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Sep 6, 2015

Pearl Izumi Trail N2 V2 review

Pearl Izumi Trail N2
Back in December, I did a review of the road N2's that Pearl Izumi offers (read review HERE)  They are a great shoe but they didn't quite have the cushion of trail shoes.  Of course, I used them to run on cement so that probably does not help things either.

Well, I recently received Pearl Izumi's latest offering of their Trail N2 V2.  I ran a marathon in these a few years ago in their older version and had some awesome success with them so I wanted to try out these as well.

Overall, I'm not running extremely tough trails.  Most of what I run is single track or two track that is moderately technical mostly with roots and a little rocks too.  The shoes do a great job on all the trails that I run.
Excellent looking shoe
As you can see above, the outsole provides some nice grip for the trails as well as a decent tread.  The treads are not crazy aggressive, however, most runners don't need anything really aggressive anyway.  In their last version, I ran about 400+ miles in them and the treads barely show any wear in them.  While I've only put about 30+ miles on these pair, I would expect the same amount of durability.

The midsole provides some nice cushion for the trails.  The shoes are built for Neutral runners looking for a little more cushion on the trails.  These are considered moderate cushioning.  They are great for a long run on the trails and my feet and legs never feel beat up after my run.  They are not going to provide as much cushion as a shoe like the Hoka Stinson but they have more than enough cushion, in my opinion, to run a full marathon and still feel good (well, as good as you are going to feel after a marathon, that is)
Sausage laces
One thing that is unique to these shoes is the shoe laces.  For whatever reason, Pearl Izumi has a fairly short shoe lace.  Normally, I would worry about that but they also offer a sausage type lace that helps keep the shoes tied.  These are the only shoes I wear that I don't double knot.  I can't double knot them even if I wanted to but I've never found it necessary since the sausage laces to their job.

The shoe offers nice toe protection on the trails.  In addition, the quality of the shoe is excellent.  I've never had any part of the shoe come apart or get holes in them like some other brands I've worn.

I received an 8.5 size and they fit true to size.  The upper is amazing and the best upper I've ever worn in a trail running shoe!  These really feel like wearing socks while out on the trails.  I don't get any pressure points while running with them (and the top of my feet tend to be sensitive).  The upper is a seamless design which I really love.  You can see that Pearl Izumi has overlays on the top of the upper to help give it stability.

The fit is exactly what I feel most trail runners are looking for in a trail shoe.  They fit perfect in the head (my heal never slips), they wrap my mid foot really nice.  The tongue is cushioned enough to help keep it comfortable so you don't feel the laces when tied snug.  The toe box is also wide enough that your toes can splay nicely.

There are a couple things that I would like to see changed in their next version.  The first is how they market their drop on these.  The "dynamic offset technology" is very confusing even from one who has run in lots of shoes.  They are measured as a 4mm drop at initial contact and 7.5 drop at mid stance.  Running Warehouse measures these as an 8mm drop.  Either way, they work for me but I think some runners just want to know the drop without looking at it changing along the run.  Plus, if these change, don't other shoe brands too?

The other item I would like to see is more cushion.  I'm not looking for ultra cushioning here but a little can go a long way.  The stack height is shown as 23mm via Pearl Izumi's website and 27mm (heel) and 19mm (forefoot) measured by Running Warehouse.  It's not that this is bad (as they are moderate cushion) but if these were closer to 28-32mm stack height, they would be my perfect shoe.  The response of the shoe while running allows you to feel the trail a little more than what I'm used to and having that extra cushion would make these my perfect running shoes.

Regardless of these two issues, they are a great pair of trail running shoes and certainly worth trying out to see if they work for you.

Interested in learning more?

Check out the Pearl Izumi's N2 V2 on their Website.

Have a great day....and Keep Running!!!!

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary pair of Pearl Izumi N2 V2 for this review.  All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a particular opinion other than an honest one.

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