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Dirty Runner: Brooks Pure Grit 2 Review

Yes, the traction is better! End of review. Ok, all kidding aside, I’ve been looking forward to testing the new version of the Brooks Pure Grit since I saw pictures of the new tread pattern.  What was not immediately apparent when I first saw those pictures was that a few other changes were made that are improvements as well. I received a pair PureGrit 2’s from Brooks (disclaimer, these shoes were provided as a media sample free of charge) three weeks ago, and have since run in them 5 times (72 miles) including 2 long trail runs of 20 and 22 miles.

At first glance the shoe looks very similar to the original with a tread pattern change.  Upon closer scrutiny you will notice that the upper construction has changed drastically. The tongue is now a “burrito” style, meaning that the material from one side of the shoe actually wraps around your foot and forms the tongue.

I was not excited about this (before trying it on) because I’ve never liked this design.  I always find that it creates a pressure point on the side where it ends. However, I can say that it works very well on this shoe. The tongue stays in place, does not create any pressure points, and seems to keep the dirt out. My size 10.5 weighs 10.5oz.

The upper now has an asymmetrical lace opening which creates a very comfortable fit.  The laces included with the shoe are light, thin, and perfectly sized. The Nav Band is now only located on one side of the shoe and seems much more integrated than the old design. Frankly, the old design just seemed to get in the way of lacing the shoe and didn’t seem to provide any benefit.  This new version actually seems to increase snugness around the foot.

Even with all of the new changes, previous wearers will feel immediately at home slipping their feet into this version.  The level of cushioning and toe box room feel identical. The useless (in my opinion) toe and heel splits are still there.

Sizing is also unchanged (i.e., if you wear a 10 in the old version, order a 10 in this version). I felt that the level of arch support was less, but then slipped on my old ones and they feel identical – perhaps the fact that my old ones have 600 miles on them might have something to do with it.  Either way, I seem to recall the arch support being more invasive when I first reviewed version 1 of the Grit. If real, this is a welcome change, but it might just be in my head.

The old version was one of the best draining shoes I’ve ever used. It looks like the material is a bit different on the new version. I have only been running on snowy, icy trails so I haven’t had a proper chance to really swamp them. However, from the little bit of water I have run through they’ve drained well. Hopefully they will be as good as the last version.

Now, lets talk about traction. The old design worked fine if you were simply going up or down. The second you had to do any lateral movement they were terrible. Not bad, terrible! If you look at the old tread pattern it’s not hard to see why.  There are no sharp edges in that direction. The new design incorporates many more sharp edges and more points of contact. Like I said, I have only run on snowy, icy snowmobile trails but the traction seems much improved. My biggest concern is that the sole material still appears to be the same type of rubber. I have found this material to be terrible on every shoe that Brooks has used it on, all the way back to the Cascadia 4’s. The lack of traction is most noticeable on hard, slick surfaces like wet rocks, and fallen logs. I have not had a chance to test them in those conditions given that it has been snowy and consistently below freezing up here in NH (anybody who has used the Grit 2’s on wet surfaces, please leave a comment to let us know if wet surface traction has improved).

The Biomogo midsole is an absolute pleasure to run on. With a 4mm heel/forefoot drop you can run with nice mid-foot form without any interference. When you get tired (like after 70 miles or so…) and your form deteriorates, heel striking is no big deal because the level of cushioning is so nice. The Grit is equally at home running longer stretches of pavement as running gnarly trails. There are not many shoes on the market that are good at both.

I ended my original review by saying “If I could only have one pair of shoes (God forbid!) these would probably be the ones.” After several runs in the new version I found myself thinking the same thing. This is a great do-everything shoe!

Brooks PureGrit 2

The Brooks Pure Grit 2 is available for purchase at Running Warehouse and Zappos.


Nate Sanel is an ultrarunner and author of the Dirty Runner column on Runblogger. You can find more of Nate’s writing on his personal blog, Biker Nate, or follow him on Twitter.

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. Enkindu says:

    I can confirm that traction on wet and hard surfaces is absolutely terrible. The rubber is way too hard to have any sort of grip on rocks and when wet, you’d be better off with skis. Also the pattern is not very deep, so grip on loose surfaces (gravel etc) is bad as well. I went into these from the NB minimus range and the grip has been hugely disappointing. I raced a hard 46k 2,800m+ trail race yesterday and had several slips because of these shoes which led to unnecessary cramps etc. I need to go and purchase another type of a shoe and only use the PG2 on dry days and probably will never race in them again. Fit, weight, etc are good as has been said but the grip issue is just too bad to tolerate…

  2. Ben McDonald says:

    Curious about how they handle wet harder surfaces as well. Running on even a little wet pavement in the originals was comically difficult work.

  3. Andrew Skarzynski says:

    Thanks for the review. My displeasure with the first edition was the sole durability. My first pair wore out relatively quickly and the only reason I can think was due to the pavement stretches back and forth to the trailhead (which would typically represent about 5.5 miles of a 13 – 16 mile weekend run).

