Monday, May 09, 2022

Brooks Running Hyperion Elite 3 Multi Tester Review. 6 Comparisons

Article by Ryan Eiler and Peter Stuart

Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 ($250)

Introduction


Ryan: The previous version (v2) of the Hyperion Elite was a huge step forward for Brooks, as version 1 of this shoe had a few notable issues. The nitrogen-infused DNA Flash midsole of the 2 was bouncy and highly responsive, and while I had hopes that they’d evolve this compound for version 3, I can’t entirely blame Brooks for sticking to the same specs this time around. The HE2 has lasted me for well over 200 miles, and the midsole and outer have retained a remarkable amount of their original character. Qualms with this previous version included a potentially bothersome heel collar, a relative harshness as compared to its direct competitors, as well as a lack of grip from the outer’s rubber. As we’re now multiple iterations deep into the super shoe game, it’ll be interesting to see how the HE3 stacks up.


Peter: So I had the 1st version of the Hyperion Elite and it was (unbearably) firm. Like, super firm. Like, ouch!. I missed version 2 entirely and was surprised and delighted to find V3 sitting on my doorstep. 


Pros:

Ryan: Responsive, stable ride

Ryan: Snappy transition and toe-off

Ryan: Significant improvements to remedy previous heel/tongue issues

Peter: Nice fitting upper, pretty color


Cons:

Ryann/Peter: Less fatigue reduction than other high-stacked options

Ryann/Peter: Transition feels hurried, and not as seamless as competitors

Ryan: Sizing – runs long

Ryan: Price - Same as Vaporfly, more than Adios Pro

Ryan: Weight gain of about 0.75 oz / 21g over v2


Stats

Estimated Weight: men's 8.1 oz  / 230g (US9)

v2 men's 7.4 oz/  210g (US9) 

  Samples: men’s  8.4oz / 237g US 9.5

v2 7.65 oz / 217g US 9.5

Stack Height: men’s 35mm heel / 27mm forefoot, 8 mm drop

Available now.  $250

Tester Profiles

Ryan Eller 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.  More recently he has solo time trialed the 2020-2021 super shoes, often sub 15 minutes for 5K and in 2021 marathon had PR’s of 2:27 at the Maine Marathon and 1:09 for the half marathon.


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


First Impressions and Fit


Ryan: The loud, highlighter yellow looks of v2 have given way to an entirely different vibe — this knitted, unisex ‘blue surf’ colorway is muted enough to trick you into thinking that this might be a daily trainer. The distinctive geometry of the midsole is clearly unchanged from last year, with an overhang at the heel and a highly flared hourglass shape from above. What’s also clear, though, is that the upper has been completely overhauled. From the serrated laces, to a more sculpted and robust heel collar/cup, to a drastically different choice of material for the upper, everything above the footbed has been revamped.


In terms of sizing, the fit felt too long in the toe in my M9.5, even as compared to version 2 of this shoe. In conjunction with a relatively wide toe box, the front of the shoe felt uncomfortably spacious. I’d consider going a half size down here.


Peter: Nice color! Right off the bat the shoe feels good in hand. The materials are nice, the upper is comfortable and the sizing actually feels pretty much on point for me.  The upper is a big improvement as is the foam. The question is whether it’s a big enough improvement to put the Hyperion Elite 3 on par with other super shoes. It’s definitely less harsh than V1, but that may not be enough. 


Upper

Ryan: The previous version’s thin, smooth mesh worked fine for me and sculpted around the foot nicely. This ‘QuicKnit’ material is certainly burlier, with a touch more shape to it on the lateral and medial sides. 

It’s a highly engineered knit, which changes its pattern and loop density depending on which part of the foot it’s meant to secure. It’s also worth noting that this more robust upper knit is almost certainly the culprit for the shoe’s 0.75 oz weight gain, as the midsole and outer are unchanged.

It also offered a bit of stretch, which when paired with a spacious toe box, left the front end of my foot slightly unsettled during harder efforts. 


This knit is highly breathable and wicking — a big step over its predecessor which tended to hold more moisture than was acceptable.


The tongue and heel redesign have paid off nicely. 

Whereas the previous version relied on a suede-like material inside the heel that was prone to rubbing and pilling, this iteration uses a more conventional construction with a higher, flared collar and a friendlier ring of padding inside it. 

In fixing the unruly tongue of v2, this tongue is tacked down on the lateral side at the second eyelet, and makes lacing these up much less of a process. The laces are aggressively nubbed to prevent slip, and while they can be reluctant to tension through the eyelets, once they’re in place they are reluctant to move at all.


