Comparing Running Shoes

Lets talk about my obsession…

For those of you who have been following my blog, you may already know that I am shoe obsessed. But for those that are new readers let me clue you in.

In April/May 2012 I caved… and made the switch from a traditional running shoe, (Asics Nimbus and Brooks Glycerin) to a barefoot running shoe called Newton.

So ever since then, I have been wearing either my Newton Distance U or my Newton Gravity, only doing one long run in my old Brooks Glycerin (over a 7 month period.)

In the Newton shoes, I have focused on running form. Working very hard to change my stride from a minor heel striker (slight over pronator/over strider) to a forefoot/mid-foot striker (neutral runner with a higher cadence.)

Was I successful? Yes, I was, and I had the opportunity to prove it, by racing two 10 milers in them. And just this weekend, raising the bar, by setting a new PR in my half marathon I ran.

However, last week, I went into my local running shoe store,¬†Pacers, and bought the¬†Brooks PureConnect¬†running shoe. ¬†This shoe’s resale value is normally $90, but because it is a 2012, it was on sale for $75. The 2013s should be out in January, but you can pre-order them now, if you want them!

Brooks barefoot running series.

Brooks barefoot running series.

Lets talk about Brooks PureConnect shoe. This is what Brooks says…

¬†The PureConnect was named “Best Debut” in Runner‚Äôs World‚Äôs Winter 2012 Shoe Guide in the December issue. The editors said the PureConnect “strikes a balance between barefoot-inspired minimalism and cushioning-required training. It has a lightweight, barely there feel yet is substantive enough to handle long tempo runs.”

The design of the shoe allows you to have the freedom to feel the ground and connect with your run. It has toe flex technology which gives you flexibility in the forefoot and activates your big toe and aligns your toe off. It is a 4mm heel to toe drop. The material the shoe is made from keeps the foot balanced and creates a glove like fit, allowing the shoe to work more naturally with your foot. The shoe weighs 6.5 oz, being super light weight and breathable.



Why I was tempted to try them…

Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE MY NEWTON SHOES! Just how your body will adapt to certain work outs, your body can adapt to your running shoe. When you repeat the same work out over and over, you stop seeing results, the same can happen in running shoes. Because of this fact I¬†don’t want to allow my body to get too comfortable/use to one type of shoe. Different shoes work the body in different ways. I want to be well rounded. I also want to experiment with a shoe rotation. I have used Brooks and Asics in the past, and have enjoyed their shoes, so I thought I would look into their barefoot running shoes.

When researching, different barefoot running shoes I realized that Asics was the last ones to take the plunge. But they finally did, unfortunately, it is not quite good enough.


Their barefoot running series is called the 33 series, named after the 33 joints found in your foot Рvery cool name. However, their lightest out of that series, the Gel Lyte33, only has a 6 mm heel to toe drop. This is good for those runners, who  are still running in a traditional running shoe with a 12 mm heel, who wants to try a lighter shoe and a lower heel to toe drop. This shoe will give this runner what they desire with out messing to much with their running stride or body. Some runners claimed they barely felt a difference.

However, because I am already running in the Newton Gravity that has a 3 mm heel to toe drop and the Newton Distance U which has a 2 mm heel to toe drop, to try the Gel Lyte33, with a 6 mm heel to toe drop is pointless. So I moved on from Asics  and took a close look at Brooks PureProject, and found the PureConnects.

Three things sold me on this shoe…

  1. The heel to toe drop is 4 mm. There is a little bit more heel in these shoes compared to the Newtons, but not by much. Newton: Distance U has a 2 mm drop. Gravity has a 3 mm drop.
  2. These shoes are 6.5 ounces. This is by far the lightest running shoe I have ever tried. Newton: Distance U weighs 7 ounces. The Gravity weighs 7.6 ounces.
  3. The biggest sell point. These shoes are known for their Cushion. A little more cushion is what I was looking for, and that is what I found in these shoes.


(just mentioning this for all the Saucony lovers out there…)

Saucony’s Kinvara 3 is the Brooks PureConnect’s biggest competition. So for those who love Saucony. The Kinvara is similar to the PureConnects weighing 6.7 ounces and having a 4 mm heel to toe drop.

On a different note…

So here is something to think about… ¬†Less is More.

I was talking to another runner. Demanding him to give me answers and tell me which shoe is the best shoe. He told me, “It is not about which shoe is better than the other. This is a running shoe store. All the shoes are good, designed by runners, for runners.” ¬†I questioned him. “Even the most minimal shoe in the store?” I asked. He informed me that the point of a running shoe is to absorb shock when the runner’s foot hits the ground. Even the lightest most minimal shoe is now made from such high tech materials, that even they are capable to absorb the shock, just as well as a traditional running shoe. So it is not whether one shoe is better than the other. It is about you, and your own personal opinion, ¬†about what you like and what you are comfortable running in.

