Minimalist running shoes aren’t for everyone, but Brooks' new PureDrift is a transitional shoe with a minimalist option that's great for the barefoot-curious as well as runners exploring a shoe with a little more road feel.
The PureDrift's secret is adjustable drop. With the sockliner in, it's a 4mm drop shoe—perfect for runners going from a more traditional shoe to a barefoot shoe. Pull the sockliner, and you've got a zero drop shoe that lets you stride completely connected to the ground.
The sole under your toes is formed so that you can use them to push off independently, which testers reported felt "more natural than any other non-barefoot shoe" they had run in. The sole also has spring, which propelled testers into their next step.In the upper, the wide toebox didn’t constrain the forefoot but let bones and joints flex and move. The upper's light mesh has a reinforcing instep band that kept feet firmly in place without cutting off circulation. Underfoot, a broad, stable, articulated platform has exceptional stability and, again, fostered a natural feel when running—never restrictive, always flowy. The midsole—made from Brooks' eco EVA—adapts to a your gait as you clock miles. But it's not just a shoe we used for running. It also got props at the Crossfit gym. Available January 2013, $100; brooksrunning.com.