Brooks Bedlam Review

A new stability shoe from Brooks! Brooks has taken the formula from the Levitate and added their newly refined Guide Rails technology. With its mesh upper and responsive yet soft midsole, the Bedlam allows pronators to experience the energy response and flexibility of Brooks’ DNA AMP technology.

The Bedlam is similar to it’s sister shoe, the Levitate 2 – a full DNA AMP midsole wrapped by TPU designed to provide a responsive, fast ride in a standard-weight (if on the heavy side) trainer. Where it differs is that it uses Brooks’ new Guide Rails stability system to provide guidance to those who pronate. The Bedlam uses an almost identical flexible sock-like knit upper to the Levitate 2.

Fit

The new Bedlam has a similar knit mesh upper to the Levitate 2. There is a new “burrito” tongue which is attached on one side and is allowed to wrap the front of the foot as each runner needs. That tongue combined with the overall volume of the upper might cause a few points that might bunch up. The overall fit of the Bedlam’s knit is generous. Plenty of toebox room, plenty of depth to the mid-foot, and a pretty standard heel. The collar of the knit has caused some perceived and actual issues for a handful of runners, but it is generally flexible enough that it doesn’t irritate most.

Feel

The feel of the Bedlam is unique – it’s springier than just about any comparable stability shoe, but the DNA AMP foam provides a significant amount of cushion when landing. The feeling of the foam is similar to the Saucony Freedom/Liberty (due to the similar PU construction), but there’s much more foam there in the Bedlam and a more traditional 8mm drop. The Bedlam shines for stability customers who want a balance between soft cushion yet responsive ride – something that EVA foam has traditionally be unable to provide.

Even as a stability trainer, the Bedlam is firmly on the heavy side of the spectrum on the scale. The on-foot experience transforms that weight, however, through the responsive ride that the DNA AMP provides. On-foot, the Bedlam could pass for a much lighter shoe.

 Function

The Bedlam uses Brooks’ new Guide Rails technology, which has been designed to provide stability for those who need it while staying out of the way of those who don’t. We haven’t had enough time with the current iteration of Guide Rails (as seen in the Bedlam and the Adrenaline GTS 19), but in theory it can serve as a balanced shoe for those with slight tendencies for either inversion or eversion. We would expect that it would provide at least as much guidance as the Adrenaline GTS 19 with the PU-wrapped DNA AMP foam being more inherently stable than the DNA Loft used in the the Adrenaline.

Comparisons:

Brooks Bedlam vs Levitate 2:

The Bedlam and Levitate are sister shoes, with the former adding Brooks’ new Guide Rails technology to provide guidance throughout the ankle, knees, and hips for runners who need it. They both employ a knit upper and Brooks’ DNA AMP foam in the midsole. The first difference that runners might notice between the two is that the knit upper of the Bedlam is a lot more generous in terms of toebox and mid-foot depth. The heel feels pretty similar on both and the knit upper is the same flexible, lightweight material that provides plenty of room for expansion. Underfoot, the ride is very similar between the two. You feel a little more cradled in the Bedlam vs sitting on top of the Levitate, but the overall ride is generally the same. Weight is almost identical, but both feel much lighter on your feet than the scale would indicate. The pressing question, of course, is that if Guide Rails work as intended and correct pronation when they’re needed while staying out of the way if they’re not… are they somewhat duplicate shoes? Time will tell!

Brooks Bedlam vs Saucony Liberty ISO

The Bedlam and Liberty both serve as flagship stability vehicles for Brooks’ DNA AMP and Saucony’s EVERUN, respectively. While Brooks has put their Boost competitor in a standard-weight, standard-drop stability trainer, the Liberty deviates as a lower, more flexible trainer that doesn’t really fit into a existing typical stereotype. The Bedlam is much higher yet firmer than the Liberty, and the Liberty feels lighter on-foot. The Bedlam is wider and provides much more room in the upper overall, but both have a flexible knit upper that provides plenty of room.

Brooks Bedlam vs Adrenaline

The Adrenaline and Bedlam are designed with different audiences in mind and contain very different technologies. While the Brooks Bedlam is a standard-weight stability trainer which showcases Brooks’ DNA AMP foam, the Adrenaline is more of a traditional stability shoe with a standard EVA foam midsole. The responsiveness of the DNA AMP midsole and the new knit upper does make the Bedlam feel like a lighter shoe. Overall height on the Adrenaline is much higher with a bitter drop (8 vs 12) and the experience is a little more plush.¬† Both now feature Brooks’ new Guide Rails technology, which is designed to prevent pronation and better align ankles, knees, and hips when needed while staying out of the way when not needed. They should provide a similar amount of stability, but we haven’t had enough time to assess each shoe to make a solid determination.

Brooks Bedlam vs Glycerin

The two shoes are designed with different runners in mind, but with their price and overall position in the lineup similar, the two have similarities that warrant a comparison. While the Brooks Bedlam is a standard-weight guidance trainer which showcases Brooks’ DNA AMP foam, the Glycerin is Brooks’ max-cushion “luxury” shoe.¬† While they weigh very similar on the scale, on-foot the responsiveness of the DNA AMP midsole and the knit upper makes the Bedlam feel like a lighter shoe. The Bedlam is lower and provides much more energy return – feeling faster yet less pillowy-soft. For runners needing guidance to prevent pronation, the Glycerin would typically not work as it has gotten away from providing much inherent stability while the Bedlam’s Guide Rails should keep everything in-line.

Brooks Bedlam Review

 

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