A trail shoe designed with all the minimalist features in mind.
The back of the shoe (around the ankles) to be slightly taller to prevent rocks, etc from trying to hop in as you are running on the trail.
Even though it is a "trail shoe", this is a very versatile minimalist shoe that works for many different running services.
The Pure Project is the Brooks answer to the more natural running shoe trend that every company seems to be taking a stab at lately. We've tried several versions of minimal kicks, some good, some bad, but we are definitely all for a better, more natural shoe design. Our testing of these minimal designs has shown that sometimes less is more, and sometimes less is...well...less.
The Pure Grit
The PureProject incorporates 5 basic elements across the entire line. The main idea is what Brooks calls IDEAL alignment, they looked at aligning the runner so that ligaments, tendons, muscles, and joints are more naturally aligned, especially at impact during the foot strike.
Basically a curved heel designed to move things forward and promote a more mid to forefoot style of running as well as giving the runner a better center of gravity. The heal on the Pure Grit isn't quite as rounded (as you can see in the picture below) as the others in the Pure line due to the thicker sole that is necessary on a trail shoe.
A clever split between the big toe and the rest of the toes. This feature is intended to give the runner a better feel for the road and a better push off during that phase of the run stride. This split is also designed to allow the big toe to move independently of the the other toes.
And a view from above.
We do understand the reasoning behind the camel toe... or split toe design, however we did not ever "feel" it while running. The sole of the Pure Grit is somewhat stiff even when trying to bend with your hands, so it's hard to think that the sole would flex enough to feel the split. We did have one concern as the split looked like the perfect "rock collector", but after many, many miles on dirt, rocky trails, and asphalt we can tell you that we didn't ever experience any rocks or other foreign objects in the split toe.
A fancy sounding name for the midsole technology. Brooks has gone "green" with their midsole, it takes less energy to produce and creates less waste. This midsole also incorporates less layers to give a better feel for the road and a responsive ride. Also, a very low 4mm offset in keeping with the more natural feel and to better promote a midfoot strike.
The Pure Grit definitely has a more springy, responsive feel to it than most other minimalist shoes we have tried. However, we came to appreciate this on rugged terrain trails and even dirt roads. It is enough that you notice, but not too much for an all purpose trail shoe.
The Nav Band is a stretchy elastic band designed to help lock the foot in place. We liked this feature, it does a good job of keeping the foot securely in place and it didn't provide any comfort issues. We also found a dual purpose for the Nav Band as it offers the perfect place to "tuck" your laces after they are tied to eliminate the chance of stickers, weeds, and other junk from the trail latching on to them.
The PureProject line has an anatomical last (or form) so that the shoe fits the foot better and follows it's natural shape. The shape is not only more natural but also eliminates a lot of the bulk of a normal shoe design.
The Pure Grit follows the Pure line and features a 4mm offset going from 15mm in the heel and dropping to 11mm in the forefoot.
The Pure Grit comes in at 8.9 oz and features a one-piece concave sole that allows the shoe to spread out and give more support when pressure is applied. The traction provided from the Pure Grit seemed to be of the perfect amount. It was there when we needed it, but went unnoticed on flat, smooth dirt roads.
After many miles of testing, we have really enjoyed the PureGrit as more of a multi-purpose shoe, rather than a specific trail only shoe. The minimalistic approach of the Pure line allows the PureGrit to be worn comfortably on pavement as well. Some of us have a good 2-3 mile stretch before we ever hit dirt or trails, so the dilemma has always been, trail or road shoe? With the PureGrit, we found those miles on pavement to be just as comfortable as wearing our favorite road shoes. They also work great for those wet or nasty days out on the roads.
Our sample in this shoe was a half size larger than our normal size and the fit was just right.
The PureConnect is priced toward the lower end of the running shoe price range.
TriBomb Bottom Line
The Pure Grit is a great addition to your running collection. It's definitely not an everyday shoe (that is, unless you hit the trails for every run), but it's a great alternative to your road shoes when hitting the dirt, rocks, mud, etc.