Today I got my first pair of the new Brooks Green Silence delivered and I couldn't have been more excited to take them for a test spin. They arrived just in time for this weeks tempo run and I couldn't have been happier. Sizing: From reading other peoples reviews of the shoes I was a little nervous ordering since I normally run in a 11.5 EE Beast, but most reviews alluded to the fact that the shoes ran a bit big, so I just stayed with my 11.5 and they fit like a glove, my guess would be most people should go down a size. Look: unfortunately if you want to run in the silence, you are stuck with the obnoxious yellow and red colors. It's a very bold look and it might turn some people off, but I would suggest taking them for a test run before looking elsewhere. You might be pleasantly surprised at the comfort. Comfort: For a "racing flat" I found these extremely comfortable, in fact even more so than the super cushy beast I normally run in. Weight: They are listed at 6.9 ounces which is only slightly more than the 6.1 oz of the Vibrams, with a world of difference on the comfort & protection level. I run exclusively in Brooks, with the exception of the Vibram FiveFingers, and I'm always able to run in the new shoes right out of the box and I felt there was no reason to do anything differently with these.
On to the test, my first 2 miles were supposed to be a warm up and according to my pace it didn't seem like it but now looking back at my heart rate it certainly was. These shoes just want to go fast. My first mile was a 7:16 and I figured I would probably slow down a bit since the second mile has a few big hills however I only ended up running 2 seconds slower. Now my workout was supposed to be a 15 minute warm up followed by 30 mins of tempo so after I hit the 15 minute mark I started to push the pace to see how I would feel. As I started to pick up the pace, the shoes seemed to respond nicely and I felt very "springy". I have recently learned to run more on my forefoot because of the Vibram's and I could translate that skill very well into running in the silence. I felt like I was actually running on a cloud, but I was still able to keep a minimal feel of the pavement below me which I am not able to do in the Beast. The lightness of the shoe coupled with the minimal lateral support allowed me to focus on the forefoot strike and keep away from heel striking.
My initial thoughts were positive however, I don't see this as that much of a minimalist shoe. If your looking for something like the Vibram Five Fingers where you can feel everything this isn't the shoe for you. However, I can see how this shoe can be a great compliment to the Five Fingers by switching back and forth. You definitely don't get the same road feel you do from the Vibrams, but you also get a bit more protection, so you don't feel everything. It's a good shoe to run in the day after and practice the technique you learn from the Vibrams, because you can still slightly feel the road, and know if your running properly.
I originally ordered these shoes because I wanted to run my upcoming Triathlons in the Five Fingers, but I felt the transition time would take to long, so I wanted a minimalist shoe like a Nike Free, and after one run I'm convinced I found it. I was able to run what I felt was an effortless tempo run with every mile faster than the one before. The more comfortable I got with the shoes the faster I was able to run in them. In fact at one point I was so comfortable I almost forgot I was doing a tempo run and let my pace slip slightly!! I'm convinced and I will be racing in them for the first time next weekend and see what I can do in at my first sprint triathlon of the year.
Mile 1: 7:16 HR 138
Mile 2: 7:18 HR 145
Mile 3: 6:55 HR 155
Mile 4: 6:38 HR 158
Mile 5: 6:36 HR 170
Mile 6 6:28 HR 191
Mile 7 6:23 HR 186
Mile .25: 6:01 HR 183
Total Workout: 7.25miles, 6:44 per mile pace, Average HR 163