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Running Shoe Check-In

by Meghann on March 17, 2014

I owe you guys some reviews and follow-ups!

Let’s start with the Brooks PureConnect.

I originally reviewed the PureConnect when they launched in 2012. Since they were a minimalist shoe (and I’d never worn a minimalist shoe before), it took a while to break them in. I slowly worked on building my mileage, opting to run in the PureConnect for shorter runs while still wearing my core running shoe (Brooks Glycerin) for long runs.

After jumping distances too quickly with my first pair of the PureConnect (I wore the PureConnect for the Women’s Running Half Marathon before I was ready), I started back at square one with the PureConnect 2.


I was a bigger fan of the PureConnect 2 than I was of the original PureConnect. The whole fit of the shoe just felt better. The PureConnect was always a narrow fit, but the new single upper and double nav band of the PureConnect 2 gave the shoe a snugger fit over the original. I also appreciated the additional arch support, lightness, and flexibility.

I think I went through 3 or 4 pairs of the PureConnect 2. They were my main running shoe during Ironman Florida training and they’re the shoe that eventually took me across the finish line. After properly training with them through the year, I didn’t have single issue – not even a blister!

Brooks Running released the PureConnect 3 last fall. I started running in them in December.

Brooks PureConnect3

Unfortunately, the fit of the PureConnect 3 is a little wider, which I think might explains why I had some problems with blisters during Best Damn Race last month. If I were to order another pair of the PureConnect, I would order the 2.

Brooks Transcend 

How could we forget the epic launch of the Brooks Transcend at the end of last year?

Brooks’ “shoe of the future” is the ultimate stability shoe with Super DNA (advanced cushioning material provides the ultimate smooth ride that smartly adapts to your every stride) and Guide Rails (specialized plates built into the midsole that revolutionize traditional stability by allowing your hips, knees and joints to move along their unique motion path while you run – all without any traditional posts).

Oh, and they’re pretty. :)

First of all, these shoes are amazing, but not for what you might think. I ran 3 miles in them as soon as I got them and wasn’t impressed on the running forefront. They were a little heavy for me and didn’t have that flexibility I crave in a running shoe. However, I’ve since worn them for various activities where I spent all day on my feet and fell in love. Heads-over-heals in love.

BrooksTranscend

These are officially my go-to theme park and expo shoes. They are so comfortable and supportive, that I can easily spend 7-8 hours on my feet and still feel great in them. I can’t recommend these enough for walking, spectating, or waiting in line for your favorite rides.

Brooks PureFlow 3

These babies just arrived two weeks ago.

20140316_085422

The PureFlow is just one step above PureConnect in Brook’s PureProject line. It’s a neutral minimalist shoe that’s very lightweight with mild support which allows for an engaged running experience.

20140316_085426

I’m still breaking in the PureFlow 3, but really the only negative I have at this point is there isn’t as much arch support as the PureConnect. So far it’s a great shoe. I had an awesome run on Sunday in the PureFlow 3 and look forward to many more.

So, there ya have it. :)

What shoe are you currently running in? 

I was sent all of the above shoes as part of the Brooks Ambassador program (minus a couple pairs of PureConnect 2 that I bought on my own). As always, all opinions are my own. 

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sara @ LovingOnTheRun March 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm

I haven’t worn Brooks in quite some time honestly. I would love to try them out, but my shoe budget is on hold right now. I am loving my Mizuno Wave Riders right now!

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2 Cheri @ Overactive Blogger March 17, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Have you thought about, instead of the Glycerin, flip-flopping between the Connect and the Ghost? The Glycerin (and now the Transcend) are so high cushion, that might be why it might feel like a huge transition between the Glycerin and the Connect. (I work for a Fleet Feet so I know more than I’d ever like to about pretty much every shoe that has ever been launched.) Seriously, feel free to hit me up with any questions you have :)
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3 Meghann March 18, 2014 at 6:10 am

I have a pair of Ghosts. However, when I got them I was so deep in Ironman training that I never really gave them a chance. I should dig them out of the closet and give them a try, I’m just so addicted to the PureProject line that it’s hard to try anything else.

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4 Cheri @ Overactive Blogger March 18, 2014 at 8:16 am

Totally understand. Yeah, I would try the ghosts on super long run days, connect maybe for shorter runs and see how that goes!
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5 Melissa @Tryingtoheal March 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I’m with Cheri on trying out the Ghost. Give those a shot instead of the Transcend. A little more cushioning than the Pure flows but less than the transcend! And much more flexible! Just be aware of the wider toe box than the pure flows….
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6 Zaneta March 17, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Thanks for posting this!! I fell in love hard with Brooks a couple years ago! I have the Ravenna, Pure Flows and Pure Cadence… LOVE them all, but it’s time to get a new pair!! (they all have WAY too many miles on them!)

