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Running Shoe Review: Brooks PureFlow 2

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There are rest day running shoes and recovery day running shoes. The rest day shoes are worn on the days you’re cutting back your mileage, running slower, and wearing heavier, protective shoes. Recovery day shoes allow you to cut loose, run long and fast. These shoes tend to be lighter ones.

The Brooks PureFlow 2 is a recovery shoe. When you’re ready to run, they’re as ready to go with you as a frisky new puppy. And they may be just as much fun.


I received a pair of these shoes from Brooks in the anthracite, green gecko, and black color scheme. The shoe gets noticed for its striking appearance and they generate comments. The shoe weighs 8.8 ounces but, once on, it feels more like 10 ounces due to the MoGo midsole’s cushion-y feeling. The PureFlow 2 has a minimalist 4mm heel drop, which can quickly turn heel strikers into mid-foot landing runners.

The feel is quite a bit like a shoe designed for triathlon runners, with a close fit in the rear and mid-foot but with a wide toe box. It takes a while to realize that the shoe has a split toe box. The lacing is asymmetric for comfort and the laces stay tied. (The owners of this shoe will learn that you do not need to untie the laces at the end of a run. The shoe airs out on its own.)

The PureFlow 2 arrives with 10 cushioning pads on its sole in a unique 7-1-2 pattern. That’s seven pads up front, one that protects the central foot area, and two pads in the heel area. It does not appear that the design of the split heel pads, which sit uniquely parallel to each other, will be sufficient to protect the heel, but it works. The pads provide for a smooth landing, although the low heel drop means that the role of the heel is minimized compared to runs in a traditional running shoe.

Although this is a neutral shoe, its low profile provides stability which is enhanced by a flared-out sole. During the first few blocks of jogging in the PureFlow 2, it feels like you’re running in a bedroom slipper; which just happens to be a very comfortable slipper. The shoe feels fast on sidewalks although the flat sole can make it a bit slippery on concrete. One person has noted that the shoe loses traction on wet asphalt and concrete.

A number of minimalist shoes make for very good trail runners and that’s the case with this shoe from Brooks. The PureFlow 2 provides a nice bounce on crushed gravel roads, where it proves to be pretty protective. There’s a touch of slippage, but nothing major.

You wouldn’t think to take a shoe this minimal onto a hard rock trail, so naturally I did. Surprisingly, it works just fine. The rocks underneath the sole can be felt but not in a bad way. The non-aggressive out sole lets you skip over rocks without fully engaging them. The pods are far enough apart that they do not pick up rocks.

The PureFlow 2 is highly competent on a hard-packed dirt trail. Your snugly covered feet stay securely placed in this shoe and the feet do not wobble. It’s straight ahead without any complications.

I began to see why one online reviewer called the Brooks PureGrit 2, a cousin of this shoe, the best trail running shoe he’s ever run in. Period.

Because this model delivers a very comfortable, smooth ride on asphalt, it would be a natural 5K to half marathon runner. The low profile, non-obtrusive insole allowed my toes to grab and attempt to grip the road with each step, something they instinctively attempt to do. And the split toe design permitted my big toes to move around freely, not scrunched up next to four smaller intruders. Neat!

If my experience is any indication at all, this is a shoe that will make most joggers add distance to their daily runs. It’s such an enjoyable shoe to run in that you may take the long way home, after adding on a few laps at the local school’s track.

Did I find any substantive weaknesses or issues with the PureFlow 2? No. This shoe promises to be many things for many runners and just happens to deliver on its promises.

In a day where running shoe prices are shooting up far past the $100 range, the Brooks PureFlow 2 is a long run shoe, trail running shoe, fast paced lap running shoe, and everyday trainer all for a reasonable price ($100).

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About Joseph Arellano

Joseph Arellano wrote music reviews in college for the campus newspaper and FM radio station. In recent years he has written book reviews for several publications including San Francisco Book Review, Sacramento Book Review, Portland Book Review and the Tulsa Book Review. He also maintains the Joseph's Reviews blog. For Blogcritics, Joseph writes articles about music, books, TV programs, running and walking shoes, and athletic gear. He believes that most problems can be solved through the purchase of a new pair of running shoes.
  • Lou Berger

    I am about to buy this shoe for my upcoming Cross-Country season and your review has made me confident that i picked the best shoe for the job! Not only that, but I can say that I am very excited to put these shoes on and start tearing up the trails. I hope that this shoe will help me add some extra miles to my weekly routine. Thanks a bunch!

