Nike Lunar Glide 7 – 200 Mile Review

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

I bought my Nike Lunar Glide 7’s over at the Nike Outlet in North Conway, NH as a personal purchase and it was a pretty fantastic deal, which helped me a lot with the impulse buy part of it.

I had just started on this journey of left leg frustrations and thought that changing to higher drop shoe would help. It has, but just not as much as I would have liked.

Also this is my second pair of Lunar Glides – the first pair were the 5’s and worked well enough that I wanted to try the LG’s again and while these were sort of an impulse buy, when were up in NH, I had been doing my due diligence (that research thing) on what I was thinking about getting, because I was frustrated with the other shoes I had been wearing.

Without further ado here is my 50 Mile Review of the Nike Lunar Glide 7’s.

What are the LG’s primary stats?

Weight: 9.1 oz (size 9) Stack Height: 25mm (Heel), 15mm (Forefoot) Available Widths: D=Medium How It Fits (based on width D)

  • Sizing: Standard running shoe length
  • Heel: Medium to narrow
  • Midfoot: Medium volume
  • Forefoot: Medium
  • Toebox Height: Medium
  • Arch Structure: Medium-high
  • Shoe Shape: Semi-Curved

Taken from Running Warehouse 

The stats fit right in the wheelhouse of what I was initially looking for in a pair of daily trainers this time: higher drop, good cushioning, middle range weight around 10 oz. (the LG’s are at the lower end of the scale), a wider toe box, with an upper that has some give to it. The one thing that I was concerned about before I bought them was how the outsole would wear.

Where do the LG7’s fit in my running rotation?

Since I got them in May they have been my primary trainers and often the only shoe I ran in during a week. The higher drop has helped with getting me back on the roads (I can feel the difference running in a 4mm drop and the 10mm, by how much my left leg announces to me – how stoopid I am).

Which means that I have done most every kind of run in them from tar, dirt roads to groomed trails in all kinds of spring/summer weather.

What do I like?

  • quiet, there is none of that slapping I get with some other shoes and they don’t drag the heel when I land on them.
  • great fit and feel – one of the most comfortable pair of running shoes I have ever run in.
  • disappear on my feet – they don’t bother my Tailor’s Bunionette
  • if I suddenly decide to change a workout (faster or slower) on the fly because of how I am feeling, I do not feel limited because of the shoes I am wearing

What don’t I like?

  • Not as versatile – with the outsole design, they are pretty much road shoes or for use on dry groomed trails. Any kind of slime or wet grass, mud and the LG7’s do not perform as well. So I also would believe that in the winter they would become my treadmill shoes and only come out to play if the roads were clear and dry.
  • They do collect some pebbles, but they are easily removed…it seems that most of my shoes do this nowadays.
  • As you can see in the photo, there is a pretty significant rock shard puncture that happened while I was running down-back and while it didn’t hurt my foot, I have never had that happen before with a running shoe. I know that it was a freak occurrence, but…it reminded me that having a little more outsole, not just foam, might be a good idea for where I primarily run.
  • The outsole wear in the toe area is pretty significant. It is the same issue that I had with the LG5’s and it is a question how soon they will wear through, not if they will wear through – at just over 200 miles. So the way that I toe-off is a consideration I have to think about when looking at daily trainers, because this is typically a wear spot for me on all my shoes and the LG7’s are definitely wearing faster there than other shoes have run in.

Will I Get Another Pair of Running Shoes in the Nike Lunar Glide series?

I don’t think so.

This is two pair of LG’s that had the same fast wear issue in the toe area. If I only get around 200 miles out of a pair of running shoes, once I get back to running my normal mileage, it means that I would have to replace them every 4-6 weeks and that would be something I am sure that the wife would talk to me about :-).

A happy wife is a happy life, so I while I might buy a lot of running shoes, getting a new pair at that rate might be a little over the line she has drawn in the sand. Especially, for shoes that I know are going to need replacing that quickly.

Unfortunately, I have tried on the LG 8’s and while I think they would be a super road shoe and very comfortable. However, for where I run, the outsole would not work (too smooth) and how I toe off, there would be a the same wear problem with them, maybe worse.

So I pretty much knew that I was not going to move up to the 8’s after trying them on and had planned on purchasing another pair or two of the 7’s, because I do like how I run in them. Well at least I was until I realized how quickly the front of the 7’s were wearing.

Which means that I will be moving to a different running shoe for my daily trainers. I made that decision last week, before I got to 200 miles on the LG7’s and have gotten it down to 3-4 trainers that really interested me.

The reality is

That as much as I did really like the Nike Lunar Glide 7’s — because I did and still do. Unfortunately, they have a fatal flaw that has less to do with the shoe themselves and more to do with where and how I run.

The Nike Lunar Glide 7’s are not my best choice as the primary daily trainer, especially when I run on multiple surfaces on the same run almost daily. If I lived in town and didn’t run on dirt roads quite as much I think they would be an amazing shoe and might have more durability than I get by running a lot on a rock infested dirt road.

Even though I run quite well in them, the durability issue I have in the toe area, overrides how much I like everything else about them. Which is too bad because they are a very good running shoe.

So I will be moving in a different direction for my next pair of daily trainers.

However, if I get a GREAT deal on a pair of 8.5 Lunar Glide 7’s I wouldn’t hesitate to buy them again. Unfortunately, my idea of a great deal is probably different those who are selling them, so I don’t see them hitting that price point any time soon, especially in a “Harold” colorway.

What are your experiences with the Lunar Glide series of running shoes?

Pearl Izumi N1 Road v2 – 200 Mile Review

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

The Pearl Izumi N1 Road V2’s are a running shoe that I really, really like, but at the same time they are a tweener shoe that are not as good as my specialty shoes at specific workouts, but they do a LOT of things well. 

What in the hell are you talking about this time Harold?
First let’s get the disclosure stuff out of the way. I got the N1 v2’s as a present from Bennie at Christmas (so yes, I bought them from Running Warehouse) and I am a 2016 Pearl Izumi Run Champion, so I already like Pearl Izumi products, but the opinion and comments are my own. Where are they in my running shoe rotation?

For most of the winter they were my primary treadmill shoes. The tread is not great for running outside in the winter and they performed just fine in the treadmill role.  