Lastly, on the side of aesthetics, they haven’t given us much choice here with a single (for now, at least) unisex color that doesn’t look all that racy. I think Nike has proven with the abundance of Vaporfly colors that people like to have a variety of colorway options on race day. But I’ll go easy on Brooks here, as I’m aware of the serious supply chain issues that have made life hard for the industry as of late.

 

Peter: Not a ton to add on the upper. The fit is nice and holds my foot well. I like the tight knit mesh and, as Ryan said, it doesn’t seem to hold too much moisture. The ribbed laces are a nice touch and allow for a very dialed in feel–and they stayed tied really well without having to double knot them. 


Midsole

Ryan: Wide, firm, and energetic. The DNA Flash compound, while springy and eager to provide energy, isn’t as forgiving as many direct competitors’ midsoles. If you read our review of v2, you’ll notice the same sentiment. 


There isn’t the same deep, fatigue-reducing forgiveness here that you can find in a Vaporfly or Adios Pro, but it does manage to prevent sloppiness and give back most of what you put into it. The DNA Flash’s proclivity to immediately rebound after foot strike encourages you to minimize the amount of time your foot is on the ground, helping with turnover. A sharply sculpted (‘Rapid Roll’) midsole at the front forces you to transition your weight quickly up onto your toes. In conjunction with the plate, which keeps things very stiff from heel to toe, this shoe is eager to assist during toe-off.


Such a wide stance creates a very predictable feeling throughout even the longest of runs. As it guided my foot strike and pronation, it felt a bit like putting the bumpers up at the bowling lane — whether this is good or bad will be a matter of personal preference. Overall, the ride is virtually unchanged from v2.


Peter: The width and stability of the platform make this a different shoe from some of the more cushy/bouncy super-shoes. This is a plus for stability but a negative for the ride (for me). While this version of the midsole is nowhere near as firm as V1, it’s still very firm. I feel a level of fatigue after workouts in the Hyperion 3 that I just don’t feel in some other super-shoes. 

There is some roll due to the stiffness of the plate/forefoot–but I feel like I’m having to push the shoe rather than having it propel me. 


Outsole


Ryan: This outsole appears to be completely unchanged from v2, and shares the same characteristics as a result. The rubber is split almost entirely down the middle of the shoe, which isn’t a concern with the carbon plate managing most of the midsole’s dynamics. 

A simple V-like patch of rubber covers the underside of the forefoot, while a few small rubber islands guard the most wear-prone spots at the rear. 

The entirety of the midsole foam underneath the arch is exposed to the ground, although I can attest that wearing/graining here is not an undue concern, since I’ve run about 250 miles in the identical midsole/outer of v2 of this shoe. I’ve pushed the HEv2 at a firm pace across scrappy gravel, and the exposed midsole has held up surprisingly well.


The rubber’s thinness, minimalist tread, and seemingly firm durometer (hardness) make it a little untrustworthy when there’s moisture around. On dry asphalt, I had no problems whatsoever, but I also didn’t feel like I had the same amount of grip as I do in a Metaspeed Sky or Adios Pro.


Peter: Yeah, there’s a little slip-sliding going on when things are wet. They’re not as slippery as the Endorphins, but they aren’t nearly as grippy as some other shoes as Ryan says above. I haven’t found any issues with wear. 


Ride

Ryan: The defining characteristics here are a firm, deliberate bounce upon impact, and a fairly abrupt transition up onto the toes. In contrast to a Vaporfly or Adios Pro, which first deeply cushion the foot and prepare for energy to be released, the HE3 tries to get everything done all at once. I got the feeling that the instant my foot touched the ground, it was trying to spring me forward, rather than take the transition as a step-by-step process. The ride is still soft and energetic, but it feels a little more jarring and less refined than that of the other shoes I keep mentioning. This one does not like to go slow, with the combination of a sharp rocker near the toe and a carbon plate making things feel awkward at casual paces. On the positive side, this earnest personality shines at harder efforts, where it feels completely under control and willing to push as hard as you’d like.


Peter: Harsh, dude, Harsh. Yeah, it’s not as harsh as V1, but the ride of the Hyperion Elite V3 beats me up pretty good. They are not a fun shoe to warm up in or to go for an easy run. They are much better at speed, but I haven’t found a pace yet at which they feel effortless. For me, the combination of stiffness and firmness make for a pretty jarring ride. I don’t mind putting them on for a tempo workout but they’re not forgiving enough for me to consider them for longer runs. They certainly look like they should feel softer. 

