A shoe that can hold up to all-day usage with the plush ride to fight foot fatigue while still allowing for feedback from the running surface and natural feel underfoot. The shoe class has gone through many shifts in its relatively short run but continues to have a following among minimal moderates looking for a happy medium between barefoot and bargefoot shoes.
The PureFlow 6 is another in a long line of attempts to comfortably bridge this gap.
Upper & Fit
While some have noted that the shoe tends to run a tad short, I did order a half size up and found it long in the toes (I ordered an 11 and normally stick with 10.5 in Brooks).
I'd say it runs pretty true to size but could stand to have a wider toe box for a shoe that is going for a natural fit. In fact, when you look down at the shoe, the vestiges of a tapering toebox is still evident in the lasting of this shoe.
It took a few miles of breaking in before the upper loosened and felt more generous in the front of the shoe. Until it did, I didn't feel like I quite had the toe splay that I usually find essential to good mechanics.
The material itself, however, is amazingly durable for a designed road shoe. I have taken this shoe on technical trail areas, gravel roads, as well as through mud and muck and it washes clean every time with little sign of wear after 150+ miles logged.
The heel has a very soft and plush inner lining, but is backed by an incredibly stiff counter which left me with some blistering in the first two weeks of wear (especially on my first longer run of 11 miles when I had to leave the shoe out of my rotation for a week to let my lateral heel heal).
On a more pragmatic note, a nice touch for safety is the reflective material on the toe and heel bearing the Brooks and Pure series logos, respectively. However, despite my best efforts, I can bring myself to give more than a passing grade to the upper of this shoe.
Midsole and Insole Cushioning System
The strong suit of this shoe is twofold when it comes to the midsole: It is flexible for its girth and it is light for performance.
While I would not personally use this shoe as anything but a daily trainer, it has the versatility to be a daily work shoe for someone on hard surfaces all day or as a racing shoe for someone looking for additional support upgrade from traditional racing shoes on marathon morning.
The DNA LT keeps this shoe well under my normal threshold of 10 oz. per shoe (advertised at about 8.9 oz. for men's size 9) and feels firm but flexible underfoot once worn in. If you like to feel like your foot is under a marshmallow, this shoe is not for you. But, it gives you a good amount of protection from the road and I would say a medium to light touch of medial arch support throughout the run.
Deep flex grooves in the sole give you the ability to move the shoe through the gait cycle, but felt a bit stiff out of the box. It took about 60-70 miles to allow them to ease up and since then have felt great.
In terms of the sock liner, the feel is quite nice underfoot. Breathability was a surprising non-issue with the velour-like feel of the sock liner that left me feeling comfortable even when worn sockless.
The best things about the makings of the upper half of this shoe is that the sock liner is easily removable but also steady when re-inserted in the shoe.
Included as a nice nod to that craving liberty for the small bones of the foot, it also has deep flex grooves cut into the DNA cushioning of the sock liner which allows for even greater flexibility in the shoe. A major plus for anyone who has ever had the experience of a flexible shoe whose sock liner glides laterally or to the front of the shoe when wet or sweaty.
One thing that continues to puzzle is the ever-present heel/toe drop (4mm) for the shoe and the impressive amount of toe spring noted throughout the shoe's lifespan. Despite being a relatively flexible shoe, one can feel the springboard-like effect through the gait cycle on a shoe that lean to the minimal side of the spectrum which usually has a lower toe spring.
In that same vein, for a shoe line that no longer boasts the Connect and Drift models, it would be nice to see a 0 mm drop incorporated to this model as a step down from the mid-range Cadence (8mm).
Outsole & Durability
The outsole is where this shoe has seen some improvement from earlier models.
While I do miss the articulated and decoupled heel, they have added depth to the blown rubber outsole pads overlaying the flex grooved midsole which have kept their grip and form past the 150-mile mark for me (which is surprising considering the varied terrain to which they are subjected).
In addition, there are considerably more total pods on this model than previous versions that I have tried.
While the shoe overall has held up well, the one Achilles (wait for it...) heel comes in the rear of the shoe. As mentioned above, the heel counter for this model is very high and rigid (peculiar for a shoe purportedly embracing more minimal aspects of the running shoe spectrum) compared to its cousins like the Kinvara by Saucony and the 33 series by Asics.
As the miles have gone on, I have noticed a beveling in the heel cushioning and a circular wear spot forming that has not been as irritating as it was at the beginning of the shoe's lifespan, but may be due more to my own ability to form callus and wear a hole in the shoe than the wear-in process itself.
