ed. note: Thank you to Kristin Parker for submitting this!
I am a huge fan of Brooks Running. Having flat feet with a tendency to pronate, a lot of shoes are tough on my ankles. Brooks are always comfortable right out of the box, and they are somewhat environmentally-friendly containing materials that break down easily.
I had a pair of Cascadias back in 2011 for trail running, and I loved them to death. I destroyed them with years of overuse and finally, they shrank from too many washings after my first Tough Mudder in August of 2013. I was worried about having another pair that would shrink since I was planning on upping my OCR game, so I tried a pair of PureGrits from their Pure line. They are more minimalist than the chunky Cascadias, but still have more support than most minimalist shoes.
Pros: Lightweight, actually great for swimming in, drain well, comfortable, even the sand drains out, they wash easily, great tread and little slippage on the trail or on obstacles, they stay on in thick mud, you can road run in them and they aren’t awkward
Cons: The lack of reinforcement on the outside of the shoe near the pinky toe leads to wear and tear. I have had two pairs and they have both gotten gaping holes here that I have sewn shut. The top of the heals wear after a few uses. The lace loops are flimsy and if you remove your laces each time you wash your shoes, they will wear until they break. The rear most lace hole near the top of the shoe snapped open when I was tying it before a race. If they other one went, I’m not sure my foot would have stayed in the shoe.
I complained about the lace loop breaking on my last pair. Brooks sent me a brand new pair, but warned me that these shoes are not great for lateral movement. That seems odd to me since they are trail running shoes, and your feet have to be fairly agile on uneven ground. At any rate, I am glad they replaced them, and I only paid $60 for my second pair (last year’s color) and got 9 big OCRs out of them (about 75 miles) this year and some minimal training time. They will now be my sand hill running shoes that I don’t care about.
I changed to IceBugs, and I hope they’ll last a bit longer.
Rating: 3 star (average)