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Brooks PureConnect

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Post  Stephanie Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:24 pm

I week ago I picked up a pair of Brooks PureConnect, and wow, what a shoe!! I have done a couple of shorter runs in them and I am quite impressed! I have read several places that people are wondering if they are going to give the Kinvaras a run for their money and take a chunk out of the Kinvara's popularity but I don't think these shoes are similar to each other at all. The PureConnects are very cushioned, nothing minimal about them at all, and almost feel as though there are small air mattresses attached to the soles. The toe groove is neat and it took me about 2 miles to appreciate its function. I have a fairly pronounced toe-off so I appreciated the freedom this groove gave my big toe to do what it wanted to do. As for the rest of my foot, the PureConnect wrapped around it like a glove, was a tighter/slimmer although not a cramped fit than the Kinvara, and it pretty much makes a heel strike impossible. In the Kinvara when I am fatigued I can get sloppy and still catch my heel the odd strike if I don't watch my form. The PC seemed to do all the work for me - kept me in a mid to forefront foot plant the entire run and several times I wanted to pick my pace up... the shoe really facilitates a fast, smooth stride.

As I mentioned, I really have the impression that this shoe does the work for you. There has been no sensation to me that this shoe is a minimalist shoe by any means, and I doubt that it will strengthen my feet in any way; Kinvaras on the other hand have given my feet the freedom to do what they want/need to and I have much stronger feet as a result. I also tried on the PureFlow and my initial impression was that they fit almost exactly like the Kinvaras do but are much more cushioned so maybe the PureFlow will be the Kinvaras biggest new rival.

I will definitely have the PureConnect as part of my rotation of shoes but they won't be replacing my Kinvaras. I will most likely use it on days when my feet are tired or during tempo or speed workouts... workouts when my form may degrade when I am tired. At this point in time I am not sure which shoe I would pick to race a half marathon in... standby for my pick in January. Razz

If you do try on a pair of these shoes, know that they feel totally different to walk in than they do to run in. Take them for a spin if the store will let you. When just standing in them I almost felt as though I was leaning backwards a tad, as though I had cycling shoes on, but once you are running your body alignment totally changes and you are in a forefoot landing stride. Had I only stood in them or walked around the store in them I wouldn't have bought them. It was the quick run down the sidewalk outside my local running store that convinced me to buy them.

I am already very accustomed to the 4mm offset since I have been running in the Kinvaras for quite sometime but after the runs I have done in the PCs I do feel my calves and AT a bit, nothing major though. I assume this is because I am now in more of a mid to forefoot foot plant than my usual midfoot foot plant in the Kinvara. And in my size, the PCs weight .4oz heavier than my Kinvaras.

All in all the PCs are a pretty ridiculous shoe... in a good way. My true love is still the Kinvara but the PCs are a nice addition to my shoe collection.
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Post  fostever Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:50 pm

Thanks for the report. I'm sending my Nikes back due to fit issues so i'll have to consider these.
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Post  Chris M Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:40 am

These shoes look interesting but I've gotta tell you that I'm most scared of your comment below that they in effect make a heel strike impossible. I think it is Newtons that do something similar and alter the shoe quite a bit to try and force a particular type of landing. My own view is that I don't want my shoe dictating or even encouraging any particular type of landing. What works best is the landing I can duplicate over and over again without injury. I think I'm somewhat of a heel to midfoot striker but maybe slightly more towards the heel, particularly at HMP speed and slower (more on my midfoot at the faster stuff). I don't accept for a second that the "proper" landing is a heel strike, a midfoot strike or anything else. It is whatever works for that runner so that they can efficiently keep moving and avoid injury. I generally like Brooks shoes (LOVE my pair of Launch) but I'm very leery of trying a shoe as described below that attempts to dictate a type of foot strike. Its among the many reasons I've never been sold on the benefits of the barefoot or Vibram type footwear. It all seems based on a conclusion that I'm not buying into...that heel striking is bad. This Sport Science article linked to below affected me a lot. One interesting factoid? 75% of the elite runners at a half marathon in Japan landed on their heel.

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2008/04/running-technique-footstrike.html
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Post  Jerry Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:00 am

Debate the undebatable again? This is enough answer for me:

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Post  Chris M Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:58 am

Very cool video of Sammy's stride. Still, I think there are many many many more heel strikers among the elites and fast runners than you think. For example, the big time heel striker guy below is way faster than the midfoot guy in red...