My Experience in the Brooks PureConnect

Although, I had my shoes for a week, I didn’t want to jump right into them because my half marathon was coming up over the weekend, and I didn’t want to take any chances (injury/being sore) during my taper. So my first time running in them was yesterday. Wow! They definitely were different.


The Newton shoe along with most barefoot running shoes have a wide toe box. This design is suppose to allow your foot to naturally spread so your toes can grab the ground, the way they would naturally if you were running barefoot. The Brooks PureConnect took a different approach. While other runners, found this shoe to be a bit narrow. Brooks wanted this shoe to feel like a second skin, and hug your foot like a glove.

narrow toe box? nope! it fits snug like a glove.

Narrow toe box? Nope! it’s just snug like a glove. And I am wearing shorts in December. It is 65 degrees here!

When wearing the¬†PureConnects, I did feel a bit snug in them, but are they really narrow, or am I just use to a wider toe box?¬†Well unfortunately, I only ran four miles in them, so I can’t fairly judge whether I liked this “glove” feel or not. ¬†I do know one thing though – The wide toe box that my Newtons have, is one of the reasons why I love my Newton shoes.

When running in the Newton shoe with it’s wide toe box, you not only have the opportunity to really feel the ground, but your toes actually have room to spread and grasp the ground. However, at first this was very uncomfortable for me because my¬†second and third toes are slightly crossed. I also continued to get a¬†reoccurring blister on my third toe on my left foot. But practice makes perfect and over time, my toes stopped bothering me, and now I love the idea of my toes grasping the ground, because it is natural. This is what your toes would do if you were barefoot running on the sand at the beach.

The PureConnect does not have a wide toe box but rather has¬†toe flex¬†technology which gives you flexibility in the forefoot and activates your big toe and aligns your toe off. Honestly, during my four mile run, I didn’t feel my toes engaged at all or activated in any way. But then again, it was only a four mile run, maybe in a longer run I might be able to feel my toes do some work.


I have always run in a high cushioned shoe (Asics Nimbus and Brooks Glycerin.) So when I made the switch and started wearing the Newton, cushioning is the one thing I really missed. I don’t feel like the Newton shoe is very cushiony. Plus I sometime experience¬†sesamoiditis very mildly in my left foot. Sesamoiditis is nothing too serious, it is¬†just¬†inflammation or irritation of the sesamoid bones found underneath the big toe, in the forefoot area. ¬†Wearing a more cushioned shoe, along with icing, can help a runner with this condition. So when I heard the PureConnect was a barefoot running shoe, known for its cushion – I had to try it!

When wearing the PureConnect for my four mile run, I could feel the cushioning right away. I felt super BOUNCY and light on my feet. ¬†In the end, I absolutely LOVE the cushion and bounce in this shoe¬†– this felt really good.¬†However, I wouldn’t say I felt like it was more flexible than my Newtons. I actually felt like they were a bit stiff, but I know they are not, maybe it was because they were snug like a glove.

Look at that Cushioning!

Look at that Cushioning!

So this is what I have so far, on this review. It is hard to judge since I have only had the chance to run four miles in them. One very important thing about these shoes is that they do not last long. Most runners can only get 250-300 miles out of these shoes before they have to replace them. Because of this aspect, I am planning on only wearing these shoes a couple times a week, mainly for shorter runs.

If you over pronate…

When you change your shoe to a minimalist/barefoot running shoe, and change your stride from an over strider/ heel striker to a shorter strider who lands on their forefoot with a quick cadence, your over pronation should disappear. However, some may have a body imbalance they can’t help or weak ankles. If this is the case, they may still need some stability in their shoe. If this is the case, an orthotic may help, or instead of purchasing the PureConnect, you would get the PureCadence. The PureCadence is from the PureProject by Brooks, but this shoe provides a stability crutch, while the PureConnect does not.

L wears the PureCadence.


PureCadence for those that want a barefoot running shoe, but needs a stability crutch.



If you are interested in a stability shoe in Newton, you would start with the Motion ( for those that need stability) later trying the Distance U (which is for both the neutral runner or the runner who needs a stability crutch.)


If you are not running in a barefoot running shoe, always remember, it is good to keep one on hand as a strengthening tool Рthey work the muscles in your feet, when traditional running shoes protect them. They work the muscles in your lower legs, different than the way a traditional running shoe would.

Questions for You…

  1. Have you tried Newtons, Brooks PureConnects, Asics 33 series, or Saucony Kinvara? If so what did you think?
  2. Have you tried a minimalist shoe or barefoot running shoe? If so which one?
  3. What do you think of minimalist Рjust a trend or  is it the future of running shoes?

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