Pearl Izumi N2 Road v1 #2 – Retirement Review

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: November 21, 2014

Update: These are the shoes that refuse to retire and have 450 miles on them no and have become my “screw” shoes for extremely nasty running outside in winter. They have become the running shoes that when all else fails, I put them on and run in them again.

This should be posted as the shoes that refuse to retire.

I have over 340 miles on my Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road 1/18/14 size 8.5 running shoes and my tell-tale right knee started to bother me, which means – it was time to retire them and I get to write about them again.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads (V1)

This is my second pair of N2 Roads and throughout the review, there will be times when I the information I will be giving is my experience with both pair of the N2 Road’s that I have owned.

I usually do an initial thoughts, 50 and 200 mile reviews on my shoes, but since these were the second pair and I was in the process of doing those reviews in the other pair, I never did the initial or 50 mile reviews on these shoes. It is funny, because my experience with these N2’s, was a little different from my first ones. However, I did do a 200 mile review and here is the link to that.

Pricing/Availability

Nothing changed here, but I will include it since price is such a big deal for me and many other runners, I decided to put it right up front.

How much did I pay?  They were free, I traded a pair of my running shoes that I didn’t like with another runner who did not like the N2 Roads size 8.5.

Prices for this shoe ranged from $63.00 to $120.00 on various sites that I checked. If you look around, you can get some really great deals on the Pearl Izumi N1 Roads, in the older colorways.

I have held and looked closely at the N2 Road V2 or 2015 model. It is a GREAT update, from what I could see many of the issues that I had with V1 have been addressed i.e. stiffnes, outsole design and according to the person I was talking with, they are not as firm as V1…I can’t wait to get a pair on my feet and put them through their paces out on the roads.

How have they worked out for me?

To be honest, I have had a love/hate relationship with the N2 Road model from Pearl Izumi.

When I got these back on January 18th, I still not all that sure of the Pearl Izumi’s and whether I liked them or not. The were stiff, way too firm and in size 8.5 seemed a little snug for me.

I also had another pair of N2 Road’s that I got in size 9.0 for Christmas and were using them as my primary trainers, along with a pair of N1 Trails.

My original N2 Roads

So I didn’t really use this pair all that much during that time and they just sat in the closet collecting dust for the most part – I had put 78 miles on them through August 8th.

Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, I am a little vain and I hate the colorway of this shoe…the mostly gray with yellow/red highlights might appeal to some, but is not what my wife would consider a “Harold shoe”.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road (V1)

Did that affect my choice about whether to wear them or not…maybe a little, but I will wear an ugly shoe without any problems, if I run well in it.

After a disappointing run in them at the Boys and Girls club 5.0 miler, these N2 Roads sat in my closet  from April 22 to August 8th, during my great running shoe search during that time. To be quite honest, I didn’t consider them to be the next great running shoe – for me.

What changed?

In June my right foot, the one with the Tailor’s Bunionette got run over by a dual axle half full hay wagon – which did something to my foot and since it healed, I have been able to wear shoes that I have not been able to wear in the past. Yeah, I know – what a crock of bullshit, but…hey it is what it is.

and

None of the many other running shoes that I tried seemed to be working all that well for me, my old reliable GRR2’s were bothering my tell-tale knee after under 200 miles and all the other shoes were – meh.

In August, I had decided to order the N1 Roads, due to how well the N1 Trails had worked for me and started running in these N2 Roads, because I figured that I might as well start getting used to the Pearl Izumi dynamic offset technology and started running in them again.

Strangely – I liked them a LOT and they have worked well since then for me.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road (V1)

I continued to keep them in my running rotation and they became my go to running shoes. The more I ran in them, the more these N2 Roads became my running shoes, for anything other than speedwork or racing (tried that – they didn’t workout that well).

They are not a fast shoe in my opinion, but they are a comfortable and protective shoe that worked very well for me.

If I had to choose my shoe of the year today, this pair of shoes would be it.

Fit/Sizing

For consistent measurement purposes, I am a size 7 on the Brannock Foot measuring device and when you add-on a thumb’s width, it puts me in an 8.0 to an 8.5. As part of my review process, I am going to start showing a photo of the shoe and my thumb showing where my big toe is in the toe box to show how it actually fits my foot.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road (V1)

The size 8.5 from Pearl Izumi’s EM line fits me about as well as any line of running shoe ever has.

