My order from Sierra Trading Post came in last tonight, it contained just one item:
- a pair of running shoes
What are you doing this time Harold?
While I love my Skechers GoRun Ride 2’s and GoMeb2’s and consider myself a Skechers fanboy, unfortunately the last pair of my GRR2’s daily trainers are beginning to bother my right knee on long runs (after only 180 miles), which is my warning sign that a pair of running shoes are getting tired and it is time to start looking for another pair of shoes for my longer runs.
That was rather disappointing, because I was able to get over 400 miles on my last pair and could have gotten a lot more on my first ones (yes, I have run in 3 pair of GRR2’s). I had hoped the combination of my present GRR2’s, along with the shoes I have in the house, would let me make it until the new Skechers Performance line daily trainers come out in November.
Unfortunately it didn’t work out as I planned and while the other shoes I have in the closet, might have gotten me through to then. They each had a reason for being in the closet, instead of my present rotation, beyond my liking the GRR2’s more.
Since none of the current line of daily trainers in the Skechers Performance running shoes work for me due to my issues with a Tailor’s Bunionette on my right foot, I had to do a lot of research and it came down to:
- Skechers GoRun Ride 2 – This was my first choice, unfortunately, the GRR2’s are getting hard to find in my size and even if they are new in the box, they are at least 2-3 years old.
Although I have heard different points of view on whether the foam actually breaks down or not over time, it does seem that when I get closed-out running shoes (those older models from the previous two or more years), that they do not last as long as the same as when the models first come out? I am probably just imaging things, but that has been my experience.
So after looking around at what was available online, I decided to pass on this option, even though I came very close to just getting another pair of GRR2’s.
- Saucony Kinvara 5 – I really wanted to try these on and looked around locally for a pair , but couldn’t find them??? I had a pair of the Kinvara 2’s which were too narrow and didn’t want to go through that again, even though I have heard the toe box is wider. Oh well, it would have been nice to have reviewed a current release instead of what I have done lately, end of the cycle or close-out running shoe reviews.
- Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 – Same thing as above and at $120 they were at the top of my price limit. I had the Elixir 7’s and Ronin 4’s and did well in those shoes, but I found out later that the one of the reasons I had problems with them was that I bought them a full size too small.
- Newton Energy – I had good luck with the woman’s model, the only problem was that it was too narrow, but couldn’t find any locally to check the men’s width and yes, I could have gotten them on some pretty good close-out deals, but I remembered too many problems with Newton’s and my feet in the past, so I am leery about going back to Newtons.
- Pearl Izumi N1 Roads – I had a good idea on how they would fit and the hype that these had last year was that they were a top of the line shoe (but were firm and not very flexible). They are no longer the newest or greatest thing in the running shoe marketing wars, so they have fallen off the radar for many runners or a least those of us who believe we “need” the newest and greatest shoes.
Why did I decide to go with the N1 Roads?
Honestly, I do not need any real excuse to get another pair of running shoes, since I admittedly have a running shoe problem and enjoy the process of getting new shoes – WAY TOO MUCH.
Could I have gotten by with the shoes in the closet until November – mmmmm probably.
This was more of a – I wanted some new running shoes and when you add in that TheWife had given me her tacit permission to get a pair when she gave me money for my birthday, expressly to buy some new running shoes, that money was “burning a hole in my pocket”.
1. I “needed”, well let’s be honest, I wanted a pair of multi-purpose daily trainers that I can do a variety of workouts in and feel comfortable doing them. Yes, I have the Meb2’s and Green Silence for planned faster paced workouts, N2 Roads for long or recovery runs (slower runs), GRR2’s for medium length runs (4-6 miles) at a comfortably fast paces and PI Peak II / Go Bionic Trails for – yeah trails and running on the dirt road down-back with Bennie. If all else failed, I have a pair of Brooks Launch that work just fine, but for some reason, I always manage to run in something else.
Even with all the specialty shoes, I still like to have that “all-around” light-weight trainer that I wear for the majority of my runs, so I can change a workout on the fly and not feel like the shoes I am wearing will hold me back or not give me enough protection.
The N1’s according to everything that I have read and experienced with my N1 Trails fit this description exactly. A pair of light-weight daily trainers that can do a little of everything.
2. I have put more miles in Pearl Izumi running shoes than I have any other brand of running shoes this year, so I was very familiar with the PI Brand and happy with how they worked for me compared to the Brooks, Newton and newer Skechers line-up that I have run in.
The bottom-line was that I ran well in them in spite of some issues I had (mostly the firmness, inflexibility and letting some grit/pebbles inside the shoes). The only shoes that I have liked better than my PI’s were the Skechers GRR2’s and that was because they had a more responsive, flexible and cushioned feel than the N2 Road’s.
3. I had a really GREAT experiences with the N1 Trails and the one issue (it was a fatal flaw – letting in too much grit/pebbles) I had with them, shouldn’t be an issue with the road model. Hell, at one point I even said that they were one of the best running shoes that I have ever run in.
4. Since my knee started bothering when running longer in the GRR2’s, I have run a lot more in the N2 Roads and it helped me “remember” they are very comfortable and have a smooth ride, even if they are a lot firmer and inflexible when compared to the GRR2’s. However, they are great for putting in miles, as long as I am not looking to pick up the pace too much.
5. When I discussed my issues with the N1 Trails, with the Pearl Izumi Outlet Store in Conway, NH, they listened to me and didn’t poo-poo what I was experiencing as “my problem”. I was very impressed with their commitment to customer service and wanting consumers to be happy with the Pearl Izumi products.
This commitment to customer service was a big deal to me and made it so when it was time for me to get another pair of running shoes, I looked a lot closer at getting Pearl Izumi again. If it hadn’t been for my experience at the outlet store, I probably would not have chosen the N1’s and would have bought either the Kinvara 5 or Sayonara 2.
So do not say that great customer service from a brand representative does not make an impression or influence a consumer’s future shoe purchases, because for me I know it does make a difference. I am very loyal to those brands who treat me well and shoe line(s) that work well for me.
6. I got the N1 Roads at a GREAT, FANTASTIC deal on them from Sierra Trading Post and yes cost can be a big reason for me to choose one pair of running shoes over the others, when all other things are pretty much equal.
While I looked closely at other running shoe options, when it came right down to it, I felt more comfortable getting the Pearl Izumi’s, so I did.
All I have done so far is take them out of the box, try them on and wear them around the house for a couple of minutes. They fit exactly like I expected them to and now I can’t wait to run in them, hopefully today – if my legs coöperate.
I will write-up my initial impressions after my first run in them.