Brooks PureConnect 2 First Impression:
I thoroughly enjoyed the first version of the PureConnect and gave it one the few perfect ratings for a shoe last year.
With the popularity of this shoe I expected the update to be purely cosmetic with some new color ways and nothing more.
I was initially disappointed when I first slipped on the PureConnect 2. Asymmetrical lacing and a slightly more narrow toe box left me with cramped toes at the start of runs.
However this impression did not last, and the more I wore the PureConnect 2 the more I found myself using them for faster paced workouts. At 7.1 oz with a 5mm drop, the PureConnect 2 packs a great deal of cushioning and protection into a package that feels like a racing shoe.
Brooks PureConnect 2 Sole Unit:
Brooks uses their BioMoGo midsole foam and DNA gel to create a very well cushioned ride in such a lightweight package. The cushioning of this shoe has held up very well and with over 200 miles on my pair I feel like the fit and ride has only gotten sweeter.
The outsole of the PureConnect 2 seems to have a series of interconnected pods on the medial side of the foot, and while this is a shoe that encourages forefoot/ mid foot striking, there is plenty of forgiveness for heel strikers. A 5mm heel drop coupled with a great deal of flexibility and Toeflex give the PureConnect 2 a barefoot feel.
I was initially skeptical about the Toeflex, which is an approximately one inch split in the midsole/ outsole which separates the big toe and allows it to function more independently. I noticed the Toeflex while running at faster speeds and it seemed to allow me greater power during toe-off.
The PureConnect 2 has a very unique feel to it, as does the entire Brooks Pure series of running shoes. This is characterized by a very contoured fit and noticeable arch in the shoe. In fact, this feel is really unlike any other running shoe I’ve ever worn, and I find that runners either love the fit and feel or feel it is too conforming to the feet.
For runners who loved the original PureConnect they will be pleased that nothing really changed in the sole of the shoe.
Brooks PureConnect 2 Upper:
The upper of the PureConnect 2 is where most of the changes have taken place. The aforementioned asymmetrical lacing seemed an unnecessary change, but I’ve come to enjoy that it reduces any rubbing on the top of my foot while still having a very locked down fit.
Through the mid foot Brooks redesigned the Nav Band feature on this shoe and it proves ultimately effective in giving the shoe a very tapered fit through the arch. I think that the closest comparison is likely a track spike or cross country flat, and I haven’t experienced any hot spots or rubbing.
Breathable mesh is featured throughout the upper and the there isn’t a wasted overlay or stitch really anywhere on the upper. The feel is very form fitting, and I did feel a bit constricted in my first three or four runs. I must have gotten used to the fit or the upper loosened up a bit because I haven’t had any issues since.
Brooks PureConnect 2 Opinion:
Some runners have described the PureConnect 2 as a narrow fit, and while I do not find the fit limiting it does take some getting used to. I have a tendency to favor shoes that have a snug fit in the mid foot and a wider toe box. I wouldn’t call the toe box of the PureConnect 2 wide per se, but it certainly hasn’t felt constraining either.
The greatest qualm for any runner looking to run in the PureConnect 2 is whether they like the very contoured underfoot feel. This is the type of shoe you definitely want to try on in your local specialty store.
Runners that do like the underfoot feel will be treated to some of the most resilient lightweight cushioning on the market today. I really feel like the PureConnect 2 lets my foot do the work while providing just enough protection to wear for a long run.
Sometimes when I wear these shoes on easy days I’ll find my cadence quicken and look at my watch finding my pace has quickened as these shoes beg for a fast pace. For those runners looking for a marathon racing shoe but might be worried about the lack of protection from a racing flat, the PureConnect 2 may be the racing shoe for you.
We thank the nice people at Brooks for sending us a pair of PureConnect 2 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.