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Brooks PureDrift Review

by Meghann on December 5, 2012

Good Morning!

My phone died last night and I made the mistake of forgetting to turn it back on after I plugged it in next to my bed to recharge. I woke up with Derek’s alarm instead of my own and instantly realized I had missed my CrossFit window for the morning. Rookie mistake.

Oh well, I’m sure Maddie didn’t mind. Instead of CrossFit, I snapped a leash on her and we headed out for a four mile run around the neighborhood. Maddie was in running heaven. πŸ™‚ This also gave me a chance to test out the new PureDrifts Brooks had sent me to review.

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You may remember the PureDrifts from the giant dark chocolate egg they were delivered in back in October.

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Who agrees that all shoes should be delivered in giant dark chocolate eggs?! πŸ˜‰

The PureDrift is the latest release in Brooks’ PureProject line and is designed to be an extension of the runner’s body. The shoe’s official release date is set for 01.12.13, but you can pre-order it now through BrooksRunning.com.

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From the press release:

Experience he next best thing to naked feet with hyper-light PurDrift. Spread those toes with dual toe flex splits that allow your forefoot to flex through its three functional units, creating natural balance and a springy push-off. an anatomical last mimics the shape of your foot for a closer fit and the hardly-there upper provides just a little more coverage than a birthday suit. when you really want to feel free as a bird, remove the sockliner for a zero drop experience. no-seam construction keeps it comfortable and a soft platform mellows impact. feet, meet feel.

The PureDrift is a gorgeous shoe, there’s no doubt about that. I love the sleek grey and black look with just a hint of pink in the outlines. The shoe also boosts Brook’s night life technology with strategically placed reflective points on the toe box, heel, and side of the shoe.

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However, looks aren’t everything and I was surprised just how different the PureDrift was from the PureConnect from the get-go. My PureConnects fit like a glove, they’re a little on the narrow side and they grip my foot in just the right places. The PureDrift runs big and wide. I usually wear an 8 in Brooks running shoes, but the 8 that arrived in the chocolate egg were huge. The “dual toe box split” makes for a roomier toe box and my feet felt like they were slipping and sliding in the 8s because of that. I ran in them a little bit at CrossFit, but didn’t feel comfortable taking them out any longer than the short sprints we did in class.

Luckily my contact at Brooks was great when I informed her of the sizing issue (she agreed the PureDrift ran a little bigger than usual) and offered to send a 7.5 to see if those worked. The 7.5 arrived last week and were a much better fit. They were still roomy in the toe box, but the shoes were designed to be a little roomier there.

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See the weird puckering at the toes in the photo? That’s the “roominess” I was referring too. My big toe went all the way to the tip of the shoe, but the puckering was still there.

Anyway, the puckering didn’t bother me in the run. The shoes were lightweight and pretty comfortable once I had them on. Just with the PureConnect, the springy bottom took a little getting used to at first. The shoe requires you to rely on your feet to balance in them, instead of just letting the shoe do all the work. You can really only feel that unstable feeling when you’re just standing on them, when you’re running there’s none of that and it just feels natural.

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If you’re looking for a zero-drop shoe, the PureDrift is the first in Brooks PureProject line that offers one. All you have to do is remove the shoeliner and you’re set. I didn’t try this option yet, but I’m tempted to in the near future.

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I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of the PureDrifts when I first tried them on. I LOVE my PureConnects and was expecting a similar shoe, but what I got was something completing different. I can’t stress enough how different this shoe is than the rest of the PureProject line. From the fit to the drop to feel, it’s just different.

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The 4 miles I ran in the PureDrift weren’t bad. I was running with Maddie, so we kept at her pace which was a little slower than my normal runs. I didn’t feel any pain or like anything was off. The shoe felt light and springy, and I was comfortable in them. I was afraid my toes would be slipping and sliding in the wider toe box, but they were fine. They did what they were supposed to do with the dual toe flex technology and found their place in every push off.

I’m still on the fence about the PureDrift. They might be just a tad too minimalist for my taste. They’re a great CrossFit shoe (wore them to class yesterday and loved how I could stable myself in them for the thrusters), but I’m not sure I would take them farther than 4 miles on a run.

If you’re looking for a minimalist shoe with a wider toe box and a zero-drop option, the PureDrift might be more suitable for you. If you have narrow feet and like some cushion to your spring, then I would go seek out the other shoes in the PureProject line. Just my opinion. πŸ™‚

Are you a minimalist shoe fan? What do you look for in a new shoe?

After our run, I made a bowl of yogurt, apple, and granola for breakfast.

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  • Plain Chobani
  • golden delicious apple
  • pecans
  • granola
  • almond butter
  • cinnamon

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A sweet way to start off the morning!

