Brooks PureFlow 5 General Info
The PureFlow line of shoes one of the most popular in the low-drop, lightweight neutral road shoe category has been revamped with an entirely new midsole material and outsole design.
The PureFlow 5 gets a new midsole material DNA LT. This midsole material is 10% lighter than the BioMoGo DNA midsole found in PureFlow 4, and is designed to retain the adaptive property of being softer at slower paces and a bit firmer at faster paces.
The midsole/outsole platform is heavily sculpted to produce a super flexible shoe, and a brand new upper uses no-sew overlays and 3D print to deliver a comfortable and supportive fit.
Unboxing the shoe for the first time and looking at the PureFlow 5 the new design of the upper is sharp, despite the boring colorway that I received. The Fit Print upper is simple yet very eye-catching.
Once on the shoe felt very natural and the upper supported my midfoot really well, much better than its predecessor.
After taking my first few steps in the shoe it had a smooth roll, but quickly I noticed that my toes felt restricted which led to some concern.
Brooks PureFlow 5 Sole Unit
As I lead into this review you can see that Brooks has introduced a new material for the PureFlow 5 DNA LT. By design this is to be 10% lighter than the BioMoGo foam in the previous four models.
Looking back it seems that the 4 weighed in at around 8.4 oz. and the 5 is at 9.2. My numbers may be off, after all I am human, but this difference might lead someone to believe that this may not be the case.
It is possible that the extra weight is coming from somewhere else, but for me this brought the 10% lighter claim into question.
Moving on, Brooks describes the midsole as one that provides “adaptive cushioning to respond to your pace.” This means as your pace picks up the shoe gets firmer as you slow the shoe will soften.
While this may have held true in the PureFlow 4 it may not be the same for the 5. No matter the pace, fast, slow, walking, or running the PureFlow 5 felt more firm than soft.
While I tend to favor a slightly firmer shoe I didn’t mind it, but it is definitely does not have the same bounce and responsiveness that was found in the 4.
The Flow 5 No longer features the pod system which had been in place since the first generation, the outsole looks more like that of a traditional training shoe with deeper-cut Omega Flex Grooves.
PureFlow followers may also take note that the big toe is also no longer separated from the other toes. The fit and feel of this new sole feels more traditional that the previous versions.
While the 5 is nice and flexible with a smooth roll underfoot it is definitely missing the natural rolling transition, bounce, and strong toe off that was distinct to previous versions.
The rounded heel was the only familiar aspect of the sole that seems to have carried over. The heel kept my foot well centered on the shoe naturally propelling me forward, and encouraging an efficient stride.
Brooks PureFlow 5 Upper Info
The new upper features 3D Fit Print, a one piece no-sew overlay that utilizes screen printing thus avoiding stitching or heat fusing overlays. This keeps the upper lightweight, breathable, while providing structure without all the bulk.
This seamless upper provides superb natural flexibility around the foot. PureFlow fans will notice that Brooks has done away with the Nav Band system in the fifth generation, but will be pleased to find the midfoot more secure in 5 that it was with the 4.
My main concern with this upper is that it may be to form fitting in the forefoot. I tend to favor a wider toe box in a shoe, and I found that the PureFlow 5 seems to taper off in front more than the 4.
This left my toes feeling cramped and restricted. While the length of the shoe was fine the width and depth were really lacking.
Brooks PureFlow 5 Conclusions
For me I feel the PureFlow 5 is a step in the wrong direction. It seems that Brooks is building the same lightweight trainer that everyone else is.
The thing that set Brooks apart from the other companies in this particular category was the Pure series and the PureFlow.
The PureFlow 5 is a still a light and fast shoe, but it lacks the unique roll, feel, and fit of the previous versions that long time wearers, like myself, have come to appreciate with the PureFlow.
We thank the nice people at Brooks for sending us a pair of PureFlow 5 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.