A minimal shoe with just a touch of cushioning from the hard ground below, the Brooks PureDrift is a dream for those looking for a near-barefoot running feel.
(View Men’s Brooks PureDrift and Women’s Brooks PureDrift)
- Removable Sockliner: A lined footbed beneath the sockliner allows for either a 4mm offset with the sockliner in or 0mm offset with it removed.
- Flexible Ride: Deep flex grooves throughout the platform give the PureDrift plenty of flexibility from heel to toe.
- Slipper-Like Fit: A stitch-less upper combined with asymmetrical lacing deliver a natural and comfortable sock-like fit.
Promising a lightweight design, low stack height, and flexible ride with either a 4mm or zero drop platform, the PureDrift has attracted the attention of many runners, especially those seeking a near-barefoot feel.
So how does the PureDrift perform? Ground feel is excellent in this shoe, yet thanks to its slight (albeit firm) cushioning, it lacks the bare-bones pounding sensation of many of its quasi-barefoot competitors. This isn’t the smoothest landing shoe out there, but runners can rest assured that there is some protection from the impact of footstrike.
One notable feature of the PureDrift is its removable insole – the shoe’s 4mm offset is reduced to zero drop when the insole is removed. Testers didn’t notice the difference in offset either way – the insert seems to compress down in the heel considerably under body weight, and both options encourage a mid-to-forefoot landing. We did, however, find the cushioning to be significantly firmer without the insole.
The upper, designed around a wider last to allow for toe splay, nicely accommodates a higher volume foot. Some testers looking for a snugger fit found the upper to fold over itself in several places, resulting in a crease over the top of the foot. When wearing a sock, the creasing isn’t noticeable. It’s just one small quirk of an otherwise excellent minimal shoe option.
“I couldn’t tighten up the laces without the upper bunching up; there was a bit too much material there for a snugger fit.” – Taro
“This shoe has a very flexible forefoot. I might even go as far as to compare it to the Nike Free Run.” – Joanna
“The PureDrift is a firm shoe, but its definitely not as firm as some of the practically barefoot shoes that have come through the office. Its touch of protection can make the difference as the miles add up.” – Matt
Change is a-comin’ to the Brooks Pure line, launching updated versions in January 2013. All the current Pure shoes – the Connect, Flow, Cadence and Grit – receive new upper designs, and the Grit also gets a new outsole. This means that if you liked the feel of the platform in your original Pure shoe, you should feel right at home in the new models.
The biggest news is the addition of a fifth Pure model – the PureDrift. The Drift is all about maximizing ground feel, and even though it comes with a 4mm heel-to-toe drop like all the other Pure shoes, its sockliner is removable and once removed brings the Drift down to a 0mm offset.
- View Brooks PureDrift Pics >
- View Brooks PureConnect 2 Pics >
- View Brooks PureFlow 2 Pics >
- View Brooks PureCadence 2 Pics >
- View Brooks PureGrit 2 Pics >
Check the pics above for more info on each model and tell us what you think of the new designs!
The Saucony Kinvara 2 no longer stands alone. Prepared to duel, is the Brooks PureFlow. It is built with a 4mm heel-toe offset, just like the Kinvara 2, but sits an estimated 2mm higher off the ground (stack height: heel-23mm, forefoot-19mm). The extra 2mm mostly comes from the outsole, which should increase durability over the Kinvara 2. But that extra thickness, no matter how slight, does come with a weight increase. The PureFlow comes in an estimated 1.3 ounces heavier than the Kinvara 2 but is still quite light (men’s sample size 9.0=8.6 oz, women’s sample size 8.0=7.6 oz).
Comparisons with the Kinvara 2 do not end with the specifications. The PureFlow is similarly quite soft while standing or walking but more responsive while running. Whereas some customer feedback indicates the Kinvara 2 may be too soft at a quick pace, initial reports suggest the PureFlow to be more responsive at faster paces. This unique dynamic is the result of Brooks blending their DNA cushioning with their premium BioMoGo midsole foam.
