If you want to try barefoot running, run barefoot. If you want to simulate running barefoot, but like the support and cushioning of a running shoe, try one of the new minimalist shoes from the new Pure Project line by Brooks Running.
Brooks will be releasing its new line of running shoes October 1, 2011. Yes, line not just a shoe. As the leading company in running shoes and apparel, Brooks took its time researching and designing its contribution to the minimalist/barefoot running craze that has taken hold in the running world.
There are two distinct aspects to consider with barefoot running and designing a shoe to accommodate it. First, when running barefoot, the foot lands on the ball of the foot and rolls back onto the heel. Second, the gait becomes shorter which leads to a lighter foot strike.
Four different shoes were designed by Brooks to appeal to each type of runner.
- Pure Connect provides the lightest and bare minimum of all the shoes is this line
- Pure Flow gives you the most cushioning
- Pure Cadence provides you with more support
- Pure Grit is the trail shoe from this line
All the shoes have been built on the same base using Brooks patented BioMoGo and DNA technology. Brooks advertises five unique features about this line. Below are the results for these features based on the test run:
- Toe Flex-Brooks put a split in the sole of the shoe at the toes. (see slideshow) The thinking is that this frees the big toe to work independently from the rest. While the concept seems to comply with barefoot running, the test runner could not tell if this feature made a difference in the performance of the shoe.
- Anatomical Shape-Meant to fit the foot like a glove, this shoe does hold up to the design. Its a snug fit where it needs to be and allows the toes to splay like they would without a shoe inside a wider toe box.
- Nav Band-An elastic band that stretches over the foot to give a secure fit. (See slideshow) This portion is very noticable when you wear this shoe. It really does hug the instep of the foot. A band pulling up from the heel holds the foot in place with a strip of elastic over the top for extra security.
- Midsole-A 4mm offset combined with Brooks DNA. This shoe definitely does provide the perfect marriage of cushioning and stability which you notice immediately when you put it on
- Ideal Heel-Slimmed down heel encouraging the foot to move forward. We saved the best for last, this is by far the best feature in this shoe. You will notice this instantly when you wear it. The heel sinks down into a comfortable cushion. Imagine how your foot would align without a shoe; this is how the shoe fits your foot.
The Baltimore Running Examiner ran in the Pure Grit and highly recommends this entire line of shoes for any runner who wants to try running in a lighter, minimalist shoe that still provides your foot with cushioning and support. Compared to the popular Nike Free, the Pure Project line gives you the same flexibility but excels beyond the Free with more stability and a practical design (read a review on the Nike Free+)
Look for this shoe in Charm City Run, Falls Running Store and other local running stores in the greater Baltimore area this October.
Thanks to Maloney & Fox for contributing the Pure Grit for this review.