Here’s an awesome job:  Working for a big-brand running company like Brooks and being in charge of designing shoes and apparel – selecting colors and styles, determining where those pockets go, and even deciding the length of cute running tops.


I recently had an opportunity to test out the new Brooks PureGrits and, in the process, got to video conference with Lauren Hallworth and Kira Harrison, Brooks’ Associate Product Line Manager for Apparel and Footwear Merchandising Associate, respectively.  Coolest jobs ever!


Here’s a blurb about the PureGrits:  “When you want nothing to come between you and the trail, the ultra-light PureGrit won’t get in your way. Brooks constructed a new outsole with a more aggressive, multi-directional lug pattern for better grip on the ever-changing surfaces of the adventure.”


As part of the Brooks Run Happy ambassador program, I received a pair of the Women’s PureGrit 2 to review. The original PureGrits are very popular, so I was pumped to try out these shoes.


The PureGrits are much lighter than my beloved Ghost 5s.  They are, of course, designed to be a completely different type of running shoe – while the Ghosts are structured and cushioning, the PureGrits are ultra-light and feel more minimalist.


Prior to running in the PureGrits, I pulled them on and went for a walk with the stroller and the dogs.  The first thing I noticed that, while the shoe was comfortable, it was also pretty narrow and the arch was high.  Now, for some people, this would be perfect!  But I have a wider foot (in fact, I wear Ws in a lot of shoes).  I was also a bit confused about whether you’re supposed to wear socks with a ‘transitional minimalist’ shoe like the PureGrits (answer: if you want to).  I e-mailed my friends at Brooks to report that my wider feet didn’t quite work in the PureGrits, and they suggested that I try the men’s version.


During my video conference call with the Kira Harrison and Lauren Hallworth, Kira explained that there are very few differences between men’s and women’s shoes.  The only notable distinctions is that men’s shoes are slightly wider and the sole is slightly firmer.  The sole is firmer because, on average, men are heavier than women and thus need more cushioning to support their weight.


Kira said that the size difference between men’s and women’s running shoes is as follows:


I am an 8 in women’s; this means that I am a size 6.5 in men’s.  Unfortunately, the PureGrits don’t come that small, so I tried out a size 7 in the men’s version of the PureGrit 2’s.


Verdict: MUCH better during my run!  I really like the lacing design, which doesn’t squeeze the top of my foot as much as other running shoes, and the breathable fabric was nice.  The PureGrits are designed to align your stride and footstrike in a more natural way.  Features like the “toe flex” (which I refer to as “toe cleavage”) improve flexibility in the front of your foot, and the elastic band on the top of the foot helps achieve a more secure fit.  I can definitely see why the Pure line is so popular, especially with trail and track runners. However, I think I will stick with my Ghost 5s, which I really do love.  I prefer my running shoes to have more structure and cushioning.


So, here are some more details about Lauren and Kira’s jobs:


Lauren Hallowrth is, as I mentioned, Brooks’ Associate Product Line Manager for Apparel.  Her job duties include creating solution-based apparel by analyzing consumer insights and feedback, educating the public about Brooks apparel, and completing market research to see what competitors are doing.  She showed off some of Brooks new items, such as running shorts with built-in silicon-thigh-gripping boy shorts instead of the traditional ‘underwear’ you see in most running shorts.


Kira Harrison is Brooks’ Footwear Merchandising Associate.  She works to keep the Brooks shoe line relevant to consumers by analyzing consumer insights, assessing trends about styles and colors, and ‘prelining’ future footwear lines with retail accounts.  One of the neat things that Kira showed off was how many of the Brooks shoes are now colored in an ‘ombre’ syle (basically, a super cool fade).


If you could design either running shoes or apparel, which would you select?  What tweaks to design would you make?  It would be pretty awesome to select shoe colors and styles, but I would love to design the clothes.  I would make every shirt and pant have a million hidden pockets, all large enough for an iPhone.



  • My Neon Running Shoes March 27, 2013, 8:54 am

    That is such a cool job!!! I’d choose shoes for sure. They impact my running a lot more than the clothes do personally 🙂

  • Madeline March 27, 2013, 8:55 am

    I am actually a product line manager for an outdoor brand, and it really is the coolest job ever!

