brooks-levitate-stealthfit-5
RoadShoe ReviewsSite Feature

Brooks Levitate Stealthfit 5 & GTS Performance Review

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 9.8 oz. (278 g) for a US M 9 / 8.6 oz. (244 g) for a US W 8
  • New Stealthfit upper is silky soft and secure
  • Levitate now comes in stability option
  • No one will ever know what “GTS” means
  • Release August 1, 2021 for $150 each

ADRIENNE: Brooks is somehow making things less and more complicated with their naming system. They nixed their stability Bedlam and there are now FOUR options of the Levitate: the neutral one, the neutral Stealthfit one, the GTS (stability) one, and the GTS Stealthfit one. Are you still reading this? Let’s get to the review. (By the way, GTS now means Go-To-Support, though for years it meant Go-To-Shoe.)

MERCER: I’ve had my experiences with DNA Amp midsoles. When I first got into shoes the Levitate looked so upscale and fast. I became an Amp fan pretty soon after, and am very excited for the new Levitate Stealthfit 5.

ALDREN: As far as I know, the quickest way to pick up girls at a local group run is either to run as fast as Jeremy (back-to-back Baltimore Marathon champ) or look really fly. While some of us dream of running sub-2:30 marathons, the casuals like you and I need to lean into the fashion side. 

Coming to my doorstep is this pretty little number from Brooks. The Levitate Stealthfit GTS 5 provides a solid amount of stability and a sleek look that matches everything from the bold colors in Janji’s Spring 2021 Collection to the clean looks in Tracksmith’s Spring 2021 Collection.

JEREMY: Brooks came out in 2021 and decided to follow other brand’s leads with the long naming conventions as evidenced by the Brooks Levitate Stealthfit GTS 5. While this is nowhere near as tough to decipher as New Balance’s number system, it’s a mouthful that I haven’t found a way to shorten. While the Levitate is classically a neutral shoe, the GTS is the stability version brought in to replace the Bedlam. With the nomenclature out of the way, let’s get on to the review.

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The Good

ADRIENNE: I found the new Stealthfit upper to be surprisingly breathable and functional. It holds the foot with just enough pressure for a locked-in fit. The circular knit also sheds some weight from the sibling Levitate (should I call it the Regular Levitate? I’m so confused). 

Underfoot lies the most polarizing part of the shoe, the DNA Amp midsole. Air and polyurethane make up this foam that has a subtle bounce to it. I, for one, like running in this shoe at easy paces. The ground feel is a great change of pace from the super foams and plates out there and allows our feet to actually do their job. Everyone needs that in their rotation.  

I do agree with Jeremy, this shoe likes to slide on the pavement. The chevron traction works best in dry conditions for sure. 

About the weight, my women’s size 9 weighs around 9 oz, but runs much lighter than something like the Ghost 14, which I happened to review at the same time.

MERCER: Brooks is finally getting around to updating their foams in shoes like the Ghost, Glycerin, and the Aurora-BL. But the traditional DNA AMP is here to stay for this iteration.

This foam is going to have that golden age uptempo trainer feel similar to the Kinvara. It gives you a lot of ground feel while rolling through your stride. The arrow-shaped outsole allows this shoe to stay forward and glide you through your gait cycle. Paired with the upper, it’s a light and sharp ride.

Speaking of, the upper is eerily similar to the OG Nike Epic React. It feels the same on foot and is also very breathable. The main differences, though, are for the better, as a padded heel collar and stripped-down lacing system are welcome on this shoe.

ALDREN: A majority, if not, the only update to the Levitate Stealthfit GTS 5 (other than the name) is the upper. The Brooks Bedlam 3 had a somewhat plasticky knit that needed a slight break-in period. This refined Fit Knit is a lot more sock-like rather than an overly cushioned upper that attracts a ton of summer heat. It acts as a seamless transition so that this stability trainer will feel more like an extension of the foot rather than a shoe strapped to your feet. 

The DNA Amp midsole delivers a lot of ground feel. With no rocker and a normal amount of cush, this shoe is all you. Along with the DNA Amp is Brooks’s GuideRail System. This provides a solid amount of support that doesn’t intrude on your stride, acting as a stabilizer to reduce pronation. 

This last note is for the oddballs that like running sockless. First off, please stop doing that. Your shoes are just becoming hotbeds of fungus. However, if you do choose to run like a maniac, this is the shoe to do so. The knit upper is just so comfortable you can get away with it.

JEREMY: Aesthetically, this shoe looks sick in the black/ebony/metallic grey colorway, it’s a sleek look. The Stealthfit upper works great in the summer, keeping feet well ventilated and allowing sweat to drain. The upper also does a solid job holding the feet in place with the heel cup and an overall snug fit. An integrated tongue completes the upper as one unit, resting well against the top of the foot.

