Friday, July 28, 2023

Brooks Hyperion to Brooks Launch 10 Comparison Review: 6 Comparisons

Article by Michael Ellenberger and Renee Krusemark

Brooks Hyperion ($140) & Brooks Launch 10 ($110)


Michael: This review has taken me a while to get to - okay, primarily because work and life have been hectic (soon, I will need to find a new brick background to take my shoe photos!), but also because… the Brooks Hyperion is sort of boring. Now, don’t close this tab right away (herein lies the problem with putting the takeaway straight at the top!), I didn’t say they were bad - it’s just that, given the lore of the “Brooks Hyperion ___” branding, I perhaps expected more. There’s plenty of good (even very good), and some not-so-good, but there really isn’t anything “special.” I’ll explain.

So, as I started writing two separate reviews (one for the Hyperion, one for the new Launch 10), I thought - why don’t I just combine these? These shoes are more similar than different and (ostensibly) competitors, with the Launch at $110 and the Hyperion just up the range at $140…. Let’s see which shoe most runners should choose!


+ Both: Lightweight trainers are back, baby!

+ Both: Upper is thin and light 

+ Both: Durability (especially Launch!)

+ Hyperion: Midsole is fun enough (DNA Flash is a top-end material, in my book!)

+ Launch: 10mm offset and geometry makes it a little more aggressive 


- Hyperion: Even more narrow than the “predecessor” Hyperion Tempo

- Hyperion: Certainly not a shoe I’d race in, given the competition 

- Hyperion: 8mm drop feels like 4mm

Tester Profiles

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 a 2:21:19 marathon PR at the 2023 Grandma’s Marathon. Michael continues to race on the roads, and is chasing a sub-2:20 marathon and potential OTQ in the future.

Renee is a former U.S.Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.



Approx. Weight: men's 7.6 oz  / 215 g (USM9)  

Sample: men’s  7.4 oz  /  210g (US8.5)

Drop: 8mm (per Brooks)

Launch 10

Approx. Weight: men's 8.3 oz  / 235g (USM9)  


men’s 8.1 oz  /  230g  (US8.5)

women’s 6.58 oz / 186 g (US8)

Drop: 10mm (per Brooks) 

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Michael: As you may have seen if you follow my Instagram or my Strava (or, if it survives long for you to see this, my Threads account!), I received the Hyperion and the Launch on the same day, and they look… extremely similar. Yes, a shoe geek can tell the difference between the DNA Flash midsole of the higher-end Hyperion and the regular ol’ DNA cushioning of the Launch - but in Brooks’s “green gecko” color, these shoes look substantially similar.

The good news - both of these shoes have very impressive uppers. 

There are differences - the Hyperion has an open, airier mesh, whereas the Launch has a “warp knit” material. 

Top: Launch 10 Bottom: Hyperion

They’re distinguishable to the touch, and to some extent visually, but both are two riffs on the same tune, in my book. 

Both have the impressive “Speed Heel” which helps alleviate pressure around the Achilles, and both have a solid lockdown and good comfort, even when laced tightly.


On the negatives, both the Launch and the Hyperion run narrow, but the Hyperion especially stands out as a narrow platform shoe. 

Launch 10

This plagued its spiritual predecessor, the Hyperion Tempo, and has returned here with a vengeance. I’ve had others message me on social media to say they tried on and couldn’t wear the Hyperion - my experience was more modest (“wow, I wish this was wider!”) but if you’re someone who often reaches for a wide shoe, I’d try before you buy.

Renee: I’m chiming in about the Hyperion (no Launch here), but my thoughts are similar to Micheal’s. Is Hyperion boring? Yes, sort of. Is it also a good shoe with diverse uses? Yes. Perplexing, I know. The shoe is extremely light weight, which is often the first aspect of a shoe I consider. Plus, it’s a return to traditional trainers: no plate, just a light shoe capable of whatever you need. 

Unlike Michael, I did not find the Hyperion at all narrow (perhaps the men’s and women’s versions are different?). I wore my typical Brooks size 8. I am between half sizes, so it may be that wearing a size 8 instead of a 7.5 helped. I have plenty of room in the forefoot and toebox along with good security in the midfoot and heel. Basically the fit I expect from a daily trainer. 


