Brooks PureConnect 3 Review

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The PureConnect is the thinnest and lightest of the road shoes in the Pure range, though the difference between it and the PureFlow is relatively minor. The PureConnect is part way between a true minimalist shoe and the massively cushioned Maximalist shoes. I found the PureConnect to have less cushioning than I expected given its weight, and I found that the cut outs in the midsole made the shoe feel a little lumpy. The PureConnect is not a bad shoe, but you can get the same cushioning with less weight, or the same weight with more cushioning, and either would be better. Like other shoes in the Pure range, foam breaks down more quickly than I expected, becoming softer. I generally found the shoe better once it had started to wear, but of course it continues to degrade. I found no significant problems with the PureConnect , though I'd advise cutting away the 'Nav Band' that puts pressure on the top of your foot. (I use The Science of Running Shoes as the basis of how I test running shoes and what you should look for in a running shoe.)

Brooks PureConnect 3 top
Brooks PureConnect 3 bottom
Brooks PureConnect 3 inside
Brooks PureConnect 3 outside

1 Characteristics

  • Why you’d buy it. The PureConnect could make a good shoe for someone looking to transition from a more traditional shoe, though I prefer the Saucony Kinvara as it's lighter and more softly cushioned. I'd also suggest looking at the Hoka Clifton is lighter and much better cushioned, or the Altra One which is lot lighter and more softly cushioned. For a faster shoe, try the Asics Gel Hyper Speed which provides similar cushioning at a much lower weight. However, the fact that there are better shoes available doesn't make the PureConnect a bad shoe in any way. If you like the way it fits and feels, I have no hesitation in recommending it.
  • Cushioning . The PureConnect is reasonably cushioned, but I've been surprised how rapidly the midsole became softer. Overall the PureConnect is a little on the firm side given its weight; you can get the same cushioning with less weight, or the same weight with much better cushioning. I also found that the gaps in the outsole could be felt when running, creating a slightly lumpy sensation. I don't think it's enough to cause much of a problem, but it's something to consider.
  • Drop. The PureConnect has 3mm of drop, but this becomes zero-drop once you're in it.
  • Structure. The PureConnect uses a single density of foam with some slight grooves to improve flexibility. The area under the arch is slightly raised, which could put pressure on the arch and cause problems as arches are strong when loaded from above, but can be broken easily by pressure from below. The Pure range of shoes includes a "Toe Flex" which is a thinning of the midsole at the front that Brooks claim "allows the big toe to function independently", though I couldn't nice any effect. The heel of the Pure shoes is more rounded than most traditional shoes, which is a good thing.
  • Flexibility. The PureConnect is nicely flexible due to the midsole groves and the gaps in the outsole.
  • Outsole. The hard rubber outsole covers most of the underside of the shoe. This outsole improves longevity and grip, but adds to the weight. As you can see from the pictures, the outsole is in patches which help keep the shoe flexible. The outsole rubber used here is a nice combination of hard wearing and grippy, and is fairly thick. This outsole increases the weight of the shoe, and the longevity it brings probably won't help much given the way the foam midsole breaks down.
  • Shape. The shoe of the shoe is closer to the human foot than many designs, but it's not right and I'd recommend cutting open the toe box for comfort. (I recommend cutting open the toe box of virtually all running shoes, with the exception of a few shoes like some Altra shoes. When you have some worn out shoes, you should try cutting open the toe box. I've found that it's a big improvement, allowing my toes to move naturally and engage for toe off, as well as reducing the possibility of blisters.)
  • Upper. The upper is inflexible and there are seams that could rub and create issues for some runners. The ankle opening is well padded, but the rest is thin and breathes reasonably well. The PureConnect has Brooks' "Nav Band" which is an elasticated band over the middle of the shoe, going from where the upper meets the arch of the foot, over the top and down to the outside edge of the midsole. This elasticated band is intended to keep the shoe secure, but it just puts extra pressure on the top of the foot. I didn't like this band at all, but it's easy to cut it open where it crosses the tongue. Overall the shoe is slightly less comfortable than average.
  • Tongue. The PureConnect has a tongue that is attached to the inside of the upper, with the outside free, a combination that I like. It keeps the tongue in place without the problems of a sock style upper. The tongue has a slight degree of soft padding which should be enough for most runners.
  • Lacing. The laces are bumpy, which helps them stay tied, but also makes it trickier to get the tension right when tying the shoe. The laces also have an asymmetric pattern, which I didn't find made any difference when compared with other shoes.
  • Heel Counter. The heel counter is quite solid, with hard edges that might cause some people problems. I think it could dig in quite badly if you twisted your ankle.
helping-hand.jpg

2 Comparisons

Here are some direct comparisons with its potential competition.

