Comments: I have 115 miles on my Pure Connects now, so I think I can give them a thorough review.
The fit is narrow and snug, certainly not for a wide or high-volume foot. The heel cup is tight and provides excellent retention. There's ample room for the big toe, with a slightly pointed toe-box. This is only a "minimal" shoe in certain senses. It's light, and has a low heel-to-toe drop, yes. But there's a mild heel counter, sculpted arch support, and snug fit. The result is a shoe that I'd gladly use for racing marathons, and is my go-to long-run shoe when my feet are feeling beat up. They run very well sock-less, and the elastic tongue retainer and close fit lets them be worn without laces. This makes them an excellent triathlon shoe - transitions are incredibly fast! Draining is excellent as well, as the open mesh breathes and vents as well as any shoe I've ever worn. The midsole is a Medium on the soft-to-firm scale. It's not racing-flat responsive, but feels quick and nimble. Cushion is lacking compared to a typical pavement-pounding trainer, but is totally sufficient for lighter runners with a smooth stride. (I'm 150lb, 6', and have a slight heel strike and efficient mechanics). The extra beef under the forefoot compared to a racing flat helps me feel fresher longer, and would accommodate a pure midfoot striker very well. There's just enough rubber in just the right spots. What appears to be green EVA+ is just that in some places, but is actually foamy green rubber in others. The black is all very grippy rubber, which is showing only moderate wear after 115 miles (plus some around-town wear).
I run off-road a lot, and this shoe is awful at it, even compared to normal road shoes. The mesh upper seems to be a one-way sieeve for dirt and debris, allowing it in freely, but not back out. The smooth sole is awful on slick mud or wet grass. The protection and cushion are wonderful on trails, but the upper and outsole aren't up to the task. If the trail is gravel or firm-packed girt it's fine, but beware sand, grit, and mud. The best use is what the description page says - "lightweight everyday trainer". It's got the support and cushion to not beat you up, but provides a little more feedback and stride reinforcement than a typical beef shoe. It also races very well, especially triathlons where it's nearly perfect, better than most tri-specific shoes in my opinion. It is not a true minimal shoe, and will disappoint people looking for a Hattori or Road Glove competitor.
From: Phil, Montrose, PA
Comments: I've always had issues with shin splints, so running has never been my first choice when it comes to exercise. I read a few reviews on these shoes and decided to take the chance. I absolutely LOVE these shoes- I'm not any kind of long distance runner, but they have been great this last week on runs under up to 5k. As soon as I took the first few strides they felt awesome!!
From: Mike, Coupeville, Washington, USA
Comments: Utilized this shoe during my recent 2012 Chicago Marathon 20-week Training Program. Actually, just cracked open my 2nd pair of Pure Connects (1st pair lasted about 250 miles). Bought 1/2 size larger than I wear. Very snug and comfortable trainer. Used for track work and road speed work. Did not use for runs longer than 9 miles (due to lack of cushioning). I must like them, since I am on pair #2. A great marathon trainer (but, not a long mileage shoe).
From: John, Florida
Comments: I actually did NOT like these shoes. I wear a 9.5D, and I bought these shoes about a month ago at City Sports. They were quite snug in the toe area. When I wore them, they felt like I was balanced on balls, and I always felt unstable. Anyways, I went on a long run, and my foot expanded a bit, compressing my toe. I was able to exchange them for another Brooks running shoe - the PureFlow which is slightly less minimalistic. This shoe has more room in the toe box and I don't feel like I'm balanced on balls. Finally, I went up to a 10D. Pretty good light weight shoe.
From: Hari, Cambridge, MA, USA
Comments: These shoes are great for me. I am working on changing my gait, and the low toe-to-heel drop is very helpful.
From: Michael, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Comments: I run 4-5 days per week and have now logged hundreds of miles with these shoes and I will say I NEVER plan to return to the overly padded shoe of the 90's into the 2k's! These shoes have enough protection to avoid road debris, yet are flexible and breathable enough to leave you with a "barely there" feel. I'm really looking forward to the Pure Connect 2 coming soon, though, If they make too many changes, I'll buy up 2-3 of these when the prices drop
for the new model!
From: Rudy, Reno, Nevada, USA
Comments: This is the BEST shoe EVER!!!...for me. I've done plenty of long runs, as well as a 20 mile race. The soft forefoot allows me to run as hard near the end of a run as I did at the start.(usually the areas around the balls of my feet are so sore that I am running gingerly to avoid the pain = a whole lot more stress on my quads) Yes, my feet had to adjust to the high arch, but it really works perfectly for me. Come to think of it, probably a big part of why I have less forefoot pain; lets my mid-foot carry some weight. The wear doesn't seem be be as bad as most other shoes I've worn(about 6 weeks, max), but since I'm alternating between two different pairs, I'll have to see; but I'll wear then regardless. Love 'em!!
