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Brooks Hyperion Max Review: How Maxxed Out Is This Running Shoe?

We put this all-new shoe through its paces to see how innovative Brooks is getting this year.

a woman running on a trail by a lake
Brooks

When searching for running shoes, you can often find yourself playing favorites to tried and trusted silhouettes and brands. Each year brings rework after rework, typically for the good and advancement of the discipline — as well as an uptick in style points.

There's a fine line brands walk, however, between reaching for innovative new profiles and resting on their laurels. Take Brooks, for example.

While the brand has been at the cornerstone of running footwear for years, housing some of the most popular kicks for every modality from daily training to race day, there's been a slight downturn when it comes to all-new designs as of late. Now, we're not complaining about the recent upgrades the brand has showcased across its plethora of running shoes — but there is something special and intriguing that comes with a fresh, new sneaker the running world has never seen before.

Well, it appears Brooks's ears were ringing heading into the new year, with the launch of the Brooks Hyperion Max. Serving as the newest addition to the Hyperion lineup of fast-paced tempo trainers, this fresh sneaker boasts a 3D Fit Print upper for a sock-like fit, as well as the brand's impressive DNA Flash midsole foam. While we were a bit confused about the "max" moniker at first — these kicks don't lend themselves to the typical definition of max-cushioned running shoes — it's safe to say we were anxious to see how these speedsters would perform on-road.

Across multiple weeks and roadways, I tested these all-new kicks for the sake of getting to the bottom of what makes these a "max" running shoe. Here's what you can expect from this all-new profile designed to deliver lightning-quick tempos with comfort and grip in every stride.

Courtesy

Brooks Hyperion Max

brooksrunning.com
$170.00

  • Natural fit that doesn't skimp on lockdown
  • The DNA Flash midsole gives each fast-paced stride the pop you want in a tempo trainer

  • Rocker geometry can be difficult to maneuver at slower paces
  • Hyperion Tempo fans may find the silhouette too similar to warrant a separate purchase

What's Good About the Brooks Hyperion Max?

The DNA Flash midsole delivers on its promises of a lightweight, responsive ride.

While the Hyperion Max is not the first Brooks silhouette to showcase this midsole technology, there is something to be said about its effectiveness within this particular profile. I felt the lightweight pickup worked well within this kick for my stride, more so than previous Hyperion running shoes like the Hyperion Elite 3 (although granted, the HE3s also boast an integrated carbon plate). Each stride was a welcome, snappy endeavor, and I really appreciated how easy it was to pick up the pace atop this impressive build.

The overall ride of the Hyperion Max is responsive and energetic without a lot of bounce, which I personally prefer. Unless I'm really striving for a first-place finish or trying to pace toward a new PR, having an underfoot that practically flings you forward can be a bit distracting in training. The DNA Flash midsole in this Brooks silhouette compresses easily with some convenient flexibility, providing a worthwhile response without too much overkill.

brooks hyperion max shoes on a snowy sidewalk
Ben Emminger

The 3D Fit Print upper creates a classic, natural fit with plenty of lockdown.

It's no question that Brooks makes some of the best-fitting running shoes out there — there's a reason a number of athletes (yours truly included) begin their love affair with running by lacing up in a pair of these kicks. The Hyperion Max keeps this trend alive and well, thanks to its 3D Fit Print upper that easily cloaks the foot in a sock-like fit. Comfort and breathability are definitely present in the build, yet I never felt there was a lack of security when pacing through my workouts.

A snug midfoot and well-designed heel lock easily kept my feet in-place when striding, which is something I can't say for every tempo trainer I've run in. Despite the sock-like, natural feel of the Brooks Hyperion Max, I found the toe box to provide exceptional room as well for splaying — not too tight yet not too loose. Plus, the 8mm heel-to-toe drop created a comfortable foot position and a cozier platform for toe-offs and landings alike.

brooks hyperion max shoes on a snowy sidewalk
Ben Emminger

What's Not Ideal About the Brooks Hyperion Max?

The rocker silhouette doesn't work for slow jogs or routine walks.

The Hyperion lineup is Brooks's tempo-driven stable, and after running with the Hyperion Max only a handful of times, it was quite evident that these were built with speed in mind. While the Max performed efficiently in daily training scenarios, the rocker geometry present in the build rolls easiest at faster paces. This made for some awkward transitions at times as I tried to keep my feet underneath my frame while trying to find the ideal footprint at cooldown paces or walks.

Simply put, the Hyperion Max silhouette just wants to go fast — and I suggest you let it do so in your training. There's a lot of fun to be had within these shoes, particularly on fast-paced days that call for a little intensity. Don't put an anchor on this all-new sneaker by trying to force it into the slow lane.

close up of the heel of a brooks hyperion max shoe
Ben Emminger

The shoe's very existence is confusing.

This all-new Brooks silhouette is billed as the middle ground between the previous Hyperion Tempo and the race-specific Hyperion Elite, but I feel there's too little a difference between the Tempo and Max to warrant both existing. While I enjoyed the Tempo profile for short races and fast-paced training, I think Brooks has really fine-tuned the equation when it comes to the Max. Plus, this silhouette is far more capable at daily runs than the Tempo, begging the question as to why you're given the option in the first place.

The lack of distinction isn't a knock on the Hyperion Max per se, but it could lead to confusion when you go to differentiate between the lower two picks within the Hyperion lineup. Sure, if you want to save $20, you can opt for the Tempo — which will be branded simply as the Hyperion for 2023 — but for the speedy training possibilities as well as daily needs, I think you're better off choosing this newer profile.

brooks hyperion max shoes on a snowy sidewalk
Ben Emminger

Brooks Hyperion Max: The Verdict

Despite its desire to ramp up the pacing more often than not, I really enjoyed this new shoe. I'm happy to see the brand unveiling new profiles, showcasing its interest in continuing to innovate in the sport — and the Hyperion Max is further proof that Brooks is honing its ability to deliver well-performing, nitrogen-infused midsoles, release after release. I recommend the Hyperion Max for anyone looking to quicken the pace on tempo days, or daily runners that stride a little faster than their fellow athletes.

Courtesy

Brooks Hyperion Max

brooksrunning.com
$170.00

  • Natural fit that doesn't skimp on lockdown
  • The DNA Flash midsole gives each fast-paced stride the pop you want in a tempo trainer

  • Rocker geometry can be difficult to maneuver at slower paces
  • Hyperion Tempo fans may find the silhouette too similar to warrant a separate purchase
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