Specially designed for trail-running, Brooks' PureGrit has seen the major global brand collaborate with Scott Jurek to produce a lightweight, minimalist trainer designed for more technical trails.
On first sight, the PureGrit has two distinguishable features; a concave one-piece outsole, which aims to increase balance, and a split toe-box giving your toes more freedom. These characteristics allow you to interact with the ground and were invaluable when covering mixed terrain.
For this runner, the split-toe box design was a first, and I could immediately feel the advantage of an increased splay allowing for better control on the ground, especially on rocks or tight corners. Similarly, the enlarged forefoot base provides a stronger sense of stability and balance. On top of this, there is a small protective toe-bumper, which, of course, is an essential of more technical trails.
For recreational use, the PureGrit has enough cushioning to be a valued partner for road-running, and, with a 4mm drop (15mm to 11mm) is a good stepping stone if you are considering a foray into the minimalist market. Rather than utilising them solely for trails, I've taken to using the PureGrit for the majority of my training runs, and they have served well on two half marathons.
As someone that is in the midst of making the transition from a more cushioned shoe, the PureGrit has been ideal: lightweight, responsive and just enough cushioning even with the small differential. The one issue with the shoe, however, was its traction on wet, flat terrain. In the midst of an intense shower mid-run, the PureGrit didn't stand up particularly well to the slippery surface, and I would be cautious wearing them when winter, and the inevitable black ice, sets in.
Aside from this one reservation, Brooks' PureGrit has proven to be an invaluable companion for both trails and recreational running. For more information and to read more about Brooks' Pure Project, visit their UK website.