Thursday, November 03, 2022

Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 : Unboxing and Review

Right There in Warehouse

The Hyperion Elite (Original Version 1) was worn as a prototype by Desiree Linden (Des Linden) in the 2018 Boston Marathon that she won. Then in February of 2020, she was spotted with an updated version, which eventually became Elite 2, and made/submitted to be "race legal" before the Tokyo Olympic as it was officially launched for sale in September 2020. Des Linden then took the Elite 3 prototype and broke the 3 hour women 50km record. For your info, the Elite 3 is now available in Malaysia.

When I was signed on with Sports Paragon early of 2022, I had vision and hoping to receive the Hyperion Elite 2. The reasoning is simple - I wanted to experience a full-fledged carbon shoe. I want to experience what these super shoe can give. With my improved in running economy, and convincingly able to run sub-20mins 5KM more than three times at that time (6 times as I write this) and a bragging  18:50 for a 46 years old uncle doing those timing NOT on carbon plated shoes. 

The curiosity is just immense. Is it true that you will be at least 15-20s faster in that 5km? Which easily translate to a hefty 3s/min improvement, at the very least. Those that has been running at those pace would be able to relate just how difficult to even break your personal best by 1s, nevermind 10s or 20s. BUT, I've seen, and I've read those on these carbon-plated shoes did it, and I am not far off. 

Hello, Hyperion Elite2 - Unboxing

First off, let me show it off.

The Elite2 is not the usual shoe you would find in the Brooks or Sports Paragon store. Reason being it is limited in Malaysia due to less demand. But when you see it, it makes you question your sanity if you really need it. It sort of gaslight you, in a good way. The shoe looked fast even when stationary.

Pick it up and it comes in light for the size. I weighed it. For the additional carbon plate and stack height, it is only 17 grams heavier than the Tempo. 17 grams is approximate the weight of the laces. Near next to nothing. The official US8.5 weight is 195grams.
US12 @ 256grams
Brooks made the Elite2 upper in a engineered single layer soft and stretchable with perforated design (very similar to Tempo, but not the same) that keeps the shoe highly breathable. For this same reason, I have to wear socks to prevent the shoe from soaking wet with my sweat on a normal/training run. For race, I couldn't care less at that moment in time. It is funny now that I think back, how this Elite2 has made me do - StupeSockless to StupeSocksNow.

Smooth. Seamless. Single Layer. Sockless Ready. Highly Breathable.

If you want to have a good idea what these perforation can do, this IG Reel of my Tempo says it all.
Be Like Water
The toe box has the reinforcement at the front to both protect the toes and also to keep the shape. It's something I've noticed consistent throughout most, if not all Brooks shoes.
toe reinforcement

How lights passes through to show how light/thin the upper single layer is

The laces that comes with the Elite2 is not stretchable unlike the Tempo. This meant you get a very firm lock down at the right pressure you need. That is how you would feel the first time you tie them and let the smooth upper material.
The Laces and Perforation. Take note of the reinforcement around the hole of the laces
The that the tongue is also thin and unpadded. It also has perforation - both for breathability and for weight saving. It is also not gusseted and not an issue for me except I will ensure the tongue doesn't folds at the side, as they are thin/unpadded.
Perforated Tongue. Not gusseted
Thin and light
Even the heel section is lightweight and perforated. Spoiler - it doesn't bite into my heel/ankle. I mentioned this as there were a few reviews that mentioned how it bits into the heel section. Which did not happen to me. 
See those small little holes. I missed it the first time when i held this baby in my hand
The heel cup has additional padding that goes 3-quarter from one side to near the first lace hole.
Padding at the back of the heel cup

Longer on one side
3-quarter on the other

It is my first experience wearing heel cup padded this way; though i know it's normal for many newer shoes nowadays.

The Stacks
Now that we got the upper out of the way. The Elite2 stack height is at 29mm (forefoot) and 37mm (heel) which gives it a 8mm drop shoe. It is higher than the Elite1 by 2mm overall while keeping the drop at 8mm. 2mm may not sound like a lot measurement wise, but in terms of shoe (foams), those 2mm makes a lot of differences especially when it comes to cushioning. Example when compared to Tempo which has a 8mm drop and 23mm-31mm. With more than sufficient mileage on Tempo to confirm that these increment (23 to 29 and 31-37, forefoot and heel) is significant from cushioning perspective.
29mm forefoot
37mm heel