They do not bother my tailor’s bunionette and my heel doesn’t slide/move around – no issues with blisters. My N1 Roads do feel slightly, ever so slightly wider than my N2 Roads, both fit well, but to be honest I like the fit of the N1′s better.

My size 9.0 N2 Roads were a little too sloppy compared to the fit of 8.5’s and I wonder if that was part of the reason for the gap at the bottom of the tongue that allowed grit and stuff in and might have been part of the problem with the N1 Trails that I loved so much.

Feel (different from fit)

These N2 Roads are a very quiet running shoe for me. While I am mostly a heel striker, the dynamic offset design (whatever that actually is) provides a nice heel-to-toe feel/transition that I really, really like, throughout the EM line of Pearl Izumi shoes.

The N2 Road’s were stiff and felt extremely firm, at first and I think that played into how I initially felt about them. While they became my go-to running shoe, that initial inflexibility and firmness that both pair of my N2’s had, negatively affected my perception of the N2 Road shoes and I think affects how many runners feel about them – and why there was probably so many returns of this model.

Honestly, I do not feel fast in either pair of the N2 Roads, but I can comfortably run any distance in these shoes. They are not a soft marshmallow/cushioned style of running shoe and are a lot firmer than almost all the other shoes I have run in this year. However, they were still comfortable on longer runs.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road (V1)

The N2 Roads and road feel do not really go together in the same sentence, there is a lot of shoe between you and the road and I can run down-back on the dirt roads/rocks without too many issues.

To me the N2’s are a nicely protective running shoe that I can run well in, just not at race speeds.

Sole

The N2 Roads are road shoes, the flatter (sort of waffle) tread design makes no doubt about their purpose and while I have run on groomed trails/dirt roads in them, I have shoes that are better for that kind of running. If you need to get off the road, onto the shoulder where it can be: sandy, muddy or wet grass the N2 Roads are not that great with their grip.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road (V1) — One thing that I do like about the PI’s are that they do have wear points that really show where the “wear” is on the shoes.

The N2 Roads are not designed to run in snow/slop, so they are a 10 month outside running shoe, at least for running outside up heah in Maine.

They are wearing better than many other shoes I have run in over the years and if it wasn’t for my tell-tale knee telling me to move on, these shoes would have another 200-300 miles of wear left on the sole and uppers for many runners.

Upper

Comfortable, great upper – probably the best upper I have ever run in. Pearl Izumi has nailed the uppers on their shoes, what more can I say about it.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road (V1)

For the N2 Roads, I preferred the stock shoelaces and didn’t change over to the LockLaces, until I retired these shoes.

If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?

The N2 Roads (V1) would be a solid choice for running that wasn’t specifically for speed work or racing. However, with the improvements I have seen in V2, those would be my first choice to look at before any other as a daily trainer and a shoe I would use to eat up the miles. I like the fit and now that I am used to it – the feel of the N2 Roads and the Dynamic Offset technology.

The Reality is that

After 340 miles and over 200 miles on my first pair of N2 Roads, I have gotten to know the N2 model quite well. Once I got past the initial firmness and stiffness in both pair, they were running shoes that just worked for me on the roads. There may be others out there that are flashier, have more wonderful technology or hype to go along with them, but the N2 Roads are a solid running shoe that simply allows me to run.

I cannot give a better recommendation other than I am planning to buy them again, only I really want to give the 2015 Version a good look, but at $120 on their website, it might be a while before I get to.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these shoes as part of a trade with another runner for shoes that I had. 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.”

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Labels: #PearlIzumirun #reflection PearlIzumi retired running shoe review running shoe review

Pearl Izumi N2 Tri #1 – 30 Mile Review

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: November 11, 2014

Okay, this is something different, me reviewing a pair of running after only 30 miles. That usually means that something is drastically wrong with the shoes.

Well…yes and no.

After yesterday’s 10 miler and having run in them most of this week, there is a single issue with the N2 Tri’s that is going force me to make them into closet monsters until next April, when I will pull them back out and start running regularly in them again.