 The Levitate Stealthfit 5 GTS doesn’t feel too heavy at 10.3 oz in a men’s size 9. The lightweight upper and DNA Amp midsole steer clear of the brick feeling of the Bedlam. For a stability shoe, this is a good weight and it feels great for easy to moderate paces.

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brooks-levitate-stealthfit-5

The Bad

ADRIENNE: For the most part, I like the upper, but there’s too much pressure in the toes. My sockless left foot got a small blister after a couple 6 milers. Maybe that’s on me for not wearing socks, but also maybe not. 

The Levitate Stealthfit 5 isn’t as forgiving as I’d like a long-run shoe to be. DNA Amp has made some strides, but it’s still very far behind the foams of other industry leaders.

MERCER: In a world of super foams, it’s a bit jarring to put on a pair of shoes and just smack the pavement over and over again. It’s a little too aggressive in the amount of ground feel you get. The heel collar is also a little high, so beware of blisters with short socks.

ALDREN: The biggest issue with DNA Amp is that it’s marketed as a high-energy return shoe but lacks, well, energy return. It’s a super firm shoe that fatigues your feet once you go north of a 10K.

The other issue is the outsole. Jeremy touched on this too. There’s a ton of rubber on the bottom but because of Hurricane Elsa, the roads down here are slick to the brim. The outsole didn’t provide the minimum amount of traction needed for a wet surface.

JEREMY: While the Stealthfit upper is sleek, the toe box is pretty cramped. My foot typically fits in normal width shoes, so it goes to show how narrow this one is. 

For me, this midsole is too firm, I just can’t get into a rhythm with this shoe. The lack of bounce is noticeable the further you get into runs. For me, that point came around mile 6 when the shoe felt dead. Also, this shoe is no match for wet pavement. It felt like my feet were lathered in oil on a slip n slide.

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brooks-levitate-stealthfit-5

Brooks Levitate Stealthfit 5/GTS Conclusion

ADRIENNE: The Brooks Levitate Stealthfit 5 continues to improve upon its predecessors. It’s lightweight with a super comfortable upper that looks great. Is it time for brunch again? 

MERCER: The Brooks Levitate Stealthfit 5 is a case where beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When I want an uptempo shoe I’ll usually go with something softer like the Mach 4  or the Boston 10, but I understand why someone would love this shoe. Not to mention, Brooks even has the Hyperion Tempo for the same price. 

ALDREN: Coming from a run specialty store, it always shocks me that someone chooses a Levitate rather than your standard Brooks Ghost or Adrenaline. Then I come to find they lean more towards the fashion side rather than the function side. The Brooks Levitate Stealthfit 5 is the grocery-getter of running shoes.

JEREMY: If you enjoy the Brooks Levitates of old, you’ll like the new Stealthfit GTS. It’s a huge upgrade from the old Bedlam, giving Brooks a better option for stability runners. Those with narrow feet have a badass-looking daily trainer on their hands. 

You can pick up the Brooks Levitate Stealthfit 5 and GTS at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) on August 1, 2021.

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Adrienne has been a runner since the age of 12 and a sport psychology consultant for the past 10+ years. As a writer, she was a key contributor to Kara Goucher’s book “Strong”. She lives in Texas where she loves to run cross country when she gets the chance.

Mercer is a junior at Thomas A. Edison (the one in Virginia), and has been running for six years. He also works at the iconic Potomac River Running in Northern Virginia, so if you live near there, go straight to the source for shoe advice.

Aldren is currently a student at the University of Central Florida majoring in Kinesiology. He likes devouring burritos after a hearty work-out or honestly, whenever he’s in the mood. He’s always looking for a friendly face to say “Hi!” to on his run (this is what people in the South do).

Jeremy is a Microbiology and Immunology PhD candidate working in a Baltimore-based lab. Winner of the 2019 Baltimore Marathon, he is currently running way too many miles and road racing with a focus on the marathon.

3 Comments

  1. GTS = Go To Shoe. When Brooks came up with the term, they were after a show that would be suitable for 75% + of the population. This is in terms of stability needs in particular. Basically, if this isn’t stable enough for you, you’re on the extreme end of stability needs.
    I hope that helps….;-)

    1. Ah, but you’re wrong. They changed GTS to mean Go-To-Support earlier this year. That’s why shoes like the Ravenna don’t exist anymore, it’s now the Launch GTS. IF YOU’RE GONNA COME AT THE KINGS, YA BEST NOT MISS! 😉

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