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.