I've posted a follow-up review of these shoes after 400+ miles in them that you can find here: http://readingrunningredsox.blogspot.com/2012/04/shoe-review-brooks-purecadence-400.html
i've been through a LOT of shoes over the years, especially this year. like most people who care about these things, my head is all mixed up about whether i should be looking for more technology, less technology, more shoe or less shoe. i made a decision a while back to forget about all that and simply go with what works. how great, in theory... but the opportunity to truly test out each and every shoe just plain isn't going to happen.
this year, i've run on neutral shoes, motion control shoes, stability shoes, barefoot and stability shoes. i realized, from all this, that i need at least some stability technology in my shoes. the comes into play for me on longer runs, when i get fatigued and have a tendency to lose a bit of my running form. i am an over-pronator with high arches.
Todd runs the Brooks Adrenaline and seems to like them, so i thought i'd give them a try. when i tried to order them, however, they were somehow out of my size at the price i was looking for, and so, out of frustration and a penchant to be swayed by good marketing, i bought the Brooks PureCadence instead.
let's be clear about what these shoes are. Brooks have not one time included the word "minimal" in any of the descriptions i have found on their website for these shoes. if you read people's comments about these shoes, however, you'll see the words "minimal" and "barefoot" come up a lot, and i'm pretty sure, for marketing reasons, Brooks is willing to ride that wave. these shoes ARE NOT minimal nor anything similar to "barefoot" (that should be pretty obvious). they ARE low-profile, low-heel-drop (4mm) and light-weight (9.5 oz) shoes suitable for short and long runs, that also have ample cushioning and stability control.
my assumption after purchasing these shoes was that i would use them for shorter runs and then get a pair of adrenalines to wear on my longer runs. so far, even with the vast sneaker collection i already have, i have not worn another shoe on any run i've done since i put these on my feet, nor can i imagine doing so. the combination of the low-profile/low-heel drop/light(ish)weight with the stability control features makes this shoe somewhat unique in the market. i don't know of another shoe that gives you what many would consider to be somewhat opposing features in one package. but the result is amazing. the low heel drop, which i thought would further tighten my calves, seems to ease them, allowing for much more ankle flex in my stride, a much more natural feeling. the light weight allows me to increase my cadence (purely) and keeps my legs fresher throughout the run. the lower profile gives me a much better feeling from toe to heel when i come in contact with the ground, a much more solid and confident strike.
i have a pretty narrow foot, and the fit of these is quite good. i could imagine the shoe being a bit too narrow for runners with wider feet, and i don't think they offer wider sizes yet. i like the inclusion of the "nav band" which does make the shoe fit my foot more nicely. all in all, the shoe feels REALLY good on my foot... the fit is great and the shoe is so much more comfortable than i would have anticipated and sincerely as comfortable if not more so than any other shoe i've ran in.
when running in these shoes, the constant questions, tweaks and adjustments working through my head and body when i run in other shoes go away. i find that i settle into the form i want to be in, the stride and strike i strive for naturally, as if the shoes were custom made for me. this is a huge endorsement from me! i don't know if it's a result of the technology being really good, or simply that there is less technology that makes this shoe work for me, but even towards the end of my longer runs in these shoes, my form feels stable and strong, even when my legs don't. i will say, however, that i have rolled my ankle twice in these shoes... i WAS running on uneven terrain in the dark, but i haven't done that in a long time in any other shoe.
i had originally questioned whether or not i thought these shoes would be cush enough to last through a marathon, but i do believe they will. i haven't taken them over 8 miles yet though, so i'll be sure to report back if there is any issue when i do.
on the downside, i don't think these shoes are going to last me very long. i've only put 30-40 miles in on them and they are already showing some signs of wear. additionally, the "split toe" feature seems like a good idea, but on my shoe, the gap on the left side is (much) smaller than the gap on the right side, leading me to believe they aren't constructed as well as they could be. (i have yet to experience anything new with this "split toe" feature either). for a shoe as expensive as these are, i would hope they would last a decent amount of time and being well-constructed.
still, my primary thought right now is: how do i make sure i am always able to run in these shoes.
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