Pearl Izumi EM/H3 v1 – 200 Mile Review

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Another pair of old shoes that are now in the discount or can’t get them category. So why am I writing up a review about them?

Pretty much, because I can.

This post is primarily aimed at being here for my records to have what I think of these shoes and if another reader finds some information here that helps them – well that is a good thing.

So which shoes are we talking about this time?

The Pearl Izumi H3 Road v1.


See I told you it was an older shoe. I bought them from Sierra Trading Post last October (2015) when I was moving back to the Pearl Izumi brand for running shoes and wanted to try out a series 3 shoe. Even though I am now a  Pearl Izumi Run Champion in 2016, I got them before I was one and all opinions are my own.

First and foremost all I do like the H3 v1’s, they are quiet and have Pearl Izumi’s EM line’s smooth feel, but most of all I can put them on and just run as far as I want or need to in them. Here is my 50 mile review of the H3’s

Good vibrations right off the top.

If you are so all in with Pearl Izumi in 2016 why did it take so long to get to 200 miles in these shoes?

Well when I got them in October, yeah October…winter was on its way and I got a pair of N1 Trails for outside and N1 Road v2’s for the Treadmill, which meant that they got most of the mileage and then when I got the N1 Tri’s from PI and bought a pair of M3 Roads V2’s, it reduced the amount I used the H3’s quite a bit in the rotation.

It wasn’t so much that I had stopped liking the H3’s, it was just too many other pair of shoes in the rotation to use them and that I liked the M3’s that much better for where I primarily run. You can read more about the M3’s here

However, last week I decided to finally get that last 6 or so miles I needed to put them over the 200 mile barrier and get this review done.

What do I like?

Everything I have said that I like about Pearl Izumi’s EM line of shoes holds true for the H3’s.

  • quiet
  • smooth
  • great fit and feel
  • disappear on my feet – they don’t bother my Tailor’s Bunionette
  • confident that I can take them out for a double-digit run whenever I want
  • not feel beat-up after running a long run in them
  • wear well – the soles look hardly worn for having 200 miles on them
  • hell I even really like the colorway – as Mary says they are “Harold” shoes
  • At the top-end of how much I would like my daily trainers/long run/recovery running shoes to be at somewhere between 10.5 to 11.0 ounces each.

What don’t I like?


  • Not as versatile – with the sole design, they are pretty much road shoes or do well on groomed trails. Any kind of slime or wet grass and they become part of the problem, not part of the solution.
  • They are not great winter running shoes due to the tread design, better than some, but not what I want in a winter running shoe.
  • The H3’s are not race-day shoes, although I would choose them of all the shoes I have in my current rotation if I was going to run (not race) a Half Marathon.
  • The tongue is a bit short and causes the top of the foot to feel funky if I don’t have them quite right – I guess I should say the tongue positioning is finicky to get the right feel.

In other words there is not a whole lot that I don’t like about the H3’s and some of it is simply because of design choices by Pearl Izumi versus how I want to use the shoes. They are supposed to be a road shoe and do well on the roads, just because I expect my running shoes to go where I want, when I want, doesn’t mean it is the shoe’s issue – it is a Harold issue.

In my 50 Mile Review of the M3 v2, I stated that I liked running more in them than the H3’s. I think that the wider platform, a little more room in the toe box and the multi-purpose outsole are the biggest differences. However, after running again in the H3’s the past few days, I think that the differences might not be as pronounced as I thought.

The H3 v1’s are about .5 to 1.0 ounce lighter (dependent upon which website you trust) and while an ounce doesn’t sound like a lot, I tell the difference towards the end of a run if I am attempting to push the pace in either of the two.

The reality is

That I do like the Pearl Izumi H3 v1’s quite a lot, but I haven’t been running in them as much because I do like the fit and versatility of the M3 v2’s more, even if they are heavier. Which means that the H3’s tend to stay inside the shoe rack, when I decide on which pair of running shoe to use that day.

Unfortunately, they do not fill any niche that other shoes I am using regularly and like more do not fill. Now they primarily get used for times when the M3’s are still wet from a previous run or to wear to work.

They are still good running shoes that have a lot of running miles left on them, but I don’t see them getting a lot of time in the sun or is that run, unless something happens to my liking the M3’s as much as I do.

However, it is always nice to have a pair of running shoes sitting around the house, that you have confidence that you could put them on, run down the road for a double-digit run and know that your feet and body would feel just fine during and after the run.

