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Brooks PureFlow 7 Review

Fast racing flats that will get you across the line in comfort
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Price:  $90 List | $89.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Affordable racing flats, more comfortable updated design, light
Cons:  Limited durability, less attractive, less responsive
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Ryan Baham ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 19, 2020
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 14
  • Responsiveness - 25% 6
  • Landing Comfort - 25% 9
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Durability - 10% 6
  • Upper Comfort - 10% 9
  • Breathability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Brooks PureFlow 7 keeps most of our favorite features from earlier versions but introduces a few useful changes to make them even better racing flats. And they do it at a bargain price. The best improvement is that they finally redesigned the tongue, so it doesn't fold at the sides or chafe — a chief complaint in previous iterations. It also uses a bit more padding than earlier versions and has a slightly different toe box and foot shape, but neither aspect seemed to change performance or road feel. The PureFlow remains one of the best racing flats on the market.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Yes, the PureFlow 7 scores well in our lineup, but that's not enough to tell you if it's the right running shoe for you. For that, we spent hours and miles testing these things against our measures and other top shoes on the market. Take a look at the criteria below that matter most to you and see if the PureFlows match up with what you need.

Performance Comparison


Smooth  light  fast  and comfortable  the updated PureFlow 7s are easily some of the best lightweight racing flats out there.
Smooth, light, fast, and comfortable, the updated PureFlow 7s are easily some of the best lightweight racing flats out there.

Responsiveness


This racing flat is not particularly responsive when compared to the rest of our lineup. We consider the responsiveness to be just a bit better than average, though the high-quality midsole does seem to add back to what's put in. But lower responsiveness, in this case, corresponds to improved comfort. It does a great job of preserving the natural gait.

Along with many of the other low-profile racing-flat style shoes, any responsiveness from this model comes from the bounceback of its BioMoGo DNA midsole. It mostly lacks any internal stability structures that might add to the bounceback. It does have a Nav Band through the midfoot and a sculpted medial midfoot for stability, both of which contribute to additional responsiveness, but the model remains a flexible shoe that simply doesn't have the responsiveness of other pairs.

The PureFlow 7 has good flexibility in its sole but still retains its responsiveness.
The PureFlow 7 has good flexibility in its sole but still retains its responsiveness.

Landing Comfort


The PureFlow ranks at the very top of our tested models for landing comfort, sharing the designation with some other outstanding contenders. Brooks does a great job creating midsoles that remain flexible while giving adequate cushioning with 22mm of cushioning at the heel and 18mm at the forefoot.

The midsole is made of BioMoGo DNA, which feels firm, but still gives enough to make even the longest runs a pleasant affair. This shoe is amenable to any strike style with its low heel-to-toe discrepancy of just 4mm and a cushy, padded stack through to the toe. In fact, that low discrepancy is one of the primary reasons it outscored some of the other models.

That giant Brooks crashpad and cushy midsole propel the PureFlow 7s to the top of this measure.
That giant Brooks crashpad and cushy midsole propel the PureFlow 7s to the top of this measure.

Weight


These rank near the middle of our testing group with their weight coming in at 20.8 ounces for a men's 11. They 're much lighter than most of the stability shoes but heavier than the majority of the other lightweight racing flats. This isn't to say that the PureFlow is heavy, it's just that our field of shoes is insanely light. There are lighter options if you want something closer to a traditional shoe.

Durability


One of the unfortunate downsides of lightweight shoes is that their durability typically suffers. That is not quite the case with the PureFlow 7, which does well for lightweight flats. The blown carbon outsole allows this shoe to take a good deal of beating while the tough mesh upper provides a good layer of protection.

There should be minimal concern that they may be vulnerable to wear and tear if you train and race in the same pair. Brooks suggests that the shoe should last 250-300 miles, which is consistent with running a few miles a few times a week for most of the year. (At a bare minimum, three miles twice a week for 48 weeks out of the year… We figure you can't make an excuse not to run for more than four weeks out of the year.)

Upper Comfort


The PureFlow has an extremely comfortable plush upper heel wrap and a smooth, felt-like tongue covering the lace bed. The 6 introduced a new seamless upper design that provides more comfort than the 5. The 7 brings a significant improvement to the tongue.

Earlier designs used a paper-thin, velvety smooth tongue that felt nice, except the edges rubbed and chafed a ton. The new version is closer to a traditional design with a bit of padding inside and a mesh cover. The remainder of the upper is a fine synthetic mesh with 3D Fit print overlays to make for a snug, comfortable shoe.
The updated tongue in the PureFlow 7 eliminates the chafe and rubbing from earlier versions.
The updated tongue in the PureFlow 7 eliminates the chafe and rubbing from earlier versions.

We are thrilled to see that Brooks listened to its customers with this friendlier, softer design. The PureFlow 7 even fixes the problem with the edges folding up between the top of the foot and the lace bed. Finding a more comfortable shoe will be difficult, and any alternative will put you into a different category altogether.

The PureFlow 7s feature one of the cushiest  most comfortable uppers  but retain their speedy bona fides.
The PureFlow 7s feature one of the cushiest, most comfortable uppers, but retain their speedy bona fides.

Breathability


On the PureFlow 6, an improved design of thin, synthetic mesh with 3D print overlays pushed the PureFlow up near the top. There was concern that the thicker tongue in the 7 update might retain more heat or moisture, but the mesh seems to breathe better than the super-thin tongue in earlier versions.

The fine mesh throughout the rest of the upper allows for a great deal of breathability, but its plush heel collar and tongue tend to hold moisture. We feel that this shoe is great for dry summer runs, but might require thick, warm socks for cooler months when snowmelt conditions or cold, wet conditions are the norm.

There are few competitors that will rival the breathability of the PureFlow 7s on hot days  but you might need thicker socks in cool weather.
There are few competitors that will rival the breathability of the PureFlow 7s on hot days, but you might need thicker socks in cool weather.

Value


The PureFlow 7 is reasonably priced. It offers incredible upper and landing comfort. For the money, it will be very hard to find a better shoe on the market that delivers as much comfort in such a light, low-profile package — especially with the updated tongue that completely stops chafing. This shoe earns every penny.

Conclusion


The PureFlow 7 is absolutely the best iteration of the line yet. Brooks took the best of earlier models, listened to customers, and made strategic fixes. They built on the success of the super comfortable seamless upper and the natural flex in its midsole by redesigning the tongue to avoid the chafe of earlier models. It remains at or near the very top of the field in landing and upper comfort, breathability, and weight. This running shoe performs extremely well across most of our categories while retaining an approachable price point. It came up mediocre in responsiveness and durability, but those fields are expected to lag with a light, fast, natural shoe like this one.

Ryan Baham