The Brooks Pure Connect is the brand's first major attempt at a minimalist-style shoe, although the manufacturer prefers to call it a "natural running shoe." The Pure Connect weighs less than 8 ounces and sits 25 mm from the ground, which is substantially higher than most true minimalist shoes but 10 mm lower than more traditional running shoes. Its rounded heel is pushed forward to encourage a midfoot strike, as do pods along the underside of the shoe, and a navband across the arch locks the foot into place.
Reviewers at Runner's World and Running Times give these shoes stellar feedback, and those looking for a shoe with which they can transition to a more minimalist-style strike say the Pure Connect does the job while also providing cushioning and protection. However, users universally express concern about the shoe's narrowness. Others complain that the navband makes the shoe too tight and causes rubbing and blistering. Some reviewers at Zappos.com also question the durability of the shoe. The Pure Connect is a great first attempt at a natural running shoe, but there is room for improvement.
The Brooks Pure Connect was released in September 2011, but there are fewer reviews than for other comparable models. Running Times and Runner's World magazines both include the shoe in their 2011 Winter Running Shoe Guides, with Runner's World naming it Best Debut. While reviews at both publications are positive, the Pure Connect doesn't fare as well with self-proclaimed minimalist running enthusiasts at Run Blogger and Average Guy Hits the Road, who provide detailed evaluations. Few user reviews exist, though Zappos.com does feature a handful.
1. Runner's World
The Brooks Pure Connect won the Runner's World Best Debut recognition in the December 2011 issue. The shoe is classified as minimalist by editors, who say there is "not a lot of shoe," and it is recommended for efficient runners. Wear testers praise the light race-weight of the shoe, but they appreciate the additional cushioning, which makes the shoe well tested for long runs.
Review: Winter 2011 Running Shoe Guide, Sean Downey & Warren Greene & Martyn Shorten Ph.D., Dec. 2011
2. Running Times
Running Times tests 13 shoe models in their Winter 2011-2012 running shoe guide. Each is wear-tested and sent to two separate facilities for mechanics/performance testing and fit profiling. The Brooks Pure Connect receives the most positive review (though shoes are not ranked), with editors saying the shoe "was unanimously adored." Editors note that wear testers liked the fit, cushioning, weight and performance of the shoe.
Review: Winter 2011- 2012 Running Shoe Guide , Editors of Running Times, Dec. 2011
Wired writer Billy Brown tests the Books Pure Connect and provides a positive review. Brown says he usually limits runs with minimalist shoes to 5 miles, but given the extra cushioning of this shoe, he can log longer runs. He calls it an excellent choice for those looking for a minimalist-style shoe with enough cushioning for longer runs. Brown does note that the shoe is narrow along the mid-foot.
Review: Goody Two-Shoes: Brooks Pure Connect Review, Billy Brown , Dec. 1, 2011
4. Average Guy Hits the Road
Average Guy Hits the Road is a popular blog by minimal running enthusiast Zachary Branigan, who provides detailed reviews of several of the top rated minimalist running shoes. Here, the Brooks Pure Connect receives a less-than-stellar review. Branigan liked the shoe at first, but after several weeks of running in it, he says the strap along the top of the foot (the navband) is too tight, the shoe is too narrow and the rounded heel makes the shoe feel unstable while turning.
Review: Brooks Pure Connect Wear Tested Review: Sorry, Brooks, It's Not Me, It's You, Zachary Branigan, December 29, 2011
More than 30 customers provide feedback on the Brooks Pure Connect, The reviews are brief, but most are generally positive. Users do note that the shoes are narrow and express concerns about durability.
Review: Brooks Pure Connect, Contributors to Zappos.com, As of Aug. 2012
Another popular minimalist running shoe blog, this site features several detailed reviews of new minimalist and reduced running shoes. Pete Larson says he can't wear the Brooks Pure Connect due to its narrow mid-sole.
Review: Brooks Pure Connect: Too Narrow for My Feet, Pete Larson, Oct. 23, 2011