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It only takes one glance at the Brooks Aurora-BL to know that this is not a typical running shoe. It’s designed to make a splash and draw attention to the new tech introduced here, of which the stand-out is the DNA Loft V3 cushioning.
Brooks uses the current version of DNA Loft in some of its most popular shoes, like the Glycerin, Ghost and Adrenaline lines, and I expect the souped-up foam in the Aurora-GL to be introduced to other Brooks shoes in the future.
DNA Loft V3 is a nitrogen-injected EVA foam. The addition of nitrogen to the standard foam makes it lighter and more responsive, while offering similar levels of comfort and durability. Brooks has been using a nitrogen-injected foam called DNA Flash in shoes designed for fast running, like the Hyperion Elite 2, but this is the first time I’ve seen this type of treated foam on a more cushioned option.
The foam is not the only innovation present. The Aurora-BL also features a decoupled midsole, which Brooks says is a first for such a highly cushioned shoe, for a more flexible, natural ride. I can’t say I really noticed this when running in the shoe, but it’s another notable addition to what was already a pretty interesting shoe.
The feel of the shoe is meant to replicate the weightless feeling of gliding through space, and its design is inspired by the space age. It’s an outlandish look that I can’t say I love, although for balance my two-year-old described it as beautiful.
I wore the Aurora-BL on a 22.5km progression run, working from easy to steady pace over the course of the run. The first thing that stood out was that it isn’t as plush and comfortable as the Glycerin line of shoes, which are widely considered the gold standard of cushioned shoes.
However, the new foam is a little livelier and more responsive than shoes I’ve used with DNA Loft in them, and as I picked up the pace towards the end of the run the Aurora-BL was surprisingly smooth and speedy for such a large shoe.
Part of that is the weight of the shoe, with the nitrogen-injected foam coming in lighter than the standard stuff. The Aurora-BL weighs 255g in my UK 9, while the Glycerin tends to come in over 300g in the same size.
Brooks has also shaved some weight off the Aurora-BL by using less rubber on the outsole. While there is still a covering in all the key impact zones, there’s not the kind of full rubber outsole you’d find on its training shoes normally, which does tend to increase durability.
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The Aurora-BL is unlikely to be a shoe that many people use to log 500 miles of training in, though. It’s more of a collector’s item. There’s a limited-edition release planned for 10th June and it will cost £180.
There are certainly many excellent running shoes you could buy for less money, but if you are very taken with the design of the Aurora-BL and don’t just want to keep it in box-fresh condition, it does offer a pretty impressive level of performance on the run. It’s versatile enough to use for a range of training runs from easy to tempo efforts, and I’m certainly looking forward to testing out some more traditionally designed Brooks shoes that use the new DNA Loft V3 foam in the future.
Buy from Brooks (sold out) | £180
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.