Conclusions and Recommendations


Ryan: While I appreciate the efforts Brooks put in to overhaul the entire upper and remedy the issues of V2, I now have concerns about the sizing and volume of the toe box. It’s also slightly disappointing to see that they haven’t taken a shot at improving the ride or the outsole of the shoe. As the other brands move forward, tweaking their existing midsole/outsole formulas to create (mostly) better super shoes, there isn’t much room to stand still as Brooks have done here.


All in all, this is still a formidable race day shoe with a snappy turnover and impressive stability. I wish it was a bit  less expensive and had a more dynamic ride, but I still plan on using it for some of my faster running. Consider going a size down given the fit.


Ryan’s Score: 8.8

Deductions for a relative lack of fatigue-reduction, a rushed heel-to-toe transition, outsole grip, half-size long, and steep price

Peter: It’s a big improvement from V1, but V3 still doesn’t feel done to me. I don’t love them for workouts and wouldn’t race in them over a 5k. I feel pretty beat up after runs in them in a way I just don’t feel in other super (and non-super) shoes. Overall, for me, they look better than they perform. 

Peter’s Score 7.5 

They’ll probably work better for some folks. If you don’t mind a much firmer super-shoe, these just might be for you. 


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Hyperion Elite 2 (RTR Review)

Ryan M9.5: The ride is virtually unchanged, thanks to an identical midsole and outsole. What is radically different is both the materials and construction of the upper. Gone is the smooth, thin mesh of v2. The QuicKnit material serves as a more sophisticated, breathable, and comfortable version of what it replaced. The characteristics of this material make the toe box feel much wider and longer, and as a result, v3 feels much larger to me. What has been fixed in the heel and collar has created a small sizing issue at the front, for me at least. V3 of the Hyperion Elite has added on about 20g / 0.7 oz over its predecessor, which isn’t surprising given the relatively burly knit used in the new upper. I’d consider going a half size down for this year’s model.



Adidas Adios Pro v1 (RTR Review)

Ryan M9.5:

The Adios Pro 1 features a much deeper cushion, with a more distinct ‘trampoline’ feel. With a much narrower midsole shape, the Adidas does not feel nearly as stable as the Brooks, but that’s a quality which I personally don’t mind. The outsole of the Adidas is much simpler, but covers more of the shoe and was noticeably grippier in my experience. As for the upper, the sculpted Celermesh upper on the AP1 is among my favorites, with a superb amount of lockdown, high breathability, and a confidence inspiring fit. I prefer the Adios over the Hyperion, and would size down in the Brooks relative to the Adidas.


Asics Metaspeed Sky (RTR Review)

Ryan M9.5:

My comparison here is fairly similar to that of the Adios Pro v1 above. While the Asics’s mesh upper feels harsher to the touch, I prefer it over the sophisticated looking knit of the Hyperion, as it provided a superior lockdown. A relative abundance of rubber on the Asics outsole also gives it the edge here. I felt a more pronounced and forgiving energy return from the Sky, although again, it isn’t quite as stable as the Hyperion’s super wide and firm platform. Both shoes are very stiff, with great toe-off energy and a willingness to propel you forward. The Brooks ran about a half size longer than the Asics in my M9.5.


Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite (RTR Review)

Ryan M9.5: The Puma wins out against the Brooks in my book, with its much more inviting midsole compound providing a far softer ride. The glove-like fit of the Fast-R upper was also superior in my opinion, with a clean and inspiring foot hold. The Hyperion Elite 3 is far more stable than the Puma thanks to a denser DNA Loft midsole compound. Outsole grip on the Puma wins hands-down, and based on our prior review of the Puma, I’ll bet that my fellow reviewers would agree. Some folks experienced some minor issues in the midfoot of the Puma, where its carbon plate is completely unsupported by midsole foam, but aside from that concern, I’d choose the Puma over the Brooks on most days. The Brooks fit a half size longer than the Puma for me.


New Balance Fuel Cell RC Elite 2 (RTR Review) 

Peter: The New Balance is fun, bouncy and forgiving in a way that the Hyperion Elite just can’t touch. 


Saucony Endorphin Speed (RTR Review) and Pro (RTR Review)

Peter: I enjoy the upper of the Hyperion Elite 3, but the rides of the Endorphins are more forgiving and frankly more fun. 

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How do you rate this an 8.8 when you really don’t give the impression to be very favorable of it? Feels more like a 6.0