Brooks Bedlam Ricochet Levitate2 Hero 1

Shoe Review: A Brooks Road Family – Levitate 2, Bedlam, and Ricochet

We got our hands on what we are calling the new Brooks Road Family and while it isn’t the entire Brooks lineup, these three shoes all feel like they are siblings. They are the new Levitate 2s, the Ricochet, and the Bedlam. Due to their similarities instead of looking at them each independently, we decided to look at them as the a group moving from heaviest and most cushioned with the Levitate 2 over to the Bedlam which was designed more for support and then the Ricochet being the little brother to the Levitates. The material usages are very similar across the three as is the visual profile, primarily varying in which Brooks technology they use and don’t use, but again they feel like they were meant to be together.

Construction: Upper

All three shoes actually share the same upper using Brooks Fit Knit design, so think highly breathable, seamless, and a lot of flexibility across the top of the foot. The Levitate 2 also features an internal bootie, a wraparound heel collar, and a suede heel tab to protect your Achilles. The Ricochet also has an ultra-soft heel tab as well as its own heel wrap to stabilize the foot. The Bedlam sports a bit of a different lacing system, yet still provides the same snug fit up top.

Construction: Midsole

The Levitate 2 uses Brooks most responsive system, DNA AMP, which is designed to harness the energy return and redirect it towards the toe off and response of the shoe. Net effect typically means a little more bounce or spring in each stride. The Ricochet uses a combined version of the lighter BioMoGo DNA as well as DNA AMP and this is how the achieved some level of weight reduction. It definitely lacks the same high level of response as the Levitate. Lastly, the Bedlam is very similar to the Levitate as it uses DNA AMP, but the big difference is the addition of their GuideRails tech. This attempts to keep your foot in proper alignment all the way from your foot through your knew. As you can see, the midsole technologies are the primary differentiation across the three models. We tend to lean to the Levitate 2 here as DNA amp provides the highest level of responsiveness and while the Bedlam has this as well, the GuideRail support system is unnecessary for most.

Construction: Outsole

All three of the models make use of the same outsole system. It is a flexible, arrow patterned, rubber based system that tracks well, and the design definitely does its job allowing the shoe to flex easier. It is a lot of rubber which is great for control and grip, but can also add weight which explains again while all of these are over 10 ounces.

Style & Aesthetics

The visual profile on all these shoes is very similar as we said. When you put them side by side in fact it is very difficult to tell them apart. The Levitate 2 comes in 8 different colors and the variance comes in the upper portion of the gradient as it all ends in black where the mid begins. The Ricochet comes in 7 colors and all feature a solid toe color with a patterned back half, we would stay away from the lighter toeboxes as they get dirty quickly. The Bedlam comes in 5 colors and this model offers the best variance between colorways.

Run Test

It is interesting because the changes to the Levitate 2 are so upper focused that when you first put them on, it feels like entirely different shoe. Given the lack of dramatic changes to the midsole, it doesn’t feel any squishier or more padded, but the feel of the shoe from the original is entirely different. It is a drastic and welcome improvement to say the least in terms of upper feel as well as the improved hold you get in your heel counter. We have reviewed other shoes recently like the Hoka Clifton 5 knit edition that also has removed padding from the heel collar, but they didn’t add the additional Achilles support with in the heel cub itself like Brooks did. This feels entirely better and again on the foot and out of the box, pleasant. The Ricochet actually feel very very similar with the only difference being a lighter weight and a little less bounce from the mid. The Bedlam actually feels leaner on the upper from a material perspective which I actually quite liked and the real feel difference is underfoot. The mid feels very close to the Levitate, but you definitely can detect the GuideRail technology in run and out. If you don’t need stability, then I would just hold off on this model. No reason for the extra weight.

In run, it needs to be said none of the the shoes are fast shoes just to be clear. While they were pretty easy to dial up and increase the pace with, it’s not something you’re going to do you for a significant amount of distance. At each one of the models tipping the scale at 10.5+ ounces, if you want something more performance oriented, then you will probably look elsewhere. The Levitate 2 is the heaviest of the bunch, but I really loved the bounce it provided. The Ricochet, though lighter, just didn’t give me the responsiveness I wanted, but still performed well. If you are a pretty neutral recreational runner, the Levitate will be the better choice as a balance of performance, structure, and comfort. I can say both of them saw 15+ mile runs with ease, so they could be a great marathon shoe, again for less performance oriented runners. The Bedlam is a nice shoe if you need the structure as it is a good balance bringing everything I liked from the Levitate, plus some structure.

My biggest issue overall after testing all of these is their weight. As a highly recreational focused road shoe it’s fine, but even then at over 11 ounces, the Levitate 2 could be lighter. Perhaps Brooks needs to take a look at the amount of rubber on the outsole or even looking at the density of the mid, but the bottom line is they could stand to lose a little weight.

Overall Conclusion

So after all this the question is which one do we like the best and the answer is definitely the Levitate 2. The changes to the upper were so welcome and far-reaching, that it really did feel like it reshaped the shoe. It didn’t try to re-create what worked well in the original, but gave it some big improvements instead. Second, the additional ounce you gain over the Ricochet is worth it given the little extra from the mid that will let you run longer and with less foot fatigue. The Ricochet actually is a bit confusing because it almost feels unneeded in the lineup. We can give a nod to the Bedlam as well because the similar weight profile, but the additional support along with a still responsive experience is nice for those that need it. That being said, if you are only choosing one, then it’s the Levitate 2.

Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability

Brooks Levitate 2

  • Weight: 11.2oz (size 9)
  • Drop: 8mm heel/toe
  • Type: Road Neutral (Cushioned/Responsive)
  • MSRP: $150.00
  • Available: Now

Brooks Ricochet

  • Weight: 10.3oz (size 9)
  • Drop: 8mm heel/toe
  • Type: Road Neutral (Responsive)
  • MSRP: $120.00
  • Available: Now

Brooks Bedlam

  • Weight: 11.2oz (size 9)
  • Drop: 8mm heel/toe
  • Type: Road Support (Responsive)
  • MSRP: $150.00
  • Available: Now