Since the weather has improved, I have been running outside more outside in them and have been pretty happy with how well they are doing.
Basically I run well in them, I have done a 22:00 minute 5K, tough-ass treadmill speed work sessions, long treadmill runs and a 10 mile long run in them in addition to my daily runs with Bennie, so they are versatile. However, they are not as light and do not feel as fast as my racing flats and my legs felt a lot more beat up after my long runs in the N1 V2’s, than they do after a long run in my N2’s, H3’s or M3’s does.
Unfortunately, as an older runner, when I get up over that 5.0 mile mark, hell some days 3.0 miles, I like a little more cush between me and the road. This old body has a lot of miles on it and the extra cushioning does make the run more enjoyable. 
I have a feeling if I was 25 again, the N1 Road v2’s, some trail shoes and a pair of racing flats would be all I would need for running and training.

Yeah, I gotta remember I ain’t 25 anymore. Sometimes I forget that.
However, coming in at around 8.0 ounces, they are on the heavy side compared to my current LT3’s which come in at around 5.4 ounces, to be my primary racing shoes. Yes, 2.5 half ounces does make a pretty big difference in how they feel and I how they perform for me. 
Which puts me and the N1 v2’s in a conundrum – where do they actually fit in my running shoe rotation.
They are are what I would call a shoe that does most things quite well, but that doesn’t do anything great.
That tweener thing for me.
Let’s get on with the review and maybe as I write about them, I will have an epiphany about how they actually fit into my rotation.

What do I like?

Everything I have said that I like about Pearl Izumi’s EM line of shoes holds true for my N1 Road v2’s:

  • quiet
  • buttery 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
  • run fast enough in them
  • not feel limited in a workout, if I suddenly decide to change (faster or slower) on the fly because of how I am feeling
  • 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

What don’t I like?

  • Not as versatile – with the sole design, they are pretty much road shoes (as the freaking name states) or for use on groomed trails. Any kind of slime or wet grass, snow, slush and the N1 Road v2’s do not perform as well as the trail version — duh.
  • While I can run races in them, I don’t believe that I would consider them my 10K or under racing flats (there is a difference). At the half marathon or longer distances they would probably be my choice to run the race in, but even at the half distance I would be tempted to use my other flats – I know that I run faster in them, but it would come down to how important the race was and what I was attempting to accomplish.

In other words there is not a whole lot that I don’t like about the N1 Roads v2’s and some of what I don’t like are design choices by Pearl Izumi versus how I want to use the shoes. They are supposed to be a road shoe and they do quite well on the roads, just because I expect my running shoes to go where I want, when I want, as fast as I want doesn’t mean it is the shoe’s issue – it is a Harold issue.

Here is my 50 Mile Review of the N1 Road v2’s.
Will I Get Another Pair of Running Shoes in the N1 Road series?

I don’t know. I like them well enough, but while they are a good all-around running shoe they do not stand-out in any area enough to make me choose them over other shoes that are more suitable for specific training runs or workouts. Maybe as I transition from being overly competitive for an old fart (in my mind at least), they will become “fast enough shoes” for me stop using racing flats – well eventually.

After thinking about it, I will probably go back to a pair of N2 or M2 Road’s, which have a bit more cushioning than the N1, but are still in that 9.0 to 10.0 ounce sweet spot I am looking for in a pair of daily trainers.

The reality is

That I do like the Pearl Izumi N1 Roads v2’s a lot, but I just do not know where they really fit in my running shoe rotation. My racing flats are better for racing/speed work, trail shoes for trails and my more cushioned shoes are better for long or recovery runs. About the only niche that the N1 Roads really fit for me is the faster long training runs, which I do not plan to do very often (I have given up that marathon dream) or running faster on the dirt road down-back when it is dry. Otherwise when I do races or speedwork I reach for my racing flats, N1 Trails for trails and when I run slower or longer, I prefer the H3’s or M3’s.

Which means that I don’t run in them as often as I could/should/would like to.

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 I go on a vacation or something happens to my racing flats.

One thing I have noticed about the Pearl Izumi shoes from v1’s to v2’s is that the version 2’s are pretty much all heavier and the N1 Roads are no exception.

While the first N1 Road’s I ran in were closer to 7.0 ounces, the v2’s are just under or slightly over 8.0 ounces – depending on what website you listen to. Which does change how I do use them. Although I do not always put a lot of stock into a shoe’s stats, they are indicators of certain characteristics that I do better with. So I do want to include the N1 Road v2 stats, if for no other reason than to have it on hand to compare the v3’s or v4’s to down the road.

Taken from the Running Warehouse site:

  • Weight: 7.8 oz (size 9), although the PI website lists them as 8.1 oz
  • Stack Height: 23mm (Heel), 18mm (Forefoot)
  • Available Widths: D=Medium

How It Fits (based on width D) 

  • Sizing: Standard running shoe length
  • Heel: Medium
  • Midfoot: Medium volume
  • Forefoot: Medium
  • Toe-Box Height: Low
  • Arch Structure: High
  • Shoe Shape: Semi-Curved

Like I said about the H3’s in their 200 mile review, 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 at whatever speed you need to run and know that your feet and body would feel just fine during 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.

After all this, I still don’t really know where the N1 Road v2’s fit in my rotation, but I have a feeling that I will be writing a 400 mile review on them at some point this year, they are just a pair of shoes that I tend to find reasons to wear, even if they are not the best shoe for what I have planned.

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 N1 Trail v1 – 200 Mile Review

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

Okay, I am on the Pearl Izumi Run Champion’s Team, but I purchased my N1 Trails before I was selected and continued run in them after being selected. 

Enough of the disclosure stuff.

How did this pair of Pearl Izumi N1 Trail V1’s end up doing after 200 miles.

Pretty damn good.

Yes, this is the second pair of the model that has made it to 200 miles for me. However, I did make a slight adjustment in the size. 

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails

My original N1 Trail’s were size 9.0 and I sized down to an 8.5. It did make a positive difference and were more true to my size. Even though they were a little more snug with wool socks on than my first pair, it was not enough to bother anything.


I didn’t do as much trail running in them as I would have liked over the past few months, this year was not the best, either not enough snow or too much ice for winter trail running. 

However, I did a LOT of winter road running heah in Maine on the roads and down-back, so I have a real good idea of how they perform in the real world. 

In other words the Pearl Izumi N1 Trail V1’s performed exactly the way that I wanted and I have no plans to stop using them.

The good

I didn’t worry about my shoes, I worried about the weather, whined about how cold it was, how far could I run in this weather, whether Bennie was doing okay and all the other things I could worry about while running in the winter. 

However, I didn’t think about the N1 Trail V1’s when I was running other than to think about how good they felt on my feet. 

