The Glycerin and Levitate are both plush, $150 shoes from Brooks. So what’s the difference? For a brief comparison, we’ve included the chart below, but you can also scroll down for more in-depth analysis.
We named the Glycerin 15 our top shoe of 2017. How do you follow that up? Unfortunately, the 16 doesn’t quite hold together as beautifully as the previous version.
While this model is very similar to the 15, the underfoot feeling is a bit softer, most likely due to the “new” DNA LOFT foam (which we cannot confirm, but suspect is the same material as Super DNA, just with holes poked in it). This makes the shoe not quite as good at speed, but it’s always comfortable. It’s definitely less lively than the Levitate.
The upper is more relaxed than the 15 and feels a bit plusher. It’s comfortable to a degree that, again, hurts its speed capabilities.
It’s not the Glycerin 16’s fault it follows up a phenomenal shoe, but it definitely feels like a step backward. Here’s hoping the 17 will go back to how things were (or better!).
The original Levitate premiered last year to positive reviews. Unfortunately, changes to the upper make this year’s version a letdown.
The midsole still feels very nice. There’s a ton of protective cushion and bounce, making it very responsive. It’s a tad heavy for speed work, but if you want an alternative to Under Armour’s HOVR technology, this isn’t bad. Besides “lively,” there isn’t much to say about the DNA AMP foam in the shoe. It’s supposed to be one kind of foam encased in a firmer “skin” and that makes a lot of sense, the way it feels.
The upper is very roomy in the toebox, bordering on sloppy, but this reviewer went half a size down and it was basically fine. However, the decision to make the upper a combination of plush foam and knit is a baffling one. The hem of the knit extends beyond the heel collar, which gives it a popular sock-like look, but it doesn’t grip the foot, as Nike Flyknit does. It’s just sort of hanging there. This results in a ton of Achilles and ankle rubbing, especially if you wear low-cut socks. This is a baffling design choice by Brooks, since they could have just cut that hem. It’s not like the shoe is lighter than last year. Actually, it’s heavier.
There is a lot of potential in the DNA AMP foam, but the Levitate 2 is a step backwards, seemingly in the name of style. It’s like the Adidas Ultra Boost for old people. Grab a pair of the original while you wait for the third iteration.