What in the hell are you talking about?

Yes, they are part of the N2 series, but I have found out they are not the same shoe as the N2 Roads. To me, they feel and look slightly different and it goes beyond just being brightly lit up and no tongue.

The first thing that I changed was the stock elastic laces, the slide was difficult to use and when I am tired, I don’t want to frig around with a finicky slide. I put in LockLaces and they work fine.

Let’s back up a bit…
I have run in my second pair of Pearl Izumi N2 Roads since August and they have turned into my primary…mmmm let’s change that — my favorite running shoes this year, until this week when my knee started to talk to me and it was time to retire them after 340 miles.

I liked them enough that I chose to buy another pair N2’s, but I got the N2 Tri’s and their no tongue design. I figured that they would be pretty much the same shoe with just a slight change to the upper.

Ummm — wrong.

Differences

When I first put the N2 Tri’s on they seemed a little longer and not as wide as my N2 Roads, but during my first run in them, they felt fine on the treadmill, so I didn’t give it another thought.

However, as I have run in them this week, the “small” differences between the N2 Tri’s and N2 Roads became more apparent, especially since they are both supposed to be 8.5’s.

The N2 Tri’s are not as wide in the forefoot, are longer and have a more tapered toe box.

There is a strap that goes across the outside of the N2 Tri and while it has not bothered my Tailor’s Bunionette, I am concerned about how it will feel on a long run in the summer when my feet swell.

The heel cups do not feel as snug, but that could be due to being slightly higher volume in the arch area, due to the tongue design.

These are a lot of little things, that are slightly different between the N2 Tri’s and the N2 Roads. I know that manufacturing tolerances have a certain amount of +/- , but there is a noticeable difference between these two styles of shoes in the N2 series.

To me they are a different running shoe.

The big question is – are these differences enough to affect how the N2 Tri’s do for me at longer distances?

I ran a 10 miler and they performed well. No problems with my right foot’s Tailor’s Bunionette and my knee wasn’t talking to me about anything.

So I know that I can comfortably run long in them, so WTF is the problem?

It has started to get colder up heah in Maine and when the winds are whipping around, having a pair of shoes that at least slows the wind/cold down, can make the difference between a comfortable run or frozen feet and a miserable run.

Yesterday’s first run and the long run were done in low to mid 30’s F and with the wind chills was down in the 20’s. By the time I finished my Bennie run my feet were cold and when I finished the long run, they were damn cold.

The N2 Tri’s are well ventilated for warm weather running, which means that the air gets in/out easily and yesterday it was windy and cold. I could feel the breeze blowing through without any issues and it didn’t feel like they retained any warmth, in spite of having on merino wool socks, they just felt cold the whole time.

Which caused cold feet.

Something that I don’t have a lot of patience for is cold feet and when it is preventable, simply by using a different pair of shoes – I will use a different pair of shoes.

Which means that I know what I am going to do with the N2 Tri’s

Put them in the closet until it warms up next spring.

The reality is that

Now that I have worn the shoes for a while and did a successful long run in them yesterday, would I have gotten the Pearl Izumi N2 Tri’s?

Ummmm probably not. I have a feeling that the 8.0’s would have been too narrow and even though I like the looks of the shoe a lot (nice bright colors), they just do not have the same “feel” as my N2 Roads (either pair). I more than likely would have put them back up on the shelf and gotten another pair of N2 Roads, based on how they felt.

However, they are not uncomfortable to run in, they just do not have the same feel to me as the N2 Roads and I was disappointed by that change. So my expectations on how the N2 Tri’s should feel was different than what they are and is skewing my perception of how I feel about these shoes, which I am sure will work fine, once I get by that.

That is why when you look at the Shoe Fittr, they always show the different colorways and styles within the series. There are differences.

Something to remember, especially when we are buying running shoes online.

In case you haven’t noticed I am awfully damned finicky about how my running shoes fit and feel. If they are not exactly what I want, I tend to not wear them. However, how they performed on the long run (except for the cold feet), was better than a lot of the shoes I have run in this year.

I will give them another chance when the weather get warmer and my expectations are different.

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Labels: #Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Tri v1 50 mile review running shoe review