If you caught my article on sockless running and triathlon shoes, you know I love running sockless. At least when I’m in my Pearl Izumi Iso Transitions! In order to save them from getting too worn out before this coming triathlon season; I needed to get another pair of shoes just for training.
Trying them on in the store, they just felt much more comfortable to me without socks on then any of the other Brooks shoes. The arch support was a bit more cushioned than I expected in a minimalist style shoe.
Although from what I’ve read and heard, Brooks doesn’t suggest or say that these are “minimalist” shoes. I think they’re trying to shy away from that term as it may suggest they just use less material.
Different Brook Styles
In looking at the different styles in the Brooks Pure line of shoes, that’s basically what the difference is from what I’ve read and can tell. Although the Grit line is more for trail running, the Pure Flow and Cadence is more a traditional well padded running shoe.
But since I’ve been wearing my Pearl Izumis’s, I like the less padding around the shoes. Not just on the bottom, but around the sides and tongue as well. You’ll be able to tell by looking at my photos that there’s almost no padding around the tongue of the PureConnect.
My wife actually ended up getting the Women’s Brooks PureFlow shoes. She loves them and likes the extra cushion.
So once getting home I had to try them out. I’ve read some other reviews on running shoes and read a lot of fancy terms like “toe box” and “toe off” or stuff I really don’t intend to use because I’m not a shoe reviewer. I know what feels good to me and I thought these shoes really felt good.
Most often any running shoe I take out for the first time will give me blisters. With the exception again of the Pearl Izumi Iso Transitions (gee, can you tell I love those shoes?). And these were no exception to the rule as far as new shoes go; which means I got a few blisters. Although not as bad as other first time outings and considering I wear no socks.
One common thing I’ve heard about these shoes (Pure Connect) is that they’re a little narrow for some people. That actually works OK for me as I have very narrow feet; and very small feet at a size 8 in men’s. So my foot felt fine in the shoe.
At about mile 2.75 I felt a slight rubbing on my left little toe and also noticed the normal blister feel on my right heal. Honestly, I was impressed I went this far without feeling any discomfort from friction or running. Which tells me I think they’re going to work out pretty good.
In the picture of my feet, you can even see where the mesh outer shell of the shoe left indention’s in my foot (on the left outside). This reveals that indeed they are quite snug on the sides of my feet. I’m pretty sure that the blister on my toe may have come form where the shoe creases or bends right at the toe spot.
Which is one of the reason why I did NOT like the Brooks PureCadence or PureFlow when I tried it on in the store. I could feel the material pinch or rub the top of my toe and foot when I had my toes bent during push off.
The cushion in these feels pretty good when running if you have a fairly neutral strike (I think that’s the correct term for in between a hard heel strike and striking on the ball of your foot), who knows, like I said, I’m not a shoe reviewer guy; I just run.
So for me, the heel cushion was just about right and the support through the arch offered a good rolling feeling when striding through the run. At about 3.2 miles I concentrated a little more on striking first with the ball of my foot or more neutral and was able to really stride out with about an 8 min mile pace. They felt really good.
Overall I really like these shoes and am happy with the purchase. These retail for around $90 and were a lot cheaper than my Izumi’s also (at least when I purchased them last year). Having these to run in more for training will hopefully help me get another season out of the Izumi’s since they come with the elastic strings and are a breeze to slip on during triathlon transitions.
Generally when breaking in a new pair of shoes, I’ll wear them the first time and then let the blisters heal up a little (about a week) before I take them out again. By that time they’re usually good to go.
Even though I hope to continue to run in the Brooks Pure Connect sockless most of the time, I may have to use some thin socks the next few times I take them out. Although more layers of stuff like socks just means more places for friction to be created. 🙂
So if you’re looking for a pretty comfortable and EXTREMELY light shoe (weighing in at 7.2 oz), check out the Brooks PureConnect!