Put these together, the weight "increase" now doesn't seems much. These foams has weight, isn't it? Now this is where the magic happens.
DNA Flash
Elite 2, like the Tempo comes with the Nitrogen-infused foam known as DNA Flash. This engineered foam is available full length on the Tempo. It is lightweight and adaptive to every stride. The DNA gel is adaptive to the force applied with the Flash putting in Nitrogen into the mix. 
A higher force will make it firmer. This meant the cushioning is able to adapt to be firmer when a heavier strides happen, and yet become more responsive with higher energy return when compared to Launch8's foam.
But Where Is The Carbon Plate???
Where art thou Carbon Plate?
The carbon (propulsion) plate is sandwiched between two layers of DNA flash material. It is full length and if you look at it closer, you will have a good idea where it is placed. See the thin line running across the foam? No? The two photos may draw your attention to it.
How about now?
Now that you see them up close, you will then notice the curvature or up-curve at the heel and the front. It gives the shoe the distinctive "super shoe" sole curve that lend to a fast feet turnover. Different shoe brand call it differently. Saucony call theirs "Speedroll", Hoka call theirs "Metarocker", Asics with their "Metaride" and Brooks version is known as Rapid Roll Technology. Essentially, they are "rocker" shoes and they encourage fast feet turning over at speed.
Obvious heel upturn
One feature that you may had observed is that the foam of the sole over-extend past the shoe upper itself. From top looking down, you can see the sole foam flaring out, giving it an large imprint. At the back, the sole overextend past the heel by 4mm, perhaps 5mm.
The heel portion over-extend past the heel cup. 

View from front where the foam over-extend from the upper part of the shoe
Doing this allow the Elite2 to not pack more cushioning and responsive DNA Flash into the shoe, it also provide higher stability and more surface for shock absorption at no expense to the overall weight. The shoe looked bulky, but doesn't weigh like it and doesn't makes your feet felt heavy on fast runs. Infact, this is common across most super shoes. Larger area = more stability, more so with higher stack height which then lends more confidence in take off.
Perfect seque to talk about the outsole
2mm thick. That is how much real rubber between the DNA Flash and the tarmac. The coverage is less than 50%. It is designed for those with good midfoot/forefoot mechanic. If you are a heel striker, you may wear this pair out faster due to the very limited heel pad. Unless your feet turnaround is fast (like 180spm), you may benefit even if you heel-strikes.
Grey part = outsole
Front has more rubber
Heel has very little

Compared to the Tempo, the Elite2 obviously has lesser (thickness) on the outsole. Something like 5mm vs 2mm. I believe they were both made with same material aka carbon black material, so it can last pretty well to about 600km at minimum. I've done some reading and it seems most Elite2 users (since 2020 review) reported no issues to run past 200miles, or close to 320km - or about 8 marathons if this shoe is used exclusively for marathon races. If i use this without rotation, It will take me a 6 weeks - should I, for...errm... research purposes? Also, some reviewers mentioned no issues for 400miles or 600km at least.
320km? I believe 500km no issues. Long Term Update soon!
Last Item - The Liner
The Elite2 socks liner is thin. It is like the Tempo. Only differences is that the liner is glued down only at the heel section, but the forefoot section is not. Which is strange. My experience with Tempo is that the liner moves when you run at a faster pace. Perhaps, that is one reason it is glued down in Elite2. I was tempted to peel it apart, but at the same time hesitant with the "what if". Perhaps I do that when the shoe reaches half life, you know, for research purposes.
I think to call it "speed" is an understatement
First Feel
I admit I was excited to try it on. A legit carbon super shoe. based on Brooks’s measurements, the shoe is "14 percent more cushioned than the Elite 1 (aka higher stack), and has 14 percent more energy return (due to more foam). The foam also compresses 37 percent more (also due to stack height) than the original shoe. This displacement translates to more give and a softer, springier midsole."
"Fix My Life" Shoe
Did I feel it? The short answer is YES. The longer answer requires a bit more explanation. Before we go there, let me do a recap on how the upper feels when you wear them, pull the lace snug and stand there wondering if you be able to maximise the shoe's potential.
  • The shoe is unisex sizing. Meaning, if you have smaller/thinner feet, you may find some part looser than others.
  • The toe box is generous despite the "D" or Normal width sizing. I always thought I am an "E", but it turns out I am more of a D than an E. However, I would caveat that I need "E" on Brooks other more cushioned shoes (like Ghost14)
  • The laces is not stretchable unlike the Tempo. A good thing as I can easily lock in the pressure required. Having said that, I've also moved to using elastic self-designed "speed lace". We all know it's a matter of time this happen on Elite2.
  • Tongue is thin, not gusseted, no issues with comfort, just have to make sure you position it without folding at the side before pulling your laces
  • Nice heel cup padding. Adds a bit of secured fitment while providing comfort. I wish my Tempo has it, because it makes it cooler (look) LOL.
  • Seamless inner. I felt nothing against my feet, no hot spot, no friction feel with or without socks (I will go sockless once it past it's half life because no more "new toilet feel" like how Chinese would say)
  • Overall feel once laced up is good. Snug, secured. You do not feel tight, hot or thinking if you pulled the laces a bit too tight or too loose. It stays locked throughout my run.
Now, the longer YES answer. I am comparing this Elite2 against 3 shoes.
  • The smaller brother Hyperion Tempo - lightweight everyday trainer. Non-carbon plated. Works all the time in rotation with my Launch8 for fast runs. DNA Flash like Elite2, only lower stack;
  • The Asics MagicSpeed2 - lightweight everyday trainer. Carbon-infused TPE plate (aka plastic plate covered with carbon material); 2022 technology
  • The Skechers GoMeb aka GoSpeed - the OG plated (3M Hyflex torsion). Which I remembered to be fast shoe but minimalist (thin sole 4mm drop). 10 years technology ago
1. vs Tempo
The cushioning and energy return is noticeably different. While the Tempo is much lighter and share almost everything the same minus the stack height and carbon plate, I felt how the stack height on DNA Flash provides the much needed cushioning without any sluggishness. The problem with "squishy" shoe is exactly that - if it is cushioned and the foam is unable to provide feedback, you will end up with a shoe that overly-compressed and absorb without giving any energy return. In this sense, the DNA Flash worked beautifully. The stack height made it sweet. 

