The Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 performs more like a fast training shoe than a carbon plate super-shoe, though it’s priced like the latter. It’s also heavier than its predecessor, the Hyperion Elite 2, which is a much better racing shoe.
- More stable than other super-shoes
- Heavier than Hyperion Elite 2
- Lacks propulsion
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Brooks was one of the first brands to react to the arrival of the Nike Vaporfly by launching its attempt to crash the elite group of the best carbon plate running shoes. This was the original Hyperion Elite, which launched in early 2020. That shoe was firm and lacked the propulsive feel of a super-shoe. It was quickly replaced by the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, which used an improved foam in the midsole.
At the time the Hyperion Elite 2 was a good racing shoe, lightweight and more stable than other super-shoes, if not as bouncy. Since then, most brands have released a better carbon shoe while Brooks has stood still until the launch of the Hyperion Elite 3, which is the same as the Hyperion Elite 2, except with a heavier upper. It’s a strange update and feels like a placeholder until Brooks launches a more significant upgrade. I’d skip it.
Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 Review: Price And Availability
The Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 was launched in the US in mid-2022 and has been available in the UK since early 2023. It costs $250 in the US and £190 in the UK, an odd conversion that means it’s cheaper than many super-shoes in the UK, while being standard in the US.
Design And Fit
Brooks has taken its time with the update to the Hyperion Elite 2, but in the end the only thing it has changed on the shoe is the upper. The thin mesh upper on the Elite 2 caused problems with heel rub and it has been replaced by a knitted material called QuicKnit.
It’s a thick knitted material and accounts for the weight gain in this third version of the shoe. It’s 8.8oz/249g in my US men’s 10, up from 7.9oz/223g for the Hyperion Elite 2 in the same size. The Elite 3 is heavy for a racing shoe, especially when you consider the stack height is 35mm at the heel and 27mm at the forefoot, rather than hitting 40mm at the heel like most carbon super-shoes.
The only carbon super-shoes I’ve tested that weigh as much as the Elite 3 in my size are the Nike Alphafly NEXT% 2 and Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3, which have higher stacks and use more propulsive foams that offset that weight with added energy return.
The Hyperion Elite 3 uses a nitrogen-infused EVA foam in its midsole called DNA Flash. This is firmer than most foams used in super-shoes, but it is responsive and effective for fast running, while being more stable than the squishy foams used elsewhere. However, one of the foam’s key attributes is that it’s light, and this is undermined by the heavy upper on the shoe.
This upper also changes the fit of the shoe to make it spacious in the toe box. Too spacious for me: I would go half a size down on my normal running shoe size to get a better fit. It doesn’t cause any heel rub, though, which is a positive compared with the Elite 2.
The outsole of the Elite 3 is the same as on the Elite 2: a thin layer of rubber covering most of the forefoot plus sections at the heel. There is a lot of exposed foam, but DNA Flash is hardy so I’ve no concerns regarding the durability of the shoe.
How I Tested This Shoe
I’ve run just over 30 miles in the Brooks Hyperion Elite 3, including a 14-mile run involving a four-mile pick-up to around my marathon pace of 5min 40sec/mile, and a steady 10K in 36 minutes. I have also tested previous versions of the shoe, and most of the best carbon plate running shoes available.
The Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 is not a super-shoe. It’s a fast training shoe, with a firmer and more stable ride than most. Thich might make it attractive to those who don’t like the squishy feel of some plated shoes, but it does not hit the standards of shoes like the Nike Vaporfly.
It has a fast ride, and the midsole and plate deliver a snappy feel when you increase your pace, but it doesn’t deliver the efficient, almost effortless ride you get from better super-shoes. I found that the shoe impressed most when it helped me tick over quicker than expected while running at easy effort levels. However, it felt flat when I tried to run fast.
The midsole is the same as on the Hyperion Elite 2, but the heavier upper makes the Elite 3 feel like a training shoe and takes away the nimbleness of the Elite 2. I prefer the Brooks Hyperion Max for fast efforts because it is a light shoe that uses the DNA Flash foam without a plate. By contrast, the Elite 3 feels big and cumbersome.
You can run fast in it of course, and when you get into a rhythm at around tempo pace the Elite 3 helps you to roll through runs. But even compared with plated training shoes like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 or Asics Magic Speed 2, it lacks the propulsive feel I would expect.
Is The Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 Worth It?
There are so many excellent carbon plate running shoes available that there’s no reason to pick the Hyperion Elite 3. The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is cheaper and better, and you can find older, more impressive, shoes like the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2 or Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 in sales at a lower price than the Brooks.
The Elite 3 has potential as a fast training option with a more stable ride than most, but even there I prefer the Endorphin Speed 3, Magic Speed 2 and Puma Deviate Nitro 2 as plated training shoes.
Brooks will surely make bigger changes to the next generation of its carbon plate racing shoe, but for now the best speed shoes in its range are the lightweight Hyperion Tempo and Hyperion Max.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.