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Brooks Pure Grit 5, $120
The Pure Grit is a low-to-the-ground speedster built for dashing over mild and moderately technical terrain. Brooks has updated this lightweight, moderately cushioned cruiser with a new upper that helps keep dust and debris out, does a better job protecting against abrasions and offers a more locked-down fit. It also has a sturdier heel and a slightly wider footprint, which adds some stability. Our wear-testers appreciated the upgrades made to this shoe without losing its best features—most notably that it’s still easy-flexing and very smooth. Although it’s built for a range of natural trail surfaces, it can also cover miles on roads or bike paths en route to a trailhead.
Plus: The array of small, hexagonally shaped outsole lugs grips rocky surfaces and provides great traction in loose dirt and gravel.
Minus: It’s a narrow-fitting shoe, and a few of our wear-testers said they would have appreciated more wiggle room in the midfoot and toe box.
Weights: 9.9 oz. (men’s), 8.3 oz. (women’s)
Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 19mm (heel), 15mm (forefoot)