Before getting started, check out this quick YouTube video I made explaining the anatomy of a running shoe. It will give you a quick run-down of the parts of the Pure Connect that I’ll be talking about!
First of all, let me just say that I love these shoes. Overall, they are light, flexible, responsive, and the materials really breathe.
The material of construction of the upper is really durable. The upper area features a wider mesh (the peacock color) overlaid with a finer, clearer mesh. The wide-eye mesh is what really gives this shoe the ability to breathe. It is still really hot here in Louisiana and I found that my feet stayed cool and dry on my runs. The finer mesh overlay keeps road grit out of the shoe while still allowing air to flow through the shoe and around the foot. The use of the two types of mesh really helps keep the weight of shoe down.
The toe box of this shoe is just right. As a forefoot/midfoot runner, my feet tend to spread a little, so I like having a little bit of room. There are some styles of running shoes that are really wide and when striking the ground, my foot tends to slide forward too much, causing discomfort. If the toe box is too narrow, you can get some serious rubbing along the lateral or medial edges of the shoe. If you have ever had blisters here, you know just how painful they can be and how important it is to have a toe box with enough room. The PureConnect provides the perfect amount of room in the toe box, without feeling too wide or too narrow.
Once laced, I felt like the shoes provided an ideal amount of snugness in the arch. When I first put these shoes on, I will say that I was REALLY impressed. For a neutral shoe with a more minimal amount of cushioning, I felt like the arch lock put just the right amount of pressure and security around my arch. As a former stability shoe wearer, having the right fit along the arch of the foot imperative. Again, an improper fit here can cause some really terrible blisters.
On a quick side note, even though this sounds like something really simple and not that big of a deal, ,I will mention that I really liked the laces. For the majority of the lace length, the laces are smoothe like regular shoe laces but towards the lace tips they have slight bulges in the material. Once tied, these bulges help keep the laces tied and not slipping and coming undone. I had gotten so used to having to double knot other shoes’ laces, but I did not have to do that with these. (What can I say? I appreciate the little things!)
The overall flexibility of this shoe is really outstanding. As a neutral and more minimalist shoe preferrer, I loved that I could feel the shoe flexing with my stride. The split toe of the sole, in addition to helping cut the weight of the shoe, allows the big toe more flexibility when running. You can really feel the ground, which I thought was awesome. A few of my test runs in these involved routes that were curvy and had several turns. Being able to feel the ground more allowed me to change direction with ease and without rolling my ankle. For a neighborhood runner or for runners who run in high traffic areas, having responsive shoes is really important.
There are several things that I like about this shoe that are different from other running shoes. I find the ankle height to be just right. The collar of the shoes fits perfectly under my ankle bone and, while running, it doesn’t slide up or rub on the bone, causing chafing or blisters. Other shoes I have had come up too high and almost feel like high tops. (Ha! Remember those!?) Also, I like how the back tab isn’t split. Some shoes feature a back tab with a dip and a “hump” on either side of the Achilles tendon. I find that shoes like this tend to slip up and down on my heel REALLY bad, so I like that the PureConnect has a single “hump” back tab. This shoe definitely stays in place.
Also different about these shoes is the level of cushioning in the heel. As a runner who practices walk breaks, I can REALLY appreciate the Brooks DNA in the sole. Some more minimalist shoes offer next to no heel support so that if you do take walk breaks (where you are obviously hitting the ground heel first) it almost makes doing so uncomfortable or painful. The Brooks DNA allows for a comfortable enough heel strike to make it through a brief walk break without being so “squishy” that your legs start feeling fatigued from the change in stride.
The ONLY thing I would change about these shoes is the color. I am not a huge fan of the white/peacock color combination, but I understand that that is entirely personal preference. For one, I like bright neon colors. Secondly, I fear it won’t take but another handful of runs out on the roads to turn these pretty white shoes gray. I swear that I spied the womens Eurpopean version of these shoes on the internet in an AWESOME purple color. If so, I hope beyond hope they bring this color to the States!
The BrooksPureProject collection features a total of four styles (PureFlow, PureCadence, PureConnect, and PureGrit) and will be available on October 1st! If you are itching to get your hands on the ASAP, you can always pre-order them from the Brooks website. Get psyched, peeps! You will be seeing these shoes EVERYWHERE this fall!