Known for their unique combination of serious performance gear and a “Run Happy” attitude, Brooks has long been a beast in the running industry. Whether you’ve chatted it up with one of the many Brooks Gurus at a local run club or have been entranced by their Cavalcade of Curiousities, chances are you’ve taken a ride in a pair of Brooks running shoes yourself. If so, there is also a good chance you are one of the many that enjoyed logging mile after mile in them.
Recently Brooks has been making some ambitious technological advances to their running shoe line. It started with the introduction of their earth-friendly BioMoGo midsole compound followed shortly by an adaptive cushioning system known as Brooks DNA. Now Brooks brings us the PureProject, a unique way to experience your run by promoting a natural stride in an incredibly lightweight shoe. To get an inside look at the inspiration and development of the PureProject we caught up with Carson Caprara, Brooks’ Footwear Manager.
What was the design influence behind the Brooks Pure Project line?
Our design influence was all about creating a different running experience through a unique product offering. An experience that awakens the run, connects the runner more closely to their body and the ground underneath their feet, and allows the runner to do this in a healthy and aligned way.
What is Brooks’ philosophy behind running and how minimalist footwear plays into the mix?
Our product philosophy is “a perfect ride for every stride.” This means that our mission is to create running shoes that work for different feet as well as different running experiences. If there are runners who want to run in an ultra lightweight shoe and connect more closely with the run, we want to deliver a shoe that allows them this type of experience in a healthy way. We don’t call our PureProject line minimal shoes, because to be honest we are not quite sure what defines “minimalist” other than lowering midsole off-sets and reducing weight. Our PureProject line is about delivering so much more innovative technology that works for runners, making running in a lightweight shoe much more accessible. This leads to our motto of “feel more with less.”
Can you break down how the Brooks DNA cushioning system works and how it fits into the minimalist design?
We introduced our DNA cushioning technology a couple of years ago in the form of midsole inserts that provide the first truly adaptable cushioning experience. DNA instantaneously adapts to changes in pressure to create customized cushioning for the individual. If you are a lighter runner, the DNA cushioning is much softer and tuned to your body size. If you are a heavier runner, the cushioning firms up to give you the same feeling without bottoming out. In the PureProject line, we introduced DNA in a new form, completely blended into the midsole foam. This reduces layers and allows the runner to be more connected to the road.
There are four different types of footwear in the Pure Project line. Can you share some insight into each shoe?
The PureConnect is our lightest and most feel oriented shoe. It works great for neutral runners looking to really connect to their run. The PureFlow provides slightly more cushioning, while still giving you amazing road feel. The PureCadence provides a little more assurance for runners who are accustomed to a more supportive shoe. The PureCadence is also still ultra lightweight (under 10 oz.), and provides the perfect balance between assurance and road feel. Finally, the PureGrit is our lightweight trail offering. Designed to connect you to the trail in a whole new way, the PureGrit is an innovative trail shoe that works with your body to provide balance and traction, without compromising feel
Has the surge in popularity for Minimalist footwear affected any of your existing running shoes like the Ghost or Adrenaline?
Our existing running shoes have never been better. Shoes like the Adrenaline, Ghost, Glycerin, and Trance are growing at an all time rate. We believe that this is due to runner’s having different mindsets, and preferences on their running experience. Our core running shoes deliver an amazing combination of cushioning and support, with an unparalleled transition. This allows the shoe to really work for you and making running easy on your body. We believe that there are many runners looking for this type of experience, so we are committed to getting better at that season after season.
There’s plenty of “newness” in the world of minimalist running. How does the Pure Project separate itself from the rest?
The PureProject is built on 5 key technologies that empower the body to align itself and awaken the running experience. The first is our Ideal Heel. The Ideal Heel is our heel geometry that allows the body to land naturally and closer to joint center, therefore aligning forces and reducing excess strain on joints. Second, is our Nav Band. The Nav Band creates an adaptable fit around the arch, so that the shoe fit is catered to the runner’s foot shape. This allows the shoe to be constructed with less overlays, and work more naturally with the foot. Third is the Toe Flex. The Toe Flex is the forefoot flexibility system that empowers the big toe to align the foot at toe off. This improves efficiency, aligns joints, while enhancing the runner’s connection to the ground. Fourth is BioMogo DNA foam. Our adaptable cushioning technology is seamlessly blended into the midsole foam to customize the responsive cushioning to the individual. Fifth is the new Anatomical Last. The Anatomical Last creates a glove like fit around the foot, connecting the runner to the ground, and allowing the shoe to flex a move more naturally with the foot.