of running.  He’s much faster at skiing, recently participating in the curtailed NCAA’s skiing for Dartmouth College, but can run a 4:43 mile (in trail shoes), 16:59 5k (wearing the Sonic 3 Accelerates), and has won a few small trail races you’ve never heard of.  His mileage varies depending on how much snow is on the ground, but he trains about 700 hours a year including 1200 miles of running and 4000 miles of skiing and roller skiing.  You can follow him at IG: @real_nordic_skier, his blog:, & on Strava

Jeff V. runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder, Colorado often challenging well known local FKT's. 


Official Weight:  10.22 oz./290 grams  US men’s 9

Samples: US M10: 10.58 oz./300 grams, US  M11:  11.2 oz/318g

Stack Height: 28mm heel/20mm forefoot, 6mm drop

Available now, sold out but restocking Sept.  $180

Weight comparison for size a 11:

S/Lab Ultra 3:  318 g

S/Lab Ultra 2: 317 g

S/Lab Sense Ultra:  310 g

Sense Ride 3: 332 g

S/Lab Sense 8:  219.5 g

For fun, saucony endorphin pro:  235g

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Skechers GO Run Maxroad 4+ Hyper Multi Tester Review: A New Upper Worthy of a Great Ride

Article by Derek Li, Peter Stuart, Jeff Beck, and Hope Wilkes

Skechers GOrun Maxroad 4+ Hyper ($140)


Derek: You can read about our original review of the Skechers GoRun MaxRoad 4 here. The MaxRoad 4 is a solid platform. Incredibly lively high stack HyperBurst paired with really great aesthetics. However, there was a fly in the ointment. The upper caused problems for almost all our testers here at RoadTrailRun. Some of us had blisters, while I personally kept getting a really bad hotspot on the inside of the 1st metatarsal head on both feet. I really like the midsole ride, so I tried many hacks over the past couple of months. Different insoles, different socks, different laces. It always boiled down to the same problem. A hotspot would build up by the 2 mile mark and by the 6 mile mark it was practically unbearable. Skechers, to their credit, are really good at taking on feedback. They had a similar problem with the upper of the GoRun 7, and they re-did the upper in the GoRun7+ with a circular mesh upper and completely changed the GoRun7 into a solid fun daily trainer. 

Enter the MaxRoad 4+ for 2020, featuring a re-worked lightweight durable mono mesh and polyester upper that claims to be more breathable and supportive. The rest of the shoe appears pretty much unchanged, although the outsole now sports the GoodYear logo and the original MaxRoad 4 did not.  We also see a welcome 0.4 oz / 11g drop in weight.

Peter: The Max Road 4 showed lots of promise but was hampered, for me, by a warm knit upper that didn’t hold my foot as well as I would have liked. I had some great runs in it and even found it to pick up to tempo really well. The upper kept it from being a practical choice here in Texas, but I liked it. The 4+ is back with a new upper and may prove to be a terrific update to an interesting shoe that can give the beefier Hokas a run for their money (while being a bunch lighter). 

Hope: I took the MR4 to task for being too warm, loose-fitting, and less than pleasing to my eye. Yet I still gave it a favorable rating! That’s a testament to the ride of this model: bouncy, light, and effortless. My wishlist for the update included a more secure, more breathable upper, improved outsole durability, and a cleaner aesthetic. How did Skechers do?


Derek/Hope: very good weight/cushioning ratio; very bouncy ride

Peter/Hope: better fitting upper (than the 4), lots of cushion

Jeff: Fun ride and lightweight stayed, problematic upper left


Derek: upper still a bit warm but manageable; could use a bit more rocker

Peter: Jury still out on the ride for me. 

Hope: Looks are not helped by the strange color choices on the pair I received

Hope: Upper could still be a touch more secure -- has essentially zero lateral stability

Jeff: My unique problem with the pod/column design midsole from the 4 persists in the 4+

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Brooks Levitate 4 Multi Tester Review

Article by Jeff Beck, Derek Li, Sally Reiley, Jamie Hershfang and Sam Winebaum

Brooks Levitate 4 ($150)


Jeff: The Brooks Levitate. One of the cornerstones of the weirder side of Brooks (including the Pure series, Green Silence, etc.. vs the tried-and-true Adrenaline/Ravenna/Transcend or Ghost/Glycerin/Launch), the previous versions of the Levitate were incredibly heavy and brought what Sam coined as a “pneumatic feel” as you ran in them due to their polyurethane midsole construction. The Lev4 plays with the formula some, introducing a new variant of their DNA Amp midsole that is 20% lighter than the previous material. In using this new formulation, they dropped about 1.5 oz / 42 g and also really streamlined the knit upper. Would this be the key to bringing the Levitate mainstream success? Maybe for others, but the 4 seems like a step backward for me.

