Brooks PureGrit 3 Review

Brooks PureGrit 3 Review

Summary: The Brooks PureGrit 3 is a solid all around trail shoe with effective traction and protection. It is light enough to race in and durable enough for training.



  • true sizing
  • light weight
  • solid construction
  • responsive
  • great traction


  • ineffective sock liner
  • unattached tongue caused it to slide
  • not a true minimal shoe

First Impressions:IMG_1367

I’ve been a fan of Brooks for several years and I have had good results running in both road and trail offerings. The PureGrit 3 is light, but also seems to be a solid trail shoe with fairly aggressive tread. Brooks effectively created an aggressive appearance with the PureGrit 3. The red and blue with the bright yellow sole just looks fast, in the same way we bought shoes as kids because we were sure they would make us run faster or jump higher.

I use an alternative lacing to accommodate my high instep and I noticed the PureGrit 3 has that built in with a wide stretchy band over the instep while the laces skip that part. I like the fact that they used flat laces; they seem to cut into my foot less.

Let’s give these a try.



Lacing them up for the first time, they fit like a lighter version of the Cascadia. Certainly not a minimalist shoe, there seems to be more cushion that what I expected for the weight, but closer to minimal than the Cascadia by a significant margin. The shoe feels light, but solid. Brooks sock liners are never enough, so I put my SuperFeet inserts in there. The padding on the collar and tongue add to the comfort and the sole wrapping up on the toe and the reinforced heel protect the foot and preserve the durability of the shoe.

One issue: I would like it if Brooks would incorporate some elastic on the tongue so it doesn’t slide off to the side. Maybe petty, but this is a pet peeve of mine.



I was able to run the shoe on many different surfaces; hard dirt, rocky trail, decomposed granite bike trail, up and down hills, etc. I made a point to not avoid rocks and the rock plate offered adequate protection, although I was starting to feel it after 5 miles of purposely looking for rocks to step on (I wouldn’t recommend that), but you certainly don’t have to make any effort to avoid rocky terrain. On every surface the responsiveness of the shoe was impressive. They provide stability on uneven single track, as well as comfort and responsiveness on various other surfaces.

The switchback challenge is a highly technical 6.6 mile tail course (7.4 if you miss a turn) that truly put the PureGrit, and me, through its paces. This seems to be the shoe’s element and they were nimble and confirmable through the turns and over the rocks.


Another big variation from the Cascadia is the 4mm drop (as opposed to 12mm). This significantly increases the responsiveness of the shoe to the trail, while maintaining a fair amount of cushion in the forefoot for comfort. The band over the inseam did exactly what I had hoped and held the shoe firmly in place, while saving me from any painful lace impressions on that area of my foot.



  • $120
  • 4 mm drop (19mm stack at heel)
  • 10.1 oz (size 9) Brooks lists it at 9.9 oz


Final Impressions:

Brooks markets their Pure series of shoes as minimalist, but compared to other minimal shoes available, I found these to barely fit in that designation. However, if you are wanting a durable trail shoe that is a little closer to minimal and a little closer to 0-drop, without being either one, this might be the shoe you are looking for. I enjoyed running the trails in the PureGrit 3. I could feel the trail without the discomfort I find in more minimal shoes. It is just plain fun to run in these. The light weight made me feel like I could move as one with the trail and I’m pretty sure they do make me faster. I plan on putting a lot more miles on these.


IMG_1367Find out more at

If you’re thinking about purchasing these shoes, visit your local running store. If you’d rather purchase online, please consider using this link as it’ll drop a few nickels into the URP bucket. Thanks.

Tara is currently reviewing the female version of this shoe and will post her findings next week.

These shoes were provided to URP by Brooks for trial purposes. All words are our own. The review was written by Kirk McMorris, a high school teacher, father, coach, mentor, blogger, and middle-back ultra runner. Read more of his musings at












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