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)

Stats

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.

Introduction


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!



Pros:

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


Cons:

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.


WATCH JACOB, RYAN, AND SAM'S HYPERION ELITE 2 INITIAL TIME TRIALS VIDEO REVIEW (8:27)


Tester Profiles

Derek is in his 30’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:41 marathon PR.

Jacob runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over two years and averages 50-60 miles per week. Jacob has run several marathons and shorter (≤ 50km) ultras and mountain races in the past two seasons, with a PR of 2:51 in the marathon. In addition to running, he surfs, rides (mountain/gravel/road), and nordic skis. He is 25 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and about 155 lbs / 70 kg.

Ryan A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line. Ryan decided to forego his Wall Street job to be a gear junkie, and is currently the fledgling entrepreneur behind his company, Bridger Helmets.  Most days, you'll find him loping along the Charles River in Boston.  Of all the places he's run, Central Park NYC and the New Hampshire coast top his list.

Michael is a 2019 graduate of Northwestern University Law School in Chicago, with a focus on patent and intellectual property law. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). He recently finished 2nd at the Chicago Half-Marathon in a PR of 67:43, and was the top Illinois finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon (2:33:03, 82nd overall). He recently secured a 2:31 marathon PR at the Austin Marathon. 

Sally is a mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past six Boston Marathons and one Chicago, with a 2017 Boston PR of 3:29, good for 8th in her age group. Along the way she has raised over $200,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04) and 5K. To commemorate her 60th birthday she ran the NYC Marathon in November finishing 2nd in her age group with a PR time of 3:28:39.  Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5’2’’ and 105 pounds.


Construction (Brooks Running)

First Impressions and Fit

Derek: This is a beautiful shoe! The yellow midsole really pops under the grey upper and the whole package just looks very classy. The fit is definitely true to size for me, and like Jacob says, the high number of eyelets allows you to really dial in the fit to match your foot shape. The upper is very thin and flexible and you get a pretty good wrap around your foot, with plenty of toe box room for toe splay. It is not a plush fit by any means, but good in enough where it matters for a racing flat. Walking around, there is a subtle give to the shoe, especially in the forefoot that was not so obvious in the Hyperion Tempo. Very promising so far!


Ivan: My initial reaction was admiration for Brooks to dare thinking out of the box to create a racer built on such a wide platform. The Hyperion Elite 2 looks very different from its competitors with a “flat & wide” look and this despite the generous stack height on paper.

The fit is excellent with a great midfoot lockdown despite the very wide outsole. I would say it’s TTS with an adequate toe-box, which is not always the case in the race shoe category.

Ryan: It’s actually as wide as it looks in photos -- like a pontoon boat painted in safety yellow. The glowing midsole stack stands out in such stark contrast to the muted light grey upper, that it’s practically all you notice. It still manages to project a serious vibe, however, with a sleek, clean colorway and an overhanging heel to let you know that it’s made to do special things.


It took a little more finagling and dialing-in to lace it up than an everyday trainer, but my (unisex) size 9.5 fit snugly with mid foot pressure nicely distributed. The tongue wants to fold and move around if you’re not patient, as minimalist tongues are wont to do.


Jacob: The Hyperion Elite 2 exudes the modern marathon racer vibe. It has a thick midsole stack, a thin, no excess upper, and a bright but clean colorway. The shoe is pleasingly light and balanced in the hand and feels high quality. 

It has a strikingly wide platform and notable heel bevel and forefoot rocker. The midsole is quite soft in hand and easily compressible. As expected given the full-length carbon plate, the HE2 has almost no flex.

On foot, the fit and sizing is exceptional. The upper is accommodating and soft-feeling but the foot stays extremely locked-in. Length and width is perfect for me at my true to size with none of the slightly uncomfortable tightness that some racers have. 

The soft, flat laces with a high number of close together eyelets allow a precise and tight lace-up without much issue of lace bite despite the very thin tongue. Underfoot, the shoe is cushioned but lively and feels connected to the ground—an exciting start. My first impressions are that Brooks has done a fantastic job and I can’t wait to see how the HE2 feels on the run.


Michael: Indeed, while the Hyperion Elite 1 looked like a racing flat, the Elite 2 looks like a 2020 racing flat, with a super wide (and long) midsole that stretches past the heel and just squeaks under the IAAF guidelines. This thing is a far cry from the Nike Streak LT or New Balance RC5000 that we used to cling to for racing - it’s a thick, well-cushioned racer, designed for the marathon. 




Upper

Derek: This upper has a lot of nice things going for it. It is thin, very soft and flexible, but does not stretch. That’s a good thing for me in a racer. It means you can really lock down your foot, without worrying about overlays not working for your foot shape. Normally, this might be a problem in terms of support because no structure means your foot can spill over easily on a hard corner, but the platform for the HE2 is wide and stable enough that it becomes a non-issue here. 


The tongue itself is also just a thin laminated piece of fabric, and here I felt, they could have made the material a little softer. It does crease a little as it just up against your ankle,and just doesn’t sit very naturally. It doesn’t cause any discomfort, but is not aesthetically very neat to me. 


The ankle opening is my only area of criticism in the upper for this shoe. Like Ivan and Sally, I experienced some Achilles rub in this shoe. It’s strange because I have zero problems in the ZoomFly SP or VF OG, or even notorious heel shredders like the Zoom Fly 1, or LunarEpic high. I narrowed it down to this thin strip of laminate that runs along the top rim of the ankle collar. It is very stiff and sharp before it breaks in. In my left foot, which tends to point down a lot more than my right, the plastic laminate bites into the skin creases of my Achilles. It causes zero problems in my right foot. My very first run in this shoe was mile repeats, and after just my second repeat, I had to switch out from my usual thin race day socks into thicker socks just to protect the blister that was developing in a tiny spot in the middle of the Achilles. As I type this review 9 days later, the blister still bothers me and I have to tape it up for longer runs. It’s not a deal-breaker, and the laminate has softened up considerably after the first 2 runs, but I would be wary of using very thin socks with this shoe, especially for longer races. Again, this seems to be gait-dependent. I just did a longer 17 miler in the shoes and now my right Achilles has developed a small blister as well, despite me using medium thickness socks. This time I think it stemmed more from the internal heel collar cushions rubbing on the spot during the run. I think Brooks would do well to separate the cushions into a left and right one rather than having one continuous cushion going around the ankle opening. Something to consider for the next version.