Which is the ideal that I am always chasing. My shoes need to disappear and I forget about them.

I ran well in my N1 Trails, no blisters, hot spots, they didn’t bother my trouble-some Tailor’s Bunionette and most importantly were comfortable, very comfortable for me to run in. 

They have enough traction in the snow, mud and crud to keep me upright in some pretty tough winter running conditions.

No holes in the uppers, very little wear on the bottoms and my right knee is not giving me signals that I need to get rid of them.

They are great shoes for a variety of surfaces and run smoothly wherever I have run in them. I use them for running fast, slow and all paces in between and they are my cruddy weather race day shoes.

These are all good things.

The bad

My biggest complaint with the first pair I owned was that they let in too much grit through the gap between the upper and the tongue. 

N1 Trails where the dirt and grit gets in

Most of the problem has been resolved with sizing down to 8.5’s. Unfortunately, I find that the N1 Trails still let in a little more grit than most other trail shoes that I have run in. 

Something that could be easily fixed by gusseting the tongue. Not a big deal, but something could be fixed.

The pleather pull tab on the back of the N1 Trail v1’s pulled out and needed to be cut off, (so I did both) which didn’t affect the shoes in any way (made them a little lighter) and they didn’t bother with them in V2, so it has been fixed.

One thing that bothers me about the N1 Trail’s that I really don’t have a good answer for is when I get my feet wet, not just damp. Like after a stream crossing, or lots of deeper puddles, the insole/insert tends to feel like it is hydroplaning inside the shoe. 

You know when you forget to take the boardwalk and go have fun.

Which might be because I do not cinch down the laces and like a looser feeling when running in my shoes, but it is unsettling to be running along, especially down-hill and feel as though the insole is not secure and might/does move around on you. I know that it slowed me a down a few times on some pretty wet trails before things froze up.

None of these things are reasons that I would call reasons to get rid of the N1 Trail v1’s and are actually pretty minor in comparison to how much I actually like to run in them.

The reality is

It comes down to whether I will buy another pair of N1 Trails v (verion whatever) or will I get something else?

This has been on my mind for a couple of months now, because I really love these shoes and know that I will get 400-500 miles out the shoes if I want to. 

The one thing that might make me move to a different model (not a different brand I will stay with Pearl Izumi thank you – they work too well for me to be screwing around trying other stuff out right now), is that the older I get and the more miles my body gets on it, the more I like a bit more cushioning.

I have learned that I like a softer, more cushioned ride as I get older. Personal preference nothing more, nothing less.

Yeah, the N1 Trail V1’s are at the lower end of the scale when it comes to cushioning and while I can use them for any run that I normally do, I haven’t done any double-digit runs in them this cycle. I do notice that on my longer runs in the N1 Trail V1’s that I feel a bit more beat up than I do when I run in my H3’s for the same longer distances.

So even as much I like the N1 Trails they seem to be a shorter distance shoe for me, especially if I have to do a lot of road running in them. Which means that I will probably look closer to the N2/M2 Trails or maybe even the new N3 Trails that are coming out for my every day trail running or winter road running next year.

All that being said – I will not get rid of my N1 Trails if I do, since I will still need a pair of lighter-weight trail shoes for the local trail races I want to do this spring/summer/fall and they are still my choice for cruddy weather (snow, slush, multiple terrains) race day shoes.

While the N1 Trails might not be the exact trail running shoe I am looking for, due to the more minimal cushioning that they have. However, if push came to shove and I could only have one pair of running shoes (the horror of that kind of thinking), I could see the N1 Trails being the shoes that I would choose, because I can do so many different things in them. 

From road racing to single-track trail running in just about any conditions.

They remind me a lot of my Ford Ranger Pick-up truck.

Reliable, have a bit firmer ride, do what I want when I want, not afraid to get it dirty, go anywhere I want or need to go and the Ford cleans up well to wander around town, take TheWife out for supper or gets me to work in any kind of weather. The Ranger can go on longer trips, but you will feel it a bit more afterwards than something with a little softer ride and no it is not the same thing or style that everyone else is riding around in. 

Yeah, that pretty much sums up how I feel about the N1 Trails V1’s too.

See more at: http://www.onefootinreality.com/2015/11/pearl-izumi-n1-trail-v1-50-mile-rview.html#sthash.bZOYizGp.dpuf if you want to read more about my 50 mile review.

Yes, I can grab the N1 Trail’s, go out for a run in any condition and not worry about my running shoes. Even though I might move to the N2 or M2 Trails for my next new trail shoes for that little extra cushioning, I am not in a super big hurry to do so and even after or if I do, I have feeling that these N1 Trails will still get some use and not fade completely into the back of the closet.

I just feel very confident in my N1 Trail V1’s and have heard nothing but good things about the V2’s.

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. 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 Adv

Hoka Clifton v1 #1 – 200 Mile Review

As usual I am a day late and a dollar short, this is a 200 mile review of the Clifton V1, yeah the V1. I know, the V2 is out and available on June 1st and Sam W. has his initial thoughts on the Clifton V2 and the improvements that have been made. It sounds like they listened, with the exception of the insert. Sam has some really great information and observations on the Clifton V2 in that post. Back to Version 1.

Hoka Clifton V1

Hoka Clifton V1 With over 200 miles of actually running in the Hoka OneOne Clifton’s since April 7th, I have a really good idea of the things I like and things I don’t like about them. Your experiences with this brand/model may have been different and that is cool, we are all experiments of one and what I am writing about is how the Hoka Clifton’s have worked for me. If you decide to try the Clifton’s, they might not work the same for you as they have for me, though I hope that they do. I got these shoes in a trade with a fellow runner, who had already put 125 (or so miles on them), so these Hoka Clifton’s have over 325 total miles on them – something to remember when reading this post. Usually, for me…once a pair of shoes get over 300 miles on them, they are pretty much done and my legs are telling me it is time to move on. These Clifton’s are still a part of my current running shoe rotation, I ran in them this morning and plan to run in them tomorrow. So they have passed my usual 300 mile mark…I wonder how many more miles they will last for me?

How do I like them?

They work for me and how I run. I mostly like how they fit and feel when I run in them. The best part is that I stop worrying about what is on my feet and just run. No thinking about whether my right foot is going to start hurting, if I am going to get a blister or if my feet are getting sore. I put them on, run in them and don’t think about them when I am running.

