Overall the sole on the Pure Connect is very impressive and for a multiple surface run from road to trail it is a good option for the Ozark clay, but if you are strictly running trails in the Ozarks stay with the Cascadia.
As a runner transplanted to the south central United States from the beauty of Northwest Washington it has been an interesting adjustment to say the least. The upside of the move comes on days like today – it is currently 65 degrees and the sun is shining bright. The downside will hit in July when the temperature is 100 degrees and 90% humidity with a heat of index “don’t run you will die”.
In the attempt to find my new happy place for running that is comparable to my favorites back home like Silver Lake Park in Whatcom County, Bridle Trails in Kirkland, The Inter-Urban Trail in Bellingham, or my personal favorite “Freeman’s Trail” which is nestled in the hills of Mt. Baker and created by Hall of Fame Coach and 68 Olympic marathon hopeful Jim Freeman, I have stumbled on a 1.5 mile trail just outside of Springfield, MO. This trail is a perfect combination of hills, trees, lake views and plenty of soil. This soil when wet is full of clay that ribbons well into the 2-inch range. (Soil speak for lots of clay content)
Over the last few weeks I have ran this trail in wet conditions in the Brooks Cascadia and Brooks Pure Connect. Each of these shoes is created differently but equally impressive for all things in a quality running shoe. The Cascadia is a trail shoe with very aggressive tread while the Pure Connect is the new neutral minimalist shoe recently released by Brooks. As the Pure Connect isn’t a trail shoe I was curious how it would compare. Here is Jason’s Review
As a trail shoe the Cascadia was 9.5/10 based on traction, cushioning from roots and rocks, and mud collection. The only reason I throw in a 9.5 is because when running in wet Ozark clay the mud collection was extreme which added to shoe weight and traction issues. This however is petty because I was spoiled by the high organic matter mountain soil of the Northwest where this extreme clay build up is not an issue.
As a trail shoe the Pure Connect was 8/10 based on the same three qualities. The overall performance of the shoe was slipper like. I can say I have never felt a running shoe feel so natural – like wearing a slipper on the run. On the trail it displayed the same natural feel but because of the less aggressive tread (Brooks does have a minimalist trail shoe) it was hard to navigate up a couple hills but didn’t keep me from getting up them. The surprise was the small amounts of clay pick up on the run. The flat tread was the reason but I expected much greater clay clinging to the shoe. The cushioning was good but because of the sole design some rocks were felt but not painfully. Overall the sole on the shoe is very impressive and for a multiple surface run from road to trail it is a good option for the Ozark clay, but if you are strictly running trails in the Ozark stay with the Cascadia.