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats December 5, 2012 at 10:23 am

I have an especially narrow foot, so I know those wouldn’t be good for me! Plus I’m just switching from a stability shoe to a neutral right now, so I’ve avoided minimalist. I like it though for strength training, but definitely not running.
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2 Cait December 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

did u eat any of the egg?

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3 Meghann December 5, 2012 at 10:34 am

A couple of bites. Derek brought it to the office next day to share with his co-workers. πŸ™‚

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4 Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution December 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

They kind of look like clown shoes with how big and round the toe box is! Weird! I have Brooks Pure Flows, and I don’t love them. I know Brooks are great shoes, but I bought these on a whim (and a discount), and I kind of blame them for my knee injury in my recent half marathon. But who knows, that could be all in my head. I’d love to try Brooks again. As soon as I have extra money for running shoes, I’ll try again!
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5 Meghann December 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

Minimalist shoes are tricky to train in. You have to be very careful with them, especially longer distances. After hurting my foot in a half marathon, I won’t take my PureConnects for longer runs than 5 miles. I have the Glycerin 10s, which are Brooks ultra cushiony shoe that feels like I’m running on pillows when I run with them. Those are my longer distance shoes. If you’re looking for one shoe in your collection to run with all the time, then I would suggest staying away from minimalist shoes, I see them as “fun run” shoes. πŸ™‚

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6 Margaret December 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I wouldn’t say they’re “tricky” to train in but just that you do have to actually train to run long distances in them, even if you’re already used to long distances in other shoes.

I ran in minimalist shoes (Vivo Barefoot) off and on for shorter runs for a year, but switched to conventional shoes for my first half marathon because I knew I didn’t have time to work up to the mileage (although my knees hurt after the race – my alignment was not the same as in my Vivos). Then I switched to only running my Vivos, and signed up for my second half sort of on a whim, with my longest minimalist training run only 6 miles – bad idea! My feet hurt for about three weeks. However, I’m now training for my third half, using only my Vivos, and have gotten up to 9 miles with no issues like my feet hurting.

You absolutely can run long distances in barefoot and minimalist shoes (in fact, in seems the majority of the ultra runner bloggers I read use minimalist shoes), you just have to gradually increase your mileage – from my experience and reading’d recommend increasing your long run in them no more than 0.5 – 1 mile per week – and emphasis on that’s gradually increasing your long run miles, not your weekly mileage like you would for normal running increases. E.g., if you ran three 5-milers in a week, don’t go out and run a 5-miler and a 10-miler in minimalist shoes, only go up to 6-miles for each run the next week.
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7 Erin December 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I think the big thing is finding the right shoe for you. I don’t think it’s fair to say that minimalist shoes should be saved for ‘fun runs’ or that one needs to wear more cushioned shoes for long distances. Your run gait, foot compostion, and body-type might support that, but that is probably not the case for everyone. I have run in the PureConnects since they came out, and before that I ran in the Brooks Green Silence. I have never had any issues with the minimalist construction of these shoes, in fact, my legs and feet always feel better in a minimalist shoe. I run between 80-90 miles/week in my PureConnects and have run both marathons and ultramarathons in those and the Green Silence with no issues. This clearly is a match for me, but not for everyone. When training long distances, it’s important to find the right shoe for you, but you really cannot base it on what’s right or not right for someone else. I think talking with your local running store and with real experienced runners similar to you is an invaluable tool, especially if you are just getting started and you are training for a half or full. Try a bunch of shoes on too – one place I know (roadrunnersports.com) will actually let you return the shoes within 30 days if you aren’t satisfied (with a $1.99 ‘VIP’ membership).

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8 Meghann December 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I agree 100%. This is all based off of MY experience with the shoes and my personal opinion after running/ training with them. Thank you for sharing your experience with minimalist shoes and giving another side to it. πŸ™‚

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9 Matthew January 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Running in a “barefoot” or minimal shoe HAS to be a gradual process, and the training should be in a similar-type shoe. There are several shoes out there that have dropped the heal-to-toe drop to 4-6mm, but are still very cushioned. Just because you can do your long runs in a cushioned 4mm shoe, doesn’t mean you should go out and do long runs in a firm 4mm shoe. Aside from midsole width, the PureConnect and PureDrift (with insole) is a perfect example of this. Aside from feeling unstable, PureConnect feels very cushioned and has a much softer midsole feel. However, the PureDrift is a firm and responsive shoe with minimal cushion. So, if you are a Connect person, I would still work into the Drift. When I first started wearing/running in the Vibram FiveFingers back in 2007, I spent several months gradually increasing my time just wearing the shoe. Having working in running specility stores for many years, this was the most common cause of injury in new minimal runners that I saw. One last note…if you are going from a conventional 12mm cushion shoe to a 4mm cushion shoe, work into that slowly.

I was not a fan of the Connect and switched between the Vibram Bikila and the New Balance MR00. I just picked up the Drift on Thursday, and I am happy to say that this is the shoe I have been waiting for Brooks to make. 20 miles on the shoes (without insole for a zero drop) and love it.