Brooks PureConnect Heel_b10

Brooks PureConnect Midfoo10
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Post  Jerry Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:36 pm

Chris, I think I am with you on this one. My take from the video is the heel landing is a very short and light process that if one is an efficient runner - high cadence and run light, there is no real difference between heel and mid foot landing. We should focus on cadence and run light in my opinion. Once we do that and can sustain high mileage training and race with no injury, we at least should get close to our optimal landing.
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Post  mul21 Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:19 pm

I think you're both underestimating how much of mid foot strikers you really are. If you saw a slow mo of your footstrike, I think you'd be surprised by how little the heel actually hits the ground. It just becomes more and more difficult to be a heel striker as your pace quickens, even at your long run pace.
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Post  Chris M Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:47 pm

mul21 wrote:I think you're both underestimating how much of mid foot strikers you really are. If you saw a slow mo of your footstrike, I think you'd be surprised by how little the heel actually hits the ground. It just becomes more and more difficult to be a heel striker as your pace quickens, even at your long run pace.

Yeah, you are probably right. I went and looked at the 2010 pics of Jerry from Chicago and sure enough, most of them showed him with much more of a midfoot landing. I just picked out one that looked bad to have fun with him.

But here's my original point....I still don't like the shoe itself dictating what kind of landing I should have. I'm naturally going to move towards the fastest and most efficient stride and landing for myself. That's what thousands of injury free miles do to you - you adapt if you want to keep running. I really don't want my shoe unnaturally setting things up so that one type of landing is favored and the other difficult to do. I want my shoes to be neutral, lightweight and have enough cushion to not hurt my feet. Too much to ask? I've found a bunch (the aforementioned Launch, the Lunar Racers etc) that fit the bill for me. But I won't go to something like the Newtons which, as I understand it, actually position your foot so as to encourage or force a particular type of gait and landing. Yikes! That's so far from ideal in my view. It is the equivalent of having a golf club offset so as to try and cure a slice or to force a draw to happen instead of simply working on your swing until you can draw on your own and avoid distance killing slices. I think the fixes (shoes or Vibrams that dictate a type of footstrike or golf clubs that are bent to minmize bad swing paths) are worse than the problems and are ultimately not as helpful as simple "find what works for you without the help of technology" would be.
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Post  Tim M Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:00 pm

I don't think that ANY shoe MAKES you run one way or another. PERIOD.

The design of the shoe may reinforce certain mechanics (both good and bad). Newtons for example encourage a mid-foot landing because of the lugs in the forefoot. You can still heel-strike in them, but it is uncomfortable to do so, and as a result, you tend not to in those shoes.

Same with the minimal shoes. They do push you towards a mid-foot landing because they do not have the cushioning in the heel to absorb the impact forces. Heel-strike away in them if you want to, but without the cushion you won't want to.

I love the PureConnect. The heel design in them does encourage a transition to a more efficient stride.
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Post  Tim M Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:04 pm

Chris M wrote:I've found a bunch (the aforementioned Launch, the Lunar Racers etc) that fit the bill for me.

The Launch has been my shoe of choice until the PureConnect came out. I still use the Launch because it still has lots of miles left in them, but I cannot wait to retire the last pair and run just in the PureConnect.
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Post  Ben Z Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:52 pm

I have been running in the PureConnects exclusively for the past few weeks and it's a very nice shoe, very nice.

The overall fit of the shoe is as good as it gets for my foot. When new it's probably the best/most comfortable shoe I have worn.

My only complaints about the shoe thus far are:


  1. The open air mesh upper is really comfortable but lets in dirt like crazy. I've been running on a dirty/dusty two mile loop lately over soft dirt and by the end of 8-10 mile runs my feet are completely caked in dirt and dust. Even through my smartwool socks. So much dirt and debri passes through the upper, and my socks, that the skin between my toes has started to become irritated due to the friction.
  2. The cushioning may not be that durable. It's a bit too early to tell on this one but with only ~150 miles on the shoe I felt like the cushioning might be wearing down on my 20 miler this past Saturday. Now granted that was after a 10 mile run the day before and I haven't done that in awhile, but we'll see this week when I'm running on pavement again now that my legs are better recovered.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:55 pm

Tim M wrote:
Chris M wrote:I've found a bunch (the aforementioned Launch, the Lunar Racers etc) that fit the bill for me.

The Launch has been my shoe of choice until the PureConnect came out. I still use the Launch because it still has lots of miles left in them, but I cannot wait to retire the last pair and run just in the PureConnect.

Ok, I ran NYC in the Launch yesterday and it was a great experience. Which PureConnect shoe should I try? My local running guy didn't know much yet. I also train some in the Ghost.
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Post  Gobbles Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:33 am

While I find the shoe compatible to the Kinvara, I think the Kinvara is a more cushioned shoe. For me, both shoes are fast; I'm mostly a midfoot striker so I can't really say I notice a more midfoot strike. I think the Connect would be a better race shoe than the Kinvara. I find that most Brooks shoes encourage a quick and smooth transition, and the connect is no difference. That said, the Kinvara can get up and dance, but the cushioning is too soft for anything under a 1/2 Marathon for me.

