I’ve had the Pure Connect for about 3 weeks now, and have put about 200 miles on them, both trail and road, with a 2:33 marathon in them last weekend. I completely agree with the review and the comments. Though I really wanted to like the shoe and have been running in it anyway, I wish I had just returned it before it Nike Air Max 95 Femme got dirty. I have wide feet (even Altras aren’t quite wide enough at the toes; my 4th and 5th toes ripped through the uppers in a few weeks). I had to modify the Pure Connect by cutting away the lateral side of the plastic toe guard that is glued to the outer translucent mesh. This allowed substantially greater stretch of the green inner material. I’ve been used to my toes hanging over a shoe’s midsole for quite a while, and the Pure Connect is no exception. However, a plastic inner toe guard restricts this ability, and the makes the shoe more constricting than other narrow shoe I’ve tried on. Once nice feature is that despite the narrowness, the medial toebox is straighter than in other shoes. In other words, the toebox doesn’t narrow over the 2nd or third toe, but has its apex distal to the big toe, so the 1st Nike Air Max 270 Mujer ray and big toe Nike Air Max 270 Femme are in better alignment than in some other narrow shoes. The split toe doesn’t work at all. The midsole is too stiff (though it has become significantly more flexible with wear). The bottom line is that the shoe is painfully narrow, especially for something marketed with an “anatomical last.” I don’t know who’s anatomy this is based on, but its not remotely shaped like my foot. When I removed the insole and placed my foot over it, I laughed. Dumb, Brooks, dumb.
I bought the Pure Connect hoping it would replace my aging pair of Mach 11 flats (the Mach 12 is nothing like the 11 in my opinion), based on reportedly similar midsole heights/differentials. The Mach 11 was also narrow at first, but stretched/ripped out and has served me well. In fact, it now has 2000+ miles on it, I run on it regularly, and it’s the Nike Air Max 95 Femme single best running Nike Air Max 95 Mujer shoe I’ve ever owned. But the Pure Connect feels like a marshmallow, especially in the heel. Maybe it’s the convexity of the midsole, or too much midsole overall, or softer midsole in the heel, but I actually feel like it encourages a rearfoot strike (albeit a few cm forward compared to a shoe with a traditional angular heel shape). I’m hoping the Pure Connect will prove better with time. After 200 miles it is much more comfortable than when I first laced it up. But unless Brooks can make significant improvements in last shape and midsole contour in the next iteration of the Pure Connect, they’ve probably lost me as customer. I’m hoping the Minimus Road (2012) or Mizuno Wave Universe 4 prove to be better road shoes.I was initially disappointed by the timing of Jim Weber’s anti-barefoot remarks relative to Nike Air Max Tavas Damen the unveiling of the Nike Air Max Zero Damen Pure Project line. I felt that the company was certainly being disingenuous with their foray into minimalism and didn’t want to have anything to do with it.I changed my mind about how to respond to Mr. Weber’s comments a few weeks ago. I thought that maybe Brooks would change their “official position” on barefoot or minimalist running if they sold a ton of Pure Project shoes so I bought the Flows and I really like them (I also found the Connect to be too narrow through the midfoot with a low volume, narrow toebox). I could do without the, “nav band” or “IDEAL heel” but the Flow’s toe-box is huge and I can run 20 miles in them without pain, blisters or lost toenails. I can’t run that far in my Vibrams yet and I can’t run that far barefoot.I totally agree with your assessment of the Connect, all the way to the Nike Air Max 2017 Femme split toe which makes no logical sense to me in the way it is executed. The Saucony Kinvara is a bit narrow in the toe box for me so the Connect was way too narrow. And I hated how the arch felt. I ended up with the Flow which I’m still on the fence about. I felt like I needed a bit more cushion on my longer runs since my old stress fracture spot was acting up in my Kinvaras once I went over a measly 15 miles per week, but after having such nice road feel, it was hard to get used to the squishiness of the Flow.