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Testing Out Brooks Pure Grit 4

Posted by on 3. February 2016

Brooks Pure Grit 1 was my very first trail running shoes. I had a lot of trail mileage and finished a lot of races with Pure Grit 1.  It was such a pleasure to test out Brooks Pure Grit 4, which now has a more compact design and improved traction with its 3D Hex lugs.

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Brooks Pure Grit 4

Having Fun with Brooks Pure Grit 1

When it comes to trails, the right shoes really help a lot especially once  the surface becomes technical or it becomes too steep.  I had a lot of trails conquered with the Brooks Pure Grit 1. Even years after, I still have it with me and it’s still good to go on the trails.  You can say that it has earned being called “grit” for its Durability.  I like the technology of Brooks for road and trails because it always had the runner in mind.  It’s like putting the runner’s DNA in every shoes giving you a better feel of the road and better support.

Hello Pure Grit 4!!!

The Brooks Pure Grit 4 looks compact and it has a nice colorway.  It still comes with the rounded heel for better hold on the ankle and the Navband for better fit and security of the shoes.  I always appreciated the Navband used by Brooks as it keeps the shoe in place even when the shoelaces gets loose. The difference lies on the use of 3D Hex lugs on the out sole designed for maximum grip and protection from rocks and debris.  Well, it’s one thing to look at it but it’s another thing to test it out.

We’re ready to hit the trails.

I got to test it out at the recon for Rizal Mountain Run, which had us navigating the different trails of San Mateo, Rizal.  It had the rolling terrain with long climbs and long descents at Casile New Road.  It had two river crossings at Bajo River. It had a really steep climb at PG. It had the paved roads at Pintong Bukawe.  It’s everything you could ask for to test out a trail shoe.

Exploring the trails of San Mateo, Rizal

The Brooks Pure Grit 4 had a lightweight and flexible feel with a weight of 10.1 ounces.  10.1 ounces is about mid range when it comes to trail shoes.  Minimalist shoes can go 7-8 ounces or even lower while some the heavier shoes could be more than 12 ounces.  You just have to play around the right amount of cushioning you need.  You would barely feel the weight of the Pure Grit 4 though as it feels comfortable and gives you a better feel of the road.  You tend to feel the weight of the shoe when your legs are fatigued. In this case, it was hardly a factor as it had the same level of comfort all throughout the hours we were on the trail.  The rounded heel also gives a better hold and alignment on the ankle reducing unnecessary pronation especially with the uneven surfaces, which could lead to sprains and injuries.

It had excellent traction on different surfaces.

When it comes to descents, I always get worried about my knees and toes.  The knees take the impact of the stride when it’s a descent and the toe gets pushed forward by the gravity.  This is where the cushioning becomes important.  Brooks Pure Grit 4 has an adaptive midfoot cushioning, which takes the impact on each stride reducing the stress on the knees.  Another unique feature is the toe guard at the outsole is gives added traction on the steep descents.  I am at times cautious on the descent but for this one I was able to go on the long stretch feeling properly supported by the cushioning.

Talk about a steep climb

We passed on different surfaces like dirt tracks, rocks and grasslands, which was not too technical so I didn’t have to worry about traction.  I got an appreciation of the traction of Brooks Pure Grit 4 when we had to go on a steep climb for about 2 kilometers after the river crossing.  Whenever the route becomes too steep, it becomes a more technical course.  The traction was tested at kilometer 8-10 (see steepness above).  With such steepness, I had to rely on the traction of my shoes.  It had several 3D Hex lugs on its outsole so even if it was steep, I didn’t slide nor slip on the climb.  The traction also proved steady on the river crossings.

Testing out the Pure Grit 4 at the Ambuklao Trails.

I just realized when I tested the trails of Ambuklao that there’s a big correlation between your shoe traction and grip with your confidence.  The better the traction and the grip, the more your confidence on technical and difficult trails.  The Ambuklao trail was a bit raw and there were surfaces that have soft and crushed soil that cracks at times and leaves you in a tough spot along a cliff.  I was able to find a way on the tough spots by relying on the traction of the shoes as well as the rubber grip on the front side of the shoe.  With that confidence in my shoes, I was able to brave the tougher trails and respond quickly to the changing trail conditions.

I love river crossings. – Photo by Ronald Declarador

It’s not water resistant nor water proof but it’s good to go on rivers.  I am not a fan of waterproof shoes as it can only go on shallow waters.  I have a waterproof shoes and yes it didn’t really let water in. The problem was when the river got deeper, the water went inside the shoes and it did stay inside the shoes.  You just got to enjoy the feeling of getting your feet wet since eventually the water would flow out of your shoes and things goes back to normal.  It didn’t take long to have the water out of the shoes during the climb.

This is how I wash my trail shoes.

Brooks Pure Grit 4 had a more immersed interaction with the clear rivers of Tanay, Rizal.  It never bothered me a bit that my shoes were wet because it didn’t feel heavy as the water flows out of the shoes in time.  The snug fit feel also doesn’t give much room for water to stay in the shoes too.  This a really good feature for me as I love braving the water on river and stream crossings.

Did I forget to say, I love river crossings.

When trails get technical expect the traction of your shoes to matter.  Mount Makiling was a relatively easy trail except for the last 1.3 kilometers heading to the summit.  The last 1.3 kilometers was a total body workout.  The trails were slippery, uneven and you really had to rely on the twigs, roots, branches and rocks just to maintain your balance.  The tiny spokes at the out sole gave additional traction on the slippery part of the trail.    It was a challenge but Brooks Pure Grit 4 had enough traction to help me survive this phase.

Braved the technical trails of Mount Makiling with Brooks Pure Grit 4

The other thing I consider for a trail shoes was how it reacts on paved grounds.  Some trail races have a stretch of concrete and some shoes with good traction on trail are either too heavy on the concrete or too noisy.  Since the shoes keeps its lightweight feel and the 3D hex lugs is not too bulky, it reacts to concrete well too.  Brooks Pure Grit 4 is an excellent choice for trail running as it can keep you fast on different surfaces, protected on the steep climbs and ascents, and remains comfortable throughout.

Brooks Pure Grit 4 is available at Runnr Stores and Brooks Running Store.

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