Ivan: It’s a simple, thin and secure fitting one piece mesh upper reminding me of the original Nike Vaporfly 4%. It is very breathable but with a bit more stretch to it. Laces are also stretchy, but still holds the foot in place. Midfoot is rather snug as I think a racer should be but due to that stretchy material it conforms well. 


My feet are a bit wide, especially on the lateral side and my pinky toes often get squeezed when wearing racers. This is not the case in the Hyperion Elite 2. The heel counter has a good and secure fit with no sort of slippage despite being rather minimal. 


However, a semi-thick cushioned pad has been added, as in the Next%, which I found a slightly bothersome. The lower part of my achilles tendon (just above the heel) feels a tiny bit irritated during and just after my runs, but hopefully the pad will flatten out a bit in time.

Ryan: The smooth, slightly shiny grey upper conforms to the foot very well, and I agree with Ivan that its hold of the midfoot is impressive for such a thinly woven material. It’s thin enough to breathe moderately well, but I believe that mesh-like uppers, such as found on the Endorphin Pro, have better ventilation. The heel counter is impressive for a racer, and the toe box is also nicely structured, resulting in a superb full-foot lockdown.


There’s a speed bump-shaped ridge inside the upper heel that does a solid job of restricting unwanted movement and minimizing heel lift. Some may find it irritating, as Ivan does, but it seems like an increasingly common design for ultralight racing shoes. It did feel a little tricky for me to tighten properly, as you need to be patient in keeping the laces from losing tension as you knot them. The inside of the tongue and heel have a suede-like finish, which feels high-end and very comfortable, but has already started to pill after about 20 miles.

Jacob: The Hyperion Elite 2 uses a thin, single-layer mechanical stretch woven upper. The material is grippy (suede-like, as Ryan noted) on the inside and soft-feeling and mostly static with just a light stretch. There is no excess material. 

The tongue is very thin and folds/bunches up easily; it takes a few minutes for me to get it to lay flat when I am lacing up, but it stays in place adequately well and doesn’t cause any issues or discomfort while on the run. Despite the very thin tongue, I’ve had no problems with lace bite as the flat, stretchy, ribbed laces are fantastic and there is an unusually large number of closely-spaced eyelets. Though lacing-up takes a few minutes and preferably a couple strides pre-run to ensure the tightness is ideal, once I have it dialed in the HE2 is seamlessly comfortable, breathable, and disappears on the foot.

Though there is no heel counter and the heel collar creases a bit on both sides once on the foot, leading to what appears to be a space between the ankle and the lightly padded heel collar, the heel hold is still superb with no movement at all. I had the same experience with heel fit of the Nike VF NEXT%. Overall, the HE2 upper and fit is exceptional: comfortable, accommodating, locked-in, lightweight, and breathable.


Michael: My review of the early-2020 variant remains exactly the same here: “I think Brooks may have missed the mark slightly when it comes to the heel collar and lacing; there just seems to be slightly too much material around the collar, so that when I flex my foot, the ankle “hold” expands just slightly more than I would want. Similarly minor, I wish the tongue was gusseted (attached on one side), because on my easier runs I found it slipping sideways, just a little.” None of this was addressed on the updated racer, which is slightly frustrating - it’s breathable (to be sure), and light (naturally), but it could use just a bit more lockdown, potentially from a snugger, more form-fitting material (which, to their credit, Brooks has done well on the Hyperion Tempo!).


Sally: Kudos to Brooks in that the fit was spot on, unusual for my narrow women’s foot in a unisex sized racer such as this. The midfoot hold is secure, and the heel lock down was also solid after initial tweaking. I agree with the others that this shoe takes a bit of patient micro-adjusting of the lacing toward the beginning of the run. The tongue also has the tendency to bunch up or double over along the edges when inserting the foot, so that also requires special attention. Like Ivan, I experienced irritation of the achilles tendon at the back of the heel after a few miles, to the point I checked for blisters after my first run or two. Fortunately, the heel pad seems to soften or compress a bit after some breakin time, so I did not have any issues with achilles rub in latter runs. 


Midsole


Ivan: I never tried the first version of the Hyperion Elite, but I have heard a lot about the firm/harsh ride it provided. I was very happy to hear that Brooks went with the DNA Flash this time as the nitrogen-infused foam seems well tuned/balanced in my experience. However, it’s by no means a super soft or squishy midsole. It provides more of a dampening and springy sensation than a soft and bouncy one, as found in some of the super shoes out there. I actually like that and especially on longer workouts.


Ryan:  This is the signature part of the shoe, both in looks and in function. I agree with Ivan, in that the midsole both dampens and returns energy in a very nice balance. Lower fatigue, high stability, and low inertia are a formula for high-performance long runs.

At the widest part of the forefoot, I measured the Brooks at nearly 7% wider than the more conventionally shaped Saucony Endorphin Pro, and about 9% wider at the girthiest part of the heel -- both of which are considerable differences. Looking down at the Brooks on your feet, you see both the forefoot and the heel foam bulging out at the sides, like imposing muscle car fenders. A family member, biking behind me, couldn’t help but note ‘that yellow foam looks crazy cool from behind when you’re running’. 


