Brooks Hyperion Max 2 Review: A Max-ier Ride

The Brooks Hyperion Max 2.

All shoes are reviewed by the Fleet Feet tester team, which represents a wide variety of goals, foot shapes, running locations and terrains. Reviewers pound the pavement, climb the hills, tackle the trails, then come together to compare notes. Debates ensue over the feel of the cushioning, the purpose of the shoe, and how it compares to last year’s model. While each reviewer has their own individual preferences, we hope that capturing our debates will help you make an informed decision.

Last year, Brooks unveiled the first iteration of the Hyperion Max. Based on the name, we expected this to be a max-cushioned shoe, right? Wrong. With a heel stack height of 26 millimeters, the Hyperion Max wasn’t the max-cushion experience we’ve become accustomed to (although it did feel super fast and light on foot).

Now, the Brooks Hyperion Max is back and bigger than ever. The second iteration features an additional four millimeters of cushioning in the heel and six millimeters in the forefoot, bringing the full stack height closer to what we expect from a shoe with the word “max” in its title. It also sports a nylon PEBAX® plate, dubbed the SpeedVault Plate.

Can the Brooks Hyperion Max 2 stand up to other max-cushioned shoes in its category? Will the added cushioning compromise the light, fast feel of the original version? Read on to find out.

Shop Now

Tech Specs

Brooks Hyperion Max 2

Weight 8.1 oz (W), 9.1 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 36 mm/30 mm
Heel-to-toe drop 6 mm
Category Neutral
Surface Road/track
Price $180
Comparable to… Saucony Endorphin Speed 4, New Balance SuperComp Trainer v3

Ride

Cushioning

Energy

Hyperion Max 2 earns its stripes

The Brooks Hyperion Max 2.

Fleet Feet wear testers agreed: The Brooks Hyperion Max 2 feels much “maxier” than its predecessor. In addition to the added stack height, the nylon SpeedVault plate adds a more energetic ride.

Brooks’ SpeedVault plate works in tandem with a rocker shape to create smooth heel-to-toe transitions that make picking up the pace feel like a breeze. Brooks’ DNA FLASH v2 cushioning doesn’t hurt either, as it’s made with nitrogen-infused supercritical foam that feels lighter and bouncier than traditional EVA foams.

“I was a pretty big fan of the Hyperion Max when it came out,” says Nate, an avid fan of firm, low-stack shoes. “While I wish I had unlimited space to keep every pair of shoes I test, I will get the look from my wife meaning I need to clear out some pairs so they don’t consume every surface of my office. That means I have to make tough choices about which pairs to keep. Suffice to say, the Hyperion Max has stayed on my list so I was looking forward to testing the 2. The midsole foam feels very responsive, yet it’s a hair softer than the original Hyperion Max. Brooks even added a plastic SpeedVault plate for some additional snappiness. These changes definitely add up, making the shoe feel light and nimble yet noticeably “maxier” than the original Max.”

While the Max 2 certainly feels more energetic than the original version, it still doesn’t offer that bouncy and propulsive feeling I expect from a super trainer. Kate, another wear tester who enjoys firm shoes, summed it up perfectly.

The Brooks Hyperion Max 2.

“The Hyperion Max 2 doesn't make me feel like I’m bouncing or being propelled forward,” she says. “The sensation is much more natural; it’s like they’re a cushioned and protective extension of my body that helps me cruise without thinking about my feet. I decided to wear these shoes on a long run. I figured I’d do no more than 13 miles, but they felt so smooth that I went for 15! They are pretty stiff with firm cushion and a rocker shape—one of my favorite combinations.”

My first test run in the Hyperion Max 2 was a cutdown fartlek with two sets of 6 minutes at half marathon pace, 3 minutes at 10K pace and 1 minute at 5K pace. This was my first speed workout in about eight weeks as I’ve been rehabbing an ankle injury. I was nervous about both my ability to hit the paces and how my ankle would feel, but I felt a lot better than I expected!

Just like Kate mentioned, I didn’t feel like I was bouncing down the sidewalk but the shoes made it feel very natural to pick up the pace. I usually prefer softer, taller and springier shoes for speed workouts but the Hyperion Max 2 feels much more stable, which gave me confidence with my ankle injury.

The outsole is a mix of rubber and exposed midsole foam, which is commonly done in running shoes to save weight. Neither Kate nor Nate mentioned any issues with the traction, but I did find myself slipping over a couple of crosswalks as the road paint gets very slippery when wet. I’m not sure if I can really blame the shoes, as it had been raining for about a week straight at this point.