There is something good about being able to say that about a pair of running shoes – it has not always been that way for me in the past.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Tri v2 – 50 Mile Review

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Let’s get this out of the way I am was selected to the Run Champion Team this year and I got a free pair of running shoes from Pearl Izumi back in January.

I decided to get a pair that I normally wouldn’t and it came down to the N0 or N1 Tri. As you can obviously tell by the title I chose the Tri’s. As usual all opinions are my own and your experiences with this product might be very different than mine.

What are these shoe’s purpose in my rotation?

The N1 Tri’s were going to be my fast outside workout shoes and alternate race day shoes.

  • How have they worked out for me?

This is my second pair of Pearl Izumi Tri edition shoes (I like the idea of slip on/off and no tongue). Many of the things I thought about the PI N2 Tri v1, held true for the N1 Tri v2 – which isn’t a bad thing but…After getting two pair of Tri’s, I have finally got through my thick skull that the Tri Models and Road models (whether N1 or N2) are different models of running shoes and have a different fit/feel.

Let’s start off by being completely honest and up front.

When I wrote my first draft of this post a couple of weeks ago, well let’s say it was less than flattering towards the N1 Tri v2’s. I had around 35 miles on the shoes and it had taken 3 months to get that many.

You guessed it, I wasn’t totally thrilled by them.

I love the fit and feel of the N1 Road v2 and the N1 Tri v2 simply is not the same shoe. It wasn’t a bad fit, but not the same and not what I was expecting from the shoe when I first started to wear it. The N1 designation made me think they would be more alike – I was wrong.

That expectation thing.

Which left me less than fantastic first impressions, because I was expecting one thing and getting something different every time I put the Tri’s on.

Plus I found the Tri v2’s in their stock variation to be very fussy about getting the fit just right. The way that I had to cinch down the lacing to get a good heel fit and then could feel of the narrow plastic slide on the top of my feet. Which meant that unless it was just perfect, that the heel would be too loose or that the top of my foot would be uncomfortable.

So I decided to go ahead make a couple of small changes:

First, I cut the stock slides and end caps off the original elastic laces and replaced them with an old pair of LockLace slides and end caps I had laying around.

Second, I soaked them down (filled a bucket with water and dunked the shoes) and then ran in and wore them until they dried.

Those two things made all the difference.

What do you mean Harold?

1. Since I changed the slide I can cinch down on the laces more without discomfort and my heels are locked in the way I want. Another plus is that the end cap doesn’t come loose and flop around giving me another distraction on a run (which happened a few times with the stock end caps and was frustrating).

2. After I soaked them down and ran/wore them dry, the shoe seemed to conform more to my feet and the upper didn’t feel as stiff as it did previously. I have done this with other shoes and for a while I routinely soaked down new shoes to have them fit better – quicker. I am not sure that this works as well with the new uppers and materials being used today, but it seemed to make a huge difference in how N1 Tri’s v2’s felt for me.

Are they comfortable?

I found the N1 Tri v2’s to be wearable out of the box, but nothing special. Like I said before, once I changed to the different slide and wore them dry, the change to how the shoes worked and felt to me was amazing. Enough so that I have put almost 20 miles on them and am enjoying running in them.

So yes, I now run comfortably and well in the them
Fit

  • Do they run big/small? From the way they fit me, it seems as though they run a little larger/longer compared to other PI shoes in 8.5. A size 8.0 in the model might be a better fit for me.
  • Are they wide enough in the toe box? The toe box doesn’t bother my tailor’s bunionette on fast or longer runs, but I haven’t done anything longer than 6.5 miles, so they haven’t been tested for that 7-10 mile range where many shoes do not do as well for me or that damn bunionette.
  • How does the heel fit? This is one area that I did have some issues, since the heel cup is stiffer and seems to be a just a tad wider than I want and if I do not have things just right with the lacing it results in too much heel slippage.
  • Feel (different from fit). I like the way they feel when I am running on the roads with them and they felt good on the groomed trail run that I used them on yesterday. With the changes that I discussed above they feel like a pair of shoes that I want to run in now.
  • Do they run quiet or slap the road? as with other models in the EM line-up very quiet.
  • Is the heel-to-toe transition smooth? again buttery smooth.

