By Kieran Alger
While many brands have been busy sticking plates – carbon or otherwise – in their daily trainers, Brooks has bucked that trend a bit. At least with a couple of its popular running shoes, the racy Hyperion Max and the cheaper, lower-stacked Hyperion – formerly the Hyperion Tempo.
According to Brooks, the Hyperion Max is built for fast efforts and racing while the Hyperion is designed for short fast training miles. But these shoes potentially cover much of the same ground. So if you’re in the market for a fast daily trainer and want to know which of these performs best or be better suited to your running needs, read on to find out in our Brooks Hyperion Max vs Brooks Hyperion review.
Fast training / Racing
Weight (Size 10)
8.1oz or 230g
7.7oz or 220g
True to size
True to size
Stack Height, Drop, Weight and Price
Let’s start with some quick key details. Brooks lists the Hyperion’s stack height at 22mm in the heel, 14mm in the forefoot, for an 8mm drop.
The Hyperion Max has the same 8mm drop but boasts a higher listed stack height with 30mm in the heel and 22mm in the forefoot.
When it comes to weight, in our US test size 10, the Hyperion weighs in at 8.1oz or 230g while the Hyperion Max comes in slightly lighter 7.7oz or 220g.
On price, the Hyperion is $140 while the Hyperion Max is a touch more expensive at $170.
Design - What's the Difference?
Starting with the midsole, both shoes use Brooks’ nitrogen-infused, lightweight DNA FLASH foam. It’s a responsive foam that soaks up the ground nicely, you just get more of it in the bigger stack on the Hyperion Max.
In terms of the geometry, the midsoles are similar, too. The Max has a slightly more pronounced rocker and a bigger heel kick back. While the Hyperion is flatter across the foot and slightly narrower through this midfoot section and in the heel. That may be a consideration for stability if you land further back.
Up top the Hyperion Max has a stretch woven upper with 3D Fit Print that provides some mild structure. The Hyperion’s warp knit and mesh upper is thicker and more dense.
Both uppers wrap the foot without being restrictive and there are nicely balanced heel collars that offer the same mid-level padding on both shoes.
The tongues are relatively thin and racy, though there’s a bit more padding to the Hyperion Max tongues under the laces and that helps alleviate any lace pinch.
Flip the shoes over and the Hyperion has marginally more outsole rubber – though we’re talking small margins here. The Hyperion Max has a few more strategic cut outs, no doubt to help cut weight for a racier ride. In terms of durability, that didn’t make any difference.
I ran true to size in the Hyperion Max and went half a size up in the Hyperion. I found the fit was generally pretty good across both. They offered good heel hold, hugged nicely with good lockdown across the midfoot and offered ample room in the toe box. Some may find the Hyperion a touch narrow in the midfoot but I’d still recommend going true to size.
Comparing the Performance
In testing, we ran 30 miles in both shoes across a range of paces, from easy recovery-pace miles up to intervals and faster sustained efforts. Those miles were mainly on road but also on some light off-road river paths and park trails.
The difference in performance isn’t huge but the Hyperion Max’s bigger stack definitely offers a more lively, bouncy and energetic ride. It’s a bit softer and sinks more on initial impact than the Hyperion. But when that bigger base of foam engages it returns with more spring.
Plus, the slightly more pronounced toe spring curve also improves the roll through. By contrast, the Hyperion runs flatter and somewhat firmer. You have to work harder to get your feet back up after the initial touchdown but that also makes for more control.
The Hyperion Max’s extra energy comes with a trade off. That higher stack of DNA Flash foam makes them slightly less stable.
We noticed more wobble on the uneven river paths with the Hyperion’s wider base in the mid-to-forefoot and that lower stack of foam, creating a bigger platform to run off, for a more reliable ride underfoot.
Even though Brooks classifies the Hyperion Max as a race shoe and the Hyperion as a daily trainer, both shoes offer respectable levels of versatility.
Yes they’re built for speed – and are best when you’re moving with good form and fast intent – but they can cope with recovery paces between efforts and they’re not so minimal and lean that you can’t clock slower miles in comfort.
When it comes to daily trainers in general, the Hyperion Max and the Hyperion come up firmer and more direct than many of the alternatives out there and while I liked them both, neither shoe blew me away.
The Brooks Hyperion that works best for you will depend on how you like your ride.
If you want more cushioning, and a bouncier return, the Max is basically a slightly pumped up, more energized alternative to the Hyperion and is probably better suited to longer, faster efforts. If you need more protection, this is the one to go for.
Meanwhile, the Hyperion offers a slightly more subtle – and somewhat firmer, more direct – ride. If you don’t mind a shoe that comes with ground feel, you can still run long in the Hyperion. But for many runners that directness definitely will limit this to shorter, faster efforts.
If I had to choose one shoe, I’d probably pick the Hyperion. I prefer a slightly firmer shoe and I didn’t feel the Hyperion Max offered enough extra kick and performance over its cheaper sibling, to warrant the extra $30.