2.1 PureCadence, PureConnect, & PureFlow

The Brooks Pure range of shoes is intended to be more minimalist, but they're only minimal when compared to a traditional shoe like the Asics GT 2000. I would consider Pure shoes as in the "balanced" category that is part way between minimalist and the massively cushioned Maximalist style of shoes. The Pure range all have some over engineering, with pointless features such as the "Nav Band" that puts extra pressure on the top of the foot. It seems that most shoe manufacturers feel the need to justify their prices with some type of gimmick rather than producing simple, effective shoes, which is a shame. To evaluate the three shoes, it's best to look at how they compare to the PureFlow, which is the middle ground.

  • PureFlow and PureCadence. The PureCadence has a slightly thicker midsole than the PureFlow, but it's also a little firmer. The PureCadence also adds a Medial Post which makes the shoe a little firmer, but this breaks down remarkably quickly.
  • PureFlow and PureConnect. The PureConnect has a little less cushioning than the PureFlow, though they are remarkably similar, even when wearing one on each foot. I did notice that the gaps in the midsole of the PureFlow do create a slightly uneven, "lumpy" feel underfoot.
Brooks PureCadence 3 top
Brooks PureCadence 3 bottom
Brooks PureCadence 3 inside
Brooks PureCadence 3 outside
Brooks PureConnect 3 top
Brooks PureConnect 3 bottom
Brooks PureConnect 3 inside
Brooks PureConnect 3 outside
Brooks Pure Flow 3 top
Brooks Pure Flow 3 bottom
Brooks Pure Flow 3 inside
Brooks Pure Flow 3 outside
helping-hand.jpg
helping-hand.jpg

2.2 PureConnect and Hoka Clifton

Comparing the PureConnect and the Hoka Clifton, the Clifton wins out due to its lightness and cushioning.

  • Similarities
    • Shape. Neither has a good toe box.
    • Longevity. The extra outsole on the PureConnect improves longevity, but its foam breaks down more quickly.
  • Advantage PureConnect
    • Flexibility. The PureConnect is more flexible.
    • Grip. The PureConnect has slightly more grip.
    • Price. The PureConnect is cheaper.
    • Drop. The PureConnect is effectively zero-drop.
    • Availability. The PureConnect is more widely stocked.
  • Advantage Hoka Clifton
    • Cushioning . The Clifton has far thicker, softer cushioning and does not have any problems with the lumpy feel that the PureConnect suffers from.
    • Weight. The Clifton is lighter.
    • Trails. The Clifton has a little more protection on rocky trails.
Brooks PureConnect 3 top
Brooks PureConnect 3 bottom
Brooks PureConnect 3 inside
Brooks PureConnect 3 outside
Hoka OneOne Clifton top
Hoka OneOne Clifton bottom
Hoka OneOne Clifton inside
Hoka OneOne Clifton outside
helping-hand.jpg

2.3 PureConnect and Altra One

Comparing the PureConnect and the Altra One, the Altra wins on weight and cushioning, but the PureConnect will last longer:

  • Similarities
    • Drop. Both shoes are effectively zero-drop.
  • Advantage PureConnect
    • Price. The PureConnect is cheaper, especially when longevity is considered.
    • Grip. The PureConnect has more grip.
    • Availability. The PureConnect is widely stocked.
    • Trails. The PureConnect has more protection from rocks.
    • Longevity. The PureConnect lasts longer. (The Altra wears out distressingly quickly.)
  • Advantage Altra One
    • Cushioning . The Altra is a lot more softly cushioned.
    • Weight. The Altra is a lot lighter.
    • Shape. The Altra has a much better toe box.
    • Flexibility. The Altra is more flexible.
Brooks PureConnect 3 top
Brooks PureConnect 3 bottom
Brooks PureConnect 3 inside
Brooks PureConnect 3 outside
Altra The One 2.5 top
Altra The One 2.5 bottom
Altra The One 2.5 inside
Altra The One 2.5 outside
helping-hand.jpg