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7 Jojo @ RunFastEatLots March 17, 2014 at 11:26 pm

I’m running in Mizuno Sayonaras. I haven’t tried Brooks before, but maybe I will someday. I tried the Pure Connects at the shoe store, and they felt a bit too squishy for me.
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8 Karen March 18, 2014 at 6:24 am

I just bought a pair of Mizuno Enigma 3s and am loving them!

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9 Runner Girl Eats March 18, 2014 at 6:30 am

I really enjoy your honest reviews instead of the basic “I love all Brooks”.
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10 Amanda Elizabeth March 18, 2014 at 7:19 am

Thanks for the review!!! I have never run in Brooks before I may need to check them out the next time I change up my running sneaks.
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11 Susie March 18, 2014 at 9:19 am

I’m fiercely loyal to Brooks–they fit my feet best, and since getting fitted into them years ago (after running in Nike Shox–customized, of course). I like a neutral to support shoe, and have gone through 6 pairs of Defyances and am now on my first pair of Ravennas. I wear custom orthotics, but I also have little to no natural arch stability, so I need something that has a little bit of stiffness (but not too much) and support (but not too much lol). It is such a fine, fine line for me–I am so prone to injury because of structural issues but also because my Crohn’s Disease and the meds I take for it prevent me from healing and recovering as well as most.
I thought about getting a pair of the Pure Flows to walk around in, but have never committed.
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12 Jen @ Pretty Little Grub March 18, 2014 at 9:30 am

I appreciate your honest reviews. I love my Mizuno Wave Inspire 8′s. I also have the 9′s but the 9′s give me blisters. I’m in the market for a new pair of shoes since my 8′s are ready to retire. Brooks has never really had my attention but I might check them out.
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13 Aly March 18, 2014 at 10:00 am

I really like the Brooks Launch and seem to be one of the only ones. they are super light and flexible. I did have some problems after I wore them during a 200 mile relay, but I think it was more of hills, under training, and the shoes were supposed to be retired issues. After that relay I went to Luke’s Locker and tried on 25 pairs of shoes and ultimately went back to the Launch in a half size up.

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14 Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} March 18, 2014 at 10:08 am

I have a few too many pair of shoes #problemsworkingatarunningstore. But my all time favorite running shoe is the Wave Riders. I have ran in the Pure Flows a few times and I wear my Ghosts all the time (all from Brooks) but I am just not a running in Brooks fan.
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15 Kristen @ Glitter and Dust March 18, 2014 at 10:09 am

I am currently running in the Brooks Glycerin and absolutely love them. Do you know how these particular shoes might compare to the Transcend or PureConnect3? My feet are a little wider (which I why I absolutely LOVE Brooks shoes) and I love a good cushion. I am very comfortable in my Glycerins, but wouldn’t mind having options. Always looks for a fun new pair of Brooks!

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16 Emily @ The Swallow Flies March 18, 2014 at 11:06 am

I’m still running in the Brooks PureCadence 2s — that I won from you! I absolutely LOVE them. I was nervous doing a longer run in them a couple of weeks ago (due to being more minimalist than what I used to run in), so I put on my trusted Asics. Interestingly, those caused me some arch issues, and I switched right back to my Brooks. LOVE them! Thanks again! :)
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17 Lesley March 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

I switched to Brooks after ASICS disappointed me with their GT 2000s, but now I’m using Newtons and Altras. My therapist thought a zero drop shoe would help with my ITBS, and I’m slowly easing into the Altras.
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18 Courtney March 18, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I’ve been running in Brooks Adrenaline since 2009 and I adore them. I’ve been tempted by the PureConnects and Transcend, but I’m not sure why I’m trying to fix something that isn’t broken :) I also have a pair of Brooks Cascadia for trails which I like as well. I’m definitely a Brooks junkie.. I just wish their clothing was a bit cheaper!
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19 Chatelaine March 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I just moved in to the Brooks Adrenaline 14. I had a surplus of the 12 and then jumped the 13 right in to the 14. They’re something different about them that I can’t quite put my finger on. When these run out I’m headed back to the Road Runner to have them help me pick out a new shoe for my stride. I seem to have more aches and pains in the 14s.

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20 Melissa @Tryingtoheal March 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm

I’m with you on the Transcend. I got them from work and am not a fan. Granted I have a very narrow foot, so tightening those things up meant I hand bends in the upper fabric, causing friction and giving me more blisters and foot bruises and I can count. The support from the guide lines is certainly different and I have had several customers who love that feeling. The stiffness of the shoe is crazy and I think this shoe is really best for someone who is doing a serioussss amount of miles and is on the heavier side. I truthfully don’t think it’s meant for people like us, but hey, I’ve sold them to people of our size who love them. To each is own I guess! But I also have the pureflow 2s and like them, but don’t use them for running, only cross training…I’m a mizuno girl all the way. Brooks are just too soft for me…something in their cushioning always ends up injuring my calves! Boo!
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21 Karen March 20, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Melissa, what kind of injury did you end up with from the Brooks? I bought a pair of Glycerins last year and at first they felt great. After about 6 weeks though (I don’t run far, often or fast!) I kept getting an increasing tightness in my calves. Didn’t think it was the shoes and ended up going to physio but now I’m wondering… I recently bought a pair of Mizunos and LOVE them!

