Woo hoo! The new Brooks PureProject line launches tomorrow! Are you excited yet? If not, you should be! If you are interested in the Brooks PureProject PureConnect road running shoe, check out my review of it in this post.
Ever since I visited the Brooks Cavalcade of Curiosities event at my last marathon expo in the spring, I have had this deep love of the Brooks Cascadia trail running shoe. However, most of my trail running tends to be in the fall and winter months, so I had not really had the incentive to look into trail shoes again until very recently. On a side note, why I tend to run more trails in the fall and winter months is beyond me. Maybe I like the combination of cool, crisp air and the sound of crunchy leaves or something. Who knows…
I recently got the opportunity to wear-test the new Brooks PureProject PureGrit. This is the PureProject answer to the Cascadia and I could not be more amped about it!
Check out this video I made of my overall initial observations of the PureGrit…
The PureGrit weighs in at 7.6oz, which is 1.1oz more than the PureConnect. While some people may not think this is a noticeable difference, I can tell you that when holding one in each hand, the difference in weight is obvious to me. As I mentioned above, this is certainly not a deterrent for me at all, as I expect a trail running shoe to be “more substantial” than a road running shoe.
Starting at the bottom of the shoe, one of the most unique things I noticed was the single-piece outsole. The entire bottom of the shoe is ONE piece of material. The sole design features what I would describe as almost mini-cleats…ensuring traction on the trail. There are also no weird grooves or crannies for mud, small rocks, or sticks to get stuck in. Plus, with no mesh areas, if you run over mud, damp grass, or wet areas, you can be sure none of that will come seeping up through the shoe. I have had this happen to me before and it is the worst! The concavity of the midsole and the lugs still give you plenty of abililty to feel the ground under your feet. In addition, the ideal heel encourages a midfoot/footstrike.
The upper of the shoe is made of two layers of mesh, like the PureConnect. However, that is where the similarities in the uppers end. In the Pure Grit, the under layer of mesh has much wider holes, allowing for maximum breathability. The finer mesh that is laid over that is much more cloth-like than the PureConnect. Overall, the toebox of the PureGrit is wider, creating a more stable platform for running on the uneven surfaces a trail offers. The upper of the PureGrit definitely features heavier duty material (certainly the major contributing factor to the increase in weight), but I feel like this is necessary to make this trail running shoe durable and suitable for taking it off the road.
Immediately when putting the shoe on, I noticed that the PureGrit was not as flexible as the PureConnect. Keep in mind that I am not saying that it is not flexible, it is just not as flexible. The single-piece outsole makes the forefoot flex a bit more rigid, but I still find the flex to be easy and the shoe to be responsive.
The PureGrit shoe features the same split-toe and Nav Band technology as the Pure Connect. However the Nav Band in the PureGrit is thicker, by width and stitching. The Nav Bands of both shoes run the entire length of the arch lock, creating a snug and secure fit on the foot, once tied. The tongue design is also unique to each shoe. The way the tongue of the shoe is connected to the shoe in the PureGrit requires lacing UNDER the Nav Band, whereas in the PureConnect it is OVER the NavBand. The tongue of the PureGrit is also thicker and more heavily padded than its road counterpart.
I was able to put in two light trail/cross-country runs in the PureGrit shoes and I can say that these are the best trail running shoes I have ever run in. They are MUCH lighter than my previous two pairs of trail runners and they definitely feel more responsive than anything I have tried before.
Overall, I suppose it is not necessarily “fair” to compare the PureConnect and the PureGrit, as one is truly as road runner and the other is truly a trail runner. If you run on both roads and trails, I highly recommend you having a specific pair of shoes for each purpose. Running shoes are definitely made uniquely for either intended purpose and you want to make sure you have the right equipment for the type of running you plan on doing. I just compared the two here in this post for the purpose of showing you the differences and helping you make a decision if you were considering one OR the other. However, if you are a road AND trail runner, you may want to consider purchasing both.
If you are already a Brooks wearer and are considering making the switch to a PureProject shoe, check out this chart to help figure out what style of the new collection (PureConnect, PureFlow, PureCadence, or PureGrit) might work best for you!
Between the review of the PureConnect and this review, I hope this gives you a little more insight into the PureProject line. I highly encourage you to at least give them a try! They will be in stores and available for purchase tomorrow, October 1st!
If you are in the Baton Rouge area, be sure and stop by Varsity Sports for the official Brooks PureProject Launch Party at 9AM! I’ll be there!
Do you plan on trying any of the Brooks PureProject shoes?