2. vs MagicSpeed2
Plated vs Plated. FFBlast+ vs DNA Flash. Narrow platform vs Wider platform. 27-34 vs 29-37. The only way to determine this was to take both shoes out for a run of the same distance. Over 20hours rest in between. Same route. Same weather. Same effort. And see where it all stands (or run). If you know me, you will know I run with Stryd. Before we go into the details, here is how both shoe feels when compared to each other
  • MagicSpeed2 (MS2) felt taller despite the lower stack height. I attribute this to the fact that Hyperion Elite2 (HE2) has larger footprint/platform. The "taller" feel was due to STABILITY. HE2 is a more stable shoe.
  • Because HE2 is more stable, the shoe felt more grounded despite 1mm more drop (MS2 is 7mm). 
  • MS2 turnover felt "rough". HE2 turnover felt smooth (like butter). I attribute it to the DNA Flash and the more pronounced rocker.
  • The roughness of MS2 should not be misconstrued as being less effective, but it really meant is like driving an automatic mechanical gearbox vs driving a CVT gearbox
  • MS2 felt snappier - the Carbon infused TPU plate feedback is felt. The HE2 was felt too, but more refined (see above roughness reference)
  • Road/Tarmac grip - damp road (both post rain), running into corners, MS2 bites better. HE2 grips, but just have a feeling it will drift. Likely due to outsole coverage.
Ready for some data? I promise you i will try to be as layman as possible. So the two runs. About 24hours between each other. Same weather condition. Same route, same direction. If there is only one differences, the day I ran on MS2, the road barriers were fully up (due to school session ending), so I do not need to run around, under or over barriers. Technically speaking, MS2 should translate to faster speed... yes?

Unfortunately, its NO.
Run 316 on MagicSpeed2 or MS2

Run 317 on Hyperion Elite2 or HE2
Stryd is a power pod that records my power output relative to the effort. My weight and height taken into consideration, and taking away other factor, such as Heart Rate, which can differs depending on the "level of your stress". This is why training with power is good. You train based on effort no matter the terrain, pace, heart rate, weather or condition. What I will share in these few photos will be telling these stories. First, lets see the pace. We all love pace. We "benchmark" ourselves by pace. A fast runner can run fast pace.
Check the KM by KM stats
I ran with the MS2 within my Zone2/3 HR effort, which translated to the average pace of 4:29. The next day, on the HE2, the paced dropped to 4:21. That is a 8s reduction. Reason I ran with the HE2 after MS2 is to take away any perception I was running harder on a new shoe (we all know how it is on a new shoe feel). Bearing in mind, I had a hard run the day before MS2 with my 12mins Cooper Test...So, I am aware of how I need to modulate my power to achieve this test. Running on the HE2 got me faster by 2.9% (8s over 4:29 pace of MS2).

