The Brooks PureCadence 5 takes its place as the newest iteration of Brook’s performance daily trainer for people seeking a bit more support than most similarly low profile shoes offer.
This latest rendition weighs the same as the PureCadence 4 it replaces. The old PureCadence 4 was lighter than most of the competition though, which still puts the newer model ahead weight wise.
Straight out of the box I was mildly disappointed I got sent the “boring” of the colorways, a seemingly common theme among media samples, but they looked surprisingly sleek nonetheless with their printed overlays.
Fit initially seemed well sorted, with solid heel hold and a bit of wiggle room in the toes, which is how I prefer my shoes to be.
Moving them around however showed them to have a substantial seam at the bottom of the tongue which would press into my toes when my feet bent.
I’ve often had shoes with that same design were the tongue seem ended up being unnoticeable once you got running, so onto the review to find out how they did once the miles started flying by.
Brooks PureCadence 5 Sole Unit
These shoes have a distinctly firm ride, while that’s not my preference, it is nonetheless the classic way of making running shoes, so for those not into the newer, squishier foams, these shoes’ midsoles seem well sorted.
A couple strategically placed grooves in the forefoot allow them to flex with the foot. This all means, simply, that they feel very traditional, a stiff midsole with some flex is how 90% of running shoes over the past decade have been constructed.
As for the support, it’s noticeable but not super strong, which is ideal for the mild over-pronator Brooks designed them for. Moving down to the rubber is the same theme.
Brooks actually made the sole more traditional than the previous model’s, using flat pods around the shoe as opposed to the old models circular pods which allowed for more flex grooves.
Surprisingly absent in this support shoe is a thicker heel pod. Since the rubber in the heel is generally the first part of a shoe to get worn down by a mild-overpronator they tend to use a thicker or harder rubber pod back there to increase the lifespan.
As for the actual traction, it once again continues the overwhelming “meh” theme from these shoes design.
They used normal rubber, in all the normal places, without any extra sipping or higher traction pods which mean these are fine for roads but shouldn’t be used for much past that.
Even just a fast run on damp roads can overpower the shoes traction, leading to energy sucking slippage. That being said this type of rubber tends to last forever when pounding away daily training miles.
Brooks PureCadence 5 Upper Info
Out of the box these ticked all the right boxes, a breathable upper that locked even my bony heels down flowing into a roomy toe box through a seamless upper, with a padded tongue for added comfort.
Once I started moving some problems became apparent. At least for me, the very stiff heel cup led to some skin getting sanded off of my Achilles, even once while wearing a pair of tall compression socks.
The tongue’s padding also made it stiff, so not only would it occasionally flop to one side of my shoe, requiring re-adjustment, but it would also force the seam at the bottom of the tongue into the top of my toes, which while it didn’t cause any major problems in my first 50 miles on these shoes, definitely wasn’t ideal, or really acceptable for a $120 shoe from Brooks, one of the largest name in the American running industry.
Brooks PureCadence 5 Conclusions
These, to me, come off as a poor execution of a lightweight stability model. The sole unit was completely standard fare, while the upper was subpar.
In the lightweight stability category, which has taken off as of late, this just doesn’t stack up well against the competition.
In a market where Nike uses Flyknit uppers with supple Lunarlon soles, Saucony boasts crazy light uppers and soft midsoles, New Balance has fresh foam and Adidas has their boost soles, to name a few, Brooks needs to find some differentiating factor for the Pure series in the future editions.
We thank the nice people at Brooks for sending us a pair of PureCadence 5 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.