Hoka Clifton V1

Hoka Clifton V1 What more can I say. Well with me – a lot. 🙂 You can read my 50 mile review of these shoes here. Let’s see, I have done a 5K Race, long runs up to 13.1 miles, groomed trails, some dry single track, runs on dirt roads, runs in the rain, treadmill and slush/snow (it was still April when I got them). Which means I have done just about every kind of run that I do in any shoe. I will be honest, since April 7th, my shoe rotation has been basically Clifton’s Blue and then I bought another pair of Clifton’s Lime on April 24th – yeah me and a two shoe rotation. If you look at my monthly and weekly mileage charts, my mileage has become much more consistent since I started running in the Clifton’s, than I was before I got them.

Monthly and Weekly Mileage Charts as of 5-27-15

Monthly and Weekly Mileage Charts as of 5-27-15 Also I don’t feel beat-up like I have in most shoes. I am 57 and I have a lot of miles on my legs, that along with a long history of injuries – a litany of every injury that a runner can have. The cushioning that the Clifton’s have, has helped my legs stay fresher and more able to withstand the pounding that running on the roads does to a body. I don’t give a damn about feeling the road, I just want to run comfortably and so far… I have just been able to run in them – hell I am averaging in the mid-40’s for weekly miles since April and recently knocked off a 50+ mile week and have not had any of the problems with my hips, legs, knees, ankles and feet that I usually do at that kind of mileage.

Hoka Clifton V1

Hoka Clifton V1 I know that some of this improved consistency is associated with the weather getting better (after a horrible winter), but at the same time I was struggling with some frustrating hamstring issues which impacted/limited my running more than I let on. Since I started running in the Clifton’s, those issues have gone from being painful and uncomfortable on many runs, to “oh yeah” there is some discomfort there when I am doing speedwork. Which is a huge difference and something that rapidly improved after I started running in my Clifton’s. I have nothing but anecdoctal evidence that wearing the Hoka’s are the reason my hamstrings have improved so much over the last 2 months. I will leave it at that and let you draw your own conclusions. I know what I believe.

Feel (different from fit)

Cushioned and comfortable are what I said in my 50 mile review and are still the two words that come to mind when I think about the Clifton’s, only I would add in fast too. But I think it is more because I am running consistently that is allowing me to run faster than something as simple as a pair of running shoes. The other thing is that I run very quietly in the Clifton’s, which is one of my indicators that I am running efficiently in them. They do let me know when I am tired and not maintaining good form, because they get noticeably noisier when I land. Going from the whisper tap, tap, tap, to a thunk, thunk, thunk. For as big and bulky looking a shoe as the Clifton’s appear initially, they are freaking light and nimble to run in.

Racing

I ran a 22:19 5K in them, running at about 80-85% effort last weekend, which isn’t a bad time for me and during the race, I didn’t think about how the shoes were doing. Sometimes we over-emphasize lightness, lack of cushioning and extra “pop” that is inherent in racing flats and forget how uncomfortable flats can be while racing and how much more of a pounding our legs take when running in them (at least mine do). There have been times when I ran races in flats, I was so focused on how uncomfortable my feet were, that I know that my times suffered. or worse…when I run in flats, it seems that I have this tendency to tweak or injure something along the way – not what I really want to worry about during a race.

At the Finish Miles for Mills 5K - bright yellow shirt

At the Finish Miles for Mills 5K – the old guy  in the bright yellow shirt is me I kind of think of it like the difference between driving a Cadillac Sedan or a Porche Carrera at 80 mph on some of the old back roads up heah. Both are going at the same speed without any issues, however, I know that the Cadillac is going to be more a lot more comfortable than a sports car while riding on those roads and that you will get there at the same time. Even if the Porche might look or seem like it is going faster – it ain’t. The differences between 6-7 ounce racing flats or 7.8 ounces that the Clifton’s weigh is not really enough of a difference, to make that big a difference. Do you have to work harder to get to your “race pace” in a softer shoe – maybe, but at the same time is the pounding your body is taking during while running in flats going to slow you down more than you think??? For most of us I wonder? Most of us will get a bigger bang for our buck, by working on losing a few pounds of body weight (I have to loose about 15 pounds), that will help us run faster, much more than an ounce or so on a pair of running shoes. I don’t really see me running all that much faster in flats than I do in the Clifton’s, so I would just as soon do my racing in comfort.

Sole

The outsole had some minor wear points, with a little shoe goo in spots that the other runner wore down. However, in my usual wear spots (which are different areas), the Clifton’s did not wear unusually.

Hoka Clifton v1 when I first got them

Hoka Clifton v1 when I first got them The top outside forefoot pod and the heel pod above the green has more wear than they did, but otherwise the wear is fairly minimal for shoes with almost 325 total miles on them.

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Not too bad for 325 plus miles on them The Clifton’s are definitely road shoes or for groomed/dry trails. While just walking in some wet snow, they were seriously slipping and sliding around, so I wouldn’t use them as my primary winter running shoes outside on muddy/gnarly trails, or even wet grass. Although, they have done great on the roads, wet/rainy stuff and on the dirt shoulders that I get to run in. One thing that I have noticed is that the insert, has a couple of crinkles in the heel cup.

Hoka Clifton crinkle in the insole

Hoka Clifton crinkle in the insole This has still not caused any issues, but I get concerned when an insert is not smooth. These little crinkles could become a big problem on a long run if they begin to rub wrong or if the insole shifts at all. I am not all that impressed with the insoles, but I like the way that I run in this pair of Clifton’s, so I have left them alone.

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The other thing is that I often have issues with wearing holes in the heel cushioning on many brands of running shoes, which eventually cause blisters on my heels – not good. With the Clifton’s as you can see that is not an issue. I did change out the insert in my Lime pair and it seems to give me a better fit, but at the same time they do not feel as fast a shoe as my Blue stock ones. So there are trade-offs.

Upper

The Clifton’s upper does not bother my Tailor’s Bunionette, there are not a bunch of sewn-on overlays to aggravate my feet, the fabric doesn’t bunch up on top of the toes when flexing and the toe box is wide enough to be comfortable (although I wouldn’t mind a bit more room). The heel cup is a little looser than I like, but has not been a problem while running. After 325 miles, some of the overlays are beginning to delaminate a little, nothing serious and nothing that I am worried about.

