Brooks Pure Cadence 3 Review

On October 1st, 2011, exactly one week before my first Marathon, I received my first pair of Brooks Pure Cadence.  I took the shoe on an 8 mile test/taper run and new that I’d be crossing the finish line in it.  Now here we are, three years down the road and and there is a 3rd edition of the Brooks Pure Cadence.  



I received the pair pictured above in early December 2013 and have already put about 70 miles on them.  The first thing I noticed upon receiving them was that the upper material had changed from the the previous two models.  It seems to be lighter and softer on the roof of the toe box but reinforced with a more durable piece around outside toe area.  Another noticeable change is the the burrito wrapped tongue.  The Pure Cadence 2 had a one-piece overlay that wrapped from the outside of the foot inward.  The Pure Cadence 3 wraps from the inside of the foot outward as shown below.  The new wrap is designed to hug the arch much better than the previous model.  This design has been used for years in soccer cleats and gives adaptable support to the arch of your foot without being overly aggressive.


(Pure Cadence 3 pictured on the left)

Another noticeable change in the upper is the lacing system.  As you can see below, the Pure Cadence 3 seems to have wider eyelet spacing toward the toe box.  Also, the lacing system has the anatomical curve like the previous model, but is more centered due to the wider eyelet spacing.  I also noticed that the NAV band that wraps over the instep is made of a different elastic material than the previous models.  It is made of a thin layer of rubber where the previous models were made from elastic cloth.  When running I don’t notice the NAV Band in either model but it does give me a sense of security around that area of the foot.


(Pure Cadence 2 on the left, Pure Cadence 3 on the right)

Most differences in between these models are found in the upper material. The soles of these shoes almost feel identical.  The Pure Cadence 3 is still made with Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA blended sole.  This blended foam is really what separates the Pure Project shoes from others in the minimal categories.  The responsiveness, cushioning, and durability is truly unmatched in shoes weighing a similar 9-10 oz.  the 4 mm offset makes this shoe very appealing to all types of runners including heel strikers. Most minimal shoes encourage a Mid-forefoot landing but this shoe can handle it all.  I feel that the Brooks Ideal Heel is still one of the most beneficial new technologies introduced in recent years.  For those of you that don’t know what that is, Brooks shaved the back of the heel off of the Pure Project shoes to give it a more anatomically correct design.  This forces the point of impact to occur under the heel rather than behind it like in traditional running shoes.  The tread on the outsole is still an excellent road tread and the grip works great on wet surfaces.  


Notice that the tread pattern is slightly different on the Pure Cadence 3 in that they added a stability pod on under the arch of the foot to compliment the one on the outside.  This has been added for further stability through the gait cycle. Although I usually land on my forefoot, I don’t really notice the pod while running but can slightly feel it while walking.  My arch is moderate to high and the Pure Cadence has always been a great fitting shoe for me right out of the box.  It is marketed as a stability shoe and is designed to combat over-pronation, however, I am a neutral runner that lands on my forefoot and really just love the way this shoe fits my foot.  It hugs my arch perfectly and I was pleasantly surprised that the new version fits a little better than the previous models.  

One thing I’d really like to highlight about this shoe is that I’ve never had to break in a pair of Pure Cadences and this one proves to have the same ability.  The material is soft but durable, adaptable, and light.  After wearing all three versions of this shoe I can positively say that this is the best fitting shoe of the three generations.  I also think it is the best looking.  The Pure Cadence 3 updates with fresh colors and features that are still unrivaled!  If you’re looking for a shoe that is light and can go the distance, look no further. The Pure Cadence 3 can handle it all.






6 responses to “Brooks Pure Cadence 3 Review

  • erik

    could you elaborate a little on what you mean when you say the shoe fits you better? the pure cadence has always been just a touch too narrow in the midfoot for me, but i make due. it’s fine for short runs but on longer runs i really start to feel it. I’ve read conflicting reports on the new fit of the pure cadence 3. do you think it is narrower in the midfoot or wider?

    • Michael Lucas

      Hi Erik,

      I meant to include this in an update to the post and glad that you brought this up! It definitely fits me more narrow than previous models in the toe box (which is a good thing for me. As far as the midfoot area goes, I don’t notice that much of a difference while running, however, if you refer to the picture of the treads of the Cadence 2 vs Cadence 3 it is noticeably more narrow under the arch where they’ve added the inside stability pod. I would make a trip to one of your local specialty running stores and try a pair on. You’ll probably know right away if it’s going to work or not. Thanks for the comment and Happy Running!

  • Jay M

    Hi Michael,
    Like you I’ve run on all iterations of the Brooks PureCadence. The one question I have for you is about the new tread on the outsole. I’m hoping that it provides more/better traction than the previous versions. This is the one thing that could be “better” about this near perfect running shoe.

    • Michael Lucas

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for the comment! I can positively say that the traction is better than the previous models. I have run in the new edition on several types of surfaces including wet pavement and was surprised at the amount of traction the shoe had. I believe there are two factors that attribute to the better traction. The first being the type of rubber they are using. To the touch, it feels like the new tread is more dense and firmer than the previous models. Second, refer to the picture above and notice the tread patterns of the two. The Cadence 3 on the right has a waffle design with deep grooves that make up little squares across the surface vs the Cadence 2 which has deep parallel grooves crossing the shoe horizontally. It has been proven time and time again that the waffle/square pattern gives better traction. There is no better example of this than slip-resistant tread patterns on restaurant shoes. Nearly all of them have the waffle/square design. Thanks again Jay, I hope this helps!


  • Joel Ocampo

    Thank you, Michael for the review. I’m contemplating on getting the pure cadence 3 as well. I’ve had good experiences with the first release but you analyze the new shoe and its performance in such great detail. This would surely help.

  • Brooks Pure Cadence 4 Review | Running Haven

    […] the success of the completely revamped Pure Cadence 3, the 4th edition updates with only a few changes to the upper. The outsole and the tread stay […]

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