UPDATE 2/9/12: Review of the Brooks PureFlow now posted!
Brooks has just released a whole lot more information about its Pure Project line. I was originally going to add this to my last post on Pure Project, but there quickly got to be too much information. Pictures of the shoes and information about the technology used below the jump.
The PureConnect looks to directly compete with the Saucony Kinvara: Very comparable weights, and same 4mm heel-toe differential. It may also compete with the Nike Free 3.0. Jury's still out, but with promises of more stability and 5-10% more cushioning than their competitors (more on this later), I may be giving it a try anyway. (UPDATE: The Connect seems to be significantly more stable and offer much more arch support than the Free 3.0 AND Free Run. It is less flexible than either Free, and its flexibility seems like it may be similar to that of the Kinvara. It is also much softer and more cushioned than either Free. It seems to be significantly narrower than the Kinvara in the toebox, and the Kinvara has a wider base too.)
Nike Free Run. I'm not going to lie. I'm intrigued.
The PureCadence looks like it will directly compete with the Saucony Mirage as a supportive shoe that still offers ground feel. Like the PureConnect versus the Kinvara, the PureCadence offers a very similar weight and same 4mm heel-toe differential as the Mirage. The PureCadence may also be similar to the now hard to find Nike Free 7.0.
The PureGrit is a trail shoe that competes with the Saucony Peregrine. Its claimed weight is slightly lighter than the Peregrine's, but the 4mm heel-toe differential is the same.
Obviously, only Brooks and their wear-testers know how these shoes actually fit and ride, since while I have the Free 3.0 and Kinvara in the same category with the PureConnect, anyone who has worn both of those shoes knows that the 3.0 is far less cushioned, more flexible, and lower to the ground than the Kinvara (in case you're wondering, out of those two, I prefer the Kinvara, though I'm not head-over-heels for either shoe). In fact, I personally think the Kinvara's ride is more similar to that of the 5.0 (and therefore Run), but I seem to see it compared more often to the 3.0 with people more into the whole minimalist shoe thing than I am.
Brooks has incorporated what it calls IDEAL technologies into these shoes to change the ride such that it is more "feel" than "flow."
The Ideal Heel shifts the ideal footstrike contact point slightly forward, such that instead encouraging of the far posterior heelstrike like the "flow" shoes, the PureProject shoes encourage a "mid-heel strike." Brooks claims this shifts the contact point forward 3cm to the center of the heel. I'd say that the picture implies that it also moves it laterally, but most people's initial contact point (neutral runners, overpronators, and supinators alike) is already on the lateral portion of their heel already. Nice that Brooks acknowledges that most people (including many people who claim to be midfoot strikers) are heel strikers, rather than promising that the shoe will encourage a midfoot strike just because that's what the market wants to hear.
Toe Flex is said to increase the flexibility of the forefoot by 25-30% by removing parts of the midsole and by adding flex grooves. Most trainers already have flex grooves on the forefoot, but it looks like Brooks is putting one that actually adds lateral forefoot flexibility. (UPDATE: Supposedly this is supposed to allow your big toe to flex separately, but it doesn't seem like most people are noticing this particular feature.)
The Nav Band is designed to wrap around your foot no matter your level of pronation. This makes for a sock-like fit for the upper. (UPDATE: This also seems to add quite a bit of arch support!)
The anatomical last will open (read: widen) the forefoot to mimic the shape of the foot and allow for toe spread. I like the current fit of their shoes, so I'm less excited about this development, but we'll see. (UPDATE: The Flow, Cadence, and Grit have a widened toebox, but the Connect is super-narrow...like even more narrow than the already really narrow T7.)
BioMoGo DNA blends Brooks' BioMoGo foam with their non-Newtonian DNA to provide dynamic cushioning and stability along the entire midsole. Brooks claims this provides 5-10% more cushioning than standard running shoes, while remaining responsive. I'm all about having some cushion underfoot, so this is promising. I also wonder how this compares to Nike's foam that they use in their Lunar line of shoes. (UPDATE: This is actually super soft and cushion-y. Pretty comparable to the Lunar foam, IMO.)
The PureProject shoes are said to be more stable than their competitors, and have inherent stability similar to their "float" line of neutral and guidance shoes. Nearly all shoes have some inherent stability, but claiming to be more stable than their competitors shows promise, since it means that Brooks acknowledges that you can make a low profile shoe without conforming to the "very little cushioning and very little stability" mindset.
Brooks PureProject is set to be released in October 2011, and will retail for between $90-120.