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10 Mary Schaperow December 5, 2012 at 10:34 am

I have been reading your blog for some time now. I have never commented before. Today though, I just have to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey~ And what I most enjoy is your awesome, positive attitude that shines through every time that you post something. You never complain, you never say anything mean….you are always positive, positive, positive! And…..I thank you for that!

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11 Meghann December 5, 2012 at 10:39 am

Thank you, Mary. That was really sweet. I try to stay positive πŸ™‚

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12 Michelle December 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

Interesting that the PureDrifts are so different from the PureConnects. I LOOOOOOVE the PureConnects for short distances and strength training — like you said they huge your foot in the right places, without hurting them or being too tight. To be honest, it amazes me that I can wear them without issues with my bunion (ahhh, runner problems). Guess I will be steering clear of these and just sticking with the PureConnects!
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13 Jean December 5, 2012 at 11:41 am

Ahaha, “next best thing to naked?” Those shoes don’t look minimalist at all! Not that I have a problem with them, I just think it’s dumb when a company says “it’s like running barefoot!!!” when it’s not even close. I run in Merrell Pace Gloves, which are awesome and more minimalist than these, but still not even close to barefoot.
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14 Katie @ Balanced RD December 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

I just bought my first pair of Brooks a couple months ago! I bought the Ghost 5 shoes…I definitely need more support on my feet when I run because I have a higher arch. A couple of my friends work for Brooks in Seattle, and it seems like such a great company to work for!

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15 Annette @FitnessPerks December 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I have pretty wide feet, so it’s good to know!

I don’t do minimalist shoes right now–I enjoy the semi-minimalist ones πŸ™‚
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16 TorontoRunner December 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thanks for reviewing that! I’m in need of new shoes pretty soon. Those look sooo gorgeous too btw!
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17 [email protected] Healthy State of Mind December 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I adore my Vibram Five Fingers, but they smell so bad due to not wearing socks with them that my boyfriend makes me leave them in the basement πŸ™ I’m on the lookout for a minimalist shoe like the Five Fingers that I can wear socks with and avoid the Vibram Stench. Maybe I’ll give these a try without the shoeliner! πŸ™‚

And any other suggestions are welcome!
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18 Margaret December 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I’ve put my Vibrams in the washing machine, no problem. Also, I think they make toe socks that you can wear with them, but I’ve read you might have to size up to fit the socks in.

The minimalist shoes I run in are Vivo Barefoot – I don’t usually wear socks with them (I’ve also put these in the washing machine – definitely had some stink!), but you could wear normal socks, they’re non-toe shoes, shaped like normal shoes, but zero drop, and 3 – 8 mm thick, depending on whether you leave in the insole. They don’t feel quite the same – I definitely feel more “barefoot” in the Vibrams than Vivos, but still good near-barefoot feeling.
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19 Katie December 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Thanks for the review! I’m a big Brooks fan—I’ve been running in the Adrenaline’s for years now. But I started CrossFit a couple months ago and have been thinking about getting some minimalist shoes for class. I’ll definitely look into these.

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20 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer December 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I am interested in trying those. I love the idea of zero drop and the roomy toe box (I’ve had problems with bunions). Not to mention they are cute. Thanks for sharing!!
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21 Ashley December 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Just Curious. I am assuming that Derek works 9-5 which would have him up earlier in the morning. Why do you wake up so early for crossfit? Just a better class?
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22 RunInBoise December 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

These sound like a cross between Altras and Nike Frees, which I love almost as much as my PureCadences, all for various reasons. I would be interested in giving them a go.
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23 [email protected] December 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Those would def not work for me but they are pretty. πŸ™‚
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24 Brittany December 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Just brought the Cadence shoe in black and green. So excited to try them out!

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25 Jules December 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I use Nike Free 3.0 v3 and v4. Love them! Have used them on 2 of 2 marathons so far. Really like the look of these shoes though…wonder when they’ll be available in UK!
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26 Kevin December 21, 2012 at 7:54 am

Hi there, can you please tell me, compared to the Connects, how wide are the Puredrifts at the midfoot?
Thx!

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27 MealsAndMiles December 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I don’t have exact measurements but it’s quite a difference. I had to go down half a shoe size because of the difference.

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28 Wendy Nichols May 8, 2014 at 11:02 pm

These are my second pair of Brooks. I still use my Brooks Cascadia’s for trail running and such and these little babies Pure Drift are feeling good on my feet. I’ve got a bunion on my right foot so these feel nice and roomy for me. Size 9 no sizing issues for me. I like the light, barefoot kind of feel. ps) also love the second pair of laces, instead of white, bright pink πŸ™‚

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29 Jackie June 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Nice CrossFit shoes! Mine is a pair of Reebok shoes and it is so comfortable running, walking and working out with it!
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