Monday, October 10, 2011

First Impressions Brooks PureFlow and TrueGrit: They really nailed it!

Really liking the Brooks PureFlow I recently purchased from RoadRunner Sports. Brooks has really nailed the next generation (after Saucony Kinvara, Inov-8 Road X, and Newtons) trainer focused on more natural running, and less shoe, yet with adequate cushion for day in day out road running :
Brooks PureFlow
Brooks PureFlow

  • a low heel to toe drop-4mm , 
  • decent cushion- 23 mm heel 19 mm forefoot height (Running Warehouse). This is 2mm more heel and forefoot height than KInvara and is due to the full outsole. 
  • A forefoot/midfoot outsole which provides foot landing across its width (similar to Road X 255) with a split toe up front feels far more responsive and stable than the Kinvara yet better cushioned than the Road X,
  • Brooks DNA cushioning made of BioMoGo is firm yet attenuates shock without losing  much road feel,  
  • lots of forefoot room yet well supported mid foot due to the Nav Band on the lateral side,  
  • light weight- 8.7 oz
  • a midsole which gets you on the mid foot by moving the heel strike point forward. The mid foot strike pad under the arch plays a role as does what Brooks calls an inverted heel.  I can really feel a foot landing further forward. This is especially noticeable on uphills and downhills. Hard to fall back on the heels in the PureFlow. Yet, all this geometry felt very natural unlike the Newtons with their pronounced forefoot pads,
  • a very comfortable yet minimal upper. Maybe not quite the combination of roomy forefoot and snug midfoot of the Road X as the forefoot upper is a bit narrower but less constricting in the forefoot than the Kinvaras. One layer of very densely woven yet light mesh. Seemed to breathe very well on a warm day and pretty sure it will drain water very well. The heel collar is particularly plush. 

I have now about 50 miles on the PureFlow. Longest run 15 miles which went great and from which I recovered very well. Similar in feel to the Inov-8 Road X 255 yet better cushion, lower heel toe drop , lighter weight, and more pronounced yet natural mid foot landing. A bit heavier (an ounce or so)  and higher (2mm) due to a full outer sole than Saucony Kinvara.   I am a heel striker and I maintained a far better mid foot landing over a 12 mile run than in other similar shoes such as the Inov-8 Road X 255, Kinvaras, and Newtons.  Not quite as much road feel as the Inov-8 but a better more stable cushioned mid foot landing than the Kinvara's. I think this is due to firmer full width outsole on the PureFlow and Inov-8 vs the soft lugs on the Kinvaras. Did an interval workout in the PureFlow yesterday and maintained form throughout, turnover felt quicker and smoother than usual for me. Haven't run off road on the dirt. Suspect they may not be particularly stable there and certainly not as stable as the Road X 255. 

I think this next generation "natural" running shoe line will be a winner! 
Brooks PureGrit

Brooks PureGrit
Update: Have to admit that I have not run in any other road shoe, except a few times in a Nike Vaporfly since I got the PureFlow a month ago. That's saying something for me as I have a habit of constantly trying new shoes and changing out. 

Update: Tried on a pair of PureGrit at the Salt Lake REI. PureGrit is the trail runner in the Brooks PureProject line. Similar fit and design: Nav Band, inverted heel, 4 mm drop and split toe. The midsole foam appears to be firmer than the PureFlow, no surprise given these are trail shoes. The concave outer sole lugs look well arranged and should shed mud well. The outer sole material is also firmer than the PureFlow"s. Unlike PureFlow TrueGrit has a one piece outer sole. Overall width of the forefoot outer sole appears a bit wider on the PureFlow due to its pods.  At 8.9 oz quite a bit of protection per ounce, particularly from the upper down.

For the even more minimal crowd the 7.2oz PureConnect should be a viable alternative to training in traditional racing flats. 

Brooks PureFlow $90 MSRP. Limited availability for next few months. Size up 1/2 size.

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