2.4 PureConnect and Saucony Virrata

Comparing the PureConnect and the Saucony Virrata, the Virrata has similar cushioning with less weight:

  • Similarities
    • Shape. Neither has a good toe box.
    • Longevity. The extra outsole on the PureConnect improves longevity, but its foam breaks down more quickly.
    • Drop. Both shoes are effectively zero-drop.
    • Cushioning . The PureConnect and the Virrata are similarly cushioned.
    • Availability. The both are reasonably easy to find.
  • Advantage PureConnect
    • Grip. The PureConnect has more grip.
    • Trails. The PureConnect has more protection from rocks.
  • Advantage Saucony Virrata
    • Weight. The Virrata is a lot lighter.
    • Price. The Virrata is a little cheaper.
    • Flexibility. The Virrata is more flexible.
Brooks PureConnect 3 top
Brooks PureConnect 3 bottom
Brooks PureConnect 3 inside
Brooks PureConnect 3 outside
Saucony Virrata top
Saucony Virrata bottom
Saucony Virrata inside
Saucony Virrata outside

2.5 PureConnect and Asics Gel Hyper Speed

Comparing the PureConnect and the Asics Gel Hyper Speed the Hyper Speed has similar cushioning but is vastly lighter:

  • Similarities
    • Cushioning . Cushioning is similar, though the PureConnect is thicker and firmer.
    • Shape. Neither has a good toe box.
    • Availability. The both are reasonably easy to find.
  • Advantage PureConnect
    • Grip. The PureConnect has slightly more grip, though it's close.
    • Drop. The PureConnect is effectively zero-drop.
    • Trails. The PureConnect has more protection from rocks.
  • Advantage Asics Gel Hyper Speed
    • Weight. The Hyper Speed is a lot lighter.
    • Flexibility. The Hyper Speed is more flexible.
    • Longevity. The extra outsole on the PureConnect improves longevity, but its foam breaks down more quickly.
Brooks PureConnect 3 top
Brooks PureConnect 3 bottom
Brooks PureConnect 3 inside
Brooks PureConnect 3 outside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside
helping-hand.jpg

3 Cushioning and Shoes

It's intuitively obvious that the cushioning in a shoe will reduce the impact on your body when running. However, The Science of Running Shoes indicates that the reality is rather more complex. While slight cushioning may reduce the effort needed to run by improving your Running Economy, most scientific research indicates that more cushioning does further improve Running Economy. In addition, cushioning does not generally reduce impact and may actually increase it. This is counterintuitive, but is likely to be due to the way a runners mind and body adapts to softer cushioning. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence is far from complete and it's hard to give clear recommendations. I believe that some runners will prefer more cushioning, while others prefer less, and typically those running further have a fondness for greater cushioning. I also believe that a shoe should be as light as possible, and a shoe should justify its weight with the cushioning it provides. My advice is to decide what level of cushioning you're looking for, and then find the lightest shoes that also fit well and are comfortable.

4 Visualizing the Attributes of the Brooks PureConnect

How Brooks PureConnect compares showing rearfoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Brooks PureConnect compares showing forefoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Brooks PureConnect compares showing the price against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.
How Brooks PureConnect compares showing the loaded drop against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.

5 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes

For a more detailed comparison of these shoes see the Recommendations for Best Running Shoes. This table lists the key attributes of What to Look for in Running Shoes. For more detailed information, on the shoes see detailed shoe comparison.

