The Shoe: Brooks PureFlow 2
The Official Description: Brooks calls the PureFlow 2 “lush” and “cushy.” It’s easy to picture yourself running with clouds on your feet.
“Like peanut butter and jelly or water and energy gels, the lightweight construction and lush cushioning of the PureFlow 2 are a perfect match,” Brooks gushes.
With the PureFlow 2, Brooks is trying to bridge the gap between minimalist and cushioned shoes without sacrificing the best qualities found in both. That’s not an easy balancing act. Brooks’ tag is “Run Happy.” Are the PureFlow 2’s the shoe to make you do that?
We say: An impressive amount of technology, detailing and overall thought has gone into the Brooks PureFlow 2. It’s a sensible minimalist transition shoe with terrific construction that is well-suited to short or mid-distance running.
Here’s the deal: On The Tuesday Kick, I kept encountering runners who raved about their Brooks. These folks were different from others; they endorsed the brand full-heartedly; in fact, you couldn’t ask for better brand ambassadors. And you see it all over Twitter and Facebook: cheerful, chirping Brooks wearers all gleefully tweeting: “Ten miles! #RunHappy!”
I admit. I became curious and contacted Brooks and we had a few email conversations and ultimately they decided I should try the PureFlow 2.
I wanted to know, what was it about Brooks that turned runners into such fanatical advocates?
I could see it in the shoes themselves as soon as they arrived. In terms of design, these are a thing of beauty. The colour scheme is orange, silver and black.
Wait a minute. Aren’t all the shoes orange this year?
Well, there’s more than a bit of truth to that. But the PureFlows have this subtle white stitching interspersed with the orange and this fade into black that’s like the day plunging into night.
From above, the shoe shape could be quite clunky. The PureFlow has a generous, rounded toe box, not unlike something Minnie Mouse might wear, actually. However, a silver ~cough~ swoosh and black ultra-suede detailing transform what could have easily become a cartoon into a shoe that looks if not aggressive then at least fast.
I love the materials. Everything’s been designed for optimum durability and comfort, and a lot of attention has gone into small details. Pleasingly thick laces are anchored in strong grommets. An uni-tongue and asymmetrical lacing snug the fabric tight across the forefoot for a solid fit.
The lacing, actually, appears to be a point of contention among PureFlow die-hards who are carping about the system online. Honestly, I’m not sure why; I’ve had no issues at all with it and is something that’s becoming fairly common in the industry these days.
Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA mid-sole, the company’s patented cushioning technology, is what’s supposed to provide the cushy but light-weight ride. I’ve run about 100 km in the shoes now, on treadmill and on the road. On the former, the ride is very smooth.
On the road, the PureFlows are…well, different. They are cushioned. After a 10-mile run I had absolutely no complaints with road shock to my hips, quads, knees or anywhere else. However, they also live up to their reputation as a transition shoe to minimalism in a couple of ways.
The shoe definitely encourages a mid-foot to forefoot strike when you’re running, but is forgiving if you heel strike. The forefoot on the PureFlows is very pliable and allows a lot of natural flex when you’re running. I found the shoe gave away under my foot on tight corners, where I’d end up scrubbing a bit of speed.
Despite Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA cushioning, I also felt the road under my feet, particularly as the miles accumulated. I wasn’t uncomfortable, but the sensation set limits as to how I’d use the shoe.
Running slowly, the PureFlow is comfortable. I didn’t notice or fuss about it. When I picked up the pace, I adored the shoe. It was light, I didn’t hear any road strike sounds, and I wasn’t thinking of the shoe at all. In the same way, when I attacked hills and moved more to my forefoot, the PureFlow felt extremely natural and graceful.
The Bottom Line: The PureFlow 2 is your next mid-distance training shoe. I’d use it to run 10 km to 10 miles, and certainly to race in the 10 km distance. If you’re new to minimalism and looking to transition, The PureFlow 2 is a fantastic introduction to running in a light, more flexible shoe.
Does this PureFlow 2 make me #RunHappy? Absolutely.