Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Brooks Revel 6 Review: A Lightweight, Totally Fine $100 Everyday Trainer

Article by Michael Ellenberger

Brooks Revel 6


Michael: I’ve worn and reviewed the Brooks Revel 3 and Revel 5 for RoadTrailRun. To see the Revel 6 maintain its $100 price point (“in this economy?”) genuinely made me happy, and considering the fun that the Revel 5 brought, I jumped at the chance to test the Revel 6. 

But let’s back up quickly - Brooks Revel? Huh? It’s true that this shoe is often overlooked in Brooks’s lineup; it’s a neutral shoe, and with its DNA foam midsole, functionally a stripped-down Levitate (DNA AMP). There’s some Ghost DNA (as in, lineage - not the cushioning), to be sure, but basically this is a lightweight, no-frills, everyday mileage trainer. And it’s been a good one in the past, so let’s see how version 6 runs, shall we?


Long live the $100 daily trainer (aka the price!) (Michael)

Upper (Michael)

2mm more cushioning at the heel- now a 10mm drop shoe)(Michael)

Outsole, especially in winter! (Michael)

Recycled midsole material (Michael)


Mildly dull ride, especially for easy running (Michael)


Official Weight: men's 8.8 oz  / 249g  /  women's 8.1 oz / 230g 

Sample: men’s: 8.65 oz  / 245 g (US8.5)

Drop: 10mm 

Available now $100

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Michael: For a low-priced shoe, there’s a lot going on with the upper here - it’s a relatively thin knit material (Brooks calls it “Fit Knit”) that has some reinforced elements running along the topmost portion of the toebox, and stretching back towards the ankle. 

It’s nice - certainly snug, without being too thick, and ran fine in both indoor and outdoor tests.

The fit was comfortable for me as well, in my true-to-size 8.5. The toebox isn’t wide, but it’s got plenty of space, and I didn’t encounter any flare-ups with my Morton’s Neuroma that’s been nagging me lately. 

Runners who like a little extra space could probably go up .5 without issue, because the lockdown here is also quite good. If you’re just squeezing into the shoe, the pull tab on the back makes on and off a little easier.


Michael: Brooks reengineered the midsole in version 6 over its predecessors; it once again brings Brook’s signature DNA midsole, but packs on an extra 2 mm of cushioning in the heel for increased cushioning. I wouldn’t say this is a “plush” ride (nor would I expect to get one, necessarily, in a shoe of this platform and cost), but it’s adequate. 

Brooks’s DNA material has never been my favorite midsole composition, but the little extra stack does help you avoid any “bottoming-out” feeling, I think, and certainly it doesn’t make the shoe feel bloated or overdone. I do think a DNA LOFT midsole, like we see in the Glycerin, might make the shoe a little more fun… but for $100, there’s really not a lot to complain about here, aside from the ride being a bit dull (as described below).


Michael: My opinions towards outsoles have gotten more binary, especially in winter running: does it grip? If it does, it’s a pass, if it doesn’t, I’ll let you know. 

Unsurprisingly (given the look of it), the Revel 6 has more than adequate grip; even after about 40 miles split between outdoors and treadmill, there’s functionally no wear to speak of. Add in that Brooks is now using its “Green Rubber” outsole - made from environmentally friendly silica - and this is a big success as far as I’m concerned.


Michael: Once again, just the appearance of the Revel here is so svelte and “race-y” that I can’t believe it’s the budget shoe in the lineup. There’s nothing really joyous about the Revel, but I once again have no legitimate criticisms, except comparators - it’s less fun than, it’s less poppy than, and it's less dynamic than some of the higher-market options. And Brooks’s DNA midsole is getting a little long in the tooth; I can’t claim to know how midsole manufacturing works, but if they have a vat of DNA AMP from last year’s Levitate 5 sitting around, that’d go a long way towards making this a little more springy. 

