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Gear and Technology

Energise your run: the science behind Brooks DNA AMP

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The relationship between running and energy seems simple. As you run, your energy drains. But what if you could get some of that energy back? That’s the goal of Brooks DNA AMP, a midsole technology designed to provide cushioning as well as energy return. 

So what is DNA AMP?

DNA AMP is a midsole material that is formulated to absorb the force of your stride and return that energy back to you rather than letting it disperse. That’s why shoes that use DNA AMP feel springy instead of just soft.

Illustrated Brooks shoes featuring a close-up selection of the cellular structure of DNA AMP

DNA AMP on a molecular level

What’s DNA AMP made of?

DNA AMP is made of polyurethane (PU) foam encased in a thin layer of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). There are tons of ways that PUs and TPUs can be formulated, but we used a PU foam that combines the strength of plastic with rubber’s elasticity. The TPU casing has more rigidity than the foam but still retains some elasticity.
The combination of the foam and the casing is what makes DNA AMP feel springy while you’re running.

How does DNA AMP return energy?

Here’s how it works:

  • The PU foam responds to the force of your foot, expanding to cushion your stride and absorb the force of your foot hitting the ground.
  • Because the foam is surrounded by the more rigid TPU casing, the foam stops expanding at a certain point and the energy is contained.
  • Think back to school science class — energy doesn’t just disappear, it has to go somewhere. In this case, where better to send it than back to you?
  • The TPU casing helps contain the energy and sends it straight back up for you to absorb. 

It’s a complex process, but you can think of it as a high-five between your foot and our running shoe — it’s a boost of energy you get with every step.

How has DNA AMP changed since its release?

DNA AMP came out in 2018, when the Brooks Levitate made its debut as one of the best energy-return shoes on the market. Since then we’ve continued to refine DNA AMP. For Autumn 2020, we were able to minimise the foam’s density without sacrificing energy return, making the latest DNA AMP 20% lighter than the original.
And we’re not done yet — we continue to research new ways to make DNA AMP lighter and more durable while maintaining its impressive energy return.

How does DNA AMP compare to other Brooks midsoles?

Out of the four current midsole technologies, DNA AMP has the highest energy return, offering a super springy ride — think unleashed puppy in a sea of tennis balls.

  • DNA LOFT offers pure softness, for a cloud-like feel that lets you float through your miles.
  • BioMoGo DNA is slightly softer than DNA AMP, with less energy return — more playful doggo than crazy pup.
  • DNA FLASH is our lightest cushioning. It’s responsive, but doesn’t have the springy pop of DNA AMP. It’s our lightest cushioning. You’ll find DNA FLASH only in our fastest racing and training shoes.

How do you choose?

There’s no wrong choice here, just follow your heart — and your feet — to the experience you want. DNA AMP is the right tech for your run if you like your shoe to feel really bouncy. DNA AMP is also a good fit if you’re looking to add extra energy to your run, especially during tempo runs or workouts.

A pair of the Levitate 6 road-running shoes

Which shoes have DNA AMP?

We currently have four different shoes that feature DNA AMP:

  • The Levitate, which offers the full DNA AMP experience with neutral support with a flexible and structured fit.
  • The Levitate GTS, which combines DNA AMP energy return and a flexible and structured fit with our GuideRails® support technology to keep you on your stride.
  • The Levitate Stealthfit, which offers the full DNA AMP experience with neutral support with a closer-to-foot-fit that adapts to your foot.
  • The Levitate Stealthfit GTS, which combines DNA AMP energy return and a closer-to-foot-fit that adapts to your foot with our GuideRails® support technology to keep you on your stride.

Curious about our other technologies?

Our bio-mechanics experts, product developers and insights researchers work together to create the best running gear out there. Check out the technology that goes into our shoes and apparel or learn more about our approach to research and product testing.