As part of the Brooks PureProject line, the PureFlow comes with a set of standard features geared toward midfoot striking and a less-is-more philosophy. This shoe is for those who want a more “natural” experience but with cushioning not found in the near-barefoot type shoes (Altra Adam/Eve, Inov-8 Bare-X 200, Merrell Trail/Pace Glove, New Balance Minimus Trail, Saucony Hattori).
The PureFlow has an MRSP of $90 with a limited release in October 2011. A broader release with additional colors begins January 2012.
Runners seeking a more natural foot motion inevitably should find themselves running on trails. The natural terrain of the outdoors is more forgiving on the body compared to the paved world. As such, reductionist running shoes have taken hold of the trail running market. A reductionist shoe has at least one of the following attributes when compared to a traditional running shoe: sits lower to the ground, has smaller heel-toe offsets, greater flexibility or lower weight.
For Spring 2012, Brooks is providing a new trail shoe within the reductionist arena. The PureGrit has a 4mm heel-toe offset, is light weight (men’s size 9.0 is 8.9 oz, women’s size 7.0 is 7.6 oz), utilizes a split-toe outsole to better engage the stabilizing nature of the big toe at toe-off and has a round heel to promote a more forward landing position.
A unique feature of the PureGrit is the slightly concave shaped outsole, which splays out under ground contact for a stable and smooth ride. A broad base further promotes stability and the lug pattern keeps the runner connected to the ground. The PureGrit will compete directly with the Saucony Peregrine and New Balance MT110/WT110 (a January 2012 update to the MT101/WT101).
The Brooks PureGrit has an MSRP of $100 and is expected to be available in our Running Warehouse, San Luis Obispo retail store in October 2011, while the online release of the shoe, www.runningwarehouse.com, is January 2012.
To address the current trends toward “barefoot” and “minimalist” running, more and more shoe companies are providing options to meet the demand. Where on the barefoot-to-traditional shoe continuum product offerings fall varies from company to company. For Spring 2012, Brooks is introducing a line of shoes, under the heading PureProject, that slot between the midpoint of the continuum and the barefoot end. While the PureProject shoes may not be nearly barefoot (think Merrell Trail Glove or Saucony Hattori), they certainly reflect the less-is-more concept and provide a unique foot-fuction philosophy that should resonate with a lot of runners.
With the PureProject, Brooks brings forth 5 innovations to enhance the sensory aspect of running. 1. Ideal Heel uses a unique heel geometry, which reportedly results in the initial ground contact point occurring 2cm forward compared to traditional shoes. 2. Toe-flex utilizes a split-toe midsole/outsole configuration to better engage the big toe’s natural stability function at toe-off. 3. Nav Band hugs the midfoot with an elastic band for a secure fit. 4. Anatomical Last allows for the toes to splay during ground contact and allows the shoe to better follow the contours of the foot. 5. BioMogo DNA is a midsole blend that truly adapts to different ground forces, so the running experience is unique to the pace of the run; a softer feel exists at slower paces and a firmer feel is present at faster paces.
Leading the way in the PureProject is the PureConnect. This shoe is the most minimal of the shoes in the PureProject launch. With a 4mm heel-to-toe offset and a reported midsole height of 14:10 (14mm in the heel, 10mm in the forefoot), The PureConnect puts the runner close to the ground and delivers a great feel for the road. Specifications indicate a weight of 7.2 ounces for a men’s size 9.0 and 6.5 ounces for a women’s size 8.
The low weight, small heel-toe differential and adaptable midsole that firms up as the pace quickens combine to provide a unique sensory experience that is sure to hit the sweet spot for runners that seek a touch more protection than the nearly-barefoot shoes provide. If you love the Saucony Kinvara but find the Saucony Hattori to be too minimal, chances are good that the Brooks PureConnect will be in your closet next Spring.
The Brooks PureConnect has an MSRP of $90 and is expected to be available in our Running Warehouse, San Luis Obispo retail store in October 2011, while the online release of the shoe, www.runningwarehouse.com, is January 2012. Learn about the other shoes in the PureProject line (PureFlow, PureCadence, and PureGrit) in future blog posts.