A little over a year ago, Brooks introduced the Pure Project, four lightweight, low heel profile shoes designed for four different applications. The PureFlow for neutral foot strike runners, the PureCadence for my friends needing more a more stable ride, the PureGrit trail shoe, and the PureConnect, the lightest shoe of the bunch designed for those preferring a firmer, responsive shoe. It’s been a successful first year for the Pure Project and Brooks will be rolling out the Pure Project 2.0 models in January 2013.
Joining the Pure Project team this upcoming year is the new PureDrift. Weighing in at a feather-light 5.6 oz., the PureDrift becomes by far the most “minimal” shoe of the Pure Project category. The folks at Brooks were kind enough to send me an early pair of PureDrift, and I thought I’d relay my initial thoughts after four training sessions – two easy-paced distance runs and a two track interval sessions.
First some background. I made the transition to lower heel profile shoes last year, taking the initial plunge with the PureFlow. I wore three pair of the Flows and they were a great match for my neutral gait cycle. About six months ago I transitioned to the lighter, firmer PureConnect, which has become one of my all-time favorite running shoes. For a multitude of reasons, the PureConnect works perfectly for me.
PureDrift Road Test
Weighing just 5.6 ounces, the PureDrift are the lightest running shoe I’ve ever worn (with the exception of track spikes back in the 20th century).
The most unique design feature is the ability to modify the PureDrift from a 4mm heel-to-forefoot offset to zero-drop offset. This is accomplished by removing the insole. I’ve run in the zero-drop New Balance Minimus MR00 and the PureDrift has a very similar zero-drop feel, even with the insole in the shoe. The folks at Brooks are going to have to explain to me how the lightweight insole provides enough substance to maintain a 4mm heel-to-forefoot offset. Insole in or insole out, the PureDrift is a low-rider for sure – and for me that’s a good thing.
Your big toe provides stability and balance during the gait cycle. The PureDrift’s dual flex toe design allows the foot and toes to do what they are designed to do – provide stability and balance while we run. All other Pure Project shoes have a single big toe notch – the PureDrift has two toe notches.
Like the other Pure Project models, the PureDrift has a taught elastic band (the “Navband”) that wraps around the instep, providing enhanced lateral stability and a nice snug feel in the middle part of the shoe. Keep in mind that all the Pure Project shoes are designed to encourage more of a mid-foot to forefoot gait cycle. If you master the correct running form, ground contact time is quick and light. I like the way the Navband feels around the important mid-section of the shoe.
The PureDrift has a much wider forefoot box than generation one Pure Project shoes. The seamless “anatomical wrap” upper is very comfortable and constructed of a lightweight, breathable mesh nylon. All the Pure Project 2.0 shoes will include a new lacing system design that provides a more comfortable fit over the top of the foot. I found the new lacing design allows for natural foot flexion – no binding from laces over the top of the foot.
One thing I noticed when running in the PureDrift is I really felt the ground. From a natural running perspective, this is a good thing. Our brain requires accurate feedback from the feet in order to make important micro-adjustments all along the body’s kinetic chain during the running gait cycle. Too much padding between the foot and ground limits the amount of information the brain receives, increasing the likelihood of poor body alignment while we run. You really feel the ground in the PureDrift!
I’m 53 years old and need just a tad more ground protection. The PureDrift is the lightest, most “minimal” shoe I’ve ever worn. I’ll continue to wear my beloved PureConnects for the bulk of my training mileage, but the PureDrift will be a great shoe to rollout for fast-tempo road and track sessions.
I’m looking forward to all the new Pure Project 2.0 shoes. All of the Pure Project models will include improvements and refinements on already great designs.
For those of you who are ready for truly light and sleek running shoe experience, the PureDrift is a great new option. Well-done (again) Brooks!
• Platform: anatomical last
• Sizes: Men’s 7-13, 14, Women’s 5-12
• Weight: Men’s 5.6 ounces; Women’s 5.1 ounces
• Available: 01.12.13
• MSRP: $100