With its spacey design and unique feel, the new Brooks Aurora BL looks and feels out-of-this-world. It’s a training shoe that combines max cushioning with an ability for speed like nothing else on the market.
The Aurora was created in the Brooks Blue Line lab or “BL” which tests new technologies, and so far this shoe is a winner for the brand.
It offers a nitrogen-injected high cushioned sole designed to help create a springy-gravity-defying feel through each stride. This sole is one of a kind, and particularly for Brooks, being far outside their classic designs such as the Ghost 14 and Adrenaline 21.
Whilst being a neutral trainer, the Brooks Aurora BL model still feels incredibly stable under the foot through from landing to toe-off.
With a supremely soft, split sole it’s also super flexible, able to bend in various ways. This movement is well balanced with its contoured fit, meaning it still feels snug and secure.
Something to note about the Aurora BL is that it is considered a tester shoe for Brooks and is produced in limited quantities for now. So if you want to try it out, you’ll have to be quick!
However, we’re keeping fingers crossed that with positive feedback, it could have a second-generation come out this summer.
Let’s dive in further and see what this shoe is all about!
|Unique design w/ nitrogen midsole
|Neutral yet stable
|Clicking noise when walking
|Responsive for an effortless transition
|Versatile for distance and speed
Brooks Aurora BL Specifications: 4 Key Features
As mentioned above, the Brooks Aurora BL is an innovative design that uses a nitrogen injected DNA Loft v3 midsole. This is by far the most unique quality of this shoe and will be explained below further.
But first, there is much more in this model to appreciate. From the lightweight feel to the split-level sole, the Brooks Aurora BL is all about defying gravity.
And defy gravity it does.
Impressively lightweight at just 7.6oz (215g) for Women and 8.5 oz (241g) for Men, the Aurora BL is amongst the lighter training shoes on the market.
The drop height on the shoe is about the only element that is standard, sitting at about 6mm – much lower than a traditional Brooks model such as the Adrenaline 21 GTS.
The decoupled mid-sole is another key feature of the Brooks Aurora.
Unlike traditional shoes, there is a defined split between the heel and the midsole just behind the arch area.
This split sole design allows the heel and the forefoot to move independently from each other, which may sound odd but is super effective for stride mechanics.
These various design features come together to achieve Brooks’ goal of combining high-cushioning with speed – creating a highly responsive, propulsive energy return with each stride!
The specs and technology on this shoe are truly out of this world!
#1: Gravity Defying Nitrogen Infused Midsole
Brooks has leveled up in running shoe innovation with the Brooks Aurora BL.
The nitrogen injected midsole has never been tried before and seems to be the next step for cushioning in the Brooks lineup.
So, where did Brooks get this novel idea to infuse a sole with Nitrogen?
Well, as described on their website, they looked at how astronauts walked – or rather bounced – across the moon effortlessly and figured out how to apply this principle to gravity.
To do so, Brooks took their more traditional DNA foam and then added Nitrogen to the base through an injection process almost like filling up a ball.
And with this, the DNA LoftV3 foam was born!
There’s no question that the Brooks Aurora is a max-level cushion shoe. Yet this foam design has enabled Brooks to add both softness and high energy return without affecting the integrity of other components of the shoe.
This is an advantage because Brooks can make a “best of both worlds” type feel and not lose anything in their models.
This is what separates the Brooks BL from other max-cushioned shoes – it is super soft landing yet mimics the same turnover as a speed shoe.
With the success of this model, Brooks will likely begin to add this foam to its other designs, so expect to see more of this in years to come!
#2: The Look, The Upper, The Heel
These shoes are referred to as Brooks “moon shoes” which is fitting for their space-like look.
While the design is a little out there compared to traditional running shoes, none of the features are just for show.
Rather, every aspect is functional, intentionally designed to optimize your running performance. The shoe shines with its technology in every corner of this model.
The upper is made of a soft mono mesh upper which gives breathability, combined with a quilted midfoot sleeve.
The upper is designed to hug the foot in all the right places, contributing to its impressive stability even with a decoupled sole.
The heel continues to incorporate the Brooks 3D fit which locks in the heel to ward against heel slip and provide a snug, secure feel.
#3: Decoupled Sole and Outsole
The decoupled sole is another key element of the Brooks Aurora BL, adding exceptional flexibility across the trainer.