But You Say Pace and HR is variable...
HR is indeed a variable. Insufficient rest or life stress makes you unable to perform near your best. So, i was ready to push it up a notch to achieve the required Power or effort. So to take away these "feel" of speed/pace and HR, I ran with the HE2 as close as I could based on the POWER output of MS2 the day before (274W). Power is absolute. 274W is 274W (in this case) doesn't matter what the HR or the Pace (variables) or the weather (in this case, both were 1degC and 5% humidity apart). What I found out was, if I were to just based on Pace, the HE2 WILL save energy (less power required), but what fun is there to run at the same pace when you can run at the same power? In this case, running at the same power output translated to higher pace. 8s/km is big for an average runner like me. See the stats to believe.

Check the power vs pace of both run, KM by KM, side by side...

Can You Laymen it for me, please?
But before that, lets look at the intricate stats of the runs. We all know the MS2 is fast. I rave about it before I received the HE2. With the HE2, I know it will be fast, or as fast, but how much faster, if it is fast. These overall stats in the next two photos is summarized in bullet points below.

If you get this far and understand what I was trying to convey, great. Now you know why and how data help one to improve. If you felt lost, here, I will summarize it in a Too Long:Didn't Read (TL:DR) version. So from the above:
  • At the same Power output, HE2 gives you more speed. Average over 7km works out to be 8s/km. 8s over MS2 4:29 (or 269s) works out to be 2.9% faster.
  • Turnover/cadence of HE2 is higher for the same Stride Length (1.29m) by 7strides per minute. The Rapid Roll Technology of Brooks at work here.
  • Ground contact time of HE2 is shorter by 9ms. A marginal evidence of the energy return of the DNA Flash foam
  • I bounce (vertically) less on the HE2 by a hefty 0.58cm or 5.8mm. Pretty significant as that also meant the energy is translated to forward movement. This is likely due to better turnover.
  • Running efficiency wise, 2w savings. Not significant in terms of Form Power Ratio (0.26) but what i meant is i spend less energy/waste less energy every power generated.
  • Lastly, while the carbon plate on the HE2 is not really "felt" (see "snappier" comment above), the Leg Spring Stiffness of LSS is higher on the HE2 by 0.5kN/m. What it meant is there are more theoretical energy return in (compressed) spring (leg) action.
So, the TL:DR of the TL:DR is the TL:DR is not TL:DR enough...
HE2 is a carbon plated fast, cushioned, efficient shoe. That is all you need to know.
There, Fixed Your Life

3. vs GoSpeed
We are not comparing it but they say you always remember your first time (of plated shoe). Just want to acknowledge that technologically, its like comparing a F15 Tomcat vs the F32 Raptor, in fighter jet speak, or a Proton Saga Megavalve and a Proton X70. 

  • Light. Fast. Cushioned. Plated. 
  • You feel grounded, yet you know the shoe will provide adequate cushioning with the DNA Flash.
  • Great fit. Generous toe box.
  • No noticeable hot spot in short run, for now.
  • No heel slips despite drenched in sweat
  • Very secure road-grip feel. No indication of slippage under faster pace.
  • Concern of wear rate.
  • Expensive (but I have discount code below 😄)
Here are more photos of the shoe, in case you can't get enough, because I actually felt sad when I see the sole dirty after every run... but in the name of review...

Hope you enjoyed this review. I know I did. I must say it is one of my more anticipated allocated sponsorship took quite a while to receive as this shoe is super limited; and I gambled with a US12 - which turns out to be a good fit for me (with socks).

Thank you Sports Paragon Malaysia and Brooks Running Malaysia for this pair of Hyperion Elite2 that came as part of my 2022 entitlement. This is, I believe amongst the last pair of Elite2 in the country (the other sizing being US10 in same colorway) and priced at MYR1250. The pricing is competitive vs the other Super Shoe. Hope this detailed review help give you some idea how it all stacked up. It's hard/almost impossible to find Elite2 review of Malaysian users and I hope i did justice to it.

Discount??? You Want Cheap?
As part of my sponsorship with Paragon Vests under the Team Sports Paragon, I have a few discount codes you can use to purchase your next Brooks shoes if you want. Older models at higher discount is available in website. Sizing can be a challenge, which explained the better discount. If you want newer and better sizing, head over to and score a few newer models.

I have the full discount codes and brands that support me in 2022. But if you are lazy to click, here they are...

Promo Code: SPEV02
Footwear: 55%
Apparels: 50%
Sandals: 40%
Accessories: 50%

Promo Code: EEVANOFF25
25% OFF of all items ( exclude sale items )

Promo Code: ZOOTEEVAN20
20% OFF Zoot website Non promo items
10% OFF Zoot website Promotion items

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