There are many low-profile, go fast trail running shoes on the market. Every brand makes one.
Versatile low profile trail running shoes, that can act as daily trainers or trail speedsters are much rarer.
The Brooks PureGrit 6 is exactly that: a comfortable low-profile trail running shoe that can handle a variety of speeds on a variety of terrain. When I treated my pair of PureGrit 6’s as a “Connect” shoe, instead of a “Speed” shoe as Brooks intended, I thoroughly enjoyed running in them.
The PureGrit 6 has a completely revamped upper.
This year, Brooks used a soft knit-like upper with 3D printed rubber overlays that improve durability. This knit-like material is very breathable. I never developed any blister or hot spots while wearing this shoe.
Figure 1. The Brooks Puregrit 6
Almost every Brooks shoe has a substantial heel cup.
The PureGrit has the usual plastic heel cup, but it also has a Biomogo DNA midsole piece that reinforces the heel cup. The PureGrit also has a plush cushioned heel collar made of a moisture-wicking synthetic material.
Figure 2. Puregrit 6 Heel area
The PureGrit 6 has a very secure fit. The shoe has a narrow platform. On top of that, the PureGrit 6 utilizes a bootie construction to provide an even more comfortable and secure fit.
The tongue is made of a soft and stretchy synthetic material that is adequately padded. I don’t develop any pressure points on the top of my foot even when the laces are tied really tight.
The laces travel less far up the foot than standard laces, however, this did not impact the fit. The toe box is narrow but straight and nonobstructive.
Figure 3. The Toe Box
The PureGrit 6 is a mud-ready shoe. There is an impermeable mud-guard that spans around the perimeter of the shoe just above the midsole.
There is no mudguard on the medial side of the midfoot, however, there is more midsole material built up under the arch, which makes the mudguard unnecessary there.
The rubber overlays around the shoe also add some mud protection. The mudguard acts as a low-profile toe bumper to protect your toes from rocks.
This toe bumper was not very protective, however, I have plenty of space in front of my toes, which makes toe bumpers less necessary.
Rocks will bend the front of the shoe forward but they will not hurt my foot.
Underneath the thick insole, is a layer of Brooks’ BIomogo DNA midsole material, a ballistic rock shield, and the rubber outsole.
Figure 4. Thick Insoles
The Biomogo DNA is an adaptive cushioning system that adapts to your specific foot strike every time you land, to give you a superior ride.
DNA is made of a non-Newtonian compound, which means that it changes its state of matter when different amounts of pressure applied to it.
When you are running faster, you apply more pressure to the midsole. The extra pressure causes the shoe to become more firm and responsive.
When you are lightly jogging, you apply less pressure to the midsole. This causes the midsole to be softer and less responsive: perfect for jogging. These adaptations happen every time your foot touches the ground.
The BioMoGo part of BioMoGo DNA means that in an anaerobic landfill, the midsole will decompose within 20 years, compared to the thousands of years that it takes other midsole materials to decompose.
You don’t need to worry about the midsole breaking down prematurely because you don’t live in an anaerobic landfill (hopefully)!
The BioMoGo technology is not patented because Brooks wants other companies to be more environmentally-friendly.
The PureGrit’s midsole has surprisingly good cushioning for its low profile design.
I am comfortable running up to a marathon in this shoe, however, I start to prefer other trail running shoes such as the Brooks Caldera for training runs longer than 2 hours.
The PureGrit 6 is a shoe for midfoot and forefoot strikers. The shoe has very few stability features.
The narrow platform and 4-millimeter drop both make it comfortable for forefoot strikers and uncomfortable for heel strikers. Brooks uses its rounded heel technology so that
Brooks uses its rounded heel technology so that your body is better aligned, but I think that this is a little bit pointless because the Pure Grit 6 is not a shoe for heel strikers.
Underneath the Biomogo DNA midsole is a ballistic rock shield.
On the trails, the thick rubber outsole, paired with the ballistic rock shield give me great protection from rocks and roots despite the minimal midsole.
The entire outsole of the shoe is covered in a thick, undulating, layer of sticky rubber.
Protruding from this layer of rubber are 106 hexagonal lugs, which provide great. The secure fit of the shoe paired with the lugs allow me to aggressively fly around corners during races.