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One of the things about the Clifton’s that I don’t like (I don’t like this on a lot of shoes being produced today) is the non-padded tongue. Due to the volume of the upper and the minimal tongue, when I cinch down the laces, the lace holes almost touch, not really a good thing, which also meant that for me to get a enough of the shoe to have a snug fit that I had to unhook the tongue from the laces. This leaves it free floating, which is a pain when putting the shoes on and I have to be very careful about where it is when I finally tie the shoes. The good thing is that during a run, the tongue hasn’t moved around or caused any issues for me.

Things I would change for V2

  • Change the tongue
  • Replace the insoles with a single insole that doesn’t crinkle, instead of the two-stage system they have now.
  • Add some of the more durable rubber on the inside pod on the heel for us that wear down that section.
  • Make the heel cup a little narrower.
  • Open up the toe box a little more
  • A little less volume in the mid foot.

However, even if Hoka OneOne didn’t make any changes to the Clifton’s I would still buy more pairs of this shoe – I like them that much.

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

If Bennie had an early lunch, I would go out and order another pair and listen to complaints about how much they cost.

The Reality is that

This is what I said in my 50 mile review and I can’t say it any better than I did then. When I first saw Hoka’s and even right up until recently, I told everyone that I wouldn’t be caught dead in those “clown” shoes. I was saying that even though I had never even tried a pair of Hoka’s on. Which was both close-minded and ignorant of me. Even after I worked a deal with the other runner and got the Clifton’s in last week, I still looked for and really wanted to find reasons why I wouldn’t like them. Ummm Houston – we have a big frigging problem. I do like the Hoka One One Clifton’s — A LOT!!! I admit it, I was wrong.

Now that I have run in the Clifton’s for over 200 miles, I have a different perspective about the Hoka One One running shoe brand, especially – the Clifton’s. I will order a pair of the V2’s and see how much of a difference that the changes that they made make for me, but I also know that I will buy a couple pair of the Clifton V1’s that I find on clearance and use them as my race day/speedwork shoes. I just hope that Hoka doesn’t forget that not everyone needs/wants a true racing flat, but that some of us want a lightweight running shoe that we can use on race day, but that can do more than just be a racing flat or speedwork shoe. For me the Clifton V1 hit that sweet spot. Without a doubt, if I had to choose a shoe of the year out of the 12 different models I have put miles on this year so far, the Hoka Clifton’s would be it. I can’t give it any higher recommendation than after running over 200 miles in my Clifton-Blue and over 120 miles in my Clifton-Lime – I will be buying more pairs of the Hoka OneOne Clifton’s going forward.

Hoka Clifton V1

Hoka Clifton V1 Here are links to other reviews of the Clifton’s from runners I respect: Comparison Review: Hoka One One Clifton and Huaka – Sam Winebaum — Sam’s Running, People, Places, and ThingsHoka Clifton Running Shoe Review – Peter Larson Hoka One One Clifton Review – Running Shoe Guru
Disclosure of Material Connection: These are used running shoes with approximately 125 miles on them when I received them and were a trade with another runner. 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.”

Mizuno Ronin 4 – 200 Mile Review

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

Originally posted on: January 13, 2015

Ungh yeah, you are reading that correctly this is a 200 mile review on a shoe that I bought on October 6, 2012 (that is right – 2012).

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

Two and half years to get a pair of running shoes to 200 miles. Harold, you usually do that in 2-3 months or less, especially if you like them.

What in the hell happened?

Long Story

It is a long story, but it has a lot to do with my development as a runner over the last few years and how I have finally accepted the runner that I am.

My last run in the Ronin’s before a few weeks ago was on 3/18/13 and before that it was only a few times in 2013.

Almost two years ago
 – it doesn’t seem possible, but true. In the past I had called the Ronin 4’s my magic running shoes, because I always seemed to run fast in them. Unfortunately, they were also about a half-size too small, which caused them to be fussy about which socks I could wear and if things were not “just” so, my right foot and that Tailor’s Bunionette would bother me after 4-5 miles.

That, along with my big push to change my running form.

Yeah that phase I and many other runners went through during 2011-2013, when we were was reading so many or was that too many books and blogs that were pushing a particular running style and more minimal/zero drop shoes as the only way to run “injury-free” and be a better runner.

It may be for some. I know that I bought in “hook, line and sinker”.

Which meant that suddenly my Ronin’s and Elixir’s “were not the right running shoes for me”. After all they were much more traditional running shoes and allowed/encouraged me to run more on my heels – not the proper way to run according to all the stuff I was reading.

Despite or was that in spite of the fact that I had run extremely well in both at the Runner’s World Half Festival in October 2012 and in training after that.

I believe the straw that broke the camel’s back, was the photos and a video from the 2013 Central Maine Striders January Thaw Race, where it showed that I was definitely heel striking…badly. After that I really focused on wanting to change my gait/running style.

Photo by David Colby Young at 2013 January Thaw – Shows my great heel first landing stride

Which meant that the Ronin 4’s languished in my closet. I even gave them to SD1, who wore them as knock-around the house shoes and even worked in the garden in them. Finally, even she moved on to different shoes.

In May of 2013, when I was training in zero drop shoes exclusively and racing in very light-weight racing flats (Ekidon’s), I partially tore my Achilles during a 5K race. I don’t know if the attempted change of gait and training in zero drop shoes contributed to the injury or not, but it happened while I was doing it, so it did raise a lot of questions in my mind.

Since that injury I have looked closely at my running and what kind of running shoes that I run in with and from a different perspective. As part of what I learned – I now know that I do not like running in very minimal running shoes or extremely light-weight racing flats and zero drop shoes tend to bother my Achilles more than more traditional running shoes.

Changing their running style might work for some runners, but it didn’t for me and now I am just going to focus on running – the way that I run.

Thomas College Terrier 5K – 10-26-14 Finish — Not a whole lot of change in my stride.

Fast forward to the end of 2014

Now that I have figured out that changing my form/gait didn’t happen and that while I have periods in a run where I might run with a mid-foot style, for the most part I land on my heels and need shoes that will handle both of those styles well. Plus I have learned that I want a little more protection when I run faster than what the super light-weight racing flats provide.

A concession to my age, maybe, but I just don’t like running in minimally cushioned running shoes at this point in my life.

Hair-Brained Idea

Just before Christmas, I got the hair-brained idea to try the Ronin’s again, after all they were just sitting in the back of the front closet – taking up space.

Especially, since I have moved more towards lighter-weight trainers/long distance style racing shoes (7-10 oz), higher drop (6-10mm), with about 20mm stack heights (give or take a little in either direction) for my faster workouts/racing. Which pretty much describes the Ronin’s.

So why not, go ahead and see whether they were still my “magic” shoes.

