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Brooks Pure Grit as a Ultra-Marathon Trail Shoe Review

Several months ago, I signed up as a wear tester for Brooks.  I had tried out a couple pairs of different Cascadias but when I unwrapped the Brooks Pure Grits, (one of the new shoes from the Brooks PureProject collection) my heart skipped a beat.  Brown, good.  Aqua (perhaps more of a sea foam green), good.  Put them together and they’re a medley of perfection.

The Pure Grits are a trail shoe but almost have the appearance of a racing flat–super lightweight, virtually no drop from heel to toe and very breathable.  When I decided to run my first ultra (HAT Run 50k), I wasn’t sure which shoe to wear.  Thought about going with an Inov8 or Cascadia but ultimately went with the Brooks Pure Grit because of its weight (Womens 7.6 oz. Men’s 8.9 oz.) and so glad I did.

The HAT 50k course was predominantly trail but had portions of grassy fields, creek crossings, asphalt streets and rocky dirt roads.  This shoe handled all the terrain and with grace.   I never had any issues transitioning from one environment to the other.

The sole is one I haven’t ever seen or run on before–for lack of a better word, it almost feels spongy and the, what I refer to as the “camel toe – ninja foot”, up front must serve some purpose.  Perhaps it allows the shoe to “relax” upon impact?   It provided plenty of traction on the trail with the textured sole but with the flexibility and give, there were no issues running on the road either.  I did hit the mud pretty hard and in creek crossings I couldn’t avoid getting them wet.  The shoes, being so lightweight, never had a problem as the miles ticked on.  In fact, they dried quickly and I never needed to swap the Pure Grits or my socks for a dry pair of shoes or socks.  I appreciated the elastic strap that came across the top — seemed to give support and stability with the changing terrain.  My only gripe would be that the laces seemed awfully long–even double knotted they were flapping around.   Right now they have 52 miles and not a single sign of wear (besides the residual mud), which surprises me because of the sole’s lightweight, foamy material feels like it would be easily worn out.  The only other thing worth noting is that I did lose 2 toenails.  I’m not sure if that had anything to do with the shoe, my kamikaze downhill strategy, maybe they were a half size too big or just the nature of the race.  At any rate, I’d choose this shoe to run my next ultra.  The Brooks Pure Grit did me proud.

About the author of this post Jenny J.:

Until 2 1/2 years ago, I swore I’d never be a runner and was even more adamant about never running a marathon.  Those were for crazy people.  I’ve learned never to say never and have since run 18 races with indefinitely more on the horizon.  It started with me watching a friend finish her first marathon.  Overcome with emotion for something I wasn’t even participating in, I was hooked.  Training started immediately and five months later, I was running my first half.   In another five months, that half turned into a full and I haven’t looked back.   Since then, I’ve run just about every distance from a 5k to most recently, a 50k.  Four marathons, two of them qualifying me for Boston, four half marathons, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30k’s, a 197 mile, 12-man Ragnar team relay, pacing a buddy for his 100-miler…the racing hasn’t slowed down and unless I’m unable to, it never will.   As a wife and mom to three kids, finding time to train isn’t always easy but with an understanding family and super early wake-up calls, it’s possible.  We make time for what we love.  A huge part of my improvement this year was due to dailymile.  A year ago I joined the site to log my miles and have found so much more.  What an incredible community of athletes where I have found friendships, encouragement and motivation.   I may not ever win a race, but I run for the joy of it and I will always strive to be my best.


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Tom says:

    Great review!!  Iove mine as well and have worked on road just as well as the trails.  Very comfortable and lightweight.

  2. Carina says:

    Can either of you let me know? – I usually get the Kayano Asics in a half size larger for my long distance runs… is the same strategy used with these? I've been using some Vibram 5 fingers lately but not longer than 3 miles…
     I note you lost two toenails – it's happened to me on a 1/2 marathon with the Kayanos, so that doesn't really scare me off – just wondering about sizing… and planning for the long distance swell.
    Thanks in advance.

  3. JennyJ says:

    Carina–Those were an 8.5 and I *think* they may have been about a half size big. I've been buying 8's in Saucony Kinvaras for a year and those seem to work well.  I wonder if me losing the nails had to do with them being too big and having my feet slide around a little, because of the ditance or due to the fact that there was such a ridiculous elevation change–tons of ups and downs.  All that to say…I think they run pretty true to size.  I didn't have the option of trying the 8 when I was asked to test them, so I gave it a try.  Hope that helps some!

  4. Fidelia says:

    This excellent website definitely has all the info I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

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