Brooks allegedly uses a foaming process which transitions liquid nitrogen into a gas, creating a unique foam made of tiny microbubbles which are visible upon close inspection. I don’t know why it works, or how long it’ll keep working, but it does make me want to spend irresponsibly in order to get it.


It’s interesting to acknowledge the midsole revolution that we’re in the midst of. What Nike started with PeBa Zoom X foam, others have scrambled to react to; some more thoughtfully than others. It’s been fun to watch, even more fun to experience, and with shoes like these Brooks it will probably mean tons of PRs once COVID is shown the curtain.


Jacob: The Hyperion Elite 2 uses Brooks’ lively and lightweight, nitrogen-infused DNA Flash midsole, also used on the Hyperion Tempo (uptempo trainer/racer) and Catamount (trail racer). 

It also employs a full-length carbon plate which gives structure to the foam and is critical to the feel, ride, and propulsive effect. In the HE2, the DNA Flash midsole is semi-soft, bouncy, stable, and pleasantly comfortable underfoot. The midsole is very wide—the shoe has a large footprint which adds to the stability and along with the balanced level of softness leads to a forgiving feel.

The geometry of a carbon-plated racer is crucial to its performance and ability to provide the characteristic effortless-running, leg-saving speed. The HE2 uses Brooks’ Rapid Roll technology  which manifests in a prominent heel bevel and forefoot rocker. 

Though not visible, the curvature of the carbon plate follows a similar shape as shown above. It is not too noticeable in the heel/midfoot and thus the landing is comfortable and natural. The plate feel is significant as it curves up the thinner part of the midsole under the toes. This leads to a distinctive roll/push-off feel on toe-off, especially under the big toe. The feeling is especially different when compared to the toe-off of a flat, flexible shoe where the foam compresses and loses all shape, making your form/muscles do all the work. With the carbon plate, the HE2 toes-off cleanly, quickly, and with the explosiveness of the high-rebound foam.


Michael: It’s impossible not to notice the midsole on the Elite 2 - it’s massive and bright and oversized and just draws your eye to it. While I had some issues with the Hyperion Tempo, the midsole certainly wasn’t one of them, and, like a good birthday cake, more is better on the Elite 2. I agree with everything my fellow reviewers have put forth (and will elaborate more in the Ride section below) - the DNA Flash is distinctly squishy, but successfully feels springy and energy returning, vaguely reminiscent of Nike’s ZoomX. What’s more, the wide base here is stable enough for faster running on difficult corners (my concerns over the upper notwithstanding), and if there’s anything this shoe is well suited for, it’s long runs at faster clips. You won’t need to worry about leg fatigue in these.


Derek: Much like the upper, the midsole also seems to have a bit of a break in period, and the shoe has been smoother, softer and slightly bouncier pretty much every time I take it out for a spin. The softness is especially noticeable in the forefoot, when compared to its cousin the Hyperion Tempo. Vibration dampening, as one would expect after using the Tempo for the past few months, is really excellent with DNA Flash, and with a little more stack across the board in the HE2, there is even better vibration dampening here, such that even though the foam is not super bouncy like NB FuelCell TC or ZoomX, the cushioning is no less impressive. 


As for the plate, you don’t really feel it as you run except for a pronounced pop and roll as you toe off. It’s hard to explain, but this feeling is less pronounced than in the other super shoes. As the others have mentioned, stability is a big part of this shoe’s character. Initially, that wide platform manifested itself as somewhat cumbersome interns of midfoot transitioning for me, but as the midsole broke in, the landing got smoother and more natural for me. I think the stability is going to be a big selling point for this shoe. We all know stability racers are hard to come by, and stability racers with carbon plates, well, they just don’t exist on the market right now. If you have a bit of a pronation issue, this platform while strictly speaking is a neutral variety, is wide enough that it may just give you the stability you need to take advantage of the latest trend in shoe performance, but may not be able to handle in softer shoes from Nike and NB.


Sally: The others have described this wide based midsole quite well, and I agree with all they have said. My opinions on the resultant ride differ a bit, so more on that to follow.



Outsole

The outsole is called out as 2mm thick by Brooks

Ivan: The outsole layer is rather thin with very little structure to it. It’s well placed and grip has been just fine so far, but I still haven’t run in wet weather conditions yet. The shoe is not meant for trails but should work on light trails due to the wide platform and secure fit. Both the midsole and the outsole reminds me a lot of the Skechers Razor 3 and my experience in that one is that the outsole wears out faster than the midsole. However, I would be surprised if it doesn’t last at least 200-300 miles for most runners.

Ryan: My calipers measured the outsole at 1.75mm thick -- merely the thickness of a US quarter. It’s fairly firm rubber, does a good job of protecting the midsole foam, and after 20 miles of running at a hard pace it’s holding up reasonably well, with some light graining near the toe. 

So, there’s hope that the durability mistakes of version one were taken to heart. The outsole isn’t anything worth dwelling on here, as it sticks to its job description and allows the midsole to shine. No issues with traction or underfoot feel.


Jacob: The Hyperion Elite 2 outsole is composed of seven small pieces of thin rubber and a moderate amount of exposed midsole. It is largely a classic racer outsole, focusing on weight savings and grip where needed while forgoing durability. As the rubber is thin and only around 50% coverage, the outsole doesn’t feel like it has a significant effect on the ride. It lets the softness of the midsole and stiffness of the carbon plate dominate. Perhaps it may add a bit to firmness under the toes.


As for traction, on dry asphalt, even with a bit dirt/sand on top, grip is fine. Certainly not remarkably good, but I had no issues. I didn’t get the chance to test the HE2 in the rain, but I’d imagine if I’m not ripping sharp corners, it wouldn’t be a liability. Durability will not be superb, the outsole will likely wear through before the midsole loses its rebound, but that’s expected for a racer where weight savings take priority.