Sole

  • Are they rock collectors? They have the same sole unit as the N1 Roads and while they collect some pebbles during a run, it isn’t any more than most other running shoes that I run in.
  • Are they multipurpose or strictly roads/trails/snow? I wouldn’t hesitate to use them at Quarry Road if it is dry or other groomed trails like UMA or the Arboretum, but otherwise I would stick to the roads or treadmill in them.
  • The sockliner, insert or whatever you want to call it…is removable, which for the most part is a good thing, it allows your shoes to dry more completely after your feet get wet. Only one problem, if you do not wear socks with these shoes, when you attempt to take them off, the insert will fold up and attempt to come out of the shoe with your foot – at least mine did.

Upper

  • I love the uppers on all of the newer Pearl Izumi shoes, they do not bother my feet. However, with the tongue made into the upper there is not a lot of padding in the tongue area. Which limits the amount of pressure/snugness you can use to lock-down your heels.
  • Also the top of the shoe tends to want to fold a little as you can see in the photo. This is not as big an issue as it was before I dunked them.
  • The heel counter from just comparing it to the N1 Roads, it is more rigid and feels wider, which makes locking the heel a little more difficult, but I think they did that because it is a pull-on shoe.
  • Is it a good-looking shoe or meh? Personally, I think it is a GREAT looking running shoe and meets all the Harold shoe criteria, bright, multiple colors and did I say bright :-).
  • Is it weather proof, breathable? Very breathable and comfortable when it is warm in the gym and I am sure even better outside where there is a more of a breeze, but this is a double-edged sword in colder weather and requires the use of merino wool socks or choosing not to wear them in the colder weather when it is windy.
  • The lacing is a part of the upper, very briefly and bluntly…I do not like the lace lock system that PI uses in their Tri series shoes. It is fussy, a pain to not have a big loop and you have to use a special knotting procedure and then recut the cordage to get it to lay flat. Also one more than one occasion the plastic tip keeper came loose and was flopping around hitting my foot with each step which was annoying.

Would I get the PI N1 Tri’s again?

Probably…however, it depends on how they work over the next 150 miles or so. It isn’t that I don’t run well in the Tri’s, because I have and probably will, but my experience out of the box was not that “Wow!” I love these shoes.

However, if I did, I would change out the stock lace locking hardware pretty quickly, because for me the stock one is too fussy.
The reality is that
I was really on the fence about liking PI N1 Tri v2’s and was considering taking them out of the running shoe rotation and making them my work/walk around shoes. However, since I changed the lace lock system and soaked them down they are now one of my favorite shoes and I have put over 20 miles on them over the last week.

The biggest issue for me with the N1 Tri is that they are not the same shoe as the N1 Road. I had the expectation that they would be about the the same shoe and should have known better. They might share the N1 classification but are more like fraternal twins than identical twins.  
I think with the adjustments I made to the lacing system that it has changed the fit/feel and and not as fussy as it was with the stock lacing, which has made a big difference in how I look at the N1 Tri. I hate fussy shoes that become a distraction during the run.
Instead of a running shoe that was headed to the dreaded daily wear category, they are back in the rotation and dare I say almost displacing the N1 Roads as the shoe I chose when I want to run a little quicker and will probably use this weekend at my next 5K race.

I have a feeling that my next 150 miles will be a lot better than my first 35 were. 🙂

Pearl Izumi EM/M3 Road v2 – 50 Mile Review

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Disclosure: I am a 2016 Pearl Izumi Run Champion and yes, I like Pearl Izumi running gear, especially their running shoes, but these are a personal purchase and all the thoughts, opinions and comments are as usual – my own.

Yes, I do run in them 🙂

When I decided on my next pair of the 3’s (I like the extra cushioning compared to the N1’s or N2’s for daily trainers) from Pearl Izumi it came down to the N3 or M3, since I thought the H3 v1 was a little too much stability for me for most runs and felt that the H3 v2 would be a little too much stability too.

Plus according to various websites including Pearl Izumi the H3’s had gained a little more weight than I really wanted. Yes, I do sort of pay attention to the weight of a shoe, especially if I am going to do double-digit miles in them as part of my training. That extra .5 ounce (or more) that doesn’t seem like a big deal at 3.0 miles is pretty noticeable at 10.0+ miles. I prefer my daily trainers to be in the 9.5 to 10.0 ounce range, with more cushioning.

I didn’t get the M3 v2’s to be my race day, faster trainers or trail running shoes, I was looking for them to be my recovery day, easy trails and long slow distance trainers. You know the shoes you reach for, for most of your typical runs.

What kinds of runs have I done in the Pearl Izumi M3 Road v2’s?