Mizuno Ronin 4

This is what I said on 12/10/14 (go to the link) after my first run in them again – a very good treadmill session:

Maybe some of the magic was still in them.

That is the story of why I stopped running in the Ronin 4’s that were working well for me a few years ago and why I started running in them again recently.

Pricing/Availability

How much did I pay?

I bought them at the then Maine Running Company in Brunswick at full price – I believe it was $105.00 plus tax, no discounts. Back when Seth was in Brunswick.

Mizuno discontinued the Ronin line, so you cannot get updates past the Ronin 5 from Mizuno and they are not available on the Mizuno website. You have to rely on retailers like Amazon, 6PM, Ebay, etc. to find them and it seems that each day they are getting more difficult to find and there is not a much of a discount despite them being discontinued.
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 usually puts me in an 8.0 to an 8.5 running shoe.

Below is a photo of the Ronin 4’s and my thumb showing where my right big toe is inside the toe box to show how it actually fits my foot.
Mizuno Ronin 4’s – less than a thumb’s width

They are about a half-size too small and the fairly narrow toe box bothers my Tailor’s bunionette if I am using the wrong socks – they are very finicky about which socks work and which ones do not. The upper is such that I have to wear socks or get raw spots/blisters.
Feel (different from fit)

I compare all shoes to how quiet the Skechers GoRun Ride 2’s were for me and when I started to run in the Ronin’s again, I was a little slappy on the forefoot, but now that I have run in them a few times they are much quieter, not GRR2 quiet, but quiet enough that I am pretty sure that I am running efficiently in them.

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

The Ronin 4’s are a light-weight trainer/racing shoe that for me feel firm, but comfortable. I just know that I am supposed to run fast when I have these shoes on, whether that is just a mindset or the shoes – it doesn’t matter. All I know is that I feel fast when I run in the Ronin’s and have run some very fast for me times.

I still run fast in them and I have a feeling that my next 5K or race will be run in those shoes (unless the weather totally sucks).
Sole

I have always liked the looks of the outsole of the Ronin line, it is a road shoe that can do dirt roads or easy trails as long as they are dry. It feels flexible, but at the same time has a very nice snap to it that makes them a faster shoe than I would have expected from a higher drop shoe.

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

For 200 miles and all the other wear they have had, I am very impressed with how well the sole has held up and that they still feel very fast and comfortable to run in.
Upper

The upper on the Ronin 4 has a lot of sewn on overlays, which I find irritate the Tailor’s Bunionette on my right foot on any shoe that doesn’t have a very wide toe box. The Ronin 5’s have a better upper and if I can find a pair of 8.5’s in the 5’s I will chase after them.

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

I can’t run sockless in them for long distances, because there are a few places that really irritate and if I ran too long sockless, those areas would blister or rub the skin away.

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

To be honest, I think that I would go ahead and attempt to find another pair of Ronin 4’s or 5’s if Bennie decided to chew these up. They have worked well for me and I like running fast in them.

The Reality is that

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I sort of wish that I had not gone down the gotta change my form/minimalist/zero drop rabbit hole. Even though I learned a lot and met some great people, I also learned that I don’t run that way and probably never will.

When I look at my old and more recent running photos and videos (when I am not aware I am being photographed or videoed), I am a heel striker. Not a bad thing, just the way that I run – too many years of muscle memory and not enough motivation to actually make the change.

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

Between the Skechers GoRun line (which do not meet my personal definition of minimal running shoes) and the Ronin’s I have found a running shoe rotation that I believe will serve me well, well at least as long as I can still find the Ronin’s. By then I will have found a nice shoe to replace them.

I do like my Ronin 4’s and plan to keep my eyes out for size 8.5 or even 9.0’s in the 4’s or 5’s, that I can squirrel away and delay the day when I have to find their eventual replacement as my race day shoe up to the half marathon.

The Ronin 4’s may not be the perfect running shoes, but for me the pair that I have were a magic shoe, that still have some remnants of magic left.

If you happen to have an old pair of Ronin 4 or 5’s lying around in your closet and want to get rid of them in a size 8.0 or 8.5 – let’s talk.

I just had to learn how I actually run, to have a better appreciation for the Ronin 4’s – too bad I am a day late and a dollar short – yet again.

How about you do you have an old pair of magic shoes in your closet that still have some life left in them?

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Labels: 200 mile review Mizuno Ronin 4 running shoe review

Pearl Izumi N1 Road v1 #1 – 50 Mile Review

Originally posted on: October 16, 2014.

I have over 200 miles on my Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road 8/16/14 running shoes, which means – I get to write about them again.Here were my initial impressions from my first run, why I chose to buy the N1 Roads and my 50 Mile Review of the N1 Roads.My previous reviews of the N1 Roads have been very positive. Over the years I have learned if a running shoe makes it to the 200 mile review, I really know how it has worked for me.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 RoadsWhat do I think of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads after 200 plus miles, without all the hype?

Pricing

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?

N1 Road price

I got a fantastic deal at Sierra Trading Post, thanks to a close-out sale and a 35% off discount code.They were still available on the Pearl Izumi site for $115.00 as of 10/16/14.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.

How have they worked out for me?

It took me two months to get 200 miles on these shoes in my current running shoe rotation.They are a damn good pair of running shoes and I like them.  I have put them through:

  • track workouts,
  • hard treadmill interval workouts,
  • long runs,
  • faster-paced runs,
  • recovery runs,
  • runs down-back with Bennie on a rock dirt road
Pearl Izumi N1 Roads at 50 Miles

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads at 50 MilesI haven’t changed my opinion all that much since my 50 mile review where I said: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.Over the past couple of months, the N1 Roads shared the workload as the primary running shoes with the N2 Roads in my current rotation. The only change is that I don’t like to use them for slower long runs or recovery runs. It isn’t that I can’t do them, I just prefer to use different shoes for those runs.If I remember right, initially the N1 Roads were marketed as Pearl Izumi’s minimal shoes. However, in my opinion they are more like the Nike Free, Saucony Kinvara, Brooks Pure Flow, etc. — which I put in the light-weight neutral trainer category – shoes that were more bandwagon efforts by the brands to say they had “minimal running shoes”, when they were something different.It is a style of running shoes that generally work well for me as a “faster shoe” or longer distance racing shoe. By design they are more minimal and less protective than what I consider a daily trainer, but still have plenty of cushioning for a variety of running.For the way I run and how I like my shoes to feel, during a run/race and then after, I probably wouldn’t use the N1 Roads for more than 1/2 Marathon distances. While I run well in these shoes, when I run double-digit mileage in them, I feel more “beat-up” after, than I do in more traditional daily trainers.