Michael: I’ve not been on the treadmill this summer (despite some nasty heat) but a long day at work and a significant thunderstorm gave me an opportunity to test the Hyperion Elite 2 on the treadmill…. For all of about 5 seconds. After a warm up, I let the treadmill get up to 12 MPH for some faster repeats and was (fortunately) dropping myself onto the belt with my hands on the railings before realizing that, jeez, these shoes have no traction. It was a genuine first-time experience - I’ve never had a shoe have such little grip on that surface. Regular treadmill runners will want to experiment - I’m sure there’s variation across belts (especially if you have a nice Woodway or similar!), but… bring other shoes with you!


Outdoors, the outsole was sufficient, but a little concerning, with some light wear to the midsole foam near the toe. Still, I don’t think there will be significant durability concerns here - if we assume racing flats have a shorter lifespan than trainers, I don’t think the HE2 is markedly different from its competitors in that regard. Still, something to look out for.


Sally: The outsole does its intended job, and does not have any of the negative traits we test for: it is reasonably quiet, has decent traction on wet pavement, and does not attract stones or the like in any treads. There have been no signs of wear yet after 40 miles, so I have no concerns about durability.


Derek: My sentiments are pretty much in line with what the others have said. Durability is ok, but not excellent. The rubber compound seems to be the same as what we have in the Hyperion Tempo, and what I found with the Tempo is that the rubber has a thin almost shiny layer on the rubber surface that tends to make it a little slippery. Once you wear past that layer, grip improves a lot. It is still not as good as blown rubber at biting into the road, but it is not too bad. Now that was with the Tempo. With the HE2, the patterning of the rubber seems to be slightly different, and with there being a lot less rubber coverage in the HE2, expect durability to be less, which is fine for a racer to me. 


My main issue is grip. Grip is ok on dry roads, but once you get on wet tarmac or concrete, things start to slip a little. My most recent run, I went through a puddle and immediately up a ramp leading to an overhead bridge. For a good 20 seconds after the puddle, my shoes were slipping on the ramp surface. The ramp surface is rough concrete, hardly anything slippery, but you get the idea. If it’s wet on race day, you will want to consider using another shoe.



Ride

Ivan: I find the ride very pleasant and stable. The carbon plate is really not felt much during the run but it seems to provide a bit of snap and stability overall.  I can see myself running really far in this shoe without experiencing any foot fatigue. It seems very versatile. I really enjoy just cruising along in this shoe. No matter the pace. It’s hard to imagine any pace or distance this shoe can’t handle. Just the right amount of cushion in a light package. Perhaps not the fastest toe/roll-off I’ve experienced despite the so-called ‘Rapid Roll technology’ or a highly bouncy ride, but it runs very light and effortlessly. I believe the tradeoff for that wide and stable full length platform is that it doesn’t quite create the same snappy roll-off as some other race shoes with slimmer platforms (at midstance). However, this is probably something runners going through the whole gait cycle will experience more than mid/forefoot runners.

Ryan: Stable and forgiving -- by far, I felt, the two most prominent traits of Brooks’s fastest brainchild.  I pushed these at tempo pace on 10 rolling miles of asphalt, and I should have been sore the next day, but I wasn’t. Downhills felt much less harsh than any modern day trainer, and allowed me to descend more aggressively than I normally would. That, in conjunction with the stability of the flyweight midsole, make for compelling arguments to justify its price tag. 


The stiffness of the sandwiched plate is definitely there, but it doesn’t advertise itself.  There is simply more energy conserved as you roll forward and push off. While the ‘Rapid Roll’ shaping helps transition at faster paces, it’s not quite as aggressive as the rolloff of the Endorphin Pro, which is probably a result of the Hyperion’s wider/softer forefoot midsole. Sharp turns aside, the wider platform along with the stiffness of the plate make for an exceptionally stable ride.


Until recently, I never thought much about a shoe’s impact attenuation abilities as a serious aid to performance. It’s clear to me now that the comfort of ‘super shoe’ midsoles such as this one work wonders to lessen muscle fatigue and allow one to run harder for longer. In my eagerness to give these an earnest drubbing, I took them out for a fairly hard 5k test on a ~1 mile asphalt loop (at Reebok's old HQ). Skeptical of how they'd feel at 5'/mi pace, their stability was thoroughly impressive, immediately proving that they have versatility even for shorter stints.

Jacob: I have high expectations for the ride of a top-shelf, high-price carbon-plated racer and the Hyperion Elite 2 did not let me down. In fact, it may have provided the best first impressions I’ve had yet of a carbon-plated shoe. During my first run, I felt inspired midway through the first mile to turn the unplanned testing run into a hard 5k. Despite starting slow I was able to descend and run sub 18 minutes in the summer heat and humidity for my second fastest 5k of 2020 (the year of no races/no speed work). The HE2 was springy, smooth, and lively, but also largely unnoticed in a good way.


The ride is characterized by being enjoyable, somewhat relaxed, comfortable underfoot, and effortlessly fast. I don’t have to try to hold a decent pace in the HE2. There is a significant rocker to pop me off the toe into the next stride, but it doesn’t feel aggressive or like the shoe is forcing me into a particular form or pace. Similarly, the HE2 runs smoothly at all paces I’ve tried it at.


After the great first impressions on the fast 5k first run, and a few more random runs with marathon-pace blocks where the HE2 felt smooth and quick, I decided I would wear it for an upcoming virtual 20-mile race (The Eastern States) that I short-notice realized I had unknowingly been moved in to when the in-person version was canceled due to COVID-19. Largely unprepared, I went for the race on the Maine Marathon course, a balanced rolling hills, out and back course along the coast. This was my first virtual race and first race since February. I took my time to lace up, jog a bit, then re-lace to dial in the fit/comfort. At the start, I felt uninspired—it was hot, I was alone, and there were a lot of cars; I even forgot about the shoes. However, I checked my watch for the first time around four miles and was way under the pace I thought I’d be at, a classic carbon-plated effect; perfect! This gave me some inspiration and I put in the work the rest of the run. I had zero issues with traction (including several grates on a long bridge) or fit (comfort and security were truly excellent). 


