First Impressions of the super funky Brooks Aurora-BL

Run Oregon receives and tests running shoes from time to time. This initial post about the new funky Aurora-BL from Brooks. 

Shoe: Brooks Aurora-BL
Released: June 17, 2021
Weight (size M9/W7.5):

  • Men’s: 8.5 oz.
  • Women’s: 7.6 oz.

Stack:

  • 37mm heel / 31 mm forefront

Cost: $200

Description (from Brooks):

It isn’t rocket science. But it’s close. Our BlueLine lab dismantles the status quo by fine-tuning rapid prototypes and fast-tracking product development in limited batches. In non-nerd terms, we’re releasing one-of-a-kind, never-been-done-before run technology at a sprinter’s pace.

Looks & Construction

When you think about shoes that sort of push the boundary of style within the running sphere, my guess is that most minds go towards HOKA, Deckers, or On. With the Limited Edition Aurora BL, Brooks is dipping It’s toe into these waters, and it works!

Now, we will be the first to acknowledge that unique, perhaps a little off-the-wall, running shoes are not necessarily everyone’s favorites. I, for one, have no issues with trying out new styles so I am probably will the ideal tester. On the surface, the shoe, alongside all of its unique counterparts from other companies, initially looks like it could just be a gimmick. It’s got that futuristic, almost space or clouds style to them – coupled with a seemingly abnormal amount of cushion and an eye-popping color profile that sort of screams “look at me”.

If you have read any of our shoe reviews here around Run Oregon, you will notice that we leave the super technical running specs and jargon to other websites. We mostly write our shoe reviews based off feel, and our experience as mostly non-competitive runners and racers. That’s not to say we don’t compete or only run “for fun”, nor that we don’t have fancy running shoes in our repertoire, but our descriptive language tends to stay in the “runner next-door “realm. I encourage you to read up on the all of Brooks new tech on the shoe page.

That being said, it’s almost impossible to talk about the Aurora BL without some brief mention of the tech that makes the shoe what it is. Obviously, the Aurora BL has quite the large stack, measuring in at 37/31mm and putting it at the high end of most shoes on the market. But, almost miraculously, at the same time it’s surprisingly light. Like, abnormally light. A shoe with this amount of stack height should not conceivably be able to weigh in up to approximately an ounce and a half less (or so) than other similar types.

That is due, essentially, to Brooks removing the internal plate and replacing it with a type of nitrogen, which supposedly creates large bubbles within the foam structure. Foam is not exactly new to Brooks, and can be found in a couple of their other shoe options they produce, but this nitrogen addition’s larger cells seem to not only reduce the weight (along with no plate), but also adds cushion while maintaining durability. The thin upper, made of a mesh variant, also helps keeping the ounces low as well.

Beyond the weight itself, another unique characteristic is that there is a “split “on the bottom of the shoe at the midfoot that actually allows the forefoot and back/heel to not be forced to work in tandem. In fact, I could fold the shoe in on itself with one hand (see picture below). Brooks describes this functioning to provide a “smooth natural ride” by allowing the movement in your feet to occur more naturally while still staying connected within the shoe itself. There are a few other shoes with a similar intention out there, but this is the first we have personally sampled and it seems to work pretty well. I was concerned that this feeling would be uncomfortable considering it’s not some thing we have tried before, but after a few runs I have no complaints about it.

In fact, these have been a surprising joy to run in when I anticipated them being quickly relegated to casual wear. That is not the case and I really love putting these on for runs.

One of the negatives I found, was that it seems to have an on suction sound I’m just walking around on smooth services. I didn’t notice it a ton during running, but obviously I’m not really running on smooth ground. There were definitely times when walking in my house and garage when the shoes suctioned due to that unique sole. And, some may argue that a stack height that large isn’t really necessary, and if you aren’t into maximalism in your running shoes, you probably want to look elsewhere.

However, from my test, and other reviews out there, it seems that the Limited Duration Aurora BL has received a lot of positive feedback. These are a little challenging to find right now (at the time of this writing there was only a size or two available on the Brooks site, but hopefully its forward momentum may lead to more styles in the vein. At this point, one can only hope – ideally without the $200 price tag that may be limiting to some.

Thank you to Brooks for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

About Matt Rasmussen (1612 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.
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