First Impression: Brooks Pure Connect Shoe Review

After my 21-mile long run Saturday I realized I would need more shoe than the Saucony Type A4 for my upcoming marathon. My feet felt beat up. I tweeted my friend Peter Larson from runblogger to see if he had any suggestions for me to try. Pete suggested Nike Free Run, Kinvara, Newton Distance, and then asked me if I had tried any of the Pure line from Brooks. Lucky for me my new office is within walking distance to City Sports Baltimore. This is as bad as a fox living next to a chicken coupe. I headed to the store and tried the various shoes on and was intrigued by the different feel of the Connect. I have to say I have never run in anything like it before.

Right out of the box, the area of my foot I strike on (mid-foot/fore foot) felt cushioned and “grippy.” Standing still, the shoes almost felt like they had a negative heel to toe ratio. I thought the shoe was going to be more of a “minimal” shoe. It is not minimal in my opinion. The shoe has a super light feel and snug fit. I have narrow feet so the fit was good for me. It won’t be a good fit for those with wider feet. The shoe seems narrower than the Kinvara. My toes were close to the front of the shoe and I always go up a half size for running shoes, so I tried on a full size larger Connect too. The half size up while tight was a better fit for me. As I jogged on the carpet of City Sports I could feel the bottom of shoe, in the typical size for me, the shoe lined up with my foot’s anatomy well.

I had a ten-mile workout scheduled this morning that turned into an 11 mile run. It had a good mix to demonstrate what the shoe can do. 2 mile warm up followed by 10 x 800 at the track 400 in between, then 2 mile run back to the house. As I headed out the door I still wasn’t sure about the shoes. They felt different from anything I have run in before. Where my foot was hitting the ground the shoe responded with terrain feedback and cushioning. It was the best of both worlds if you ask me. My toes on my left foot were rubbing against the toe box of the shoe a little bit and I thought to myself “where did I put that receipt?”

I made it to the track and was pleasantly surprised by the traction I was getting. I did my 1/2 mile repeats and the Pure Connect turned out to be a great shoe on the track. Even as I got tired the shoe remained light. The toe off was very responsive and the issue with the toe rubbing seemed to disappear. My right foot experienced a little squeezing due to the narrowness of the shoe, but I think some lacing adjustments could alleviate the problem.

Overall, by the time I finished the 11 miles, I was digging the shoes. I will give them a go on my long run this weekend and see if these are going to be my marathon shoe at the end of the month.

Surface : Road/Track

Pronation : None/Normal, Mild

Build : Small, Medium, Large

Competition : Road racing

Arch : Flat, Medium, High

Category: Neutral
Weight: 7.2 oz
Platform: Anatomical Last
Construction: Stroebel
Launch Date: October 1, 2011

Technologies
• BioMoGo DNA Midsole
• IDEAL Heel
• Toe Flex
• Nav Band
• Anatomical Last

Pure Connect Spec Sheet

 

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Comments

Thanks for the wonderful review Thomas! I tried on the Pure Cadence last weekend along with the Newton Distance. I agree with all of what you said. The Pure Cadence is the stability variant of the Brooks Pure line. It's a great shoe. Snug in the right places but not uncomfortable. It's a very responsive shoe line.

posted by Kay J / 10.04.11 - 8:47 pm

Hi! I don’t think the Connects are a marathon shoe. They are kind of unstable. Probably a great shoe for 5-10k. Try the PureFlows. I’ve run my 6 mile run today with them and loved the feeling. PureFlows are more confortable than the Kinvaras (even more confortable I should say) but more stable. Actually I would compare them to the Saucony Mirage.

posted by Luis / 10.04.11 - 9:51 pm

Hey Thomas,

I haven’t given the pure project shoes a proper wear test yet but we’ve been excited about the line for a while now. Conceptually, they make a lot of sense and I can tell that Brooks put a lot of thought into the construction of the line, noting the anatomical last and the split toe. From what we’ve seen at the store, platform is going to be crucial in the footwear industry. Keeping the foot centered while allowing it to perform naturally may avoid a lot of overcorrection. You mentioned the Kinvara. I really like its midsole and overall the ride of it is nice for a minimal shoe, or any shoe really. The upper felt a bit sloppy to me though which is why I like the fit of the Connect so much. Initially, the outersole of the shoe felt as if it had lugs comparable to the Sir Isaac from Newton, maybe not quite as noticable but enough to catch my attention. I’m not a huge fan of that feeling, though I believe in the technology for people who are trying to transition from heel striking to more midfoot/forefoot. I liked the ride of the shoe very much though and wasn’t aware of that elevated feeling I had when standing. You’re right though, definitely feels like a negative pitch as opposed to its 4mm. I think for a racing shoe it should be pretty sweet. If you haven’t tried the Flow, I would recommend that too, but maybe as more of an everyday trainer. I definitely prefer it to the Connect in terms of feeling centered and it’s plusher underfoot.

