I’ve been going down the road of “Minimalist” running shoes for almost a year and a half now.
My first pair were Nike’s Free Run+. They had a lot I loved about them – a really flexible sole, lightweight, and an upper that was essentially a one-piece sock that wrapped around your foot. I ran most of my training leading up to my first half marathon as well as the race in this shoe, as well as a 5k and 10k after that. As it stands now, my personal records for the 10k and Half Marathon are in this shoe.
In March I acquired a pair of Brooks Green Silence. A little bit lighter, with an upper that has good ventilation and wraps around your foot well. It has a little bit less of a heel-to-toe drop than the Nike Free Run+. This shoe was my shoe for most of this year – with a Peachtree Road Race run in it and then my 5k Personal Record last month.
Along the way I threw a pair of Vibram Five Fingers into the mix to work on form training. These have become my favored shoe for weight lifting as well.
So with my overall win at the Lily’s Run last month, I was awarded a free pair of shoes of my choice from Fleet Feet Sports Johns Creek. My short list of shoes was the Brooks Pure Connect, Nike’s Free Run v3.0, and any Cross Country flats they might have in stock.
The winner after some runs around the shopping mall? The Brooks Pure Connect.
In the store when trying them on, there’s a pronounced mid-foot cushion that stands out when standing flat footed. The good news is that I don’t notice it running, since that would have been a big negative if I had.
What I Like
Most of the upper is a lightweight mesh backed with several reinforcement bands that cross the top of the foot and on the center band across the tongue. These bands are really what hold your foot in place when you run. It leaves the toe of the shoe very flexible (as it’s only the mesh fabric and the green foam backing).
The shoe is lightweight all over. The upper has great ventilation (your feet will get wet in the rain) the sole seems to match to the upper well.
In everyday shoes, and soccer cleats, I wear a size 11 (US). Since buying my first pair of dedicated running shoes I switched into 11.5 (US) and I stayed with this size for the Brooks. I have normal width feet and don’t have any fit concerns with this shoe.
Through about forty miles of time in the shoes, I haven’t had any blistering or rub that I would be concerned with.
After about forty miles, there’s some scuffing on the green foam portion of the sole, but not more than experienced with the Free Run+ after a similar distance.
The shoes stay tied. That has been one of my major problems with the Green Silence – no matter the number of knots I put into the laces, the laces will work themselves free. (I eventually replaced the laces with the Yankz! system to rectify the problem.)
The sock liner is removable. I haven’t tried running without the sock liner, but the interior of the shoe is finished well so I imagine that you could do so comfortably.