Full Review

Brand Name Rating Recommended
price
Benefit Weight
(oz)
Penalty
(sec/mile)
Forefoot
Thickness
Heel
Thickness
Loaded Drop
mm
Cushioning Flexibility
Asics 33-DFA Review Asics 33-DFA Worth considering $90 5.7 10.6 16.5 27 27 0 6.1 6
Saucony Type A6 Review Saucony A6 Highly Recommended $100 8.2 6.1 9.5 17 21 4 5.0 8
Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review Adidas Adios Worth considering $140 4.7 8.6 13.4 17 27 11 4.0 7
Hoka Bondi 5 Review Hoka Bondi Recommended $150 6.1 11.6 18.1 38 42 5 7.1 4
Hoka Clayton 2 Review Hoka Clayton2 Highly Recommended $150 9.1 8.3 12.9 23 28 1 7.5 6
Hoka Clifton 4 Review Hoka Clifton4 Worth considering $130 7.7 9.3 14.5 30 35 10 7.2 5
On Cloudracer Review On Cloud Cloudracer Worth considering $130 5.7 8.2 12.8 19 27 5 4.7 8
Hoka Conquest Review Hoka Conquest Worth considering $170 5.0 11.9 18.5 28 34 5 6.0 3
Saucony Cortana 4 Review Saucony Cortana Worth considering $150 4.4 9.9 18.7 22 28 5 4.3 5
Mizuno Wave Cruise Review Mizuno Cruise Worth considering $120 6.6 5.9 12.5 17 20 7 3.9 7
Newton Distance IV Review Newton Distance Worth considering $155 7.5 9.1 14.2 26 31 3 6.8 6
Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review Asics DS Racer Worth considering $110 8.2 7.0 10.9 21 26 6 5.8 6
Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review Mizuno Ekiden Worth considering $115 5.7 5.7 14.6 13 18 6 3.2 8
Saucony Endorphin 2 Review Saucony Endorphin 2 Worth considering $115 8.0 5.1 9.6 15 13 -1 4.1 8
Adidas Energy Boost Review Adidas Energy Worth considering $160 7.2 10.0 15.6 20 30 7 7.2 6
Altra Escalante Review Altra Escalante Best of the Best $130 9.1 8.7 13.5 28 25 -1 7.9 7
Puma Faas 100 R Review Puma Faas 100 Highly Recommended $90 8.4 6.1 9.4 15 20 1 5.1 9
Saucony Fastwitch Review Saucony Fastwitch Highly Recommended $90 9.5 7.1 11.1 20 22 4 6.8 8
Topo Fli-Lyte Review Topo Fli-Lyte Highly Recommended $100 6.0 9.4 14.6 23 24 4 5.6 6
Nike Free 4.0 Review Nike Free Recommended $120 5.3 8.2 13.6 24 30 6 4.4 6
Saucony Freedom Review Saucony Freedom Recommended $160 5.4 10.7 16.6 25 29 3 5.8 7
Asics Gel Lyte 33 3 Review Asics Gel Lyte Not recommended $90 8.0 7.3 11.4 17 24 4 5.8 9
Skechers GOmeb Speed 3 Review Skechers GOmeb 3 Worth considering $120 6.9 8.1 12.6 20 24 4 5.5 8
Skechers GORun 4 Review Skechers GORun Not recommended $100 6.1 7.5 11.7 15 23 3 4.5 7
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review Skechers GRU Worth considering $90 7.5 10.0 15.6 28 34 8 7.5 5
Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review Skechers GRU-R Worth considering $105 6.5 11.3 17.6 30 40 6 7.4 7
Asics GT 2000 Review Asics GT 2000 Not recommended $120 4.8 11.2 17.4 28 35 5 5.4 4
New Balance Hanzo S Review New Balance Hanzo Worth considering $110 7.6 6.9 10.7 21 19 2 5.2 6
Hoka Hupana Review Hoka Hupana Recommended $115 6.1 8.9 13.9 31 36 7 5.4 5
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review Asics Hyper Speed Highly Recommended $75 10.9 6.3 9.8 22 26 5 6.8 7
Altra Instinct 3.5 3.5 Review Altra Instinct 3.5 Recommended $115 4.9 9.3 15.2 24 23 0 4.5 6
Altra Instinct 4.0 Review Altra Instinct 4.0 Worth considering $120 6.0 9.8 15.3 29 25 -1 5.9 6
Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review Asics Kainos Worth considering $130 10.0 6.9 10.7 17 27 9 6.8 7
