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).