I have 3 pairs of Kinvaras in my rotation, but race in Brooks T7s (Road 5K-->Marathon). I do have a pair of Connects, that I like allot.
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Post  fostever Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:41 pm

I ran in the Launch at Chicago and it felt great except for my over tightening issue which was completetly my fault. Next RW sale and it's another pair of those for now with the credit for my returned Nikes.
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Post  Stephanie Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:52 pm

Chris M wrote:These shoes look interesting but I've gotta tell you that I'm most scared of your comment below that they in effect make a heel strike impossible. I think it is Newtons that do something similar and alter the shoe quite a bit to try and force a particular type of landing. My own view is that I don't want my shoe dictating or even encouraging any particular type of landing.

That is exactly how I feel and was my main concern that I expressed to the Brooks rep when I was trying this shoe on. I do not want to become dependent on any particular shoe.


mul21 wrote:I think you're both underestimating how much of mid foot strikers you really are. If you saw a slow mo of your footstrike, I think you'd be surprised by how little the heel actually hits the ground. It just becomes more and more difficult to be a heel striker as your pace quickens, even at your long run pace.

I agree! I used to think I was a heel striker but since I've been in the Kinvara I am confident that I am a mid-foot striker and running in the PureConnect just reinforced that. This shoe made me realize I am not heel striking as much as a thought I was. Definitely good feedback to have!


Tim M wrote:I don't think that ANY shoe MAKES you run one way or another. PERIOD.

The design of the shoe may reinforce certain mechanics (both good and bad). Newtons for example encourage a mid-foot landing because of the lugs in the forefoot. You can still heel-strike in them, but it is uncomfortable to do so, and as a result, you tend not to in those shoes.

I most certainly feel that this is what the PureConnect has done for me - reinforced my good foot mechanics and the strength I have built in my feet over this last year.


Gobbles wrote:While I find the shoe compatible to the Kinvara, I think the Kinvara is a more cushioned shoe. For me, both shoes are fast; I'm mostly a midfoot striker so I can't really say I notice a more midfoot strike. I think the Connect would be a better race shoe than the Kinvara. I find that most Brooks shoes encourage a quick and smooth transition, and the connect is no difference. That said, the Kinvara can get up and dance, but the cushioning is too soft for anything under a 1/2 Marathon for me.

Interesting that you find it more cushioned than the Kinvara. It's fascinating that everyone's perspectives can be so different. I love your desciption of the Kinvara: "the Kinvara can get up & dance". Brooks PureConnect 424776184
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Post  Schuey Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:56 pm

Ben Z wrote:
[*]The cushioning may not be that durable. It's a bit too early to tell on this one but with only ~150 miles on the shoe I felt like the cushioning might be wearing down on my 20 miler this past Saturday. Now granted that was after a 10 mile run the day before and I haven't done that in awhile, but we'll see this week when I'm running on pavement again now that my legs are better recovered.
[/list]

I think I have to agree with Ben on this one, I do think the cushioning is that durable. Overall I find it to be an ok shoe and will continue to use it for my short runs to mid runs. I'm going to also try this shoe out on the trails, as for the longer runs I think I will stick with my T7's and other shoes that I find to be better for longer runs. As for racing there is no doubt that for me it is the T7 for now.

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Post  Tim M Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:47 pm

Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
Tim M wrote:
Chris M wrote:I've found a bunch (the aforementioned Launch, the Lunar Racers etc) that fit the bill for me.

The Launch has been my shoe of choice until the PureConnect came out. I still use the Launch because it still has lots of miles left in them, but I cannot wait to retire the last pair and run just in the PureConnect.

Ok, I ran NYC in the Launch yesterday and it was a great experience. Which PureConnect shoe should I try? My local running guy didn't know much yet. I also train some in the Ghost.

The Pure Project line has 4 shoes: 2 neutral, 1 stability and 1 trail shoe.

The 2 neutral shoes are the PureConnect and PureFlow. Brooks has a chart on their site mapping their normal shoes with the new Pure Project shoes. The Ghost matches up with the PureFlow. They match up the Racer ST, T7 and Green Silence with the PureConnect.

The shoe that is missing from the chart is the Launch. It more or less fits in the middle of those two groups. If you want a little less cushion, the PureConnect would be good. A little more cushion would be the PureFlow.

Personally, I like the PureConnect better as I train in the Racer ST, T7, Green Silence and Launch.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:30 pm

Thanks, Tim. I need to try them but not until my AT stops acting up.
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Post  Stephanie Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:43 am

Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Thanks, Tim. I need to try them but not until my AT stops acting up.
Michele, go easy in the PCs if you try them then. I think the Launch has a 10mm heel toe differential (but I am not 100% certain) and the PCs take you to a 4mm differential. I have never had any issues with my ATs but I did feel my ATs and calves adjusting when I moved to a shoe with 4mm heel-toe difference, and it took them awhile to acclimatize.
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