From: Jeff, Reston, Va
Comments: I have very narrow feet, so these shoes fit my feet well. However, I cannot run in them, at least not on roads. Far too much cushion, and the very odd shaping of the forefoot-heel offset (close to the ground at the top of the forefoot, then a huge bump starting at the middle of the forefoot extending to the middle of the arch, then close to the ground and tapering off toward the heel) make this shoe impossible to control. I never have a clue how I am landing, and the result for me is sloppy foot striking, sloppy form and unnecessary stress on the calves. They are usable on trails, however.
From: Steve, Reading, PA
Comments: Okay, these are perfect for me. Very nice ride, i.e. the arch allows me to feather with my forefoot and mid-foot together and only gently bounce my heel. There is no extra 3 square inches of rubber on the heel that I don't use, so I have time to let me calves expand. Very nice feeling cushioning in the forefoot; feels like I could run all day!! Yes, the high arch hurt my feet the first time I ran in them, but after that my feet seem to have adjusted. However, I haven't gone very long in them, so I'll do 14 and then 20 miles in them over the next two weeks. But for now I say, Finally!!! a shoe designed for ex-sprinters!
From: Jeff, Reston, Va, US
Comments: These are hands down my favorite running shoes up to this point. My everyday trainers up until now have been the Brooks Adrenalines, but these shoes just seem to fit better, and for some reason they do make me feel a bit lighter and faster. They are narrow, and seem to run small, so step up a half size from your current running shoe. I'm a mid to fore-foot striker and these shoes seem to be built for that (nice wide landing pad on the forefoot). I could definitely see how they would feel unstable for heel strikers, however, as the heel is very narrow.
From: Brett, Nashville, TN
Comments: Light and fast with that great Brooks fit, but the arch is too high (and I have a high arch). These shoes will punish you if you heel strike, all the cushioning is in the fore and midfoot. I ran Boston in these - the high arch was very painful in the late miles. I wouldn't go over ten or twelve miles again unless they lower the arch.
From: Carl, Oakland, CA
Comments: Have to say this is one of a few shoes that is shaped like my foot. Long big toe. I'm not sure who has feet shaped like the end of a shovel like most shoes, but that's not me. Love this as a daily trainer, although I'd prefer a 7-8 mm drop.
From: Chris, Boston, MA USA
Comments: I guess I'm in the minority on these. I thought they were horrible. My foot is rather narrow so the fit of these were fine, although I did have to get a full size larger than my normal shoe size. I gave these 4 runs of varying length (from 4 to 11 miles) and finally gave up on them. The sole being the same width as my foot combined with the height of the sole made these feel incredibly unstable. Throw in the cushion in the sole and it feels like you are running on unstable marshmallows. I really wanted to like these after having spent a year in Kinvara's, but as far as I'm concerned that shoe is 10x better.
From: Patrick, CA, USA
Comments: I have 90 miles on these bad boys now. I have to say that they totally rock. Used the RW Shoe fitter, I normally wear a 9 1/2 and it told me to order these in a 10 1/2...which I did. They fit like gloves, and are very snug to the foot. Not uncomfortable, just snug. Different. Takes just a smidge of getting used to, but I think I was sold after my very first run in them. Now -- I'm a complete convert. Yes, they are ugly as all get out. But once you get past that - and this may just be my brain playing tricks with me - but I feel lighter and faster wearing these. Also, my legs feel awesome.
From: Dave, Lagrange, NY, USA
Comments: Amazing shoes! Like an awakening, these shoes have re-instilled a sense of joy for running. Straight out of the box I have been able to put 50+ miles on them in a couple of weeks and my legs feel great, this is new for me. They do run a little short though, the next pair will be a half size up from my normal.
From: Hans, New London, CT USA
Comments: I thought my Kinvara 2 were the best running shoes around. Until I tried the Brooks Pure Connect. Light, fast, super-comfortable. Now, I just need new legs to keep up.
From: Stephane, NYC, NY USA
Comments: My feet are not real wide, but these shoes fit fantastic. I prefer to run without socks, and the liner in these shoes is the most comfortable I've found of late in any shoe I've tried. After 3 miles my first time out, I ran 12 in them and was very pleased with how good they felt the whole time. No blisters straight out of the box on a twelve mile run with no socks!! On the flip side, the traction on these isn't very good if you're planning to run trails or on a cross slope they didn't feel the most stable under foot. Last thing, I wear a 9, but needed a 9.5 in these shoes.
From: Charles, Houston, TX USA
Comments: Believe the hype. These shoes are amazing. After several runs in them, (4 mile tempo to a 14 miler) I am convinced these shoes make you run fast. I have been running over 20 years and no shoe has come close to what Brooks has created here.
From: Kevin, Roseville California USA
Comments: For those with a narrow, contoured foot, with a high arch, look no further. Fit like a glove with a well-cushioned, responsive midsole. Did 8 miles this morning straight out of the box with no issues. The Pure Connect remind me of the last great Brooks shoe, the Burn 3, without the large heel-forefoot offset. The Connect has an archpod, on the lateral side of the midsole, like the Burn did. That feature is ideal for supinators and helps with toe-off.
From: Anonymous, USA