Summary

We spent 6.4 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • This is a lightweight running shoe that makes running easier and more agreeable.
  • The seamless construction enables runners to stay comfortable, even when wearing it without socks.
  • With its low profile height and low heel to toe drop, the Brooks PureDrift 4 lets runners experience barefoot running, also known as minimalist running.
  • It features a wide toe box, which means that it can accommodate wider foot sizes and lets toes splay more naturally.
  • To increase the flexibility of the PureDrift 4, it features the Omega Flex Groove.

4 reasons not to buy

  • A few testers criticized the minimal cushioning & support because it caused pain in the midfoot section, especially when running for longer periods of time.
  • There are a couple of runners who experience some small stones getting stuck in between the gaps between the outsole unit.
  • The 4th edition of the Brooks PureDrift has poor traction, thus making it difficult to run on wet surfaces.
  • It has low durability.

Bottom line

The Brooks PureDrift 4 is a running shoe perfect for the roads. Since it is a lightweight running shoe, it is mostly used in speed training, such as sprinting. Those with neutral foot pronation are the ones to enjoy this affordable barefoot running shoe.

Facts

Expert Reviews

77 / 100 based on 11 expert reviews

  • 85 / 100 | Runblogger | | Level 5 expert

    I’ve mostly used the Drift for easy runs of 3-8 miles, and they are great for that purpose (with the swapped insole). I also used them last Friday for an interval workout and though they don’t have the pop of a racing flat, they sufficed. I’d classify the Drift as an easy run shoe that could be used for long runs as well if you are acclimated to low drop, minimally cushioned footwear. For speed I’d go with something more designed for the task.

  • 79 / 100 | Runner's World | | Level 4 expert

    The fit of the wrap upper was comfortable and conforming, with a stretch band helping to hold the midfoot securely. "It has a very natural feel and allows the foot to do just what it does," one tester said.

  • 72 / 100 | Minimalist Running Shoes | | Level 4 expert

    Running sockless as usual, I can honestly say that I’m pleasantly surprised and loved the Pure Drift, especially for trails. The only problem I have with muddy trails is cleaning the outsole – had to use both a tooth brush and a large brush.

  • 62 / 100 | Running Warehouse | | Level 2 expert

    I couldn’t tighten up the laces without the upper bunching up; there was a bit too much material there for a snugger fit.

  • 88 / 100 | Gadget Review | | Level 1 expert

    They really do make running a pleasure, even for the unseasoned, and I’ve noticed that my calves as well as feet seem to stand up to exercise of all types far better than they did before I started using them.

  • 85 / 100 | Runner's World | | Level 1 expert

    I liked the ability to remove the insole to make the shoe into a zero drop experience on occasion.  Also, the tongue design removes the common problems of the tongue slipping from side to side and makes for getting the shoe on easier.

Become an expert
  • Brooks running shoes make natural running even more pronounced in the 4th version of the PureDrift. It features a new mesh upper that is as breathable as before, but lighter and more flexible. The new flexibility allows runners to run with their most natural stride while it helps the shoe accommodate wide and narrow-footed runners.
  • The aim to make the shoe more flexible extends to the outsole. Brooks presents more flex grooves to enhance natural movements because of the improved flexibility. The spacing of the rubber treads is slightly wider than the past version, giving it a ride that is a bit softer and more cushioned.

The Brooks PureDrift 4 is a rarity among racing shoes just like the previous version. It has a snug heel and midfoot while the toe box is very spacious. Brooks still categorizes this as a standard fit, one that a large number of runners will be very comfortable in. Medium is the available width of this shoe. Sizing is on the money as well. Sizes are from 6 to 14 for the men’s and 4 to 11 for the women’s.


Like the popular PureFlow 7, the PureDrift 4 uses blown rubber as the main compound in the outsole. It provides decent outsole durability with excellent traction on a variety of surfaces. A very prominent part of the outsole is the numerous flex grooves. These give the shoe exceptional flexibility and a more natural running stride. Brooks also uses a Dual Toe Flex or the vertical cut near the forefoot for even better natural running and flexibility. The heel on this shoe is a bit curved, which is called the Ideal Heel by Brooks. It helps with the shock-absorbing features of the shoe and makes transitions a bit smoother.


The midsole primarily features a full-length BioMogo DNA foam. Brooks uses environmentally-friendly materials in this foam to provide greater responsiveness in a very light nature. Based on sophisticated engineering, this midsole foam provides dynamic cushioning or cushioning right where and when the runner needs it.


The upper is a seamless construction of a very breathable, more flexible, and lighter mesh. A few overlays give some type of support and structure to a very minimal upper. With a removable sock liner in the interior, the shoe offers enhanced fit, comfort, and versatility as it can be replaced with customized orthotics. Once removed the 4mm footbed is removed, the PureDrift 4 offers a zero drop ride. An asymmetrical lacing system allows the shoe to wrap the foot in a more personalized comfort and fit.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com