Gear Review – Brooks Pure Flow

When you start running, you learn that if you’re going to spend money on anything, it should be a good pair of running shoes.

Scratch that, the right pair of running shoes.

What works for your favorite running buddy may not work for you, and may end up being hideously uncomfortable and hurt before you even take a step. Then you may think “But Ravennas and Kinvera’s and Mizunos work for everyone. WTF is wrong with you feet?”

Well fear not – because regardless if you don’t know anyone else running in your favorite shoes, all that matters is that they work for you.

I’m a Nike Free Run girl through and through. I’ve just worn through my 3rd pair, and I have a 4th pair of gloriously lime green Free Run 3’s awaiting me in their box in our room.


I’ve run 3 half-marathons, trained for a full and then run that full marathon in my Frees and have had zero pain, discomfort, or any issues whatsoever. I’m normally of the mindset “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but I have big (coughBostoncough) goals this year and I want to make sure I’m doing everything in my power to help myself along.

If it were up to me I would simply order every beautiful neon color of the Frees and call it a day. But I wanted to make sure there wasn’t something I was missing. Primarily because my feet are missing this one little key component: arches.

Enter Fleet Feet.

I knew I had to turn to the experts. I noticed the Brooks Pure Project shoes online and felt like I needed to consult with my local experts. The shoes seemed similar to the Nike Frees (minimalist in feel, extremely light weight, not bulky) and I was curious.

Amy at Fleet Feet explained to me (after she and her colleague got over their initial shock that I ran a marathon in the Frees pain-free) that while the Frees were awesome shoes, my entire body was working hard with every stride I took. I asked her if there was a shoe that was similar to the Free but would allow me to use the extra energy I was exerting running/stabilizing myself in the Frees to run faster, stronger and harder.

Hello Brooks Pure Project.

Fleet Feet had all 3 of the Brooks Pure Project shoes (trail shoes excluded) and ordered the ones they didn’t have in my size. That is what I call customer service my friends.

Fleet Feet explained to me that the Brooks Pure Project includes shoes that have features like:

  • Toe Flex: The split toe frees the big toe to function independently, engaging your natural balance for a more powerful push-off.
  • Anatomical Shape: Designed from the most anatomical form gives each shoe the best possible fit and feel.
  • Nav Band: The elastic band wraps over the instep to provide true assurance and a glove-like fit (really great for my flat as a board feet)
  • Mid-Sole: In just a slim 4 mm offset, the PureProject midsole packs our earth-loving BioMoGo technology blended with the responsive ride of Brooks® DNA, not to mention gender-friendly cushioning for custom comfort.
  • Ideal Heel: Our signature slimmed-down heel encourages contact points to shift forward, aligning your center of gravity for optimal spring with every step.

There are 4 shoes – 3 road running (Connect, Flow, Cadence) and a trail shoe (Grit).

Initially I was 100% drawn to the Connects. They’re the lightest weight, sleekest (not a word, not really concerned), and racing-esque shoes of the bunch. They fit like a slipper and I loved them.

Amy had me run down the block. I came back beaming. She shook her head in disapproval. No go.

Next came the Flows. They felt light, springy, fit like a glove and I remarked I felt like I was “walking on a cloud”. Down the block I went. I came back smiling. Amy was smiling. The Flow took the lead.

Last came the Cadence. Amy laced me up. I grimaced. I hated the clunky boot-like feel when compared to the other two. Out the door I went, hesitating the entire time. I came back shaking my head, frowning. Amy was still smiling. I pretended not to notice.

She told me gait wise – the Flows and the Cadence looked great on my feet and as I ran. The Connects weren’t supportive enough. We then tried on a few pairs of Saucony’s (hated all of them, sorry Saucony lovers), and it became clear – the Flows were it.

She told me to run for a month on them, and if I hated them, Fleet Feet has a 30-day return policy, no questions asked. A running store after my own heart. After all, how do you know a running shoe until you’ve done a long run in them?

I’ve now done a 6-mile, 4-mile and 7-mile run in these babies and my legs are loving me. I literally feel like I’m running on a bubble. I took an hour-long extremely leg intensive Pilates class this morning and followed it up with a 7-mile run at an 8:20-8:40 pace. 

I’m not kidding when I tell you I was ready to go 3 more miles, but that little thing called life was happening and I needed to jump back into reality.

Nike fans fear not – I still fully intend to run in my Frees for shorter training runs and speed work… but for long runs and races… right now it’s looking like the Flows are it.

Thank you Fleet Feet for your amazing customer service, expertise, knowledge, and help in getting me fitted for the right shoes for my feet, my gait, my stride and to help me meet my marathon goals!

Keep you posted on my first double-digit run in the Flows!



7 thoughts on “Gear Review – Brooks Pure Flow

  1. Glad you found a good pair, that is the best feeling. I am a Nike Free girl too, and I tried the Cadence but ended up injuried. Hubby loves his Flows though, I might give them a try one of these days.

  2. Nice! It’s so funny just HOW different people’s feet/shoes/experiences are — I have the Cadence, and to me (queen of stability shoes) they were the lightest, sleekest shoes I’d ever tried. Ha!

  3. Oh could you give me an idea how the sizing is between nike free run and brooks pure flow? I’m trying to order a pair of Nike free and wondering if I should size up from my pure flow’s size.

  4. I swear this post could have been written by me in how closely our situations with Brooks and Nikes relate! Training for a half marathon earlier in the year I found my various Nike running shoes were not up to par and were seriously hurting my feet, ankles, knees, hips, everything! I thought about FreeRuns from Nike but held off not being sure they would hold up through my training. My boyfriend did some research online and surprised me with a pair of Brooks PureFlow. I was skeptical at first as I was switching from the massively supportive and air cushioned Nike Air Max shoes but I was so happy to have no issues with breaking in my Brooks PureFlows on my first run and 11 months later I am still very pleased with these shoes! They have been perfect! From short hill runs to 13.2 miles these shoes have held up for me perfectly! I also have relatively flat feet and these shoes offer great support for that. I just ordered my second pair! OUTSTANDING SHOE!

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