Around 12-15 miles, though, my quads were trashed--carbon-plated shoes at fast paces tend to put more load onto my quads). I didn't taper or prep for the race at all, and my legs had been tired earlier in the week (and from other hard runs in the HE2 last week), but once my legs felt dead here the HE2 were no longer giving me as much effortless, “free pace”. The last marathon I raced was nearly a year ago now on the same course in the Nike VF 4% and though my legs were destroyed the last 4 miles, I could keep leaning forward and letting the shoes run for me. In the HE2, I didn’t feel that way and the finishing miles were much more of a slog, though I’m sure the rocker still helped. After this experience, I will pick the VF NEXT% for the virtual Boston Marathon 2020 in a few weeks.


Michael: In the original Hyperion Elite, the midsole was dense and firm, and the forward momentum was distinctly drawn through a rocker (the carbon plate) so that you were propelled forward and further, rather than returned upward. Here, I think Brooks has changed that up - there’s still a carbon plate, but that’s no longer the dominating sensation when running. Instead, the energy return of the midsole is the more distinct sensation. When running fast in the Elite 2, you do start to experience some of that “trampoline” effect that defines the Nike Vaporfly line - perhaps not as distinctly springy, but still a close approximation.


I ran some track repeats in the original HE and the updated version and, I have to say, for shorter distances, there isn’t a clear winner. The first generation feels lower to the ground and, when trying to churn out 200s or 400s, does feel more like a familiar track spike. Not to mention the HE2 would be banned in a legitimate track race, but if I was racing a mile in one of these two, I think I’d pick the original. For longer work - we’ll say anything more than 5K, where it’s really a toss-up - the updated Elite 2 is likely a better choice, just because that energy return becomes a bigger factor.


Sally: I need to preface everything I say about the ride of the HE2 with the disclaimer that I am trying to rehab a high hamstring injury that is literally a pain in the butt. To be honest, no shoe will feel wonderful when running through this pain. Yes, the HE2 is amazing in that it feels effortless and relaxed, and there is definitely great energy return from the soft midsole. But I missed the effervescent bouncy effect of the competitor shoes such as the Nike Vaporfly, and the forward roll and easy toe-off of the Saucony Endorphin. Granted, my mechanics are probably off right now, but the heel landing seems soft and the overall foot strike a bit flat. I wish I could join in with the others and say that my paces were faster than expected for the effort, but that was not the case for me. 

Derek: The ride is nice. If ever there was a one sentence summary, this would be it. It’s not mind blowing, it’s not super dynamic, it’s not very aggressive in the rocker department. It has a little of everything, but in moderation. 


In terms of overall ground feel, it feels closest to the Saucony Endorphin Pro, but has a noticeably higher stack feel to it, which is a good thing to me. In terms of rocker aggressiveness, I would say it sits somewhere in the middle. In my mind, the overall ranking from most aggressive to least aggressive for the maximalist racers stands at: Skechers Speed Elite > ASICS Metaracer > VF OG > Endorphin Pro > Hyperion Elite 2 > VF  Next% > Endorphin Speed. So, somewhere in the middle. 


Overall, it is not a bad shoe, and it is pretty versatile for me over a wide range of paces, and is not as harsh as the Endorphin Pro for example at slower paces. However, the foam feels more like it has some give to it rather than having inherently good rebound. So a less dynamic ride than I would like for a super shoe, at the $250 price point. 


I think the big selling point, and Brooks did emphasize this for HE1, is that there is plenty of good stability in the inherent design of the shoe, and that may appeal to people who need it. For me who enjoys FuelCell TC, Novablast, VF4% OG, the extra stability is not something I need even for long races (and I’ve done marathons in driving rain in the VF OG). 


Conclusions and Recommendations


Derek: Despite not being a very dynamic ride, it’s still better than many of the current carbon plated models in terms of cushioning/weight and rockered ride. 


Nike aside, if I had to choose between Endorphin Pro and Hyperion Elite 2 for a full marathon, I would likely go with the HE2 at this point. The balance would tip towards the Endorphin Pro for shorter races. The heel fit issue is a bit of a pain, but the rest of the upper works really, really well so I give it a high score because I think it will be a solid upper for most people. 


The main question mark is the value. Durability of the outsole may be an issue, as is the overall package quality vs the Nike VF Next% when you throw it into the deep end at $250 retail. Bear in mind all the other brands have priced their shoes lower. I think it can hold its own against the Endorphin Pro at $200, but may struggle against Adios Pro and Fuelcell RC Elite at lower price points. I have not reviewed those 2 latter models yet so will reserve judgement on any comparisons.

Derek’s score: 9.0 / 10

Ride 9 40% Fit 9 40% Aesthetics 10 10% Value 8 10%


Ivan: The unusually wide platform (in this category) combined with a secure but still accommodating fit makes for a very comfortable ride and feel. Especially for a lightweight racer. It’s very versatile but really shines at faster paces. However, it still provides just the right amount of cushion and stability to work as a daily trainer and long distance workout shoe for most runners as well.

Ivan’s Score: 9.1/10 

-0,5: not the most bouncy and energetic ride in the category, -0.4: price/value


Ryan:  As if we needed another reason to yearn for a good old-fashioned, mega-crowd race day (doesn’t 6 months ago seem quaint?), Brooks just gave us one. These are truly talented enough to use for a 5k or a marathon, and durability is the only major remaining question mark for me. Buying a pair is akin to paying for a high-end meal: Yes, very expensive, no, won’t last as long as you’d like -- but you know darn well you’ll have enjoyed the experience. Hats off to Brooks on throwing a worthy competitor into a world-class lineup. Mine are in the closet, waiting for a day to try and PR.

