Review – Brooks PureFlow 2 Running Shoe

pureflow2I’ve been running more lately, and it’s because of these shoes. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been running more because I met for a consultation with a trainer at the gym we have at work, and in addition to strength training, she told me to get 35-45 minutes of cardio exercise in three times per week. Since I tend to agree with Denis Leary on the topic of indoor cardio machines such as stairmasters and treadmills and elipiticals (“Have we become gerbils, ladies and gentlemen?”) I decided its going to be hitting the pavement, or doing nothing at all.

To do this, I needed new shoes. I’d been running on the old pair for about eight months. I pronate on my right foot, and after eight months in a minimalist shoe, I found that I was starting to run on the inside wall of the shoe. My feet were starting to get sore again, and I generally wasn’t enjoying my runs.

So, time to get new shoes. And the winner was…

…the Brook PureFlow 2 Runner. Cause they were on sale.

I’ve been running on them for about a month. So how are they? Let’s start with fit and feel.

To begin with, the construction of the PureFlow 2 is different from the last shoe I was running in, a Brooks PureConnect 2. The arch on the Brooks PureConnect was pronounced. In comparison, the PureFlow feels like a flatter shoe. It’s possible that the arch in the PureConnect felt more pronounced than it was simply because the rest of the sole was thinner than the PureFlow. The PureConnect was a serious minimalist. With the PureFlow, the sole is thicker and a little more padded than the PureConnect, so it might be that the arch in the PureFlow simply feels flatter.

That said, the PureFlow is a softer shoe. It has more padding, more sole. Yet, it still loses enough sole from a traditional runner to be considered a “minimalist” shoe. After running in it for a month, I’d say yes, it can still consider itself a minimalist runner, but just barely. I’m not back to heel striking, but if there were any more padding or sole, I would be.

The fit is looser than the PureConnect 2. Maybe the fit on the PureConnect 3 has changed, but the PureConnect 2 was snug. Not uncomfortably so, but if your toenails were a smidge too long, you felt it in the PureConnect. The PureFlow is not as snug, and as such, I find it a more comfortable shoe. I don’t feel strapped into the shoe, but it’s not so loose that my foot is sliding all over the place when I run.

That’s the fit and feel of the shoe. Now, how do I feel after running in them?

I feel good. I was starting to have pain again in my right plantar, which every runner knows is not a place you want to get pain. In addition, my left foot, while not (I don’t think) a plantar issue, was starting to bother me as well. It’s an early morning soreness you get when you climb out of bed and your feet hit the floor for the first time that day and you think “Oh crap, I need to walk, how is that going to happen?” Serves me right I suppose for running in a shoe a good two months past it’s prime.

Now, my feet (either of them) aren’t sore when I finish a run, and they’re not sore the next day either when I wake up. I haven’t had to use my frozen-water-bottle-foot-massager in weeks.

What I have noticed, though, is that my left shin gets a little sore when I first start out. It usually works itself out by the end of the first mile or two, and I wouldn’t describe it as a stabbing debilitating pain, but it’s certainly not silent. It doesn’t usually bother me after the run is finished, and it doesn’t bother me when I get up the next morning, only really when I just start off on a new run.

But, the truth is, I don’t know if this is caused by the shoe. As part of the training program, I have to do some seated machine squats to strengthen up the muscle in the back of my legs. It’s entirely possible that the soreness I feel is a result of lingering tiredness of doing these squats the day before (my schedule is weights one day, running the next).

To sum it up, I like the shoe and feel comfortable running in it. I’d also add that it’s a pretty comfortable shoe to walk around in (I gave it a test in New York City a few weeks ago). The same could not be said of the PureConnect. While the PureConnect 2 was a great running shoe, it was a lousy walking shoe. The arches on the PureConnect prevented it from being a comfortable shoe for walking. That’s not a problem for the PureFlow.

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