Derek: I never got the chance to put miles in earlier versions of the Levitate. I did try version 1 in store briefly and while there was a subtle spring to the foam, it felt somewhat less lovely than what I felt I would enjoy for a shoe in that weight category. I do know a friend who absolutely loved the Levitate to the point of using them as racers in full marathons. He’s a sub-3 guy weighing about 155lbs if that helps. So when the Levitate 4 claimed to have shed lots of weight I signed up to see if it would work better than earlier versions for me. The big change is this version seems to be a tweaked midsole that drops weight, and a reconfigured outsole design. Does it work? Read on to find out. 

Jamie: From the first version to the 4th, the Levitate has made quite a few changes over the years, but what has clearly stayed the same, lots of cushion. My initial assumption was the Levitate was a shoe that would be durable enough for daily training, yet light enough to carry you through all types of runs. The weight of the shoe never appealed to me in prior versions, so when I found out that the Levitate 4 dramatically reduced its weight, I was eager to test it out. Right out of the box, the new Levitate 4 looked good, and felt good, but running it was quite the different story.

Sam: I had very high hopes for the Levitate 4 as it dropped 1.3 oz in weight, kept the deliberate and pneumatic DNA AMP midsole foam in a lighter formulation and topped it with a streamlined, beautiful looking knit upper.


Jeff/Sam/Sally/Jamie: Possibly best looking shoe ever made

Jeff/Derek/Sam: Dropped 1.5 ounces from L2

Jeff/Jamie: Brooks keeps trying new stuff

Jeff: Tongue and heel pull tabs are great

Sally: Snug fit works well to secure my narrow foot

Derek/Sam/Sally: Transitions are smooth

Sam: Toe off is snappy but.. 


Sam/Sally: Dull non responsive soft ball of the foot. rubber too thin, soft or poorly arranged?

Jeff/Derek/Jamie: Super narrow from midfoot forward

Sam/Jamie: While cool looking and a secure fit, time to ditch knit uppers for newer lighter more breathable  engineered mesh or mono meshes, tight over center front of toes

Sam: Narrow upper is fine by me but thick knit over the center front of toes is overdone and presses down on the toes more than it should

Jeff: Weight loss is nice, but still heavy

Jeff: Not nearly enough underfoot for the weight

Derek/Sally/Jamie: Not particularly springy ride

Sally: Thin outsole not is forgiving enough

Sally: The short upper bit of tongue that is not stitched down slips laterally (to outside) during run


Weight:: men's 10.35 oz / 292g  (US9)  /  women's 9 oz / 254 g (US8) 


Jeff: M10.5 11.4 oz / 324 g Derek: M9.5 10.5oz / 299g Sally: W8  9.0 oz / 254 g

8mm drop

Available Now $150

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

ASICS GEL Fujitrabuco Pro Multi Tester Review - A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one!

Article by Nils Scharff & Johannes Klein

ASICS Fujitrabuco Pro (£120)


Nils: ASICS was never a trail running brand for me. I've always seen the Japanese shoes on the average city runner's feet on sidewalks, bike paths, and in parks. However, I have never associated ASICS with outdoor adventures. In my running shoe internet bubble, there was nothing to be seen of reviews about ASICS, let alone eulogies, of ASICS trail shoes although several times UTMB winner Xavier Thevnard runs ASICS.

When Sam approached me and told me that we wanted to expand our cooperation with ASICS in the trail segment, I was a bit surprised at first. I first had to read up about the ASICS trail line, since the naming in the ASICS trail range, which at first glance seemed a bit adventurous, meant nothing to me. The first shoe that Johannes and I were given to review was the Fujitrabuco Pro. It is a moderately cushioned shoe with an aggressive outsole, which is supposed to be the racer among ASICS trail shoes.

Johannes: If I am to be absolutely honest: I have never been an ASICS runner. At least since I learned a little more about running shoes and assured myself that there are more suitable alternatives for my wide feet and mid-to-forefoot gait. But now, with the Fujitrabuco Pro, there is a shoe that wants to teach me better! 

As long as I can remember, the regular Fujitrabuco has been one of the most popular trail and hiking shoes on the German market. Narrow fit, Gel cushioning, lush upper material, solid outsole - a classic ASICS. In my opinion, the Fujitrabuco Pro does not share many features with a ‘typical’ ASICS shoe, which I think brings some benefits in its intended market niche. A shoe for competition that promises speed despite its solid construction: let's put it to the test!

Pros and Cons


Nils: Aggressive outsole with good grip!

