(The below article appears in the April 1, 2011 issue of Running Insight - click HERE to access the full issue of the digital magazine.)
In what the company is calling the largest launch in its history, Brooks will announce on Friday a new collection of shoes called PureProject. The line of four shoes incorporates five new design elements and the shoes weigh in at 10 ounces each, but Brooks president and CEO Jim Weber emphasizes that PureProject is not another minimalist shoe collection. “If you want to live your life with a ‘less is more’ philosophy, I can understand that,” Weber told Running Insight, “but when it comes to performance product the idea that ‘less is more’ is absolute crap.”
The idea for the PureProject line grew out of testing and development in the Brooks lab for the past four years and a consumer research project the brand has been conducting with IDEO, a research and design firm that interviewed and spent time with thousands of runners between the ages of 25 and 35-years old. Weber says the consumer research revealed that sometimes runners want to “feel the road” when they run and other times want to “float” along on a cushioned ride.
“One experience is like riding a Ducati motorcycle and hugging the corner on every turn,” Weber said, “and the other is like riding along in a luxury sedan on the highway.” For the runner seeking the latter experience, Brooks offers the Adrenaline, Ghost, Glycerin and Trance shoes, Weber said. The PureProject line is aimed squarely at the runner seeking the “Ducati” experience.
All four shoes in the line incorporate five technologies.
- The “ideal heel” is an inverted heel designed to promote a natural foot strike by allowing the runner to land in a more forward position on the foot. Alignment is a key concept in these shoes and Weber says the heel design aligns a runner’s center of gravity and encourages optimal energy return.
- A flexible “Nav Band” wraps over the instep to secure the foot. Brooks says the stretch in the band provides reinforcement and conforms to the runner’s foot shape and size.
- The shoe’s design features a toe-box split that allows the big toe to function independently. Weber says this design feature will allow runners to “generate a more efficient push off during propulsion phase.”
- The shoes also feature an Anatomical Last, so the shoe’s shape contours to the foot. Brooks says this allows the shoes to offer a “glove like fit” and provide support for every part of the foot.
- Brooks has blended together its two proprietary midsole materials, BioMoGo and DNA into one compound. Weber says the result allows runners to “feel more with less” as the shoes will offer a springy return and custom comfort.
The four shoes in the line are PureConnect, PureFlow, PureGrit and PureCadence. The Connect (pictured above) is the lowest profile and the lightest weight shoe and will retail for $90. The Grit is a trail shoe, developed in cooperation with ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek. It will retail for $100. The Flow, which will retail at $100, offers the most cushioned ride of the four, according to Weber, who expects it to be the biggest seller. The Cadence, priced at $120, offers guidance level support, according to Weber, which makes it suitable for a light pronator. “This shoe will appeal to runners who love The Lunar Glide,” he told Running Insight, “and we believe it can crush it.”
The line will ship to about 150 run specialty accounts on October 1 of this year and open up to other accounts by January 1, 2012. “We see this very much as a specialty run product,” Weber said, “because it gives stores a chance to maintain their fitting process and offer their customers two different types of running experiences.”
For more about the thinking and research behind the PureProject collection, check out this Brooks blog post with thoughts from Footwear Product Line Manager Carson Caprara.