  • Adam Heinrich

    I run exclusively on a treadmill and have had my best luck wearing Nike Free 3.0 shoes. Unfortunately, the v4 redesign (with its “floppy” heel cup) has the shoe blistering the outsides of my narrow heels. I went to the local running store and explained my issue. Rubber heel cups were inadequate, so they recommended the Brooks PureFlow 2 because the harder heel cup fit well. I just special ordered a black/anthracite/silver pair from them, as there’s no way I’m wearing (the in-stock) blaze orange shoes. Based on this review, it looks like I’ll be getting a decent shoe that should do what I’m looking for. Thanks. :-)

  • Mike Johnson

    I assume that Brooks works each and every day to ensure that all of thier footwear products meet the biomechanical needs of runners, enhance comfort, and aid in the prevention of running-related injury.

    http://www.footsolutions.ca/brands/brooks

  • Guest

    Hmm

  • Mike Johnson

    I am Going to buy this for sure ! Brooks products always come up with no questions ! http://www.footsolutions.ca/brands/brooks

  • Joshua Alexander

    Nice review!!! I couldn’t agree more, with one personal addition. I just ran 11 miles on Saturday in my new Verratas from Saucony, and they were painful, despite having substantial cushioning for their light weight. I definitely got the right size for my feet, and I purchased them as a light-weight replacement for my almost worn out Brooks PureFlow 1st gen shoes that I’ve had for about a year and a half. I wanted something lighter weight, and the local shoe shop was having a Saucony event, so I ordered a pair of Verratas without being able to try them on first (they had none in stock.) When they arrived, they seemed to fit ok, so I packed them up and took them home.

    First chance for a good long run was Saturday (surprisingly fantastic November weather for eastern Idaho!!). By mile four my feet were hurting, and the pain persisted until the end of my run. Because of the excellent service of my local shoe shop, they let you exchange new shoes within 30 days if they cause you trouble, so today I traded in my Verratas for these PureFlow 2’s and so far, with what little running I’ve been able to do on them, I am certain I will be as impressed with these as the original PureFlows.

    The one departure I would make from this review is that I run in more minimal stuff (NB Minimus and Vibram FFs) for my 10k or less runs, but use the PureFlow shoes for half marathons and above. This year I ran my very first marathon in my PureFlow 1st gens, and my half marathons and several 10k races have been run in the PureFlows since I bought them, and I get zero foot pain, and little to no other pains running longer distance in these shoes. They are so stable for a somewhat-minimal low drop shoe, and the cushion and spring are surprising. I intend to make these my new half and full marathon shoes for the next year or so, until they wear out.

    My first marathon ever was done in the 1st gen PureFlows and I literally and surprisingly had zero foot soreness at the finish line, despite being exhausted!! I’m by no means a shoe expert, and it might not be a marathon shoe for everybody, but I do think it’s capable of longer distances than just a half, and I’m a fairly heavy 213 pound guy who’s only been seriously running for about 2 years now.

  • onlyoneWOO

    Report from the UK. I have just purchased my Brooks Pureflow. I generally run in Asics, Saucony and Nike. I do have technical knowledge on footwear and I am a reasonable runner.

    I would certainly agree with the author and other members who have taken their time to comment thank you all be useful.

    My observations whilst I was running I was placed on the mid to forefoot of my running, I was surprised I hardly made contact with the heel on the ground.

    I noticed instantly my biomechanics where better whilst running, but I am not sure how far I could run in them. How tough are the training shoe, what the milage the shoe can take.

    I do wear insoles and that where they seemed to be at the their best. I would like to buy a few more pairs, but I am unsure on a some area’s I have mentioned above.

    For me I have established them are as a 10k level at best. But I would love to hear from someone who is more experienced than me with brooks.

    But for now I would certainly say for 10k’s they are the best shoe around at the moment just on the initial run. But that without any miles under them, that what I am keen to find out what they are like after that.

  • DookieTwinkle

    Just bought a pair of these from Finish Line and they feel great so far. Will test them out later tonight.

  • BJ

    What is your take on the fit to size? I wear 15 in most shoes as the 14 is too small However, most times, the 15 is a little loose. Brooks only goes to 14 in these and I really want them. I must get out of the medial post and to a lower drop. Thanks!

    • Alicia

      Hi BJ! Did you ever get an idea on the sizing of these or take the leap and give them a try? My fiancé is also a size 15 and has a horrible time finding shoes to fit! I just bought these (in women’s) and love them! I want to order him a pair for his birthday next month but am worried they will be too small as they only go up to size 14. I typically wear a 5.5 or 6 and I took as 6.5 in these so I don’t imagine they would work but I am hoping to get lucky! Please email me if you have any helpful advice aliciarouse17@yahoo.com
      Thank you!

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