The Brooks PureGrit 7 is a lightweight, dynamic trail running shoe that continues to perfectly fit its niche within the Brooks trail shoe lineup. I tested the shoe on local Maryland trails and a section of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, aka Rocksyltucky.
This is the kind of shoe I love on the trails. At 9.6 oz. (for a men’s size 9), it is fast, with a superior feel and a quick transition to roads. One of my favorite trail shoes I’ve tested in the last year has been the Altra Superior— this shoe felt similar, but with more cushion and slightly more nimbleness. The upper for this version of the PureGrit features a heat-activated yarn with selective 3D rubber print on high-stress areas. I’m not exactly sure what heat-activated yarn is, but suffice it to say it’s similar to knit. That said, I wish every trail shoe upper would feel like this— cleanly formed around my foot with just enough room in the toe box. It’s a simple structure with no gimmicks. Other companies would do well to follow this model.
A shoe will automatically start high on my list if it provides great feel, and this shoe delivered. The upper, in conjunction with the low 4mm drop (21mm stack in the back, 17mm in the front), made me feel one with the trail. My foot felt secure through the heel and midfoot, with just a little side-to-side movement in the toe box, where it felt like the sides sometimes came out too far above the sole. Overall, I felt confident taking the downhills or navigating obstacles at a quick pace. Aiding in this are the flex grooves placed in the forefoot of the outsole (essentially breaks in the sole), allowing for more movement. The full-length BioMoGo DNA midsole provided the perfect level of comfort without sacrificing feel. The shoe also features its Ballistic Rock Shield that runs the length of the midsole; it worked well and didn’t sacrifice any feel or flexibility, and offered adequate protection.
The Ariaprene tongue is secured down the length on one side while remaining open on the other. It’s designed to dry quickly, and it does. When I was on the AT, sections of the trail were literally flooded out to calf-deep water for almost 100 meters, and within a short time, I felt like the shoes were close to normal. The shoe also has offset lacing to conform to the foot, but I didn’t notice any real benefit in this.
Comfort-wise, the PureGrit rides a nice balance for a natural running shoe. Ultra-length runs may get tiresome, but anything under 50k should be fine. My longest run was 15 miles on a mix of the AT, rail trail, and road, and it handled the last two great, while at least managing the AT portion.Shop Brooks PureGrit 7
The outsole features a mix of low-profile hexagon and chevron-type lugs, like maybe 2-3mm in length. I didn’t find them to deliver much traction aside from moderate trails. Any overly rocky trails or trails with deep mud are going to present problems. I know those types of trails aren’t exactly what this shoe is meant for, so I’m not going to belabor the point. Anything long (over 50k) and overly sloppy should be run in a more aggressive model, like the Cascadia or Caldera.
The outsole also features Brooks sticky rubber compound that is meant to provide superior traction. I’ve worn many other models that are far stickier and didn’t find it to be any stickier than an average trail shoe.
Lastly, Brooks has only one colorway in this shoe for men’s— black and orange. Luckily for me, I live in Baltimore and it’s the same color as the Baltimore Orioles. Unluckily for me, the Orioles are god-awful.Shop Brooks PureGrit 7
Brooks PureGrit 7 Conclusion
For those looking for a fast trail shoe with just the right amount of comfort and a seamless fit, I would fully recommend this shoe. Especially if it’s light trails or a mix of road and trails. You’ll easily be able to hit your same road times as you would with a daily trainer. For more heavy duty runs, move up to a more aggressive model. I found that sizing is a half size up than my normal size, as with other Brooks shoes I own. The shoe is currently $119 at Running Warehouse.Shop Brooks PureGrit 7
Robbe is the Senior Editor/Review Manager for BITR. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two sons and runs with the Faster Bastards when he’s not MAF training. His favorite race distance is the marathon and his favorite beer is anything but Blue Moon.