Brooks PureProject PureConnects

Brooks Running's PureProject PureConnects SNEWS recently tested make for a comfy minimalist shoe.

As soon as the Brooks PureConnects (photo, right) arrived in the mail, our female tester put them on, laced them up and headed out for a lunchtime run. It was love at first step. There was no cramping in the feet and no pain in the arches — absolutely none of the minor getting-to-know you discomforts that come with a new pair of running shoes.

The minimalist, flexible shoe was a breath of fresh air compared to other minimalist shoes our female tester had used. The forefront and midsole protection made her think what Goldilocks did when she tasted Baby Bear’s porridge: It was just right. 

That first run by our female tester was done along the Boulder Creek Trail, and subsequent runs done along the Platte River Trail in Denver, treadmills at the gym and the dusty, rocky dirt roads of the San Luis Valley, which is where our male tester is located.

Our male tester didn’t have quite the same experience (with the shoes pictured on the left). Accustomed to Vibram FiveFingers, our male tester felt the forefront and midsole protection were a little too bulky, making for runs that felt “too springy” at first. He did say that when he finally was able to break them in, they were comfortable and often he’d arrive home having logged more miles than he intended.

It was that same “springy” feeling that our female tester loved. Our female tester has tried other minimalist shoes where she said she would have liked increased midsole and forefront protection, and while wearing those other brands her calves often ended up sore and overworked. This wasn’t the case in the PureProjects — oftentimes she’d set out for a five-mile run and come home after eight.

Despite the opposing views of the increased protection in the front of the shoe, both testers agreed that the breathable outer covered in mesh was a plus. And environmentalists can rejoice as the outsoles are made of Brooks’ BioMoGo, which is biodegradable.

This was especially useful when the snow started to fall in Denver, which made for some wet, muddy runs. The shoes were quick to dry and because of the bigger lugs on the split-toed outsole, they didn’t track a lot of mud or catch a lot of rocks on the bottom. This feature also came in handy once when she forgot a pair of socks and went for a run on a treadmill at the gym. The shoes didn’t feel too sweaty or get stinky after that one five-mile run. Both testers said they loved the way the feet always felt cool and dry because of this feature.

Though the shoes are designed for road running, the increased protection makes them good trail runners in a pinch. 

One thing SNEWS would like to see on future PureProject shoes is an incorporation of a strap versus laces, which comes in handy during long runs where there is danger of cramping up after kneeling down to lace up a wayward shoelace. Plus, our male tester found them a bit too narrow.

But overall, both testers, who logged a few hundred miles on the shoes each, said they felt the PureConnects did what the company said the shoes part of the PureProject line would do, which is help runners “feel more with less.”

Suggested Retail: $90

SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

The Leisure Trends Group Data: According to Leisure Trends Group’s Outdoor RetailTRAK data, minimalist multisport shoes sales were up 71 percent in dollars between 2010 and 2011 at core outdoor stores including specialty, online and chain channels. Shoes like Brooks PureConnects and Vibram FiveFingers that are sold in specialty outdoor retailers are under the umbrella of multisport shoes in this data.

For more information:


Brooks/SNEWS trail running survey: Growth expected

A recent survey of outdoor specialty retailers about trail running by Brooks in cooperation with SNEWS showed that about two of three respondents expected growth in trail-related sales over the next three years. The survey sought opinions from store owners, managers and buyers more

Brooks/SNEWS surveying trail running market -- chime in!

Brooks thinks there's room in the trail running market -- especially with the emphasis today on shorter outdoor adventures that are lighter and faster. So the 90-year-old running specialist plans to introduce a trail/adventure line for spring 2005. But before the company more


SNEWS Qs, Manufacturer Edition: Rich Zartman, Brooks Running

SNEWS got the opportunity to chat in person with the man who designed one of our favorite running shoes to date – the Brooks PureConnects. Here’s what he had to say about his history at the company and his inspirations for shoe designs. Rich Zartman, product design directorBrooks more


SNEWS Qs: Brooks Sports Anne Cavassa talks role models and challenges

As an avid runner, Anne Cavassa has a rather intimate relationship with her running shoes — and the love of her life is the Brooks Adrenaline. “It’s been my shoe forever,” Cavassa said. “It’s taken me through many miles, many marathons and many injuries. I’ve tried other shoes more


Skora Base Review

We all know about pugs — they’re so ugly that they’re cute. We like to think of Skora’s Base minimal shoes as the pugs of the running world. Our testers can’t even count how many double-takes they got while hitting the trails in these minimal running shoes with a design more

In Memoriam: Brooks Sports customer service rep killed

Elizabeth "Liz" Duncan, a Brooks Sports customer service rep, was struck by a car in Seattle on April 21 and died at the scene. Duncan was out for a daily training run and stood at an intersection waiting for the rest of her running group to arrive when the accident occurred. more


Icon breaks tradition by purchasing shoe company

Icon Health & Fitness broke its mold recently when the fitness equipment company purchased a small running shoe brand. “If we were going to be in footwear we decided we should either build it or buy it – but it had to be innovative,” said Colleen Logan, vice president of more


Shoes for SNEWS: A review of shoes used for the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run

When you do double-digit trail runs every day for six days, you get ample time to test out gear. SNEWS staffer Ana Trujillo and her teammate Mike Trujillo were able to test four pairs of shoes during the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run. Here’s what they had to say: Nike Run Free 3.0 more


Pearl Izumi Synchro Fuel Rd II Review

We will tell you right off the bat that we loved the lime-green detailing on the women’s Pearl Izumi Synchro Fuel Rd II shoes that we’ve been testing since early February 2012. First off, the neon color was highly visible during morning winter runs and night runs when it was more