But taken in a vacuum, the Revel 6 rides just fine. It’s got some spring, to be sure, and I genuinely noticed the extra couple millimeters of cushion - there’s less bottoming out, and a little more underfoot that I think would make this a more than adequate long-run offering. First-time marathoners and high school runners , look no further - this is an excellent training shoe. There isn’t a lot of spark in the ride, but it’s certainly not offensive.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Michael: I looked back at my review of the Revel 5, in which I wrote, “It’s not the lightest option, or the most exciting, but for an approximately 9 oz. trainer, I think the Revel [5] has a wide range of utility. On the run, I found the ride to be enjoyable, if a little one-note.” Basically… that stays the same. There’s a little more cushion here, which improves the shoe, but shoe technology is changing so quickly around us that “one note” and “not … the most exciting” do hurt more and more every year. That is to say, the Revel 6 is quite good - an improvement, even, over last year’s offering - and it’s really, really hard to argue with a $100 shoe from a major brand like Brooks. But, it’s not a shoe I’m rushing to tell my friends about. 

If you’re a new runner, or a casual runner, this is an absolute no-brainer. My favorite low-price trainer at the moment is probably the Atreyu Base Model but the Base Model is slightly less “standard,” and the lack of a true outsole makes it a little less versatile. 

The Revel 6 is really the generic “everyday trainer” if you’re not looking for something more. If you are (if you’re a self-proscribed “running shoe geek”), then this probably isn’t the shoe for you, even though it is really good. And for a wider market, I genuinely hope Brooks keeps the Revel around a long time, because you get a ton of shoe for $100.

Michael’s Score: 9.4/10


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Atreyu Base Model v2 (RTR Review)

Michael: As noted above, my go-to budget entry-level option is the Atreyu Base Model. As with last year, the Revel is a little more traditional, compared to the more minimalistic Atreyu, but Atreyu also upgraded their foam in v2, and kept some of the signature features, like lack of heel counter and lightweight, unstructured upper. I tipped my hand a little bit above, but I’m still partial to the Atreyu - though I think the Revel will work well for a lot of folks.

Saucony Kinvara 14 (RTR Review soon)

Michael: Saucony is going to win this one, and it’s really in the upper - the Revel 6 is a solid shoe, top-to-bottom, but no spectacular elements (but as shown above, no misses, either!). The Kinvara is slightly more ($120), but has a really, really good upper on an above-average midsole that makes it worth the $20 upgrade. Both great options; if you’re a new runner, the Revel may provide a little more support, but I’d try both on and see what fits right.

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3 (RTR Review)

Michael: Here I really need to watch my spelling, because those “b” and “v” keys are awfully close together. The New Balance ReBel is a slightly more energetic, aggressive, and overall more fun option, but it comes at the cost of support (the wider platform on the ReVel does feel a little more gentle, and I found lockdown to be easier to manage). Moreover, I found the Rebel just slightly aggressive for everyday runs, and preferred it for medium or workout days - while I didn’t have the same problem in the Revel, which really can cover the spread. If you own several shoes in your rotation, then I do think the Rebel v3 (and, if you can find it, v2!) is probably a more fun shoe - but again, the Revel is a terrific, if basic, “do it all” option.

Tester Profile

Michael is a patent attorney and graduate of Northwestern University Law School. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). Michael’s PRs include a 67:43 half-marathon (Chicago Half-Marathon) and 2:22:18 marathon from the 2022 Chicago Marathon. Michael continues to race on the roads, and is chasing a sub-2:20 marathon and potential OTQ in the future.

The Brooks Revel 6 is available now from our partners

Running Warehouse US 

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

Fleet Feet

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

Road Runner Sports

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

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


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T H said...

I got the Revel 5 mainly because most of Brooks' shoe lineup is high drop, so the fact that the 5s had a 8mm drop was a selling point. Now that they made the R6 a 10mm drop shoe, I'm no longer interested in it. And I'm not sure why they offer both the Revel and the Launch, since they keep making them more and more the same.

Michael said...

@ T H - Certainly understand that (though a 10mm drop doesn’t bother me!). I also very much agree on the overlap between the Revel and the Launch.

Anonymous said...

I just got a pair of Revel and a pair of Launch. Not a fan of either. The Revel killed my feet. I'll stick to Ghost.