Having flexibility on a shoe is normally a big “No” for distance runners and the Nike Free has long been one to avoid because of its hypermobile nature.
However, Brooks has an extensive team of biomechanists that have looked at the foot in a great deal and analyzed thousands of strides.
Through this, they determined how to separate the midsole from the heel counter to give the foot the ability to let each action have the freedom to work independently whilst keeping it safe for long-distance runs.
The Aurora also incorporates Brooks GLIDE ROLL technology. Similar to Hoka’s rockered ride, Brooks’ Glide Roll allows a runner to glide through each stride.
The combination of these two elements provides a super smooth transition and allows the foot to move through its most natural stride with ease and speed.
The outsole on this shoe is kept simple, made of traditional rubber which is mostly exposed with minimal grooving.
Typically, exposed outsoles do not withstand high training volumes, but the Aurora BL can withstand the typical 300-500 miles – quite a feat for a shoe of this type.
The only negative to the outsole is how it tracks on wet surfaces as it can be a little slick. The grip is minimal improves the responsiveness, but does mean that the Aurora BL isn’t well suited to rainy runs.
Overall, the decoupled sole is also a novel idea and is one of a kind to the Brooks Aurora.
It still offers a secure feel that is durable for all the miles in marathon training.
#4: Sizing and Fit
The fit of this shoe is much like other Brooks models, being versatile to fit various feet sizing and shapes.
Brooks looks at the most common foot shapes to make their shoes accessible, and this shoe is no exception.
The forefoot is moderately wide and allows for various foot shapes, while also having a nice volume from top to bottom for supporting various arch heights.
This model can also work well for those who have feet on the narrower side, using the gusseted tongue and elasticated laces which can be secured and tightened to cradle the arch area to the degree you need.
The heel is nicely tapered to lock in the Achilles with its high rising lip, further contributing to the snug and secure ride.
This element could have the capacity to rub slightly depending on your foot shape, so be aware of how the shoe hits the back of the heel and up the Achilles region.
Overall the fit is designed to be super comfortable and secure for many different foot shapes and sizes.
The Review: How do The Brooks Aurora BL Perform?
The best part of this shoe is how all the infused technology makes the ride feel.
It is bouncy, responsive, and makes you feel like you’re flying through each stride effortlessly.
I would compare it to a bounce house with how the responsiveness feels under the foot from the nitrogen injected sole.
It feels like a race shoe because of its lightweight and responsive rebound that propels you through each stride. The only thing missing is the carbon plate!
Put simply, this design just makes running feel easier and more comfortable.
Upon testing, it made me feel like my pace was just naturally increasing. I did not have to add as much effort to go faster or hold the same pace.
It is a fast shoe but equally versatile. Unlike some other models that are only good for easy runs or only good for speed, this shoe feels comfortable from short easy runs to long-distance, hard tempos.
When I first tried on the shoe I thought it was strangely soft and I was concerned about the decoupled sole not being stable enough.
However, from my first run, all confidence was restored with each of the design elements combining in a way that kept me feeling extra stable despite the Aurora being a neutral shoe.
On several runs, the shoe just felt easy to use under my body and I definitely felt like my recovery time decreased and I was able to return for more miles easily the next day.
In terms of downsides, the outsole and price on the shoe are the only two things I hope Brooks improves in the future.
It can get a little slick on wet green belts because the tread on the Aurora is not quite as thick as on some of their other models.
The price is also really high for a daily trainer. It competes with carbon plate racing shoes and while it can be used for racing shoes it lacks the plate.
Regardless, infusing nitrogen into a shoe to provide exceptional cushioning adds an element to make it worthwhile.
I would expect to see Brooks modify this model but anticipate they will begin adding nitrogen to more of their models.
Overall, I would highly recommend trying this shoe! It is comfortable, lightweight, and offers out-of-this-world spring in the stride.
The Brooks Aurora BL has a lot to offer for distance runners and is a star pupil in the Brooks lineup.
This shoe is a big competitor in the neutral shoe category being versatile, well-cushioned, responsive, and simply exciting to try!
No other brand has tried something like this before and the Brooks Blue Line Lab is really onto something with injecting materials into certain areas of a shoe.
Overall, the Brooks Aurora BL is a novel shoe that offers an exceptional amount of cushioning and energy return for all the miles during your marathon build-up.
So, go check it out and see for yourself what this “moon shoe” is all about!
Need to consider a few more running shoes before making your purchase?
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