 Well let’s see:

  • tar roads – check
  • gravel roads – check
  • gravel road shoulders
  • wet rainy gravel and tar – check
  • non-technical trails – check
  • treadmill – check
  • speedwork – check
  • snow covered roads – check
  • slimy mud down-back – check
  • long runs – check

In other words, just about every kind of running that I do except for the track, a race or single-track technical trails and I will explain why I didn’t use the M3’s for that kind of running later on.

Quick Impressions

This is my second pair of Pearl Izumi EM/*3 Road series – the first was a pair of H3’s which did a great job for me, but were supplanted in my rotation, not because they stopped working for me, but because I like the M3’s that much more.

Yeah, I like the M3 v2’s that much.

I am not one to be bedazzled by bright lights and fancy running shoes anymore. In fact I am pretty cynical about running shoes and how well they usually work for me, after running in so many pairs over the years, especially since 2012.

However, I have run quite well in the M3’s since I got them back on March 19, 2016.

Pearl Izumi M3 Road v2’s new

Okay so I like them, so what.

What do I actually like about them?

  • The M3’s retain the fit and comfort that I have come to expect from the EM line of shoes, my feet do not hurt while I am running in the M3’s and my legs (now that I have gotten more used to the higher weight than I had in the past) don’t feel beat up after a longer run in them.
  • The tread design is a nice multipurpose type of tread and does well in a wide variety of conditions. Based on the wear so far I have a feeling they will be very durable.

    After running in the snow
  • Yes, I think they are a good looking shoe and I do like a blue colorway. I just wish the trim was more electric yellow than gold, but that is minor.

    PI M3 Road v2’s
  • I run well in them. I not worrying about the running shoes and how bad my feet feel.
  • The V2’s retain the dynamic offset, I really don’t care what the drop is at whatever point in the gait cycle, what I care about for me is how smooth the heel-to-toe transition is and whether the shoe slaps the ground or is quiet when I am actually running in them. No slapping the feet with them on.
  • They are very quiet for a heavier running shoe.
  • The upper doesn’t have a bunch of overlays to bother my feet and has enough give that my feet feel very comfortable in them even at the end of my 10.75 mile run today.

What I did not like

  • They are a heavier shoe somewhere in the 11.0 to 12.0 ounce range per shoe according to which website you believe. The H3’s were somewhere in the 10.5 to 11.0 ounce range and while this isn’t a huge increase (somewhere between .5 to 1.5 ounces), it does affect what I do in them. They are definitely not racing flats and when I attempted a treadmill 5K time trial in them, it hurt a LOT more than it does with my N1’s.

    In other words – for me they are not a fast shoe.
  • The M3 v2’s out sole does tend to pick-up rocks, but they do not bother during the run and personally I would definitely rather have the multi-purpose out sole in M3 v2’s than the H3 V1’s out soles, which were definitely road only.

Other than that – nothing.

Are they they perfect running shoes?

No.

I wouldn’t use them for racing or running on technical trails, so I wouldn’t have them be my one and only pair of running shoes, but as a part of a 3-shoe rotation they are the perfect compliment to my N1 Roads and N1 Trails.

Hmmm, if they could get the M3’s down to sub 9.0 ounces without losing their stack heights, I might reconsider. It would mean using something different in the midsole and accepting a little less durability though.

The reality is that

When I go for a run, the first thing that pops into my head is “Am I running fast or not and where am I running?” If I plan to run faster, I reach for my N1’s, if it is more technical trails or lots of muddy, nasty crap, I go with my N1 trails…for everything else I grab the M3 Road’s.

I know that I can run in them comfortably and not have shoe issues.

Now I am not going to get all gaga about a pair of running shoes at 50 miles, but damn the Pearl Izumi M3 v2’s are doing what I want from a pair of running shoes. Which is not really what I expected from them when I originally got them. I expected them to be my recovery and long run shoes, but not my first choice running shoes.

Their ability to be used in a variety of conditions has reduced the need for another pair of trail shoes, because I can use them for 80% of the trails that I run around here and then save my N1 Trail v1’s for trail races and more technical trails in the area. Which makes Mama very happy, but it means that I don’t need to buy as many shoes now.

Disclosure I was selected on December 22, 2015 to be a member of the Pearl Izumi Run Champions Team and am positively predisposed to Pearl Izumi products. I purchased the Pearl Izumi N1 Road v2’s from Runner’s Warehouse. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experiences with Pearl Izumi products 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.”