Brooks PureFlow 2 Review

JasonGeneral, Reviews, Shoe Reviews3 Comments

PureFlow 2

Brand: Brooks

Name: PureFlow 2

Color Options: Men – Green/Black, Gray/Black, Orange/Black, Women – Red/Black, Silver/Black, Yellow/Black

Weight: 8.8oz

Drop: 4mm

Price: $100


Overview

Lets talk about the Brooks PureFlow 2’s. Over the past few weeks, I’ve fallen completely in love. For those of you who don’t frequent this site, I am relatively new to running. I have only bought and used one pair of shoes dedicated to running, and that was four years ago. They didn’t fit right, and as I’ve discovered thanks to the PureFlow 2’s, they were heavy, expensive, and detrimental to my running form.

In come the green and black beauties. Designed with Brooks’ DNA technology for comfy feet, and BIOMOGO materials for environmentally friendly  wear, these shoes have transitioned me into minimalist running like a store bought goldfish into a warm home aquarium. Five seconds pass, and suddenly I have forgotten my old home. Best of all, for all of that technology, they’re actually affordable, running at $100 a pair.

Switching to the Pure Flow 2’s from my bulky Asics Bleus was difficult, but rewarding. As a member of the Brooks’ Guidance series, the pair helped me grow into mid-sole strikes without a whole lot of pain. Credit to the Brooks DNA crew for making the overall comfort of the  shoes overshadow the impending cramps and aches.

Performance

These shoes perform wonderfully. Light weight + great padding + an anatomical last – a large heel toe drop = comfy footstrikes with proper form. Running without the giant Asics heel has been a great experience so far. I should mention that the PureFlows are one of the more padded (but still neutral) options in the Brooks PureProject line. Because of this, and the presence of a noticeable amount of arch support, they make more sense when categorized as a transition shoe, than a minimalist shoe. However, they feature an anatomical last, a 4 mm heel-toe drop, and encourage a natural footstrike (instead of just providing enough padding to give you some protection if you keep heel-striking), so they are a better transition option than those transition shoes that still have narrow toe boxes and >4 mm heel-toe drops. Another feature to note is the split-toe design (the presence of a split in the sole between the big toe and the rest of the toes) that has become characteristic of the PureProject line. It is less pronounced in the PureFlow than, for example, in the PureConnect, and, because of the relatively high amount of cushion, doesn’t really seem to do much in the way of individual movement of the big toe or increased stability.

Comfort/Barefoot Feel

Note the separated "pods" that make up the sole and the split-toe design.

Note the separated “pods” that make up the sole and the split-toe design.

The primary feature, and maybe concern, of these shoes is the padding. For now they feel great, but it feels as if my footstrikes will become too hard in a relatively short amount of time. As if the shoe will become lumpy and/or bulgy on my foot because of the cushioning compacting, allowing me to feel the somewhat separate, rounded pieces that make up the sole. If this makes sense to any of you, perfect, because I’m not sure how to describe it. This might also be a result of the ‘air cushioning’ I’ve become ‘accustomed’ to thanks to, again, said Asics. Although, it may not become an issue as I further adapt to a midfoot form and learn to be lighter on my feet. That aside, the shoe fits very, very well. The half secured tongue combined with the mid-foot elastic strap help the shoe feel snug and secure, but the material still lets the shoe breathe. It’s like wearing socks that weigh slightly more than socks. Of course, the relatively high amount of cushion in these shoes means that, unlike a true minimalist or barefoot shoe, ground feel is almost non-existent.

Aesthetics

I’m going to level with you here- the green/black combo is weird. I feel like they would go pretty well with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume (duly noted for next year’s Halloween Run). Weird isn’t bad, though, just weird.

What’s New in the 2?

Top: PureFlow 2; Bottom: PureFlow

Top: PureFlow 2; Bottom: PureFlow

While the midsole and sole design remain the same, the upper of the PureFlow 2 has been completely redesigned relative to the original PureFlows. One of the most significant updates is the asymmetrical lacing and a tongue that is only separated on one side. This allows the shoe to be laced more securely around the midfoot, preventing the foot from sliding forward during a forefoot/midfoot strike.

Pros

  • Great cushioning while still allowing for a natural running form
  • Breathe well
  • Lightweight
  • Promotes good form

Cons

  • Shorter rated lifespan than other minimalist shoes (250-300 miles)
  • Cushioning may not wear well and may be too much for many minimalist runners

Summary

The Brooks PureFlow 2’s seem to be a great transition shoe, given the construction and life span. As I had mentioned several times, this is only my second pair of running shoes; my first being a pair of Asics at stiletto height. They feel a whole lot better, and weigh a ton less, and that is certainly refreshing. However, these aren’t a long term solution to my running needs. In a handful of months, as they begin to wear, I’ll probably have starting looking for my next pair.

Interested in getting your own pair? You can pick them up here for women’s and here for men’s.

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