Brooks Pure Grit 3 Review

In case you missed it, here is my review of the Brooks Pure Grit 3, as it appeared at

Summary: The Pure Grit 3, from Brooks, 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
  • tongue slides to the side
  • not a true minimal shoe

First Impressions: I’ve been a fan of Brooks for several years and I have had good results running in both road and trail offerings. The Pure Grit 3 is light, but seems to be a solid trail shoe with fairly aggressive tread. Brooks effectively created an aggressive appearance with the Pure Grit 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 Pure Grit 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.

Build: 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.

Ride: I was able to run the shoe on many different surfaces; hard dirt, rocky trail, DG 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 Pure Grit, and me, through its paces. This seems to be the shoe’s element and they were nimble and comfortable 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.

Find 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 Ultra Runner Podcast bucket. Thanks.


One thought on “Brooks Pure Grit 3 Review

  1. These shoes are absolutely gorgeous!!!Do you watch gossip girl? I believe these would suit Blair Waldorf- they are her style =P These shoes are gorgeous because of the colour used and because of the way they are styled. The toile of the shoe is one the right shaped into roses. The straps are beautiful and the shiny material just makes it.The heel height is perfect for these shoes as it’s not too high but it’s not low.I love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *