I recently had the chance to try out a pair of Brooks PureConnect running shoes. The Brooks PureProject line is designed with lightweight materials and features like a heel that encourages a midfoot strike and a split toe to allow your big toe to help propel you down the road. My son, a high school runner, has been wearing Brooks PureCadence shoes and likes them a lot.
The Brooks PureConnect shoes are the lightest, most flexible shoe in the PureProject line. The Brooks PureConnect shoes weigh only 7.2 oz (204 g) for men and 6.5 oz (184 g) for women, but provide an amazing amount of cushioning for their weight. They feel like they have the same level of cushioning as a shoe that is 40-50% heavier. They have a low 4.0 mm heel-to-toe drop.
If you are looking for a lightweight, well-cushioned training shoe, the Brooks PureConnect is a great choice. If you are looking for a true minimalist shoe that allows you to feel every crack and pebble on the road, the Brooks PureConnect may not be for you. The Brooks PureConnect shoes are quite narrow. I have a narrow foot and they provide a very snug, glove-like fit. For my foot, they aren’t too tight, and there aren’t any uncomfortable “hot spots”.
Ironically, I found that you need to be careful to tie the PureConnect’s laces tight enough to secure your forefoot, so that it doesn’t slip partway off the narrow footbed. If I tied the shoes too loosely, my right foot (on the high side of the road, facing traffic) would slide “downhill” and my right toe would be hanging partway off the footbed.
Although the Brooks PureConnect’s upper is made of a breathable mesh, because the shoes are so snug-fitting, there isn’t much air flow through the mesh and the shoes can feel a little warm. I have worn the Brooks PureConnects in warm weather and haven’t had any issues. Wearing a thin, breathable sock (or no socks) in warm weather may make your feet more comfortable. The inside of the PureConnects is soft and seamless, so wearing them without socks shouldn’t cause any blisters.
I think that the Brooks PureConnect might be a good shoe for race distances of up to marathon length. I’ve worn them on training runs of up to 13 miles, so far. The only concerns I would have would be if your feet tend to swell during long races or if your feet tend to get very hot.
Some reviewers have expressed concerns about the high arch of the Brooks PureConnect’s factory insole. If you don’t have high arches, don’t worry about it. It’s made of highly flexible foam and it conforms to the shape of your foot.
If you are considering buying Brooks PureConnect shoes, make sure you try them on and determine that they are a good fit for you before buying. It’s also a good idea to buy from a store that has a generous shoe return policy. Brooks offers a 30 day return policy on all its shoes. Depending on where you shop, some stores will let you return shoes for up to 90 days after you buy them.
Brooks estimates that, because of their lightweight construction, the PureConnects will last for 250-300 miles, which may be less than you usually get from your running shoes. The Brooks PureConnect shoes sell for about $90.
Have you tried Brooks PureConnect shoes? What did you think of them? Share your experience in the comments.
Disclosure: I received a pair of Brooks PureConnect shoes for evaluation.