Saucony Kinvara 8 Review Saucony Kinvara 8 Best of the Best $110 9.3 8.6 13.4 26 31 3 8.0 6
Nike LunaRacer 4 Review Nike LunaRacer Recommended $90 9.9 7.0 10.9 22 30 7 6.9 6
Nike LunarSpider R5 Review Nike LunarSpider Recommended $125 6.9 6.7 10.4 17 21 3 4.6 7
Hoka Mafate Speed Review Hoka Mafate Best of the Best $170 7.6 11.9 18.5 39 40 4 9.0 3
Pearl Izumi EM Road N0 v2 Review Pearl N0 Highly Recommended $100 7.9 6.5 10.1 14 20 4 5.2 8
Saucony Nomad Review Saucony Nomad Worth considering $110 4.3 10.5 17.2 25 27 2 4.5 5
Hoka Odyssey Review Hoka Odyssey Highly Recommended $130 8.5 9.4 14.6 37 45 5 8.0 4
Altra One 3.0 Review Altra One Worth considering $100 6.1 8.8 13.7 23 23 0 5.4 7
Altra Paradigm Review Altra Paradigm Highly Recommended $130 6.4 9.9 15.4 25 25 1 6.4 4
Asics Piranha SP 5 Review Asics Piranha Recommended $100 10.1 4.2 6.5 11 15 3 4.2 9
Brooks PureFlow 5 Review Brooks PureFlow Worth considering $110 6.0 9.7 15.1 26 29 5 5.8 8
Salming Race Review Salming Race Worth considering $130 6.9 6.5 10.1 16 19 4 4.5 7
New Balance RC1600 v2 Review New Balance RC1600 Highly Recommended $110 8.8 5.6 8.7 15 21 5 4.9 8
New Balance RC5000v2 Review New Balance RC5000v2 Best of the Best $125 14.2 4.0 6.2 13 21 6 5.7 8
Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review Skechers Ride Worth considering $85 5.9 8.5 13.2 18 28 6 5.0 9
Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review Inov-8 RXT-220 Worth considering $120 5.2 8.0 18.2 14 17 3 4.2 9
Topo ST-2 Review Topo ST-2 Highly Recommended $90 8.2 7.3 11.4 20 18 0 6.0 8
Hoka Stinson Lite Review Hoka Stinson Highly Recommended $160 7.3 11.6 18.1 35 40 6 8.5 2
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review Nike Streak LT Best of the Best $80 8.8 5.4 8.4 16 21 4 4.8 6
Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Highly Recommended $160 7.7 6.6 10.2 17 21 4 5.1 6
Altra Torin 2.0 Review Altra Torin Worth considering $125 5.8 9.6 14.9 28 25 -1 5.5 5
Hoka Tracer Review Hoka Tracer Recommended $130 7.2 7.4 11.5 21 24 2 5.3 6
Merrell Trail Glove 4 Review Merrell Trail Glove 4 Best of the Best $100 3.4 8.4 23.8 13 13 0 2.8 10
Topo Tribute Review Topo Tribute Recommended $100 5.9 7.3 11.4 20 18 -1 4.3 7
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review Mizuno Universe Highly Recommended $125 10.7 3.1 10.6 9 12 1 3.3 9
Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Review Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Highly Recommended $85 2.1 6.1 27.6 6 5 0 1.3 10
New Balance Vazee Pace Review New Balance Vazee Pace Worth considering $110 6.0 8.6 13.4 18 24 6 5.2 6
Asics TartherZeal 3 Review Asics Zeal Worth considering $140 10.9 6.3 9.8 17 27 9 6.8 7

It's not a running shoe, but I love the Hoka Tor Ultra hiking boot and I've tested the Altra Lone Peak Boot, the Hoka Tor Speed 2, and the Inov-8 Roclite 325 hiking boots
Older shoe reviews: Saucony Hattori Review, Mizuno Cursoris Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, Hoka Clifton Review, Saucony Virrata 2 Review, Brooks PureCadence 3 Review, Brooks PureConnect 3 Review, Brooks PureFlow 3 Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, New Balance 980 Review, Brooks Transcend 2 Review.
Reviews of shoes that are not worth including on the table: Hoka Huaka Review, Patagonia EVERlong Review.