Brooks PureConnect 2 Shoe Review

Brooks have been well represented in my shoe rotation for many years, so when I received an email from one of their representatives asking if I’d like to test out the PureConnect 2, the answer was a resounding “Yes, please!”

Initial impression:
The 2nd Generation PureConnect weighs in at just over 7oz (size 9.5), and is a neutral shoe suitable for daily training or racing. Flexibility is good, and the mid-sole a nice combination of firmness and cushion. In my opinion, the red and black color way definitely makes for an eye-catching shoe!

My thoughts:
Since receiving the media sample from Brooks I’ve racked up about 150 miles on a mix of asphalt, concrete, grass, and dirt trail, in both wet and dry conditions. The PureConnect 2 is built on an Anatomical Last which makes for a slightly narrow fit. Typically the first couple of miles into a run were fine, but by the end of the workout the outsides of my feet were definitely feeling a little cramped. Traction was good in dry conditions, but the narrow, rounded outsole made for slower cornering and a slight hesitancy approaching turns.

According to Brooks, the split toe design is meant to “allow the big toe to function independently and engage the runner’s natural balance during toe-off”, but to be honest I didn’t experience anything too unique. The front of the shoe curls up quite dramatically (see photo below), but this didn’t impact toe-off or ground feel as much as I expected it to.

Brooks PureConnect 2

Brooks PureConnect 2 [click image for larger view]

The mesh upper is very breathable, and features a stretchy nav band that hugs the midfoot to keep it secure. Some people love it; others seem to hate it. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle – it doesn’t cause discomfort, yet it doesn’t appear to add stability either. One thing I do like is the Asymmetrical Lacing. Earlier this year I suffered a swollen tendon located on the top of my foot. The only shoe I could wear that didn’t cause more pain was the PureConnect 2, leaving traditionally laced shoes such as the Saucony Kinvara, Grid Type A5 and inov-8 Road-X Lite 155 relegated to the sidelines for several weeks.

Brooks PureConnect 2

Brooks PureConnect 2 [click image for larger view]

I typically run in the PureConnect 2 once or twice a week for a maximum of 7 or 8 miles. Any further, and the narrowness of the shoe begins to cause cramping issues as mentioned above. I’m definitely a fan of the PureConnect 2, but if I’m being honest, it’s not the first shoe I reach out for.

Likes:

  1. Weight – around 7oz is perfect for a daily trainer, yet light enough to wear in races too.
  2. Style – great looking shoe, with prominent reflective accents.
  3. Asymmetrical Lacing – makes for a very comfortable fit, even if it looks a little weird.
  4. 4mm Heel-Toe Offset – anything in excess of 4mm is too clunky a shoe for me, so the PureConnect 2 fits the bill perfectly.

Dislikes:

  1. Width – slightly too snug a fit for a perfectly comfortable ride.
  2. Sole – outsole could be grippier. The 3 hollowed out areas in the forefoot tend to pick up rocks.
  3. Durability – Brooks claim that “shoes from the PureProject line will last approximately 250-300 miles.” For a $90 shoe, I’ll be hoping for at least 400 miles. Time will tell I guess.

From the Brooks Running web site:
Embrace the ground beneath you with the featherweight feel and pliable flex of the PureConnect 2. This slim and nimble turn-hugger is the perfect fit when you crave less shoe and more freedom. A split toe groove extends toward the midfoot, engaging the natural movement of the foot and letting you feel every nuance of the run. With rad looks, the baby is ready to run, right out of the box.

Specs:

Category: Neutral
Weight: 7.2 oz
Platform: Anatomical Last
Construction: Stroebel
Launch Date: January 1, 2013

Technologies
• BioMoGo DNA Midsole
• IDEAL Heel
• Toe Flex
• Nav Band
• Anatomical Last

Disclaimer: The PureConnect2 are a media sample provided free of charge by Brooks Running.

Comments

I think brooks made a few mistakes in the V2 of these shoes. I have both the v1 and v2 of the cadence. V1 is my go to, V2 is dread for the most part. I have a running list of my gripes on the CadenceV2.

Brooks has been getting some good reviews for their shoes.
I have been wearing Asics, but I am going to have to give them a closer look.
Art

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