Brooks PureDrift Running Shoe Review

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Updated July 5, 2022
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83 Expert Rating

Brooks Puredrift Running Shoes

Improving your jog is as simple as downloading an iOS or Android app. And while this might enhance your run, and allow you to correct pacing and monitor distance, nothing is as important as a pair of the best running shoes. Needless to say there are a myriad of options on the market, ranging from the traditionally cushioned sneakers that are designed to prevent damage to your knees and feet, to the free running oriented shoes that promote a healthier form. You might also want to check out the Nike Flyknit Racer/Editor’s Choice – Best Running Shoes for Men.

Brooks newest shoes, the PureDrift are of the latter ilk and I’ve been running in them for the last 10 weeks.  The version I received were of a bright green neon finish (officially yellow) and are nothing short of attention grabbing.  Adding to the PureDrift’s aesthetic is a reflective mesh built-in to the sidewall of the shoe, while a minimalist design surrounds the rest of the shoe that makes its fairly innocuous, unlike Nike’s and Adidas’ offerings.

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The Brooks PureDrifts are true to size, though I made the mistake of requesting a pair in 10.5 as 11s, my normal size, tend to run big in other sneakers that I’ve tried.  To be candid, I’ve long used a pair of Adidas Cross Trainers to run and workout.  They provide all around stability and are geared towards those that are doing more than just running.  That said, the Brooks PureDrifts sufficed in all of my workout scenarios, and I’ve even used them in my Kung Fu class.   The PureDrifts are vastly lighter (5.6oz) than my previous pair of cross trainers, and mold to my foot much more closely than any other pair of sneakers that I’ve previously tried, even when compared to Nike’s Free Trainer 3.0 running shoes. If you prefer a running shoe with rear foot GEL cushioning system, check out our Asics men’s gel venture running shoe review.

One side of the PureDrift’s tongue is sewn directly into the shoe.  This prevents movement, and what should be added comfort if worn without socks.  However, in the case of the PureDrift the tongue caused the toe of the sneaker to pull down and bunch up against my foot.  It didn’t prove to be a physical hinderance during runs and one that I got used to, but was annoying during initial use.

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The included laces are neither flat or rounded; they’re a mix between the two.  For the most part they’ve stayed tied, but on a few occasions came loose and interrupted my run.  That said, they’ve provided equal pressure across the top of my foot and didn’t cause pain when tightened, unlike traditional laces.

Since I run with inserts (orthotics) – I have flat feet – I removed the PureDrift’s default insert.  Removing them converts the shoe to a zero drop sneaker, which is the angle (or distance) of descent between the toe and the heel.  Leaving it in provides 4 mm of drop.  So if you’re accustom to running in a minimalist shoe, such as Vibram’s 5 fingers you might want to remove the insert.  However, if you’re not, you should consider leaving it in place, since it will protect your heel from repeated heel strikes and be more analogous to your previous running sneakers. In case you like running in a shoe with a soft responsive cushion to form a unique heel geometry for smooth gliding, read our Hoka one one clifton edge review.

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Despite my orthotics being rather clunky and heavy, I had no problems with the PureDrifts, and although I’d like to think that I ran according to barefoot specs, I still slightly landed with the back of my foot as evidenced by the partially worn heel.  That said, I’m not a running enthusiast, though I have slowly been working my way up in mileage since I received the Brooks PureDrifts.

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.  My longest run outside hasn’t been more than 3 miles, and I really have no complaints about their comfort – keep in mind this is coming from a guy with flat feet.  I wouldn’t have thought that a pair of minimalistic running shoes would have improved my ability to jog, but alas they did.  I’m not often a convert, but I can honestly say that I am in terms of the Brooks PureDrift Running Shoes.

Bottom Line: Avid runner or not, the PureDrifts are an excellent pair of running sneakers that are suitable for anyone.

Editor’s Rating:




  • Lightweight (5.6oz) and comfortable
  • Dual toe flex
  • Removable sock liner


  • Step in water and holes in the soles will let water seep into your socks
  • Tongue bunches up

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