Friday, July 5, 2013

Shoe Review: Brooks Pure Flow 2

Runner Profile (me!)

  • 40 year old male
  • 6'2" tall
  • 205lb on average
  • Neutral foot type
  • 35-50 miles weekly average
  • Surface: mostly asphalt
  • Running distance since 1997 (27 marathons complete and 22 ultra-marathons)
  • Disclaimer: in my fourth year of being a part of the Brooks ID (Inspire Daily) family :-)

Just a few days ago, I retired my 2nd pair of Brooks Pure Flow 2 running shoes. The Pure Flow is part of Brooks Running's "Pure Project" family which also has the Cadence (sibling to the Flow but for runners who need stability), the Connect (much less cushion, lighter, and no stability), the Grit (trail shoe), and the Pure Drift (the most minimal of all with an optional zero drop). Pure Project has five concepts which define it but for me, the most impactful one in my life is the "Ideal Heel." The "Ideal Heel" is a design that is a slimmed down design which encourages a more forward foot strike. The heavily cushioned shoes that the shoe industry has been producing for decades have big, beefy heels. The Pure Project line has removed that "clunkiness" and for me, has changed everything about my running. Starting back in late 2011, I began wearing this line and some major things happened:

  • Gait changed from outside/back heel striker to mid-foot striker
  • Lingering injury recovery completely disappeared
  • Quads got stronger/larger due to landing mid foot
  • Calves slightly reduced in size due to not receiving the brunt of the downward force
  • Speed increased due to efficiency increase in my stride

Today, I'm injury free and run exclusively (except for trails) in the Brooks Pure Flow 2. I have read on Brooks' website about complaints in wear life. I know that wear will differ by the runner and I have to question if these runners are in the right shoe type and/or they are going back and forth between a Pure Project shoe and a heavily cushioned shoe. It is my opinion that doing that might discourage your gait from fully changing to being a more mid-foot striker vs. heel striker. No doubt, if you heel strike in a Pure Project shoe consistently, you'll wear them out as they don't have the beefiness of a thick heel. Below are two pairs of my shoes. On the left is the bright orange pair I just retired at 399 miles. On the right is the pair I'm currently running in. Remember, I'm a "big guy" and know I'm bringing much more down in pounds-feet of force with each strike than just my body weight. I'm stunned by the wear my retired pair shows...or doesn't show. I retired them because I "just knew" they were done by the feeling in my knees. They treated me well but inside, they are finished. Amazing "lack of wear," isn't it?!

I don't show a picture of the upper here but I will tell you that it's in perfect shape. It's not deformed, ripped, worn out or anything. I have a bunion that is on the inside of my left foot, just behind my big toe and that has not had any impact on the construction of the shoe. In fact, the upper's design has fit around it favorably so as to not be irritating or anything.

The Pure Flow 2 weighs in at only 8.8 oz but I wouldn't let that scare you. I love the cushion and I love the ride. If you understand the human body and how we were designed to run, you will understand that our arch is our spring. We are designed to strike midfoot. It is most natural but our heavily cushioned heels have taken us away from our design. For what this shoe (and Brooks) has done for me, I am very thankful and I will continue to sing their praises and continue running happy for many, many more miles. Plus, since a new color was just released (think Clemson school colors), I think it may be time to place another order so they're ready when pair #3 is done. If you consider any Pure Project shoe, just be sure to get fitted first so you get the right one. After that, just Run Happy!

Brooks Running website
Pure Project home page

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