A minimal shoe with just a touch of cushioning from the hard ground below, the Brooks PureDrift is a dream for those looking for a near-barefoot running feel.
Promising a lightweight design, low stack height, and flexible ride with either a 4mm or zero drop platform, the PureDrift has attracted the attention of many runners, especially those seeking a near-barefoot feel.
So how does the PureDrift perform? Ground feel is excellent in this shoe, yet thanks to its slight (albeit firm) cushioning, it lacks the bare-bones pounding sensation of many of its quasi-barefoot competitors. This isn’t the smoothest landing shoe out there, but runners can rest assured that there is some protection from the impact of footstrike.
One notable feature of the PureDrift is its removable insole – the shoe’s 4mm offset is reduced to zero drop when the insole is removed. Testers didn’t notice the difference in offset either way – the insert seems to compress down in the heel considerably under body weight, and both options encourage a mid-to-forefoot landing. We did, however, find the cushioning to be significantly firmer without the insole.
The upper, designed around a wider last to allow for toe splay, nicely accommodates a higher volume foot. Some testers looking for a snugger fit found the upper to fold over itself in several places, resulting in a crease over the top of the foot. When wearing a sock, the creasing isn’t noticeable. It’s just one small quirk of an otherwise excellent minimal shoe option.
“I couldn’t tighten up the laces without the upper bunching up; there was a bit too much material there for a snugger fit.”
“This shoe has a very flexible forefoot. I might even go as far as to compare it to the Nike Free Run.”
“The PureDrift is a firm shoe, but its definitely not as firm as some of the practically barefoot shoes that have come through the office. Its touch of protection can make the difference as the miles add up.”