    • Thats interesting Andrew. I ran a ton of pavement miles on mine and found the durability to be very good. I did notice that Brooks now has a blurb on their website that says. “Because of their lightweight construction and fewer materials, runners
      should generally expect shoes from the PureProject line to last
      approximately 250-300 miles”. My guess is that your not the first person to run into that. My pair lasted over 600 miles without any problems.

      • That blurb is the reason I’ve avoided the Pure line. They all look and seem really nice, but I need more miles than that.

  4. Karl Wilcox says:

    I have the Grit 1 and I find them lethal. Lethal as in really dangerous. I love the fit. Love the weight and the way they drain quickly but the tread is a disaster in my opinion. It’s fine on loose shingle but if you hit something smooth and wet then get ready to slide like you are on ice skates. I ran the wet and windy cliffs of cornwall this Xmas and it was hard work. mud was no problem but as son as you try and scramble over wet rocks use lose all traction. This week I came back from a 52km endurance race, was walking through the car park and it was raining. Turned a corner and bang I was flat on my side with a bruised hip and elbow. I don’t understand how brooks can design a trail shoe that has little to no tread it seems to go against all convention for what a trail shoe is meant to do. Have read other reviews and many point out the same IMO serious and dangerous flaw. Have also noticed that the Grit 2 have a completely different tread pattern to the 1.

    • Pete Larson says:

      My first run in the Grit 1 I stepped on a wet rock and my foot slid and wedged against another rock which gashed my ankle pretty good. Also found that running over wet wooden footbridges was like trying to cross an ice rink. You would think that wet surface traction is something that would have been tested in a trail shoe before going into production…hopefully it’s better in the update.
      Sent from my iPad

  5. Traveling Guy says:

    I found it ironic that the Grit 1 had such traction issue given that their headquarters are in western (Bothell) WA, where
    trails commonly have slick mud at least 9 months of the year with logs all over
    the place (usually thrown in the mud to provide something to step on to cross muddy sections without loosing your shoes)! (I live nearby, and was particularly annoyed that the shoe
    would be inadequate for the “normal” condition of trails in these
    parts!) I may give the Grit 2 a try, since I would really like a light
    trail shoe that can run pavement as well, and Brooks is the “local” company. (my favorite runner right now is the Sketchers Bionic. Great on the road and dry easy trail, but it is not good at all on slick surface either, but then it is not a “trail” shoe.)

  6. Kelly Springs says:

    I liked the PG2 at first too and I agree with many of your comments about the good changes. However, I am not of the opinion that the outsole is a good change. To keep it short, I do not believe a concave outsole is a smart design and I did not sense that the sole flattened out while landing. What I did feel was my ankle turn on one day and then again on another day along with my knee. I ran in the PG1 since last summer. The PG2 is more restrictive and I found that the forefoot felt heavy and clumsy. Also, the midfoot feel of the old model is not there with the new model and I had a hard time gauging where midfoot is. Then again, I won’t run in Hokas for much the same reason that I don’t like these shoes. If you like running in rigid shoes then go for it but my feet don’t dig ‘em. In contrast to the comments above about the sharp edges, I did not like them and felt they were a major contributing factor to me turning my ankle twice.

    • David Milner says:

      Kelly – I wish I’d paid more attention to your review before I bought!
      The concave outsole is a weird thing. I’ve not found it particularly unstable, just unpleasant: running on any hard surface (not only tarmac, even hard-packed dirt), the shoes abruptly slap flat against the ground (thanks also to the rubber being so stiff) and make a ‘clip-clop’ sound like a horse’s hooves. Plus they seem to pronate unless I force myself into an artificial forefoot strike. And, of course, they have no traction on hard wet surfaces.
      All a great shame, because the upper and footbed are very good – as long as you’re standing still…

  7. Kristie says:

    I just bought the pure grit 2 this week. I looked at many reviews and decided to try. This is my first time trying a minimalist style shoe. I’ve run in Asics for years but wanted a change. I live in Northern California and it hardly rains so I have not experienced dissatisfaction from that, but good to know they won’t work if I go to my hometown of Cleveland for a visit. I found them extremely comfortable and light and after my first run I had slightly sore pinky toes, but assumed it was just part of the break-in process–nothing out of the ordinary. Otherwise the fit is so snug, lightweight, and comfortable I almost thought “I’ll never go back to asics”. Today I took a walk and wore them for maybe two miles. My little toes hurt again but when I got home I saw blood all over my socks. The stitching on both sides cut deeply (through my socks) into my toes…wow! It did not happen on my 3mile run though, and I’m hoping using these for running only and with thick supportive running socks will solve the problem. Wish me luck after these large cuts heal. Don’t wear without socks!

  8. Walter Lewis says:

    Just ran my first few miles in the PG2. What I noticed is the strapping built into the shoe, which peaks at the top lace acts as an arch support, making the shoes much more rigid than the PG1, which I love.

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