The aesthetics is where a quantum leap has occurred for this shoe. Some of the first iterations of the Pure series, while being flashy and bold, left something to be desired when it came to being worn off the trail or off the treadmill.
This year's model has some panache with a heathered, woven look or the polygonal tech mesh, these shoes have two main patterns of mesh to choose from, while also sporting several flashy colorways.
That being said, Brooks did not exclude the somber tones and has an arsenal of at least three more neutral options for everyday usage, especially for folks like me in the medical field who love a good tennis shoe for work wear but require something with a professional look.
This shoe cuts both ways quite well. And, while the tapered look to the toe box does little to impress the running technique purist in me, it does offer a more pleasing and slim look to the eye.
- Overall great looking shoe and plush feel on the bare foot
- Good to great durability of mid/outsole as well as general feel of the shoe in latter miles of life
- Multiple design options and colorways
- Light-weight for a shoe in its class
- Stiff and high heel counter limits minimal feel and comfort for some
- A costly shoe at full MSRP $100 for the amount of tech in the shoe itself
- Still suffers from a disconnect of the tapered toe box, high toe spring and mid-range heel to toe drop for a transitional minimalist shoe
Despite some flaws inherent in the Pure Series line, Brooks has worked out a functional marriage of Pureflow 6 that can be worn for the work day or the workout.
Good to know
- The Brooks PureFlow 6 is a daily road running shoe that’s made for those who have neutral foot pronation. Contrary to its predecessor’s impressive design, this one has a cleaner, more consistent look that still doesn’t shy away from being visually endearing. The fused overlays are relegated to the middle and back of the façade, leaving the front more open, more flexible and seamless.
- The mesh material that’s used for the upper of this running shoe has a seamless construction, which means that it doesn’t have unnecessary layers or stitched areas that might irritate the foot of the wearer. It’s smooth, flexible, and it doesn’t bear a hefty weight. The 3D Fit Print Upper design provides structure to the upper while also maintaining a secure fit that’s not restrictive.
- The BioMoGo DNA LT is a cushioning system that provides a comfortable underfoot experience that’s lightweight and flexible, as well. This version of the Brooks proprietary foam technology is 10% lighter than the standard variant. Omega Flex Grooves make the platform more flexible, but they do not sacrifice the cushioning quality of the foam unit.
- The outsole unit of the Brooks PureFlow 6 makes use of a Blown Rubber material, which is placed in strategically on the surface. It protects the mid-sole from wear and tear. It also provides traction, which is important when it comes to tackling the roads.
The Brooks PureFlow 6 uses standard measurements when it comes to the sizing scheme. It accommodates the regular preferences of runners. The available width profile for men and women is medium. It welcomes the runners who have medium sized feet. This shoe’s semi-curved shape mimics the natural curvature of the human foot.
The outsole unit of the Brooks PureFlow 6 like its recent counterpart, the PureFlow 7, makes use of Blown Rubber. This material offers durable protection against surface abrasion, as well as traction for control over the asphalt. Placed in strategic sections of the external sole unit, it aims to extend the lifespan of the mid-sole foam by shielding it from the potentially damaging effects of continued use and surface contact.
The main mid-sole component of the Brooks PureFlow 6 is the BioMoGo DNA LT. This cushioning unit is 10% lighter than the standard Brooks mid-sole foam, but it’s still responsive and long-lasting. It’s made of environmentally friendly materials and it’s capable of delivering a custom ride that’s tuned to the foot of the wearer.
The Omega Flex Grooves are indentations in the sole unit that allow the foot to move more naturally through the gait cycle. Though they are present, they do not lessen or muddle the quality of the cushioning system at work in this shoe.
The platform has a Rounded Heel, which naturally mimics the shape of the rear section of the foot. It also helps in making each step more natural and enabled. Foot landings are easier because of this design.
The forefoot section features the Dynamic Flex Grid. It employs a grid design in the sole unit that encourages better flexibility, especially when tackling the toe-offs.
The upper unit of the Brooks PureFlow 6 has a seamless design. It doesn’t utilize traditional stitching or overlays. The smooth, one-layer mesh provides a sock-like fit that’s flexible and non-irritating to the skin.
A Wraparound Heel Comfort Collar provides cushioning to the foot, while also securing it in place. With this, accidental shoe-removals would be prevented.
An Anatomical Last is used in this product. It makes sure that the shoe is able to accommodate the natural shape of the foot, resulting in a fit that’s snug, secure and anatomically sound.