Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road – 50 Mile Review
I have over 50 miles (actually over 70) on my new Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road running shoes, which means – I get to write about them again.
While the N1 Roads are still one of Pearl Izumi’s flagship running shoes, they are getting long in the tooth, when it comes to the typical life cycle of running shoes.
In other words they are no longer the newest/greatest thing on the roads anymore. All the marketing hype/multiple blog reviews around them and their “new when first released” Dynamic Offset design has pretty much died away and like most of last year’s models are beginning to fade away or overlooked in the anticipation the newest and greatest versions from all the brands that will be coming out over the next 6 months.
What do I think of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads after 50 plus miles, without all the hype?
Since price is such a big deal for me and many other runners, I decided to put it right up front.
They were available on the Pearl Izumi site for $115.00 as of 8/28/14.
Prices for this shoe ranged from $63.00 to $120.00 on various sites that checked. If you look around, you can get some really great deals on the Pearl Izumi N1 Roads, in the older colorways.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I paid for these shoes. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experiences with this product might be different from mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
How have they worked out for me?
Through the first 70 plus miles, I have been impressed.
I am not ready to anoint them as the greatest shoe I have ever run in, but they are a damn good pair of running shoes and so far I like them. They have surpassed my expectations – for all the runs that I have put them through:
- a track workout,
- a hard treadmill interval workout,
- a long run,
- faster-paced runs,
- recovery runs,
- runs down-back with Bennie on a rock dirt road
Harold be honest.
The N1 Roads are EXTREMELY comfortable and have done everything I can ask of a new pair of running shoes. I haven’t found anything that they do not do well or that I do not like about them yet.
Something I believe is very important is the N1 Road’s flexibility (the ability to be used for different workouts, not how bendable they are), if I feel the need to change a workout, while wearing the N1 Roads I do not feel limited by the shoes, which has not always been my experience with other shoes. I feel confident that no matter what kind of run I am doing (from a recovery run to track speedwork) that I can do it.
The N1 Roads have become my daily trainers and the shoe I want to run in, for any run that isn’t related to technical trails or 5K/less races, hell I might even race a 5K in them if there were steeper downhill sections, because they give a little more protection than my GoMeb2’s, which says a lot about what I think of them, because I love my GoMeb2’s.
The size 8.5 from Pearl Izumi’s EM line fits me about as good as any line of running shoe ever has.
I said this about them in my initial impression post and have not changed my mind:
The 8.5 Mens – N1 Roads fit my feet the way that I want a shoe to fit. Snug in the heel, enough room in the arch area so that it doesn’t feel like I have the laces cinched up tight and plenty of room in the toe box.
They do not bother my tailor’s bunionette and my heel doesn’t slide/move around – no issues with blisters.
Feel (different from fit)
The N1 Roads are mostly quiet, they have a slight tap, tap, tap sound when running on tar and when my right foot splays out – that right shoe becomes more noisy, which cues me to correct my stride.
While I am mostly a heel striker, the dynamic offset design (whatever that actually is) does not exacerbate my the heel striking (make it more pronounced), like some shoes do and provides a nice heel-to-toe feel/transition that I really, really like.
The N1 Road’s were a little stiff at first, but not N2 Road stiff or motion control shoe stiff and they have loosened up considerably from my first run, to become quite comfortable. However, even with the initial stiffness they did not cause any issues for me.
They are not a soft marshmallow/cushioned style of running shoe and are a lot firmer than my GRR2’s. The feel is about the same firmness as my Mizuno Elixir 7’s were. They are designed to be a faster shoe, which means they will/should have a firmer ride.
The N1 Roads do not have great ground feel – mmm wait a minute. I don’t give a damn about ground feel – I want protection from the road in a lightweight package and these shoes give me what I am looking for – a fast, protective feel.
The N1 Roads are road shoes, the flat tread design makes no doubt about their purpose.
They have done a great job on the roads and shoulders that I do most of my runs on, including runs in the rain.
During the winter, I don’t enjoy finding the road with my arse, due to flat-bottomed shoes. That means they will probably be a 10 month running shoe, for running outside up heah in Maine and become my primary treadmill and dry day shoes.
However, I have been pleasantly surprised and found them to be VERY comfortable for running down-back on my rocky dirt road runs. The N1 Roads protect my feet better than some trail shoes I have worn down-back, where I primarily run with Bennie, which I definitely didn’t expect.
I wouldn’t hesitate to wear my N1 Roads over on the Quarry Road trails or other semi-groomed tails – on a dry day, but I wouldn’t wear them on the trails at Bond Brook, Messalonskee Stream trail, the trails behind Inland Hospital, or any wet trail that has wet grass or slimy sections, they do not have enough grip.
One of the concerns I had last December when I decided to get the N2 Roads was the perceived durability of the N1’s outsole and again I have been pleasantly surprised with how little wear there is on my N1’s after 50 miles.
I LOVE the looks of the N1 Road’s, the design meets my need for bright colors, while at the same time not being overwhelming – hell even TheWife likes their looks.
The upper is one of the biggest things that I like about the N1’s, they are a more minimal upper, that have welded overlays and have enough give that they do not bother my Tailor’s Bunionette.
I really believe that Pearl Izumi nailed the uppers.
The N1 Road’s are still available on the Pearl Izumi website and they came out with updated colorways this summer, so they are continuing to support this model.
They are still available on most of the major online retail sites and even on some of the discount sites for the older colorways.
I have heard rumors that PI is going to release version 2, early next year. It will be interesting to see what changes they make, (rumor has it they will be a little more flexible and have a more cushioned feel). Personally, now that I have run a bit in them keeping the N1 Roads pretty much the same would not be a bad thing.
If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?
If I needed to go out today and get another pair of running shoes, the N1’s would be at the top of the list and it would take a very special shoe for me not to be running in this model.
I guess that pretty much sums up how I feel about the N1 Road’s.
The Reality is that
After only 50 miles, I am not ready to say that the N1 Roads are a great shoe, but…I am impressed so far.
All the features that the N1 Trails had (read my 200 mile review) and I loved are present in the N1 Road’s. The problem I experienced with letting in too much grit and stuff, which eventually forced me to stop running in the N1 Trails, are not present in the N1’s road version. 🙂
I like the feel of the N1’s over the N2’s by a large degree, they are more flexible, not nearly as firm and have a much faster feel to them. While they are not quite as light as my current racing shoes or the same “pop”, they have handled speedwork sessions without any issues.
In my mind the N1 Road’s are worth taking a second or third look at and with some of the sale prices out there you can get one of Pearl Izumi’s flagship shoes at a very decent price, if you don’t mind the older colorways. which doesn’t bother me at all.
I am looking forward to seeing if I am still running in the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads what I have to say in my 200 mile review or possibly beyond.