Performance-style fit adds speedy vibes

The Hyperion Max 2 features a light, thin mesh upper that provides the ultimate blend of flexibility and support. I felt secure and locked in during my workout, which is really all you can ask for from a speed shoe. I guess you can also ask for some bright colors and bold logos, which seems to be the trend for speed and race-day shoes now and the Hyperion Max 2 follows suit.

“Brooks nailed the fit of this shoe,” says Kate. “The midfoot is snug and the toe box is nicely rounded out and roomy. I love the lightly padded heel collar that flares away from my achilles. The Hyperion Max 2 fits me true to size, and everything feels super comfortable.”

The upper is fine-tuned to offer everything you need for speed and comfort without any features that may weigh you down. For example, the tongue is a gusseted, slightly stretchy and ultra-thin piece of fabric. It sits atop your foot to hold you in place under the laces and that’s it. No bells or whistles, just pure functionality. We noticed and appreciated the dramatically textured laces, too. There’s absolutely no way these are coming undone during your workout.

All three of us found the shoe to fit true to size, which is a good sign considering we all have different foot shapes. Nate has wide, high-volume feet, while Kate has narrow, low-volume feet. My feet are somewhere in the middle. If you aren’t sure about the shape of your feet, your best bet will be to head into your local Fleet Feet. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height, so you can learn a lot while you’re there.

The Brooks Hyperion Max 2.

Brooks Hyperion Max 2 vs Brooks Hyperion Max

Tech Specs

Brooks Hyperion Max 2

Brooks Hyperion Max

Weight

8.1 oz (W), 9.1 oz (M)

6.7 oz (W), 7.8 oz (M)

Stack height

36 mm/30 mm

32 mm/24 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

6 mm

8 mm

Plate

Nylon

None

Price

$180

$170

It doesn’t appear that Brooks has mastered the ever-so-tricky feat of adding more cushioning while saving weight. The Hyperion Max 2 offers a higher stack height but weighs in at over a full ounce heavier than the previous version.

Nevertheless, we still consider the Hyperion Max 2 an upgrade. It feels a touch softer and more responsive than the previous version, thanks to the upgrade of DNA FLASH v2 foam (the previous version used the older DNA FLASH foam). The added nylon plate adds energy return to each stride.

“The Hyperion Max 2 feels totally different from the experience I remember in the original version,” says Kate. “This one feels a lot more lively. Something about the foam felt really flat to me in the first shoe, while this one is a whole different story.”

While the Max 2 offers more cushioning, it does retain a somewhat firm feel, meaning that fans of the original Max will likely enjoy this one, too.

“The Max 2 shares the same speedy profile as the original, it just looks like it found a new fitness routine and bulked up with some extra stack height of DNA FLASH foam,” Nate says.

The outsole of the Brooks Hyperion Max 2.

How does the Brooks Hyperion Max 2 compare?

We took a look at some comparable models to see how they stack up against the Brooks Hyperion Max 2. Here’s what we found.

Tech Specs

Brooks Hyperion Max 2

Saucony Endorphin Speed 4

New Balance Rebel v4

Weight

8.1 oz (W), 9.1 oz (M)

7.2 oz (W), 8.2 oz (M)

7.3 oz (W), 9.2 oz (M)

Stack height

36 mm/30 mm

36 mm/28 mm

40 mm/34 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

6 mm

8 mm

6 mm

Plate

Nylon

Nylon

Carbon-fiber

Price

$180

$170

$180

The Brooks Hyperion Max 2, Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 and New Balance SuperComp Trainer v3 are all their respective brands’ version of a supertrainer–a shoe with a tall stack height, peppy foam and some type of plate in the midsole to increase energy return. While supertrainers are designed to be responsive, they’re typically heavier and more durable than racing shoes as they’re built to handle all of the workouts and long runs that prepare you for the starting line.

While I don’t know if I would have categorized last years’ Hyperion Max as a supertrainer, I think the addition of more foam and a SuperVault Plate vault the Hyperion Max 2 into the supertrainer category.

The Brooks Hyperion Max 2.

Who is the Brooks Hyperion Max 2 best for?

If you want to pick up the pace, the Hyperion Max 2 is a great companion. I recommend this shoe to runners who don’t like the feeling of bouncing around and prefer a more stable ride. It’s also good for runners (like me!) who found the original Hyperion Max to be a bit too firm and low to the ground.

“The Hyperion Max 2 has such a natural feeling on the run,” Kate says. “This is the type of shoe that I will reach for for a wide variety of efforts. It feels smooth and resilient for long runs, surprisingly quick for speed work and it keeps me moving on recovery days, too. I’d pick something a little faster with a carbon plate for racing, but I’d choose this shoe for almost everything else.”

Shop Now

Keep Reading