Your first thought when you see the new Brooks Aurora-BL is probably “what spaceship did this come off”? And while they do look like something out of a science-fiction movie, what we are seeing is something straight out of Brooks BlueLine development lab. It’s the same team that’s given us the Hyperion Tempo, Hyperion Elite, and DNA Flash. With the Aurora-BL, we get a glimpse into the future. Featuring an updated nitrogen-infused version of DNA Loft, a ton more cushion in the heel, a fully decoupled midsole design, and they even started to think about different ways to model the upper. So don’t be taken aback by how it looks because this shoe is a fantastically comfortable everyday run experience.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Next level design thinking coming from the Brooks BlueLine Lab giving us a glimpse of the future.
- Weighs in at 8.5oz or 241g for a US Men’s 9, 7.6oz or 215g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 42mm of cushion and has a 6mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $200.00 USD and comes in 1 color for Men and Women.
The Aurora-BL is truly like nothing we have ever tried before and we have tested a lot of shoes. From the initial moment we had a chance to review the spec sheet, to our unpackaging, to the first time on foot, we just weren’t sure what to make of it. It definitely looks like a prototype, but it feels very finished as well. Part of that is due to its visual and how unlike anything else it truly is, so we weren’t sure what to expect and wondered whether this would be just another test of some sort.
Putting the Aurora on for the first time gave us an immediate idea of how different it might be. That new elastic half-sock interior you really have to stretch open to get in, but once your foot is in it just and holds you in place from the midfoot back so well. The lack of a very rigid heel counter is almost unnoticeable and that new memory foam replacement is soft and supple against the rear of your foot and yes, you’re still locked in place. There’s ample toe splay and it feels airy upfront. Underfoot reminds us of a much more ample version of DNA Flash from the Hyperion Tempo and Hyperion Elite. Nitrogen infused, a little soft, a little bouncy, and with plenty of feel to it. The width is also fantastic because there is so much side-to-side stability due to the flared and almost bulbous midsole design.
Performance-wise, Aurora functions very well as an everyday runner. Its weight profile, coming in at mid-8oz, keeps it light underfoot. That midsole, with 42mm of cushion in the heel is plush, wide, and stable. The slightly elongated heel allows for really smooth descents, but the big change comes with that decoupled midsole. Because the front half and back half of the shoes are truly disconnected, you get a ton of flexibility out of this shoe. This allows for easier turnover, proper foot movement through the stride, and a nice response of toe-off. It also leads to a very amusing popping sound when walking as the air escapes between the front and back sections (you’ll get looks believe me).
It’s easy for people to write off the Aurora as just something clever and over-designed or to write it off as a prototype, but that truly does a great disservice to the shoe. It performs fantastically well in its current form and it makes us so excited to see what Brooks is going to do with a lot of this. It makes us wonder how DNA Loft V3 will find its way into other shoes we love. We can only expect what the next version of a Hyperion Tempo might look like and especially the Elite 3. It also makes us wonder how they might evolve the whole rest of the lineup in conjunction with this over the next one to two years, so it’s a lot to be excited about.
The midsole might be where all the magic is happening here, but they have actually done quite a bit with this upper as well. The engineered mesh used for the front two-thirds of the shoe is very open and breathable with only some structural overlays to frame that toe box and add some mid-foot stability. Internally they have constructed this arched half stock/tongue combination that holds your foot in place but has enough Flex to allow for varying foot shapes and widths. The collar features no real padding and in lieu of a traditional rigid heel counter, they have that new silver area that feels a bit more like memory foam.
The midsole uses Brooks new DNA Loft V3 technology, and when you hear Loft you should expect cushion. With V3, they have brought in nitrogen so what this actually feels like is the consumerization of DNA Flash. The Aurora features something Brooks calls Glide roll and this in conjunction with the decoupled heel/toe design helps with the foot’s movement from ground contact to toe-off. That decoupling also provides quite a bit of flexion as well as taking the strain off your ankle and lower leg. They have also really widened the contact area of the midsole as well which creates inherent stability when you are running.
The outsole thinking on the Aurora was also very intentional. They made as little use of rubber as they could hitting only those very targeted areas across the forefoot and heel. There aren’t big swaths of rubber but instead patterned in a way to cover those highly used zones.
Style & Aesthetics
Style-wise the Aurora feels like something out of the future. We jokingly say it looks like something from a science fiction movie, a moon boot even. However, its personality and design turns a lot of heads and gets a lot of questions. It makes people interested in what the shoe is and why it is so different which is honestly great. It just doesn’t look like a traditional shoe so expect it to feel funny underfoot at first.
We love the fact that Brooks is pushing the envelope and that their BlueLine Labs is willing to release something that feels so prototype-like in a limited run. They are throwing off the covers and showing us what is happening behind the scenes, actually releasing it to the public and taking in feedback. Note the shoe itself runs really well so regardless of how you might feel aesthetically, Brooks is delivering a solid everyday experience with this shoe that most will love. The Aurora may not be perfect, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s simply giving us a glimpse of what might be to come for Brooks.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.