Figure 5. Outsole with hexagonal lugs
On top of each lug are several ‘micro lugs’ that increase surface area and therefore provide extra traction.
The sticky rubber is not the most durable rubber material on the market, however, there is so much rubber on the bottom that I am not concerned about the durability of the shoe.
The micro lugs wear down very quickly, especially while running on the road.
The rear of the outsole is made of a thick piece of rubber with horizontal grooves cut into it. The grooves face towards the forefoot so that they grip mud while running downhill.
Figure 6. The Horizontal grooves on the outsole
The shoe also has this design in the forefoot, except in reverse, so that you can really dig in while climbing.
These slits fill up with dirt and do not easily shed the dirt because the heel and forefoot of the shoe do not flex much at any point during the gait cycle.
The PureGrit works best as a trail running daily trainer for forefoot strikers looking for a more minimal shoe. It is flexible, has a comfortable upper and is pretty durable just like a daily trainer.
The PureGrit has the ability to go fast, although it doesn’t beg to go fast like the Mazama.
It can handle pretty much all trails. The Puregrit 6 does not drain particularly quickly, which does not the best shoe for runs in deep slop or a run which crosses many rivers.
The outsole of the PureGrit is soft enough and has enough lugs so that I can comfortably run on roads. The outsole wears down quickly when I run on roads so I only run on roads with this shoe when I am running to a trail.
-0.5 indicates that you should buy 0.5 sizes smaller in a different shoe; +0.5 indicates that you should buy 0.5 sizes larger in a different shoe; = indicates that you should but the same size in both shoes.
Brooks Pure Grit 6 VS. Brooks Mazama
The Mazama is a much faster shoe than the Pure Grit. It has firmer cushioning and a stiffer, faster ride.
Both shoes have about the same amount of protection. The Pure Grit is much more comfortable and more durable than the Mazama. The Mazama is half of an ounce lighter than the PureGrit and has 2 millimeters more
The Mazama is half of an ounce lighter than the PureGrit and has 2 millimeters more drop.
Buy the Mazama if you want to go fast; Buy the Pure Grit if you want an all-around lightweight trail running shoe.
Brooks Pure Grit 6 VS. La Sportiva Helios SR
The Helios SR is a very lightweight trail running shoe.
It weighs 1.5 ounces less and has 2 millimeters less drop than the PureGrit. The Helios has softer cushioning than the PureGrit 6.
Both shoes have equal amounts of traction. The Helios has a more secure, race-like fit. The Pure grit has much more protection and is more durable than the Helios.
Brooks Pure Grit 6 VS. Altra Superior
The Superior is another all around trail running shoes for runners looking for a more minimal ride.
The Superior has a similar cushion in the forefoot, however, the Superior is zero drop which, means that it has much less cushion in the heel. Both shoes have similar amounts of protection.
The PureGrit is more durable than the Superior. The Superior has a much wider fit, especially in the toebox.
Brooks Pure Grit 6 VS. Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2
The Speed Instinct has a lot of soft cushioning in the heel, and less, firm cushioning in the forefoot. This makes the Speed Instinct good for comfortable heel striking downhill without losing speed while climbing.
The PureGrit is a more minimal, more flexible and more comfortable. Both shoes weigh about the same amount and have about the same amount of heel drop.
Brooks Pure Grit 6 VS. Saucony Peregrine 7
The Peregrine has about the same amount of responsive cushioning as the PureGrit. The Peregrine is a tank. It has a much more protective upper and super aggressive deep lugs.
Both shoes weigh about the same amount and have the same amount of drop. The Pure grit is more flexible and has a more comfortable upper.
The PureGrit 6 completely exceeded my expectation considering the history of this shoe.
My only real problem with the PureGrit 6 its weight. Although the weight has decreased from previous models, the PureGrit 6 still weighs 9.6 ounces, which is a little bit heavy for such a low-profile trail runner.
I also would prefer a softer ride, however, I cannot take off too many points for that because it is just my personal preference.
Overall, the Brooks PureGrit 6 meets all the criteria for a trail running shoe. It is comfortable and secure, durable, shock absorbent, protective, stable and provides good traction.