Nils: Good flex point in the forefoot that is perfect for steep terrain

Nils: Good fast lacing system

Nils: The shoe fits like a sock

Johannes: High build quality

Johannes: Relatively light (especially on the foot)

Johannes: Natural ride despite stone protection plate

Johannes: The outsole offers a secure hold on any surface

Johannes: Very secure, albeit tight fit


Nils: Uninspiring midsole

Nils: Upper material hardly breathes at all and is MUCH too hot in midsummer

Johannes: The midsole isn’t very lively

John. Warm, partially restrictive upper material

COROS Pace 2 Premium Sports Watch Review: The Lightest GPS Watch Yet. Highly Accurate and Capable. A Superb Value at $200.

Article by Sam Winebaum

Coros Pace 2 Premium GPS Watch ($200)


- The lightest, full featured GPS and wrist HR sports watch watch on the market at 29g

- Superb fit and comfort from its thin profile, chafe free nylon woven strap and hinge design. Ideal for skinny wrists such as mine

- Solid spike free wrist HR in part likely due to the great on the wrist fit

- Longest full GPS accuracy, ultra, and everyday battery life of any watch in its class

- Highly accurate GPS distance tracking, even in UltraMax 60 hour battery mode

- Incredible value at $200


- None of any significance in terms of performance, usability, or accuracy

- It's a $200 non mountain focused watch but pretty sure it could run the vertical and navigation features of its pricer siblings Apex, Apex Pro, and Vertix which would make it yet more sharply compete with watches $50-$100 more.

- Would like to see deeper recovery (HRV, etc..) stats and deeper long term fitness and training trends data in app or at the web site, COROS being app only now.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Testbericht: ASICS GEL Fujitrabuco Pro - Eine kleine Überraschung!

 Article by Nils Scharff & Johannes Klein

Link zu allen RTR-Testberichten: HIER

ASICS GEL Fujitrabuco Pro (140€)


Nils: ASICS war für mich nie eine Trailrunning-Marke. Ich habe die japanischen Schuhe immer eher an den Füßen des durchschnittlichen Stadtläufers auf Bürgersteigen, Radwegen und in Parks gesehen. Mit Abenteuern draußen in der Natur habe ich ASICS jedoch nie in Verbindung gebracht. Und auch in meiner Laufschuh-Internetblase war von Testberichten, geschweige denn Lobreden, zu ASICS-Trailschuhen nichts zu sehen. Als Sam auf mich zukam und mir sagte, dass wir die Zusammenarbeit mit ASICS im Trailsegment ausbauen wollen, war ich entsprechend erstmal etwas überrascht. Im zweiten Schritt musste ich mich dann erstmal einlesen, denn die auf den ersten Blick etwas abenteuerlich wirkende Namensgebung im ASICS-Trailsortiment sagte mir natürlich nichts. Der erste Schuh, der Johannes und mir zum Testen zur Verfügung gestellt wurde, ist der Fujitrabuco Pro. Es handelt sich dabei einen moderat gedämpften Schuh mit aggressiver Außensohle, der wohl den Racer unter ASICS Trailschuhen darstellen soll.

Johannes: Wenn ich absolut ehrlich sein soll: Ich war nie Asics-Läufer. Zumindest seit ich ein wenig mehr über Laufschuhe gelernt habe und mich davon überzeugen konnte, dass es für meine weiten Füße und den Mittel- bis Vorderfußgang besser geeignete Alternativen gibt. Nun kommt aber mit dem Fujitrabuco Pro ein Schuh daher, der mich eines Besseren belehren will! Der reguläre Fujitrabuco ist, seit ich mich zurückerinnern kann, einer der beliebtesten Trail- und Wanderschuhe auf dem deutschen Markt. Schmale Passform, Gel-Dämpfung, üppiges Obermaterial, solide Außensohle - Ein klassischer Asics. Der Fujitrabuco Pro weist dagegen nicht so viele Merkmale eines typischen Asics-Schuhs auf, was ihm meiner Meinung nach in seiner Marktnische zugutekommt. Ein Schuh für den Wettbewerb, der trotz seiner soliden Bauart Schnelligkeit verspricht: Lasst ihn uns auf die Probe stellen!

Pro & Contra


Nils: Aggressive Außensohle mit gutem Grip!

Nils: Guter Flexpunkt im Vorfuß, der perfekt für steiles Gelände ist!

Nils: Gutes Schnellschnürsystem!

Nils: Der Schuh sitzt wie ein Socken!

Johannes: Hohe Verarbeitungsqualität

Johannes: Relativ leicht (vor allem am Fuß)

Johannes: Natürliches Laufgefühl trotz Steinschutzplatte

Johannes: Außensohle bietet sicheren Halt auf jeglichem Untergrund

Johannes: Sehr sichere, wenn auch enge Passform


Nils: Uninspirierende Mittelsohle!

Nils: Obermaterial atmet so gut wie gar nicht und ist im Hochsommer VIEL zu heiß!

Johannes: Mittelsohle ist nicht sehr lebendig

Johannes. Warmes, teilweise beengendes Obermaterial