    • Caitlin March 27, 2013, 9:05 am

      Tell us more about your job!!!

  • elizabeth March 27, 2013, 9:05 am

    That is SUPER cool! I am OBSESSED with my Pure Grits. I only have the original and have been dying to get my hands on the 2.0s. And yes, designing footwear would be the COOLEST job ever!

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs March 27, 2013, 9:10 am

    Both of those jobs sound like they would be super fun! It’s cool to hear about them!

  • Caitlin March 27, 2013, 9:20 am

    I considered getting the Grits for trail running but reviews when it comes to wet conditions are really bad- last thing you want to do on a trail run is bite it because your shoe can’t grip the ground. Of course, this was for the originals- not sure if they improved on this for the 2’s.

  • Sarahf March 27, 2013, 9:39 am

    That would be an amzing job, I love my Glycerins! I’d design apparel, especially sports bras, because I have a horrible time finding ones that really do the job and don’t look too frumpy. I don’t think I have the expertise for that, but I’d be really good at testing them!

  • Kristi March 27, 2013, 9:53 am

    Thanks for an honest review! Just curious – what will you do with the shoes since ou didn’t care for them? I know big companies don’t mind sending out products for review but I hate the idea of wasting 2 pairs of shoes but I also hate cluttering my house with stuff I don’t wear/use!

    • Caitlin March 27, 2013, 10:04 am

      I will probably donate them! My gym collects shoes for charity.

      • Kristi March 27, 2013, 12:27 pm

        Thats a great idea! Honestly, product reviews and endless freebies on blogs kind of annoy me, glad to see you’ll pay it forward!

  • Amber March 27, 2013, 10:07 am

    I’ve always said that one of the coolest jobs would be naming colors, like nail polish and stuff. So Picking colors would also be awsome!

  • Emily March 27, 2013, 10:10 am

    Wow, what a fun job! Hidden pockets are KEY for outdoor running.

  • Jessica March 27, 2013, 10:16 am

    Hey! Ok so i need help- I am thinking of switching to the ghosts. my outer toes (the small ones) have been getting numb around mile 8 of my runs…I think i need a wider toe box. do you feel the ghosts have a wider toes box? have you ever had this prob, specifically before wearing the ghosts? A brooks rep thought the ghosts might work for me…thoughts?! thanks!

    • Caitlin March 27, 2013, 10:31 am

      I do think the Brooks Ghosts have a wide toe box. I really like em. Can you try them on at a running store? Wish I could loan you mine for a test run!

      • Jessica March 27, 2013, 10:33 am

        you’re so sweet! yea I’m going to try to get to the running store near me..having scheduling issues with my baby 😉 actually having balancing issues in general. booooo

  • Logan @ Mountains and Miles March 27, 2013, 10:41 am

    I had the original PureGrits and upgraded to the PureGrit2s when they finally came out. I was very impressed with the upgraded traction system on the PG2 – that was my only complaint of the originals! I had the mens shoes in both because I liked the colors better, but I also have a wider foot and thought they felt fantastic! I have trudged through mud and slippery rocks and streams with mine and have never lost traction once. I LOVE them. I have the PureFlows for my regular road/bike trail running shoes.

    • Caitlin March 27, 2013, 10:44 am

      Great review! Thanks!

  • Laura March 27, 2013, 10:41 am

    I have a narrow foot with high arches-the Grits sound like they would be PERFECT for me!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action March 27, 2013, 10:43 am

    Both of those jobs sound incredible! I’m with you though Caitlin- I would rather design clothes than shoes. Though I’d probably rather market something someone already created than be a designer, as that’s where the true fun is (or at least I think so).

  • Jen March 27, 2013, 10:57 am

    I think both of the jobs sound really awesome. I am wondering why these popular running shoes don’t come in wide versions? I feel like they’d sell more shoes like that. I wear the Adrenalines and the only ones that come in wide are really ugly colors….blah!