Fit

The size 8.5 from Pearl Izumi’s EM line fits true to size and fit 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. My N1 Roads do feel slightly, ever so slightly wider than my N2 Roads, both fit well, but I like the fit of the N1’s better.

Feel (different from fit)

The N1 Roads are a quiet running shoe for me and when my right foot splays out – that right shoe slaps a little, which cues me to correct my stride.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.

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads

Pearl Izumi N1 RoadsThe N1 Road’s were a little stiff at first, but quickly became quite comfortable, which has been a concern with some of the Pearl Izumi EM line of shoes for me, but was not an issue with the N1’s.The N1’s are designed to be a faster shoe, which means they will/should have a firmer ride. 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/Ronin 4’s were.The N1 Roads do not have great ground feel, but I definitely can feel the rocks and road crap in them. Sometimes I feel the dirt road down back a little too much, but not to the same point of more minimal or racing flats do.I think that they give the right amount of protection from the road in a lightweight package – a fast, protective feel.

Sole

The N1 Roads are road shoes, the flat tread design makes no doubt about their purpose.

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads after 200 miles

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads after 200 milesThey have done a great job on the roads and shoulders that I do most of my runs on, including runs in the rain. While they do pick up the occasional small pebble/rock, they usually shed them quickly and if one does get lodged in the sole (see photo), it can be quickly cleared.The N1 Roads are not designed to run in snow/slop, so they are a 10 month running shoe, at least for running outside up heah in Maine and will become my primary treadmill shoes.One of the concerns I had initially was the perceived lack of durability of the N1’s outsole. The reality is that they are wearing better than many other shoes I have run in over the years.

Upper

Nothing has changed from my 50 mile review where I said.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.One thing that I have noticed about the N1 Road Uppers is that on the heels of both shoes, I am wearing through the fabric into the padding.

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads heel wear 200 miles

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads heel wear 200 milesWhile this has not caused any issues for me yet, it has been my experience when that begins to happen, at some point the wear in the heel liner will cause blisters eventually. It will be interesting to see if/when this happens.I also have a feeling that some of this wear in the heel is a result of how I take off the shoes. I hold the heel down with my other foot and slip out of the shoe while it is still tied. So some of this is my fault, but…it is how I do it with all of my shoes.

Availability

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 a version 2. 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).Now that I have run 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?

The N1’s would be my choice for fast training runs up to 10 miles or as 5K to 1/2 marathon racing shoes, but not as my daily trainers, they are a little too light-weight for me.

The Reality is that

After 200 miles, I have gotten to know the N1 Roads pretty well. I still like them a lot and will have them in my running shoe rotation as the shoes I reach for when I want to run faster.Could I use them as my primary daily trainers – mmmmmm probably, but I do not believe that I would be able to handle the 40 mile weeks as well as I am as my primary trainers. The N1 Roads work best for me, as part of a shoe rotation, where I use them for faster paced runs, the treadmill and alternate them with more protective trainers for longer and recovery runs.

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads

Pearl Izumi N1 RoadsI will continue to use the N1 Roads as part of my running shoe rotation. They will become my winter treadmill/speed work shoes and then I am planning to buy another pair of N1 Road’s next March or April to get ready for the spring/summer racing season.I cannot give a better recommendation other than I am planning to buy them again. Although, I might try the Tri version, since I like the slip-on/slip-off design.
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.”Email PostLabels: #reflection200 mile reviewPearl IzumiPearl Izumi N1 Road v1reviewrunning shoe review

Pearl Izumi N2 Road v1 #2

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.
Originally posted on: September 25, 2014

I have over 200 miles on my Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road running shoes that I got back on 1/18/14 , which means – I get to write about them for the first time.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads
MMMMMM Harold you almost always do an initial and 50 mile reviews on your shoes, what happened.

When I got this particular pair of N2 Roads in a trade for some shoes that I didn’t like, I was doing the initial, 50 and 200 mile N2’s reviews based on the pair that I got for Christmas and started running in on 12/26/13.

So this pair of shoes just got worn, not reviewed.

What do I think of the Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads after 200 plus miles, without all the hype?

Pricing

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?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this pair of Pearl Izumi EM/N2’s in a trade, with another runner for running shoes that I didn’t care for. I got lucky and it only cost me the price of mailing the other shoes to him. 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.”

The Pearl Izumi site, still has them for $120, but you can find them on sale at other sites from around $80 to list price or above. With discount coupon codes, you can get them for less.
How have they worked out for me?

This is the second pair of N2’s that I have gotten at least 200 miles out of.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road

Initially, I made these my treadmill shoes, since I had a pair of N1 Trails and N2 Roads already in the rotation. To be honest through most of the winter, I didn’t use them all that much and it took until the end of April to get 60 miles on them.

During March, I had gotten disillusioned with my PI’s especially the N1 Trail’s and the amount of grit they were letting in to make things distracting/uncomfortable and said this about my first N2’s, after a 11.0 mile run on 3/21/14.

So I decided to try the N2 Roads to see if they kept the sand out any better. They did, but I missed the extra traction that the N1 Trails would have given in a few places, when I had to move onto the shoulder and it was loose dirt/mud or melted/slushed ice. The N2 Roads just don’t have the traction for that kind of running. Other than the traction fun, the N2’s were the right choice for the drier pavement and I didn’t have any issues with my feet.

At this point I had decided that I needed different running shoes, that didn’t let in so much grit and had a bit more traction and did the big spring shoe search. Which looking back with 20/20 hindsight was a big mistake and a waste of money on other shoes that I attempted to run in, that didn’t work out nearly as well as the N2’s were/had/are.

I didn’t use the N2’s again until the Boys and Girls Club 5.0 miler in April, because my “new” shoes were hurting my Tailor’s Bunionette and this is what I said after that race.

How did the Pearl Izumi N2 8.5 do? I didn’t think about them at all, which is a good thing and what I want from my shoes. They were smooth feeling, but at the same time something was missing, not sure what? I can run far comfortably in my Pearl Izumi’s, but I really haven’t run that fast in them, despite of all the miles I have run in my 2 pair of N2 Road’s.

Boys and Girls Club 5.0 Miler wearing the N2 Roads – Photo by David Colby Young

My attempt to use the N2’s as race shoes was a mistake too – they are not racing flats and this experience pushed me to look elsewhere for yet another pair of running shoes.

