Race day is when it all comes together for runners — and there's nothing quite as exciting as toeing the starting line in a high-octane super shoe. Designed for speed, these super-kicks feature lightweight builds and carbon fiber plates for popping responsiveness and energy return.
Brooks first made waves in the super shoe game in 2018, when Desiree Linden became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in over three decades, crossing the finish line in a prototype pair of what eventually became the Hyperion Elite racers. Five years removed from that milestone, Brooks has advanced its lineup of race-ready treads with the release of the all-new Hyperion Elite 3.
Featuring a redesigned upper and nitrogen-infused DNA Flash midsole, this responsive ride is the brand's latest crack at the pole position for premium race day footwear. But how does this latest Brooks runner fit within the super shoe category?
After running in the HE3s for a few weeks, I definitely see the positives in these new shoes. Fast and fun as they may be, however, there's still a little to be desired if you're looking for peak performance on race day. Here's why.
The energy is there with the HE3s, but they need more zip.
The HE3s carry over a handful of tech components from their previous iteration, the Hyperion Elite 2s, including the DNA Flash midsole, carbon fiber plate and identical outsole. These create a fun, responsive ride that gave me some snap in transition. I also had no issues turning over my feet when I quickened my pace, and I really think the shoes showed their best during tempo training.
That said, while the ride is energetic and more responsive than other running shoes, the pop you'd want in a super shoe just isn't there. I was unable to really feel the presence of the carbon plate, and most of the forward propulsion could be attributed to the denser foam and Rapid Roll shape of the midsole.
Does it perform? Yes. But there are other racers out there in today's running landscape that provide a bigger boost.
The redesigned upper is where the HE3s shine.
While I wanted a little more zip in the midsole, the redesigned upper of the HE3s is everything you'd desire in a running shoe. The QuicKnit upper stretches comfortably and breathes well for a durable cloak over your foot. There are also tight-knit areas around the sole and heel for added support, without taking away from the shoe's eye-catching silhouette.
Speaking of the heel, the HE3s boast an updated heel and collar area with added padding to improve comfort and defend against irritation. As someone who has suffered from blistering due to running shoes in the past, this was a nice addition to the profile.
Both the QuicKnit and revamped heel combine to create a ride that's ultra-secure, too. There's no denying that locked-in feel, especially when tying down Brooks' new serrated laces. These flat, ridged laces created a firm knot that stayed in place yet wasn't a burden to untie at the end of the day. Brooks also added a neon lace catch to the tongue, so you can conveniently keep your bunny ears from flopping around as you stride.
So, is the Hyperion Elite 3 a true super shoe?
The HE3s come in at $250, showcasing Brooks' aim to compete with other race day staples at that range. To me, the missing energy return doesn't justify the price. A super shoe should help you transfer your energy at peak efficiency when you need it most, and when put into this category, the new HE3s fall just a little short.
With that said, I can't complain about the ride and will definitely be keeping these in my running rotation. These are great shoes — just categorized incorrectly. If you're already a fan of the Brooks stable and are looking for a lightweight pick for tempo days, the HE3 checks all the boxes.