    • Caitlin March 27, 2013, 11:03 am

      The PureGrit 1s come in wides, so maybe they will eventually make them 2s in wides, too.

  • Laura March 27, 2013, 11:11 am

    Very helpful post! I have big feet and have been buying men’s shoes for years (women’s shoes almost always come in pink and white and other colors that make big feet look bigger), but I also have wide feet, so it sounds like men’s shoes are the way to go for me for the foreseeable future. Especially in True Grits (cool shoes! I’ll have to check them out).

  • Jessica R @ From the Kitchen to the Road March 27, 2013, 11:40 am

    I am expecting my first pair of Ghot 5’s in the mail today. I am drawn to the pure line because they are so colorful but do want a little more shoe, I think. In my mind that means they will last longer

  • Ja @Athlete Within Ja March 27, 2013, 12:33 pm

    I want your job! 🙂 I love Brooks Running! You definitely have the coolest job on earth! 🙂

  • RunEatRepeat March 27, 2013, 12:34 pm

    I love how both of these shoes look – added bonus that they are Brooks 😉

  • Kelsey March 27, 2013, 12:39 pm

    I’d make more narrow shoes with high arches! 🙂 Thank you for the reviews! I am currently on a $0 shoe budget but the PureGrit 2 sounds awesome for my next shoe!

  • Angela March 27, 2013, 1:06 pm

    That is an amazing job!!

  • Emily @ The Swallow Flies March 27, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Like you, I would love to choose the crazy colors for running shoes, but I would LOVE to design fitness apparel. Fashion design has always been an interest of mine, and I could definitely see that coupled nicely with my love for fitness/health.

  • Brigid March 27, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Shoe question: I think we’re about the same height and size, so I thought you might be a good resource. In normal shoes, I wear a 6 or 6.5. They always say at the running store to size up to a 7 or 7.5 to prevent “runner’s toe” (or whatever it’s called), but my feet are kind of wide, too, so I usually end up with an 8. They just feel way too long, like I’m a clown out for a jog! Would checking out the men’s be a good call (provided I could find a 6)? It had never occurred to me to cross that gender line with running shoes.

  • Kerri March 27, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Yes, totally agree about hidden pockets! Seriously, what is up with clothes that don’t have pockets for smart phones? 😉 I don’t even buy workout clothes anymore unless it has one of those hidden pockets for a key.

  • Amanda K. March 27, 2013, 3:24 pm

    i have a friend who is a shoe architect at saucony (he studied architecture at virginia tech — and all that time i thought the only thing they did was buildings!!)
    and i always think he has the COOLEST job

  • Haley @ fullnfit March 27, 2013, 3:38 pm

    How about some neon pink/zebra running shoes?! Adorable. I would buy them in a heartbeat! 🙂

  • Nancy March 27, 2013, 5:46 pm

    Holy krikey, this IS the best job ever.

    I love Haley’s comment for the running shoes: zebra print!!!!

  • meredith March 27, 2013, 7:40 pm

    Oh I would like this job – I would make sure all of the pants stay in place to avoid the terrible riding down that occurs (except for lulu pants, they stay up and in place on me!). I would also make sure the socks stay in place so they don’t bunch around the toes.

    • Kris March 27, 2013, 10:13 pm

      I agree on the pants; they need to use wider, soft elastic in the waistband, and then add silicone grippy tape on the inside of the waistband (against the skin). Hate tugging them back up while I’m exercising.

  • Miranda @ Miranda Runs March 27, 2013, 7:46 pm

    Best job ever! Man, what do I major in to do that? 😉

  • Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} March 27, 2013, 8:21 pm

    That does sound like an awesome job! I think I’d have more fun with clothing design, but shoes would be cool too.

    I’ve been wanting the Ghost from Brooks! It *will* be my next pair of running shoes, ha ha!

  • BroccoliHut March 27, 2013, 8:52 pm

    Never knew that men’s and women’s running shoes were so similar. Good to know!
    If I could choose, I would totally design the clothing too. I would have so much fun choosing colors, cuts, and lengths–if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a workout top that’s too short!

Healthy Tipping Point