My feet suck. In 2010 I tried to transition into lighter shoes because I was trying to get into racing flats for my 5k and 10k races. I was successful! I ran a blisteringly fast (for me) 38:48 Bolder Boulder 10k in flats. Then I walked the 2 miles back to the car in the same shoes. By the time I arrived at the car my arch was aching and it has continued to hurt for a year and a half.
So, apparently racing flats are a no-go for me. I did everything the way you are supposed to too, gradually stepping down from a more supportive shoe, starting out on the treadmill with the flat. It all felt good, right up to the moment that it didn’t. So when Brooks started hyping their new “Pure Project” shoes I didn’t pay much attention. I know that any shoe that does not support my arch makes my foot hurt, so I’ve been avoiding “neutral” footwear. Just before the product launch date I watched a Brooks video on which Pure Project shoe would be right for me. I discovered that there was a model, the “Pure Cadence,” that was designed as a guidance shoe for mild pronators, with some arch support built in.
My first impressions of the shoe were all positive! The shoe fit extremely well and the soft material of the upper felt amazing right out of the box. Wearing these shoes feels a little like wearing slippers, with a slightly more supportive sole. I took the shoes out for a couple of test runs, but immediately I knew they felt good to run in. My third run in these shoes was actually the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon, and they felt great from wire to wire!
Now that I have had a few weeks in them, they have become my favorite shoe. The material is soft and comfortable, and the shoe feels very minimal when running. There is almost no “transition” between heel to toe as the heel drop is only 4mm, the sole moves with the surface you are running on. I had one run where I ran up a very icy path, that was heavily tracked out. I could feel every bump and valley, and I felt like I was leaping nimbly across the surface of the ice. It was the most fun I’ve had while running in a long time!
There are always downsides to new shoe designs, and I’d say the biggest thing I’ve noticed is the gap in the sole between the first two toes. This was put in the design to allow the big toe to engage the ground more, but it does allow water in more easily than a full sole. As a result, I have shied away from running in these in the snow, in favor of my trail shoes. At 9.5oz though, the Pure Cadence is a full two ounces lighter than my trail shoes, so it is a harsh transition.
I feel pretty spoiled running in the Pure Cadence. I am not a barefoot runner by any means, but these shoes do leave me feeling like I am more in touch with the surfaces I run on. I think this is a great addition to a runner’s “go to shoes.”
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Brooks Inspire Daily P.A.C.E. team, and I receive a discount on Brooks gear.