Brooks Aurora-BL review: running shoes gone wild

BlueLine Lab's latest running innovation, the Brooks Aurora-BL, features the new, nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT v3 foam. Oh, and it looks kinda' weird too.

Brooks Aurora-BL review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Brooks Aurora-BL is truly a one-of-a-kind running footwear. Not only is it a limited edition shoe but also features a decoupled midsole, the new, buttery-soft DNA LOFT v3 foam and looks rather peculiar too (but not in a bad way). Great when you want to feel like you're running on the surface of the moon.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Eye-catching space-age design

  • +

    DNA Loft midsole is soft yet durable

  • +

    Decoupled midsole is an interesting concept

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not quite enough energy return for tempo runs

  • -

    Will not support every type of running style the same

Brooks Aurora-BL review TL;DR: chunky, limited edition running shoes for those who like to stand out from the crowd on their daily runs around the block.

I was ready to love the Brooks Aurora-BL from the first time I laid my eyes on the press release announcing it, and not just because the ‘space-age’ design aesthetic looked amazing. No, as well as looking rad, the Aurora BL is also part of Brooks’ BlueLine Lab running shoes which are more innovative and forward thinking than the rest of the Brooks lineup.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Glycerin as much as the next person but I’m very fond of the BlueLine shoes in particular. One of my favourite running trainers last year was the Brooks Hyperion Tempo and I also really liked the Brooks Catamount, not to mention the speedy Hyperion Elite 2. If the Aurora-BL carries the same DNA as those shoes, it’ll be a surefire hit, I thought to myself, looking forward to trying them out as soon as possible.

And the shoes are truly great, albeit they put a little emphasis on running ergonomics and a little more on looks, which is not a problem, just an observation really. Should you buy the Brooks Aurora-BL? Let’s see what the hype is all about.

Brooks Aurora-BL: Price and availability

The Brooks Aurora-BL will be available from 10 June 2021 at Brooks US, Brooks UK and at selected third-party retailers for a recommended retail price of $200/£180.

Brooks Aurora-BL review

(Image credit: Future)

Brooks Aurora-BL review: tech

Being a BlueLine Lab shoe, the Brooks Aurora-BL is full of new and innovative technology. It features the third generation of DNA LOFT foam – injected with nitrogen this time around – that’s said to be softer, lighter, and more responsive than the original DNA LOFT. Apparently, the fine-tuned nitrogen injection uses large-cell foaming that optimises responsiveness and cushioning that doesn’t sacrifice durability.

This nitrogen-infused sole is a bit different from other BLueLine Lab shoes as they use the DNA FLASH foam which is more performance oriented than the DNA LOFT v3, at least from what I can tell. I haven’t had the chance to put hundreds of miles in the Aurora BL (yet) so nor can I confirm, neither can I deny claims about the durability of DNA LOFT v3. So far so good.

The Brooks Aurora BL has a midsole drop of 6mm and features a translucent upper that looks unique and has a snug but not too tight fit.

Brooks Aurora-BL review

(Image credit: Future)

Brooks Aurora-BL review: ergonomics

I generally try to lace my running shoes up fairly tight: I like it when the upper holds fastens the shoes to my feet properly. Needless to say, I did the same when I went for my first run in the Brooks Aurora BL, but as it turned out, having tight laces is not the best idea when the running shoes have a decoupled midsole.

After like 3k, the lateral side of my feet started to feel a bit painful and by 4k, I had to stop to loosen the lacing a bit. It felt like the DNA LOFT v3 was forcing my feet to land on its lateral side and at the front, making that area pretty sore after a while. It’s probably at least partially because I tend to land almost flat on my feet, meaning just where the midsole breaks in this case.

Once adjusted, I went back to thoroughly enjoying the run, not to mention when I headed out for any subsequent runs in the Aurora-BL. The thick cushion under my feet not only made me taller but also the runs more bouncier, which, once the tightness of the upper was adjusted, was a fun experience: I loved looking down at my feet admiring the Brooks Aurora BL as I went.

Brooks Aurora-BL review

(Image credit: Future)

Brooks Aurora-BL review: aesthetics

I can imagine the Brooks Aurora-BL being a divisive running shoe. It has a very distinct look that might put some more hardline runners off but I think the way the Aurora-BL looks represents the innovative nature of the BlueLine Lab perfectly.

The Aurora-BL is inspired by the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the “exploration, discovery and learning that happened in space”, as Brooks explains. The Aurora-BL design incorporates space themes, including textures, reflective accents, nitrogen infusion ports and more. The Aurora-BL is essentially a space suit for your feet.

My two favourite parts are the rear of the shoes and the texture of the tongue. Both have a throwback-quality to them, encapsulating the retro-futuristic nature of the shoes. It also helps that I really like the colour orange a lot. As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so I can imagine the white-orange look of the shoes not being all that appealing to some, but considering the popularity of NASA apparel in recent years, these people are in the minority.

Brooks Aurora-BL review

(Image credit: Future)

Brooks Aurora-BL review: verdict

The Brooks Aurora-BL is quite a bit different from other BlueLine Lab running shoes, and not just because it looks cooler than the previous three shoes released so far. Since those shoes were more performance oriented, I assumed BlueLine Lab shoes would all be like those and was a little surprised by the running dynamics of the Aurora-BL.

I can’t stress enough that the Aurora-BL is only comparatively less performance-oriented and not plain terrible. They are pleasant to run in and I certainly didn’t drag my feet on the running sessions I had wearing the Aurora-BL. Maybe they don’t support my running style as much as other trainers, but this can be said to any running shoes out there.

Should you buy the Brooks Aurora-BL?

If you like cushioned running shoes that also happen to be pretty attractive then you’ll like the Brooks Aurora-BL. The limited edition nature of the shoes will surely make them even more appealing to some.

Brooks Aurora-BL review: also consider

The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit has a lot of great features for runners, especially those who prefer a lot of cushioning and don't mind the extra bulk. The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit might not be the cheapest running trainers but it’s still somewhat cheaper than the Aurora BL and offers a very similar running experience.

When your running shoes are as versatile as the Hoka One One Mach 4, you can run long in them and rely on them to look after your legs, as well as take on tempo, or harder sessions without losing that fast feeling. The shoes remain springy despite all the cushioning that's under your feet, making the Mach 4 perfect option for fast training days.