Michael: Here is where, I think, Brooks wants you to reach for your wallet. The Hyperion has DNA Flash, while the Launch 10 has only the lowly DNA midsole compound, a more traditional EVA-based foam. And the difference is…mild.

Let me start with the “good” - the Nitrogen-infused DNA Flash used in the Hyperion is reminiscent of (if not identical to) the midsole on the outgoing Hyperion Tempo, and it is genuinely light and bouncy. DNA Flash is a top-tier midsole! 

There just isn’t enough done with it here to transform the ride - something about the geometry or the (not insignificant) 8 mm drop makes the midsole lack “pop.” There’s responsiveness, to be sure - I ran a workout in the Hyperion touching threshold pace, and averaging about 5:30 over 9+ miles without issue - but there isn’t any sensation of speed or aggressiveness. Like I said at the top - there’s goodness here, but nothing “extra.” I have not tried the Hyperion Max, but I wish there was more “max” here, because I get some bottoming-out when touching faster paces on concrete.

The Launch has Brooks lower-tier foam, simply titled “DNA,” as it’s as you’d expect - except that the geometry of the shoe does seem to set it up for success; there’s a genuine forward-momentum baked into the Launch that I think is missing in the Hyperion. I have less to say here, largely because if you’ve run in a recent Launch, you probably know what I’m talking about - the Launch 10 has some get-up-and-go, but it doesn’t come from fancy midsole compositions.

Renee: The midsole is somewhat boring compared to the current market, even with its supercritical Flash DNA foam. That said, the Hyperion is a trainer in my opinion (not a racing shoe), and the firm midsole and great ground feel give it a traditional “training flat” ride while still providing cushion for mid to long distances. 

I wish the forefoot landing had a bit more “pop” to it, something that the Hyperion Max does provide. The midsole is fine for easy to moderate paces. I ran quarter mile repeats on crushed rock and thought the midsole was fine, not exciting, but sufficient. I’m not a fan of using plated shoes on a daily basis, so I appreciate the basic midsole. I run mostly gravel, dirt, or crushed rock, so the midsole is enough for long distances (15+ miles). On paved roads, I’d like a bit more cushion for long runs , especially for easy paces. 


Top: Launch 10 Bottom: Hyperion

Michael: I love when this is the easiest section to write. Rejoice, runners - both outsoles are great, here. The Launch has decidedly more blown rubber across the bottom, but even the speed-focused Hyperion has ample covering, including a large (and grippy) chunk across the entire forefoot. I wouldn’t even worry about premature exposed foam wear in the Hyperion, as across nearly 40 miles, my trainers look nearly new. Both shoes will readily survive rain, sleet, (eek!) snow, and more - and, despite all my criticisms here and elsewhere, I do think the Hyperion would make a fine winter racing or workout shoe, which something like the Hyperion Elite simply couldn’t handle.

Renee: Running mostly on gravel, I appreciate that Brooks still provides a good amount of rubber outsole on their trainers. For the Hyperion, we have just enough to provide a durable and long lasting shoe.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Michael: I gave a lot of comparison in the “Midsole” section above, so I’m going to try and bring this around to what had me writing this head-to-head in the first place: why would someone pay $140 for the Hyperion when they could pay $110 for the Launch 10?

Now, before I try to answer that, I’ll give a little context - running shoe economics are a dangerous game, especially when you consider last year’s models, holiday sales, and more. Yes, for a marathon race, the $275 Nike AlphaFly 2 is superior to the $110 Brooks Launch 10. I won’t contest this. But there are so many in-betweens here - should I spring $20 more for the ASICS Magic Speed 3? What about last year’s Endorphin Speed on sale? But wait, should I just get a new super trainer and forgo a racing shoe? There are no right answers, so I’m strictly speaking to the Hyperion vs. Launch in this instance.

I would buy the $110 Launch over the $140 Hyperion, but it’s not simple. Is the Hyperion better? Yes. Is $30 a massive price difference? No, unfortunately two lattes now cost me like fifteen bucks in Chicago, so I don’t want to haggle over $30. 

Let’s consider the use cases here - I don’t think very many runners are going to want to race in the plain-jane Hyperion. There’s no plate, it’s not particularly springy, and even Brooks structures it as more of a lightweight trainer/workout shoe than a genuine racing option. And for training alone, the Launch has a higher-drop, more durable outsole, and similarly-engaging midsole. Sure, you’ll lose a little on the top end, but if you’re already redlining on your runs, I think you should be wearing something more specific, anyway!

