After meeting with the Brooks Running people in New York, one of the things I was most excited to try (which is, like, a lot because I left there uber pumped) was their Pure Project line of shoes. From what I learned, although the company isn’t ready to buy totally into the barefoot running trend (their research hasn’t proven a benefit yet—but they’re not ruling it out for the future, as they’ll do what the science says is best!), they have made a line of more minimal shoes that deliver a ride that’s closer to the ground and more natural feeling. So, for this monthly Brooks review (check out our other reviews here and here), Tish and I are each trying a pair out of the line. So let’s get to the rundown…get it? Rundown! Har har!
There are four shoes of varying minimalism in the Pure Project line, but Pure Connect wins the title of “lightest.” Super flexible, incredibly light-weight and extra breathable, these have quickly become one of my favorite running shoes. While I like a little more support (like Ghost 5) when running for more than 30 minutes or so, these are perfect for a quick jaunt with the pup or a CrossFit-style workout where I’m jumping, running and doing all kinds of other craziness and want to be light on my feet and close to the ground. They wrap around your feet well and just feel right.
My favorite part of these shoes though—besides, of course, the fun neon yellow-green color? A little something Brooks calls “Extended Toe Flex.” If you look at the bottom of a pair of these, the sole has a bit of a cut for the big toe, allowing you to actually use the muscles in your toes and feet more naturally, pushing off that big toe as you run. You can feel it when you use it; it’s pretty darn cool. Having paid $100+ for running shoes in my past, these at just $90 are truly a good buy and a shoe I’d recommend to the regular runner!
The running gods blessed me big time when they sent my Brooks Pure Flow shoes! Let me be clear, I am weird about my feet. If you’re into astrology, then you’ll nod your head in agreement when I tell you I’m a total Pisces. I have foot issues all the time (super sensitive), so shoes aren’t something I can gamble with. That being said, I have found the most comfortable, lovely, wonderful, superific shoes known to woman. The first time I put on these shoes I felt like I was walking on air…possibly even those boingy spring shoe contraptions. I had to immediately go for a run in them, and I definitely noticed a difference in my foot strike, like Jenn mentioned.
The fact that I didn’t need to throw in my orthotics was pretty great, too. I went to an audition in them (because I refused to take them off the first day I got them) and got three compliments from models and actors chilling in the same studio as me. I don’t know if I’ve ever been complimented on my shoes…I’ve been teased for their size, but never given an LA-manicured thumbs up. Function and form? Didn’t think it was possible. The Brooks Running team says I can get anywhere between 250 to 300 miles out of these bad boys, but I might have to defy that logic. I would sleep in these if my guy would let me!
Like Jenn’s, my shoes cost $90, too. It’s a little light shoe with a whole lotta technology. It has a wide Nav Band, which helps with arch support (score!), the “Extended Toe Flex,” and a mesh material that keeps my foot aired out and light. Based on how enamored I am with this shoe, I’d say it’s worth the investment and then some. I’ve been recommending these to every running friend I have and will continue to pimp the goodness in the name of foot karma. It’s only right.
Have you tried any minimalist shoes? Any from the Pure Project line? Do you agree with our thoughts on them? Let’s hear it, runners! —Jenn