Brooks Aurora BL – $ 200 Running Shoes Review and Wear Test
In recent years, high-tech running shoes have largely been focused on one goal: to create the fastest possible road running experience. Serious runners couldn’t hit the pavement for a competition without encountering the latest and greatest carbon plate designs, as nearly every notable racing brand jumped into the action to make the fastest shoe. of the market.
As just about any runner can tell you, however, you can’t participate in every workout like it’s your last run, pushing the pace to run as fast as possible. A smart (and above all healthy) runner mixes workouts at different tempos, with short and fast speed sessions, long leisurely #sexypace runs and everything in between. Super-fast shoes aren’t suitable for all workouts, but what about runners who want a special experience for this type of training?
Running specialist Brooks has a solution for this type of balanced training: the Aurora-BL, a shoe developed in the brand’s BlueLine Lab, focused on special projects. The shoe is an ultra-cushioned space-age-style runner that was designed to make logging miles as smooth as a ride on a luxury cruiser. Speed is not the goal here. Instead, comfort and efficiency rule the road.
I have done a wide variety of races with the Aurora-BL and have found that the experience has been much like what I imagine running in space. Earth’s gravity didn’t seem to bring me down to the sidewalk as much as usual, especially as I extended my runs over longer distances.
The Aurora-BL is designed to be different
The Aurora-BL offers a different experience than most other running shoes from the moment you put it on your foot. Instead of a separate tongue like traditional sneakers or a sleek one-piece upper like so many contemporary running shoes, the Aurora-BL has an internal stretch quilted fabric sleeve that helps lock in the foot. This segment offers a bold splash of color (orange for the men’s colourway) in the otherwise see-through upper, which is made of a soft, translucent “mono-mesh” material that looks like laminated plastic at first glance, but is feels good and comfortable once your foot is in the shoe. Just make sure you have a nice pair of socks because you will be able to see them. A sculpted silver heel cap adds to the astronaut aesthetic (and visibility in low light conditions).
But the real pitfall is the midsole. The Aurora-BL uses a unique two-piece design, decoupling the heel and forefoot sections to allow for greater freedom of movement. It’s not obvious when you first put the shoe on, but once I started running I felt it was easier to drive through every kick than in d ‘other shoes. This is also facilitated by the “Glide Roll” shape from heel to forefoot, specially designed for an easy transition through the stride. Instead of taking the next step, which is often the case with the carbon plate shoes designed to propel you forward, I felt like I was rolling in my runs more.
The foam in the midsole is also noteworthy. Brooks used a new version of their softest foam, DNA LOFT v3, giving the material an injection of nitrogen to make it lighter, softer and more responsive. I could try to explain further, but I’m no chemistry genius. Basically, Jain says that the nitrogen bubbles in the cells can be more tightly wrapped in the EVA foam to cause this change. Brooks introduced another nitrogen-injected foam, DNA Flash, into their speed shoes, the Hyperion Elite runner and the excellent Hyperion Tempo trainer, but Jain tells me the difference is in the size of the nitrogen cells: the firmer, faster Flash foam has small nitrogen bubble cells, while the softer, padded LOFT v3 foam has nitrogen bubble cells large enough that you can see some with the naked eye . When you put on the Aurora-BL, you can feel the cushion, which has just a little slack and a lot of energy return.
This whole foam thing isn’t fair for the show. In a world of short-lived, seemingly jet-powered super shoes that last only 100 to 150 miles before crumbling and crumbling, the Aurora-BL’s long range stands out. “From a sustainability standpoint, these nitrogen-infused foams retain their integrity longer,” says Nikhil Jain, Senior Director of Brooks BlueLine Lab. “We find that in some cases runners don’t find any difference between my mile one and mile 250, or mile 350.” Jain says he would estimate the Aurora-BL’s lifespan to be between 350 and 500 miles.
The Aurora-BL is inspired by space and is not long for this world
Performance aside, the shoes are unlike anything else on the market. This design was inspired in part by the Apollo 11 Moon mission, according to Jain, but the aesthetic was definitely meant to be more sci-fi than retro. The goal was to go beyond the norm. “We wanted it to be weird. We wanted it to be unexpected,” he says.
Products from the BlueLine Lab, like the Hyperion Elite racer carbon plate, are meant to be limited edition innovations that serve as a testing ground for the future of Brooks general release shoes. Only 25,000 pairs of the Aurora-BL will be produced, making it a limited edition item (Jain says Brooks typically produces 2 million pairs or more for standard models). But you’ll likely see aspects of the space shoe – especially the DNA LOFT v3 foam – in future Brooks models.
The Aurora-BL is heavily padded and offers a large toebox (one of my favorite design features, and the reason why I think the “space cruiser” descriptor is so precise), so it will likely appeal to a large. range of runners, but Jain was quick to note that it’s not for people looking for supportive footwear. While the foam in the midsole is durable, it is also not designed for trail running.
Specifically, this could be the perfect fit for serious runners looking for a long running or puffy recovery shoe. “It’s a concept car for us,” says Jain. Think of it in terms of upgrading to the premium car model. “When someone’s like, oh, you know, I love my Honda Accord,” he continues. “But I want something that, you know, has a little more zip is a little more luxurious.”
This luxury will cost you. The Aurora-BL isn’t cheap at $ 200, which is even more expensive than some specialty racers. And with only 25,000 units available worldwide, shoes can be hard to come by as well. But if you’re willing to put in the effort and put in the effort to get yourself a pair, you’ll have the chance to have a weird, super-cushioned ride that is unlike anything else on the road.
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