Neither of these shoes is spectacular, but I don’t think anyone will be banging at the door of their local Fleet Feet, demanding to return the Hyperion. Both shoes are more than adequate, but man (I say this every year) - there are so many good shoes to choose from, and these two just sort of blend in. At $110 for a new shoe, the Launch is a good buy. It’s up to you if you want to cash in your latte money and upgrade.

Brooks Hyperion - Michael’s Score: 8.8/10 😊😊😊

Brooks Launch 10 - Michael’s Score: 8.9/10 😊😊😊

Renee: While I don’t have the current version of the Launch or Revel as Micheal does, I find myself wondering why someone would buy the Hyperion over those less expensive options. The shoe is not a racer, so it makes sense to buy the $100 Revel for training and spend a bit extra on a plated racer. Of course, not everyone has the luxury of running in basically every shoe on the market like we do at RTR. 

If I was training for a half marathon as a new runner and I don’t like plated shoes, the Hyperion can be an everyday shoe, i.e. for speed days and 10-15 mile runs. There’s nothing overly “wrong” with the Hyperion, it’s just a matter of comparing it to other options, including other Brooks. 

Renee’s Score: 8.8/10 (-.80 midsole lacks pop, -.40 comparable to other shoes per price)



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

ASICS Magic Speed 3 (RTR Review)

Michael: Undoubtedly more aggressive than either the Hyperion or the Launch, the Magic Speed is a “racer than could be a trainer,” rather than the opposite. But in the middle of that venn diagram (where the MS3 matches up against the Hyperion, specifically), I think the ASICS is clearly the better (faster) choice. I actually prefer the DNA Flash of the Brooks in feel, but underfoot, I just find the ASICS to be a more fun ride. The ASICS is an Achilles-killer, though! Weak runners (like myself) beware.

Atreyu Daily Trainer (RTR Review)

Michael: I immediately thought of this shoe with both the Hyperion and the Launch. It’s a similarly budget-priced shoe to the Launch ($110 retail) with Supercritical EVA compound akin to the Hyperion’s DNA Flash. Plus, a full-blown rubber outsole. And… I think I prefer the Atreyu to either, with some caveats. The Atreyu does feel a little chunkier than either of the Brooks offerings - I’d much rather race in the Hyperion than the Daily Trainer - but strictly for easy miles, I like how the Atreyu rides.

Saucony Endorphin Speed  (RTR Review)

Michael: Most runners I know love the Endo Speed as a do-it-all shoe, fine at all paces and distances… if you’re willing to deal with an aggressive stance. Personally, I find the Saucony a little harsh for truly easy running, and if you are intending only on logging comfortable mileage in these, I would certainly save the cash and take either of the Brooks. I don’t think either Brooks can match the top-end prowess of the Saucony, though!

Brooks Hyperion Max (RTR Review)

Renee: The Hyperion Max is not what I consider a “max” shoe in terms of cushion. As compared to the Hyperion, the Max is much more fun and exciting. I ran with the Max after my review and liked it more and more. The Hyperion has a traditional ride while the Max has a bit of a rocker at a forefoot landing. While I tend to like traditional rides more than rockers, the Max seems faster and with more pep. For mid or long distance tempo runs, the Max is by far my choice. For daily training and shorter speed work, the Hyperion might have a slight edge.

New Balance Rebel v2 or v3 (RTR Review)

Renee: Both shoes are daily trainers, capable of being race day shoes for half marathons and shorter for those who don’t like plated shoes. The midsole of the Rebel is far more exciting and a good example of how the Hyperion can seem a bit boring in comparison to other (and less expensive) trainers. For a firmer midsole and higher drop, some might prefer the Hyperion (just not me). Sizing is comparable. 

Saucony Kinvara 14 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Kinvara 14 loses some of its ground feel in the latest version. The shoe remains lightweight, just with more under foot for distance running. Those liking a traditional “flat” as a trainer might prefer the Hyperion, although the midsole of the Kinvara 14 has more pep and fun. Sizing is comparable.

RTR Review of the Brooks Hyperion GTS (Go-To-Support) version of the Hyperion

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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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Michael said...


kev said...

Launch 9 versus Launch 10 comparison? looks to be an upper update only.