Ryan’s score: 9.7/10 

Not perfect, but an amazing design from Brooks. Deductions for price, slightly finicky lace-up, durability in question


Jacob: The HE2 is a well-designed, comfortable, versatile, fast carbon-plated racing shoe and is one of my favorites in this class. It has a pleasant and forgiving but still fast ride which works well for a variety of paces, including training and any distance racing. However, for the half marathon and above, after my 20-mile race test, I think the Nike VF 4% and NEXT% are faster due to higher rebound/trampoline effect and a more fatigue-reducing feel. Thus I’ll probably use the HE2 as a cruising/fast long run shoe or a Strava segment-hunting shoe (despite durability concerns), rather than a pure racer, as I have other shoes in my quiver for racing only (Skechers Speed Elite, VF NEXT%). As a trainer, I like it much more than the VF as it handles slower paces more comfortably and the fit is more accommodating. It is absolutely an excellent racer and for those whose feet don’t fit well in the VF or want more toe box room or stability, the HE2 is probably a better call. It is certainly my second favorite carbon-plated racer.

Jacob’s score: 9.35 / 10

Ride: 10 (50%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 7 (15%) Style 9 (5%)


Michael: There’s no doubt that Brooks is going to please more people with the Elite 2. All of those who were put off by the original will appreciate the similarity of this offering to the competition. And why not? Nike’s top-end racers continue to perform well, and manufacturers need to fall in line. As someone who really loves what Brooks did in the original Hyperion Elite, I can’t claim to be disappointed here - it’s a really, really good shoe. For the price, it’s slightly difficult to justify buying over Nike’s Vaporfly series (availability issues notwithstanding), and in some ways, I miss the different approach that Brooks took with version 1. Still, they need to sell shoes, and I have absolutely no doubt that these will be prolific on the start line at races in the near future (if we get to race before version 3… or 4… or 5 is released!).

Michael’s Score: 9.5 / 10 

Upper is still not quite there; outsole and durability concerns; price.


Sally: A great high end running shoe for runners of varying abilities and paces, lightweight, comfortable and sleek. A great race day option for many, but personally not my choice for a marathon because I am spoiled by a multi-shoe quiver that includes my “magic slippers” the Nike VF Next %, as well as the amazing Saucony Endorphin Pro. Patience is required for dialing in the fit of the upper. Durability not yet proven, but this would also be a great long run and tempo training shoe for those who don't mind spending $$$. 

Sally’s score: 9.3 / 10



Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Brooks Hyperion Elite 1  (RTR Multi Tester Review)

Michael: I covered this pretty extensively above. I had success in version 1, and tend to stick with what works, so I am a little disappointed that Brooks changed version 2 so significantly… but again, they certainly did it right, for what it is. Runners who prefer a stiff ride will undoubtedly prefer version 1 (if you can find it), but racers who just want a Vaporfly-esque experience will be very pleased here. 


Nike Vaporfly Next% (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Overall, the fit of the Next% is more straightforward for my feet, and while the rocker is not as good as VF OG or the HE2, the Next% is still a phenomenal racing shoe. I would still choose the Next% over the HE2 except for really short races or races with a lot of cornering. 


Ivan: US 8.5. A tighter fit all over but still fits me well despite feeling a bit restrictive at first. Not quite as breathable as the Hyperion Elite 2, but definitely not a hot shoe either. Ride is more cushioned (especially in the front). Much softer and bouncier feel in all areas and I find it better at race pace due to the higher energy return. However, definitely not as stable and natural feeling at slower paces. 


Jacob: As the Alphafly is still quite new and not widely circulated, the VF NEXT% is still the comparison point for all carbon-played marathon racing shoes. The HE2 holds its own in this comparison with some key differences. The HE2 feels softer above the foot as well as more accommodating without compromises on security. Underfoot, the NEXT% is much softer and bouncier, as Ivan said especially in the forefoot. However it is less stable, more aggressive, and more dramatic overall. These characteristics make it a faster distance racer with better fatigue reducing ability. It is also more exciting of a ride. If ultimate race day speed is the priority, the NEXT% is the call. However the HE2 is smoother and more comfortable at slower paces, more forgiving, and is more versatile as a trainer. 


Sally: I would choose the Next % for a race any day. You can argue it is all in my head, but I feel FAST, as though I am floating effortlessly, when I run in the Next %. There is something magical about the bouncy ride of the Next %, and my legs don’t seem to feel fatigued, even at the end of 26 miles. Both have unisex sizing (I am typically a Women’s 8), and while the HE2 fit well TTS in a 6.5, I sized up in the Next % to a 7.0 (as I did in past versions of the Vaporfly).


Nike Alphafly (RTR Initial Review)

Sam: Chiming in here as I have run both, if not a great deal. Weighing about the same, the Alphafly is yet more stable at the heel, has an equally soft but more silky and springy midsole foam and has yet more cushioning the Elite 2. It  has considerably more ball of the foot rebound/impuse from the Air Zoom pods which when compressed leads on to a smoother more continuous toe off which is more flow than a roll if that roll is somewhat forced in the Elite. 


Unlike earlier Vaporfly (and Endorphin Pro), the plate in both is essentially un noticed, especially in the Alpha. Having run both in time trials 5K for the Elite and 10K in the Alpha I ended up at a faster pace for 10K in the Alpha than 5K in the Elite where when tired I struggled more with its softer heel and not quite as smooth transition. 


Both handle slower training paces more easily and comfortably than competitors such as Endorphin Pro or Next % for me. The Alphafly sets the bar very high with its combination of easy of the legs maximal cushion at the same weight as the Elite 2, smooth flow (smoother than the flatter feeling Next% whose ride Elite 2 more closely resembles) but without quite the distinct drop in groove and away you go feel of the Vaporfly OG


Nike Vaporfly 2018 OG  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. I prefer the better upper and better ride of the VF OG. It is an overall more fun shoe and I would choose it over the HE2 for any distance. 