After that race I didn’t run in these Pearl Izumi’s N2’s until 8/14/14, when I ran a 10.0 miler in them.

Why did I run 10 miles in a shoe that I hadn’t run in, in several months?

There is just something about the N2’s that I knew I could just run in them and have confidence that they will not bother my feet, plus I had just ordered a pair of Pearl Izumi N1’s and wanted to get used to running in the EM’s dynamic offset design before they came in.

They did fine on the 10.0 miler, no issues and since that run, I have kept them in my running shoe rotation and used them for everything but speedwork. I still don’t really feel as if the N2’s are a “fast” shoe, but for anything else, they work nicely.

Harold be honest.

I have had a love/hate relationship with my N2 Road 1/18/14.

Many runners do not like the out of the box experience with the N2’s, I know that I didn’t. Just like my original N2 Road’s they felt stiff and inflexible and needed to be broke-in, before they really were comfortable to run in and this need for a break-in period can be a deciding factor for many, whether they continue to keep running in them or not.

Runners today have been spoiled with so many running shoes being great right out of the box, that when we get a pair that need 20-40 miles to break, we do not want to deal with that and quickly move to a different pair that do not need a break in period.

I wonder how many “great” running shoes we miss out on, simply because we do not/are not willing to break in a pair of running shoes?

It sometimes seems as though our expectation for all our running shoes now is that we should be able to do a double-digit run in them the first time we put them on our feet…I know I have been guilty of this and when I can’t run “long” in new shoes comfortably, I have returned them.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road

Also, I do not like this colorway and to be honest, I think that this affected how much I actually ran in them. Maybe I was a little “vain” about how they looked. I am not a fan of the “gray” running shoe look.

Now that I have gotten them broken in and gotten over the colorway, I have run comfortably in the N2’s at all distances and I have not worried about my feet hurting because of my shoes, when I wear them.

They work best for me when I use them to eat up mileage, but I do not like them for speedwork or attempting to run faster.
Fit

The size 8.5 from Pearl Izumi’s EM line fits me about as good as any line of running shoe ever has and seems to run true to size. Although I believe that the N2’s are slightly narrower in the toe box than the N1 Roads, I have not had any issues with the fit bothering my Tailor’s Bunionette.
Feel (different from fit)

The N2 Roads like the N1’s 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.

I am a heel striker and 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 smooth heel-to-toe feel/transition that I really, really like.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads

The N2 Road’s were stiff and fairly inflexible when I started running in them and while they are still fairly inflexible and firm compared to other shoes I like. Now that they are well broken in, I don’t seem to notice the lack of flexibility or stiffness, now when I am actually running in them.

They do feel more cushioned than the N1’s, but not as soft as my GoRun Ride2’s or even my Brooks Launch’s, but there is enough cushioning that I don’t notice the rocks and other road debris that you tend to land on around here.
Sole

The N2 Roads are road shoes, the flat tread design makes no doubt about their purpose.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road

My experience when the dirt road downback is really wet/muddy, is that they are not the best choice of shoes to run in down there.

When I took them over into Bond Brook yesterday, they did fine protecting my feet in the conditions over there, but it was dry. With the lack of tread in the design, if it had been wet, I would not have even tried to run on any of the ski or single-track trails there.

The N1 Roads protect my feet better than some trail shoes I have worn, which means that they do not have a lot of road feel, which is fine by me, I am looking for protection and do not worry about feeling the road.

During the winter, I don’t enjoy finding the road with my arse, due to flat-bottomed shoes. Which means unless it is dry and clear, that I won’t use them outside after the first snow.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road

I have been pleasantly surprised with how little wear there is on my N2’s after 200 miles and the best part is my right knee hasn’t started hurting yet – which is my cue that a pair of shoes are toast.
Upper

I am not crazy about the colors of this pair of shoes, but getting them free in a trade, you take what you get. I would never have picked this colorway, if I had to buy the shoes and I wonder sometimes if how much a pair of shoes looks to us – affects how we view them and want to run in them.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road

I like the Black/screaming Yellow colorway a lot better than this Gray/Yellow/Red colorway.

My original N2 Roads

The upper is one of the biggest things that I like about the Pearl Izumi’s, they are a more minimal upper, that have welded overlays and have enough give that they do not bother my Tailor’s Bunionette, in any model that I have tried so far.

I really believe that Pearl Izumi nailed the uppers.
Availability

The N2 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. Of the colorways available, I still like the black yellow one the best.

They are still available on most of the major online retail sites and even on some of the discount sites for the older colorways. Luckily our local running store The Rail Trail Run Shop carries Pearl Izumi, although none of the other retailers in the area do, so I can get them locally which is a good thing.

I have heard rumors that PI is going to release version 2 soon. 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, I would welcome a little more flexibility and out of the box runability.
If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads

If I needed to go out today and get another pair of running shoes, the Pearl Izumi N1 Road’s would be at the top of the list due to their versatility/faster feel and the N2’s Roads would be my choice for eating up miles.
The Reality is that

This is the second pair of Pearl Izumi N2 Roads that have reached 200 miles for me (the other pair are now my primary walking shoes and I wouldn’t hesitate to take them for a 10 miler).

They are also a shoe that I have tried to ignore at times this year, but seem to keep coming back to them when – I just want to run.

The out of box experience and need for 20-40 miles break-in is something I did not like in either pair and is something that has to be acknowledged/thought about before purchasing.

The Pearl Izumi N2 Roads are part of my current 3 shoe rotation and I use them primarily for my long runs and running down back on a rocky dirt road and they do what I want. The N2’s are comfortable, do not bother my Tailor’s Bunionette and I am able to focus on running, not how my feet are feeling or if when is the pain going to distract me, that has happened in so many other shoes this year.

I fully expect to get another 200 to 300 miles on this pair of shoes and am planning on getting a pair of N2 Trails for winter running.

Honestly, I wouldn’t pay the full list-price $120 for these shoes and do not believe it would be necessary and you can find them on sale in the $80 range or less with other discounts available at most sites.

Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads

Next spring, when I need to replace these shoes, I will take a close look at the revisions Pearl Izumi makes with the new N2’s and if I do not see/like any major changes, I will probably pick up a pair of the original N2’s on close-out and do the break-in routine again.

I can’t give a pair of shoes a higher recommendation than I would get another pair.Email PostLabels: 200 mile reviewPearl Izumi N2 Road v1running shoe review