That’s my long winded two cents. Basically, digging it so far!
Shannon

posted by Shannon / 10.04.11 - 9:51 pm

Nice review! I have been eyeing these and now may have to check them out, though i really still love my Kinvara 2s! 

posted by Mike / 10.04.11 - 10:58 pm

I went for my first run in them a little while ago.

I think the PureConnect is a completely different shoe without the insole. I don`t know if I`d call it truly minimal, but it`s a far cry from the marshmellowy feel that it takes on with the insole. It`s a bit narrow, I might return them… On the other hand, I had no problem maintaining a minor toe strike.

Basically, if there`s one thing to take away from this post, its this: try them without the insole and see how you like them

posted by Danny / 10.09.11 - 1:32 pm

Thanks for the review Thomas, the first I've read on the Pure line of shoes.  I was thinking of trying these as well, but now I'm concerned if they are better for narrow feet, as mine are a bit wider (the Kinvara 2 pushes the limit of what fits me).  I am looking for something between the Kinvara (good enough for a half-marathon for me, but not supportive enough for a full) and the Nike Lunarfly (great for the full), but it looks like these may not fit the bill.  Maybe it's the Lunaracer's I'll have to look to next.

posted by Greg Strosaker / 10.11.11 - 9:55 am

[...] disappointed by the Connect, it may be a fine shoe if you have a narrow foot (e.g., check out this review by my narrow-footed buddy Thomas over at Believe in the Run). After returning the shoe, I solicited some feedback from some on-line friends and from the Brooks [...]

Nice review,
I also got that initial funny feeling that the heel is actually lower than the midfoot. They were so different to the other shoes in my regular rotation that i was quite trepid in how i first started out with them. Once running though they are deffinately a different beast to my 'regular trainers' That midfoot landing that were all looking for seemed to come almost effortlesly.
They are too little shoe at the moment for me for anything longer that about 7-8 miles, but im pretty certain that they will be making an appearance in my shorter races next year.
As for narrow feet, I dont really have a problem with their fit, Usually i have problems with shoes narrowing to quickly in the toe area (a reason i sadly dont have any saucony shoes in my rotation) but the last shape gives me enough room there… other than that however i also wouldnt say i have wide feet.
For anyone thats interested you can read my opinion in full here
 
 

posted by Paul / 10.27.11 - 8:50 am

[...] workouts, they don't "feel" quite as nimble and responsive as my Kinvaras, A4s, or Pure Connect. Part of it is also psychological too. They look like traditional trainers, and traditional [...]

Love the PureConnects. Wore them for my marathon in early Jan. and they were the BOMB! Never have I had such a perfect fit and feel so good all 26.5 miles :-) Yes, this is a marathon shoe for a efficent neutral runner. Before I wore the connects, I never tried a minimalist shoe. I use to wear heavy trainers and always had one inury after another until I switched to the PureConnects.

posted by Holly / 01.25.12 - 7:49 pm

I also needed a bit more under me for my longer runs.  I have done shorter runs ( <6) barefoot, VFF, Hyperspeeds, Kinvara and Kinvara2.  Any thing longer, and I need some more cushion under me.  I tried the Connect, but it was too narrow for me.  The Pure Flow might be my favorite shoe now.  I use my Newton Distance occasionaly, but they are my TRI shoes primarily.  I probably will be getting another pair of Pure Flows.  The only problem I have found is that they are a bit slick on wet pavement.

posted by Leigh / 02.25.12 - 5:53 pm

Hi all –

These shoes do run narrow but that works for me. In fact I have very narrow feet and still end up with excess shoelace but the fit is great after tightening the laces. As long as your feet aren’t wider than normal do give these shoes a try.

I agree with the review that the Pure Connects are not a minimal shoe. They do have a bit of cushioning but which still allows you to feel the ground below you. The heel to toe drop is however minimal. These are lightweight neutral shoes that will force any heel striker to immediately adjust. Not a shoe I would recommend to a beginner runner but definitely a shoe I would recommend to a first time minimal runner.

I have had no issues running in them. My specs male, 170 lb, athletic build, 5’9”, shoe size 11.

posted by Alex / 04.12.12 - 1:32 pm

[...] first came into contact with Believe in the Run through a google search for a review on Brooks Pure Connect. I have read every review they have posted, since then. I think one can come pretty far in a [...]

So Thomas, did you run your marathon in the pure connects?

posted by Leo / 09.13.12 - 6:31 pm

Leo, I wore it for a hlaf marathon, and did not really like the shoe for distances over 10 miles after that. Maybe if I had tried a half size up it would have been a better run. -T

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posted by right here / 01.15.13 - 7:39 pm

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