Ivan: US 8.5. Very similar mesh and both extremely breathable. Same good and tight midfoot lockdown with a bit of space in front. Heel padding a bit less intrusive for someone with achilles issues but even better lockdown in the back for me.

VF OG ride feels softer on impact and a tiny bit firmer up front. More of a bouncy feel. Very aggressive geometry, but far more unstable. Worse at slower paces, but I find it a bit faster at race pace, especially at  shorter distances. Only good on roads due to lack of outsole traction.


Michael: I significantly prefer the upper on the original Vaporfly to the Elite 2, but the rides are comparable. I remember the Vaporfly as being a little firmer when nearing top-speeds, with a bit more activation of that carbon plate, whereas the Elite 2 remains soft throughout the whole footstrike. I don’t think many original Vaporfly exist anymore, but the Elite 2 is a more than adequate substitute. 


Saucony Endorphin Pro  (RTR Multi Tester Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. I get better lockdown in the HE2 than the Pro, and while the rocker is not as good in the HE2, overall the HE2 feels more cushioned for the full marathon distance. Both shoes aren’t particularly good on wet surfaces, and the Pro foam has a little more bounce to it as well as a stiffer carbon plate. The Endorphin Pro feels like a faster shoe, but I’m just not 100% sure I can handle it for the full 26 miles. I tend to favor the cushioning of the HE2 for that. For half marathon and shorter, I think the Pro is a better option. 


Ryan (M9.5): This is certainly one of the most pertinent competitors to date. With a similarly-thin rubber outsole, a comparable forefoot fit, a carbon plate, and nearly identical weight, the biggest difference is definitely in the feel of the midsole. They’re both highly cushioned, but the extra 4mm of stack height in the Brooks is very apparent. Saucony packed the same mass of foam into a smaller volume underfoot, and as a result, the Endorphin Pro feels firmer and has a noticeably smaller footprint. While targeting the same result, it’s obvious that these are very different misole foams. The Saucony’s PEBA looks like it’s made of large beads of styrofoam, whereas the Brooks DNA Flash looks like a foamed mass of tiny microbubbles.


They also feature similar SpeedRoll / Rapid Roll geometry in the Saucony and Brooks, respectively. In plain English: the toe curves up more aggressively to help with transitioning through toe-off, and also because these are both extremely stiff shoes which would be unworkable with a flatter outsole. I felt that this particular aspect of the shoe was more apparent in the Saucony, largely in part due to the firmer PEBA foam under the forefoot. I’d probably go with the Saucony for half marathon or shorter distances, and with the Brooks for anything longer due to its fatigue-reducing abilities.


Aside from the feel around the heel (the Saucony has a flared Pegasus-like point near the achilles, whereas the Brooks has an interior, suede-like collar) the fit of these shoes is largely the same, and both ran true to size for me.


It’ll come down to a matter of preference (or your willingness to part with an extra $50), as both shoes are phenomenal.  Do you prefer the more traditional underfoot volume of the Saucony? Or, do you value the extra stability and softness of the Brooks, despite their clown-ish footprint?


Michael: Ryan has done a great write-up, above. I think I ultimately do prefer the Saucony, but it’s mostly due to the upper and price point, rather than the midsole and ride, since both are just so competent and similar over a marathon distance, It’s tough to truly decide. I think the Saucony, with a firmer base and more locked-in upper, should be everyone’s choice for anything under 13.1, though. 


Jacob: I like the ride of the HE2 much more as it is smoother, more forgiving, more natural, and more stable. The fit is also wider and less obtrusive (I have issues with lace bite and minor width issues with the Endorphin Pro). However, the Endorphin Pro is bouncier, higher energy, and more dramatic. It is a totally different underfoot feel that may be preferred by some. It also may be faster; it feels like it rips at higher speeds, but I haven’t done a direct race/TT comparison. Additionally, the Endorphin Pro is definitely more durable. For $50 less, if you can’t try/test run on either before buying, I’d pick the Endorphin Pro and if the fit doesn’t work or it feels too stiff underfoot, get the HE2. 


Sally: Take everything Jacob said about his preferences and reverse it for me! I prefer the bouncier, higher energy, more dramatic Speed Roll of the Saucony Endorphin Pro over the stable, smoother HE2. This goes to prove that it’s all about personal preference and every runner is different and unique! Neither choice is right or wrong. But for me, race day or tempo run, I would pick the Saucony Endorphin Pro. 


Saucony Endorphin Speed  (RTR Multi Tester Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. For some reason I can’t quite tolerate the Speed for anything more than 17 miles as my feet get quite sore from it. I’ve cut short a handful of 18 milers in this shoe because of that. The shoe is a very good trainer and handles a wide variety of paces, and to me is a really, really good all-round shoe at exceptional value for its retail price of $160, but I somehow don’t find it very cushioned for its official stack numbers. Novablast is more forgiving underfoot for instance. For training, there is no question the Endorphin Speed is better than HE2, but for racing, I would definitely go with the HE2. Even for longer training runs that involve a bit more race specific paces, I would favor the HE2. The $90 price difference is hard to get over though. 


Ivan: US 8.5. Warmer/thicker mesh than the Hyperion Elite 2. More relaxed midfoot lockdown and slimmer in front (especially lateral side). More volume on top and medial side. Thicker padding in the heel area, but the heel counter is not the best for me as I find it a bit wide with some side-to-side movement.

Very similar level of overall cushion. A bit more responsive and faster roll/toe-off for the Speed but more unstable due to very slim outsole/platform. Good at various paces, but harder for me to completely "relax/cruise" for really long distances in the Endorphin Speed versus the Hyperion at slower paces. Outsole traction is more substantial and works better for light trails in the Speed. 