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22 Melissa @Tryingtoheal March 20, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Karen, I ended up with micro-tears on both my major calf muscles and it was very painful. I ended up having to take weeks off from running and switched back to my mizunos. I believe the material in the mizunos is much stiffer but lighter, while the brooks can be thicker and softer, and apparently my calves can’t handle that. You’d think they would like it being soft! But no…so I’ve stuck to mizunos for running for almost ten years :)
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23 Karen March 21, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Thanks Melissa! Sounds similar to the problems I was having although mine were perhaps not as extreme. It only hurt when I ran so my physio told me to take six weeks off with no running and to stretch and strengthen my calves. Even with slacking off on the stretching, I haven’t had any problems so far with the Mizunos.
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24 EB @ Running on E March 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I would like to try the Brooks Pure Connect. It sounds like the kind of line I am looking for. I am currently running in Asics, but want to move to something more minimal.
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25 Ashley March 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm

I’m in Kharu’s but looking to make a switch!

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26 Sheila March 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

I tried the Brooks Pure Connect but they gave me issues with my achilles. So I’m still wearing my tried and true New Balance minimus shoes.

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27 Rebecca Jo March 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I just got some Brooks Ravenna’s … its my first pair of Brooks…. I feel so excited about that :)
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28 Morgan March 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Great POST!!! I sell shoes for a living and I LOVE BROOKS!!! I started in the PureCadence and loved them, and then went to the PureFlows…however word of CAUTION… I TORE MY CALF MUSCLE RUNNING IN THEM… because there is less arch support than the Connect and Cadence its a tough shoe to run in… so now I’m out of running for 4-6 weeks!
The TRANSCENDS ARE AWESOME THOUGH!!!!!

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29 Sara@RunningInPinkProject March 18, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Bought some Brooks shorts at an expo this weekend. Still haven’t given any of their shoes a go yet. I am much heavier than an average runner so I need serious cushioning. I feel like minimalist shoes are everywhere I look so I get discouraged. :)
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30 Rachel March 18, 2014 at 9:32 pm

I’ve been in Asics gel cumulus since I started running. I recently bought 2 pair of the same model/same model year at the same time. One rubs against the plate (surgery 13 yrs ago) in my ankle and creates a lot of pain, the other doesn’t bother me at all. It’s supposed to be the SAME shoe! I’m considering going to my local running store to see if asics cumulus is still the right shoe for me. For the 13 years that I have been running, maybe it’s time to try something else???

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31 Ellen March 19, 2014 at 9:33 am

I love the Brooks Pure line! It was my first set of minimalist shoes and I will never be able to leave them. I run in the PureFlow’s as well. My Flow 2′s were a size too small and were still more comfortable than my previous shoes! I now run in the (proper sized) 3′s. I can’t imagine running without them. Or how I ever ran in a bulky heel!
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32 Ellen March 19, 2014 at 9:36 am

I love the Brook’s Pure line. I have run in the Pure Flow’s for the past two cycles of shoes. I had the size too small 2′s and they were still more comfortable than my previous shoes. I now run in the (sized right) 3′s. They are the most amazing shoe ever! I never had a minimalist shoe before these and can’t imagine how I ever ran in a bulky heel before!
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33 Stacey March 19, 2014 at 9:53 am

Ever since I (finally) got fitted at a running store, I’ve been in love with my Newton Gravity shoes. It took some getting used to the lower drop, but I feel like my form is better and I’ve had no IT band/hip pain :)
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34 Erin March 19, 2014 at 10:02 am

I just retired my Brooks Glycerin which I loved but noticed I had some plantar fasciitis issues with early on. My local running store fit me for a pair of Asics Cumulus which to me feel very similar to my Glycerins without the plantar pain. I tried the new model of the Glycerins on at the store and they just weren’t right. I am loving my Asics right now!

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35 Dan March 19, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I am starting to run barefoot in the park little by little..gotta say – it feels great!

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36 Lindsay March 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm

I started last year with a pair of the PureFlows original design. I loved them so much I bought the PureFlow 2′s and just finished a half marathon. The one thing I noticed with both the original and the 2′s is that I get a blister on the inside of my right foot. Same spot in both shoes so I think my foot is just oddly shaped:)
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37 Jesica @rUnladylike March 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I am currently rotating between the Brooks Pure Cadence 3s and the Brooks Transcend. The Pure Cadence are my core shoes, and I do all my racing and weekday runs in the. I like to run in the Transcend when I’m feeling sore and/or needing some recovery. I have also been doing some speed sessions in the Altra Intuitions, which I also like. Glad you are liking the new Flows.
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38 LauraMae March 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm

I’m running in Pureflow 2′s! I love Brook’s shoes! Great review!
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