Monday, September 23, 2013

Gear Review: Brooks Pure Flow 2 vs Kinvara 4

My beloved Kinvara's are coming to their final miles. I usually run my shoes to 500 miles if possible and start breaking in my new shoe starting around mile 400- 450. By the time 500 hits the new shoes are broke in and good to go. The last time this happened with road shoes I was wearing Brooks Pure Cadence trying to get use to a lower heel height and less stability. I thought I was switching to the Pure Flow but my brother convinced me to try the Kinvara 3's and I was blown away by how light and comfortable these shoes felt. It was actually shocking to walk out with a better shoe than the Brooks Pure Flow! That same scenario played out again when I went to go get another pair of those amazing Kinvara's. The new model was on the shelf and everyone seemed to be out of the old model.

  This left me open to suggestion and the sales lady did just that when she brought me out the Kinvara 4's to try on. Moments later I was comparing the new Pure Flow 2's against the Kinvara 4's just as I had before. The Kinvara's felt very similar to the earlier model and I loved that shoe but the Flow 2 felt different then the original, better. Again I was stunned. I came to get some Sauconys and walked out with some Brooks!

The Brooks Pure Flow 2 is a minimal shoe with a 4mm heel drop. The shoe gets its plush ride from the combination of BioMogo and DNA material. Those are fancy names for proprietary foam! The stack height on that foam is 22mm at the heel and 18mm at the forefoot. This is perfect for what I was looking for. Plenty of cushion under foot but a more level foot bed to compliment my mid-foot running style. The shoe is all that and light weight coming in at 8.8oz. That great feeling has been carried over from the original Flow which is the only carry over. The upper is completely new which cuts a little weight, adds a “burrito style” tongue, and has a reshaped toebox that is more anatomically correct. This new toebox is complimented by a new lacing system that matches the natural curve of the foot. The NAV band is still under the laces and it is basically an elastic band that locks the upper down on to the foot. The split toe design is carried over as well. This feature is said to help allow the toes to move more naturally.

 I've done quite a few 6 mile runs, an 11 mile run and a 28 mile run in these shoes and they have preformed beautifully. Why I like the PF2 model now; and yet choose the Kinvaras instead of the PF1 in the past has to do with the upper. I say this because that unmistakable Pure Project feeling underfoot is just as incredible as I remember. The upper, on the one hand is non existent, but on the other hand it locks the foot onto that plush bed perfectly. I think the weird lace pattern has a lot to do with it. It is hands down the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. The upper is not there until you come into a fast corner and throw your weight to the outside of the shoe and the structure holds you like it was leather overlays. I love this shoe, so much so that I choose it over the amazing Kinvara 4!