Runners looking for a solid but not overbuilt trail shoe with protection and comfort for technical conditions will appreciate the Brooks PureGrit 3. It performs much like the Montrail FluidFlex2 and New Balance 110v2. The PureGrit 3’s forefoot plate provides good comfort on technical terrain but that plate adds to the overall weight of the shoe.
Editor’s note: Because the Brooks PureGrit 3 falls on the line between a minimalist shoe and a trainer, we included it in both minimalist trail running test (directed by Donald Buraglio) and our lightweight trail runner test (directed by Jacob Waltz). For the other tester’s perspective, click here [LINK]
Security (of fit) The PureGrit 3 exchanges the burrito-style upper of its predecessor with a conventional tongue and lace system. Synthetic overlays tie both the rearfoot and forefoot areas to the lacing eyelets for secure fit from heel to toe. An elastic Nav Band wraps around the top of the foot and is anchored to the midsole both medially and laterally to hold the foot against the midsole; this feature is similar to Brooks’s recent PureFlow3.
Stability (on impact) A completely redesigned outsole features a multitude of 3mm hexagonal lugs that provide outstanding traction in mud, on loose gravel, and on steep descents. The rear foot platform is more prominent on the medial side to accommodate pronators.
Smoothness (flexibility) Like the PureFlow3, the PureGrit3 features BioMoGo DNA, an adaptive midsole cushioning compound that firms up with higher pressure and stays softer for lighter impact. Foot strike feels soft even on rocky terrain, with fluid movement from midfoot to forefoot. Forefoot flexibility is fair, with limited mobility in the rear foot area.
Comfort An added forefoot plate significantly improves comfort on technical terrain. Thin mesh in the forefoot breathes effectively and dries quickly, and traditional padding around the heel and ankle collar keep the heel and ankle comfortable. The toe box is too narrow to allow full foot splay, especially on the lateral side.
Speed and agility With a forefoot plate and outstanding grip, it’s easy to blast through rough terrain … but at close to 10 ounces, overall speed will be compromised for longer outings.