Michael: I’m a lone dissenter on the Endorphin Speed, though I admit it may be because my pair (W10) was just a little too small. I found the extremely firm heel counter uncomfortable, and while the forward momentum from the plate in the Speed was appreciated, it didn’t quite have a smooth enough ride to make me want to cover longer distances in it. In that regard, I’d vastly prefer the Elite 2.


Sally: In contrast to Michael’s comments, I loved the Endorphin Speed at all paces and distances. I really appreciated the responsive ride and the natural forward roll of the Endorphin Speed. The HE2 is a more relaxing ride because of the stable platform, and indeed might be better suited for longer cruising runs. 


New Balance Fuel Cell TC  (RTR Multi Tester Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Two very different shoes! The TC is the more dynamic ride for me, even more than VF OG, but it has a little bit of a bottom heavy feel and really is more of a solid daily trainer. The HE2 has a more subdued ride, but more stack and picks up the pace much more easily as a result of its more pronounced rocker (TC has almost no rocker feel to me as I feel its plate is too flexible) and the HE2 is significantly lighter and has a better performance lockdown in the upper. HE2 for racing and TC for training. 


Ivan: US 8.5. Very roomy shoe except on the lateral side of the toe-box. Hard for me to get a good lockdown, especially in the midfoot. OK breathability. Shoe feels a bit clunky with all that material and added weight. More stable than I was expecting compared to prior experiences with FullCell midsoles, maybe because of the fairly wide outsole. Soft and cushioned, fun and very lively ride. Feels bit firmer at the very front of the shoe. Overall a bit mushy. Not responsive enough for me at faster paces, but great at easy paces and recovery runs. Only carbon plated shoe in which I actually feel (and sometimes even think I can hear) the plate. Not my first choice on trails, but at least you can’t feel the stones…


Michael: I think the FuelCell TC is one of the best trainers ever made, but for racing, I would pick the Hyperion Elite 2 at basically any distance. The TC is slightly clunky - more so at slower paces, to be sure - but it also lacks that true top-end, racing speed. A lineup of the FCTC for training and Hyperion Elite 2 for racing is (while rather spendy!) an extremely appealing proposition. 


Jacob: Before a back to back comparison, during my first run in the HE2 I was reminded strongly of the TC, which is one of my favorite shoes of all time. Both shoes share a smooth, easygoing, but effortlessly fast ride. They are comfortable, wider than many racers in the forefoot, and unobtrusive. To start with differences, the HE2 is firmer, much lighter, and has more forefoot rocker. It is also less bouncy and had more of a racer feel than the TC. I’d confidently pick the HE2 for racing at all distances less than the full marathon and it is controlled at high (<=10k) speeds which are a bit too fast for the squishier, higher rebound TC.At the full marathon distance, the TCs effortless smoothness and feels easier to keep going on dead legs; I’d possibly pick it over the HE2 for this. As a trainer the TC is a more enjoyable shoe for more types of runs (everything except short speed), as well as more durable. 


Sally: The Fuel Cell TC (TTS, W8) has been one of my top two favorite shoes of 2020 (the other being the Saucony Endorphin Speed), and it has that bouncy quick ride I enjoy. I have run that shoe at many varied paces and for varying distances, and it shines across the board.  But the light weight, stable, and firmer HE2 (TTS, Unisex 6.5) would be a solid race day pick for many runners. I for one can not wait to try the racing version of the TC!


ASICS Metaracer (RTR Multi Tester Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The MetaRacer feels very minimalist when compared to the HE2, and it has a significantly more prominent forefoot rocker to its ride as well. I like the Metaracer for short intervals and shorter races, but the HE2 would be a lot more forgiving for anything >10km for me. 


Michael: The MetaRacer is a lower stack (and track-legal!) plated option. I think I prefer the ASICS at 5K/10K, just owing to the extreme height of the Hyperion Elite 2 and your remove from that “track feel.” Plus, the upper on the ASICS is markedly better than on the Brooks. Still, the lower stack and firmer feel (especially in the forefoot) of the MetaRacer suggests it would be more tiring over 26.2 - let’s hope we can test this soon! - and I would choose the Brooks at 13.1 and higher.


Sally: The Metaracer (TTS, W8) is a fun, fast shoe with a true race flat feel. However, I don’t think my feet would survive a full marathon in them. The HE2 (TTS, Unisex 6.5) might be a better choice for the longer runs, providing more stable support and comfort.

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3 comments:

Will Bates said...

Great review! I am a huge Hyperion Tempo fan and have gone through two pairs of them this year and they work as my daily trainer that also doubles as my workout shoe and long run shoe. Amazing for everything for me and replaced the Turbo 2 for me as it felt much more stable. How does the Elite 2 compare? Is it worth getting as a companion to the Tempo for racing? (I mostly do 5k to 10k races and prefer neutral stable shoes) but find that DNA Flash works great for my feet.

Michael said...

Hi Will! Others can chime in, as well. If you're already a big fan of the Tempo, I think it makes a lot of sense to add the Elite. It's bouncier than the Tempo, and I have a couple complaints about the upper (as detailed), but it's a more than adequate racer (and, just speaking as a runner, I always like having shoes within the same line - just something fun about feeling like a pro).

All of that said, I will say - I don't know that the Hyperion Elite is the #1 best option for road 5ks/10ks. Clearly some of our reviewers (Ryan!) have run quite fast in it, so it's no slouch, but I tend to prefer a slightly firmer ride for short/fast races (i.e. 5Ks), and in that regard the Endorphin Pro (or even MetaRacer) might be slightly preferable. For a half and up, I think the Elite is right in its element.

Bruno said...

Great review guys. How would you compare it with the Carbon X, mainly when looking for a more stable option (Zoom X is a no go for me unfortunately). How do the rockers compare and the stiffness?
Thanks a lot,
Bruno