Thursday, June 14, 2012

RunnerDude's Gear Review: Brooks PureFlow

I'm a big proponent of runners finding what works best for them. Running is not "one-size-fits-all" or in this case "one-shoe-is for-all." Some do great with the purest approach by going completely bare (feet that is)....well there was that Pride in Your Hide 5K I did a few years back...but I digress. Anywho... others need a little more coverage for their feet and wear things that look like water-shoes or better yet take the gloved-feet approach. Some like the support of a laced shoe that has a little more sole. Still others want more support but a lower heel-to-toe ratio to promote a more natural gait. All are good. What works for you is what's best for you.

Brooks has joined the movement of providing runners with a more natural ride. Their new Pure Project contains four models: PureConnect, PureFlow, PureCadence, and Pure Grit. Each shoe is designed to be extremely lightweight and contain flexible materials the provide a natural, ergonomic, responsive ride.

Brooks recently sent me a pair of the PureFlow to test ride. I've tried minimalist shoes by other makers and while they were good shoes, for me, I netted out with them being good for shorter runs but not as good on longer jaunts. Not the case with Brooks' PureFlow.

I put in a lot of miles each week running with all my clients and various running groups. The PureFlow has taking me on short slow miles with my beginning running groups, fast intense speed work with my intermediate running groups, and long endurance runs with my race training groups. In each case, I've been impressed with the support and cushion this lightweight shoe provides.

The PureFlow provides a little more shoe and a lot more cushion but without added weight. The shoes only weight about 8.7 oz. The wide toe box and cool Toe Flex technology allow the big toe to power-off more naturally.

The best thing I like about the PureFlow is the 4mm heel-toe offset. I was delighted when another company recently redesigned some of their shoes with a lower 8mm heel-toe offset. The PureFlow has taken it even lower with a 4mm heel-toe offset. The traditional running shoe has a 12mm heel-toe offset. The higher heel often promotes heel-striking and in my case put a lot of pressure on the balls of my feet. The PureFlow's 4mm heel-toe offset allows for a more natural ride allowing runners to attain a midfoot stride more easily. This has helped my feet tremendously.

Another feature I really like is the durability of the tread. Many of the minimalist shoes I've tried had fairly short life spans showing major wear and tear on the tread/lugs after logging relatively few miles. The PureFlow has a more durable tread. After several runs, I'm seeing very little tread wear.

RunnerDude's not the only one who approves of the PureFlow. Runner's World gave the PureFlow it's coveted 2012 Best Buy award.

So, if you're thinking about a lightweight shoe that's responsive and doesn't lack in fit and cushion, then give Brook's PureFlow a test drive.

Note: While Brooks did provide the PureFlow shoes for testing, I was not compensated in any way for this review. Furthermore, Brooks did not request a positive review. The review simply is a reflection of my experience using the product.


Amanda@runninghood said...

Love love love my Brooks Pure Flows! Just got the new purple ones yesterday!

Jason said...

I have about 150 miles on my first pair of PureFlow. I love them. They were recommended to me by my local store, and it's been one of the better recommendations they've made for me. I've read different reviews where people complained about the band across the top or that the last has a larger bump for the arch than other shoes, I've not experienced any issues and feel these are one of the better pairs of shoes I've owned. I've used them for speed work, LSDs and normal easy runs, they're a great all around shoe.

Anonymous said...

I agree, purchased my first pair today! I love them, I'm 6'6" 230lbs and they offer enough cushioning. I owned a pair of Brook's Cheetah's back in the day and thought they were good shoes! Good to see Brook's still maintaining their quality.

Anonymous said...

I'm just a serious walker but I demand comfort and support- I usually wear a Saucony Omni shoe. The Brooks Pureflow is lighter but still a very cushioned step and plenty of support. I absolutly love the fit, The toebox is roomy but not loose and it is shaped like my foot so it's very comfortable. I will wear these to walk in and with jeans on the weekends to show the ladies my style! I just found my favorite new shoes.

Anonymous said...

I am experimenting with minimalist shoes as I attempt to change from a long time heel striker to a mid-foot striker. I tried this shoe and have 2 observations. On the plus side, it is an incredibly comfortable shoe for my body type. On the minus side, it does not provide sufficient proprioceptive feedback to know where on the foot I am landing. For this reason I returned the shoes to the store.
I think it is a stretch to call this shoe minimalist, despite the 4mm heel delta.

RunnerDude said...

Yep, "minimalist" is a realtive term and can mean different things to different people. Until a different term comes along, I use it to refer to shoes that are not the standard 12mm heel-to-toe drop running shoe. A flexible shoe with a much lower profile is not in the purist sense a minimalis shoe, but I think anyone looking at a shoe that has more of a tread/sole is going to realize they'll have less proprioceptive feedback. However I'm definitely more intune with my feet wearing the PureFlow than then traditional higher-heeled shoe. You're only going to get the immediate proprioceptive feedback when you're barefoot or wearing a minimalist shoe that only provides a covering for the bottom of the foot and no cushioning such as the Vibram Five Fingers.