Price – $110
The Brooks thermal running vest is a windproof with lightweight insulation. This vest is intended to keep the core warm without overheating or limiting your movement. The vest is very comfortable and I found it to be the perfect layer on cold breezy days where a jacket might be a bit much. I found that it was a little warm without wind on moderately cold days, but when the temps really dropped it was a great extra layer to throw onto my core. The piece is really light and comfortable and I felt like it was very versatile because it never made me overheat, so when in doubt I could always throw it on without fear of getting too hot. The vest provided adequate protection from mild wind, but in very windy and cold weather I would not use this as your only layer to protect from the wind. it could be used to supplement something that covers the arms as well.
Price – $56
I received these shorts and didn’t feel extremely excited about them, but they quickly became some of my favorite running shorts. These shorts are lightweight, breathable and dry very quickly. My favorite feature of the shorts is the moisture wicking brief liner. It is the most comfortable brief liner I have ever had in a pair of running shorts and I have tried nearly every brand. It was comfortable, while still providing me with incredible support. It also breathed extremely well and I was very impressed with the overall comfort. That feature alone makes these shorts worth it. I was also impressed with the overall comfort and feel of the shorts. The shorts also feature side pockets for extra storage that held my key and gels without a problem and they didn’t bounce at all. My only complaint with this short is that it seems to fit on the large side and is a bit longer than what I am used to, however the comfort makes them worth the wear.
Price – $120
The Brooks Puregrit 5 is the latest update in the Puregrit series. The shoe stays at 4mm drop and the hex lug design is the same as previous models. The shoe touts itself as being lightweight with the ability to tackle various terrain. While I found them to be adequate in moderate terrain, when I took them on steep mountain trails I quickly found their limitations. The tread and grip was decent, but on steep terrain I noticed the grip was not as good and I slipped a few times in areas I normally wouldn’t. The sole also didn’t do a great job of sticking to rocks, particularly when they were wet. I really had to take it easy in technical areas.
I also noticed that they were not quite as stable as I would have liked, although they were not bad. I put these shoes through some very tough mountain miles and one thing that they did very well was hold up. The reinforced rubber toe guard worked well and the shoes took a beating and came out looking pretty good. I did test the shoes in the rain and I felt like they did a decent job of keeping the water out, but once it got in they did not dry quickly. The shoe seemed to be a touch narrow and was also a bit stiff out of the box, although after about 50 miles they seemed to soften some.
I think these are great shoes for the beginning trail runner or anyone wanting to run in moderate terrain, but I would not recommend them for steep, technical mountain trails. I also would not wear them on any runs over 15 miles, as they were a bit stiff and the cushion was just average.