New Balance Beacon – 50 Mile Review

At some point after all the hype and hoopla dies down about a new pair of running shoes, I finally get around to getting a pair to see what all the hootin and hollering was about.

Last summer I heard a lot about how great the New Balance Beacons were from a variety of sources, but unfortunately New Balance running shoes have historically not been a match made in heaven for me and I was skeptical that the Beacons would be any different.

However, all the reviews of the Beacons indicated that these were not your usual New Balance running shoes and so when I figured out that I needed a shoe with a little more forefoot cushioning and Running Warehouse had a closeout sale on exactly the Beacon colorway that I wanted – I bought them. Which definitely means that all the comments made in this post are my own and not influenced by any commercial interests.

Short Version

I love the Beacons.

They have performed well and were comfortable on all the runs that I have done in them.

As can be seen I have primarily used them for the exact reason I got them – the treadmill. I have done quarter mile repeats at sub 7:00 paces, shorter tempo/race pace runs, fast strides – sub 6:30, an outside 10K and a 10.5 mile long run outside.

I cannot ask any more of a pair of shoes and know that I will be using them for more than just treadmill miles going forward, especially after feeling great for that 10+ miler.

Which does mean that I will be buying another pair of Beacons for my rotation when these do wear out – I cannot give a pair of shoe any higher recommendation than that.

Long Version.

Okay, you know that I like the Beacons – a lot.

So what did New Balance do this time that was so impressive to me.

Instead of attempting to add unnecessary bells, whistles, technologies and features – New Balance focused on keeping the Beacons simple and from where I sit focused on being shoes that are no fuss, no muss and are fun to run in.

It does help that the Beacons came in at 6.9 ounces for my men’s size 8.0, have 26/20 stack heights for plenty of cushioning, used a Fresh Foam derivative innovatively and designed a simple “looking”, but comfortable upper that doesn’t get in the way when you are running.

From my first run to my most recent one, the Beacons have been a put them on, tie them up, go run and focus on the run, not how the shoes are doing, except that after the run is over, you think about how great they felt during the run.

The Bad

When I am running at a sub 6:30 (yeah I can still do it for a short ways) pace, they don’t feel quite firm enough and I would prefer the Adios 3s, if I could maintain that pace for a race. Since I don’t run that fast for any kind of distance at this point, I prefer the protection that the Beacons provide for most everything else. Not really a bad thing for me, but for some faster runners it might be a consideration.

When the temps are below 20*F I noticed that the midsole is definitely firmer than when it is warmer. Not quite rock hard, but the cold does affect the midsole’s cushioning properties.

The Good

The Beacons are comfortable. I have had zero issues with blisters, hot spots, them bothering my balky Tailor’s Bunionette or finicky Plantar Fascia (which has historically been a problem with New Balance running shoes and my left foot).

Almost Ninja quiet (they compare to the GoRun Ride 2s in this respect). I can usually tell when a shoe is working with how I run by the amount of slap or heel drag that occurs. No issues with the Beacon here.

Outsole wear has been next to none after more than 50 miles, which surprised me, since there is very little material besides the midsole there. Most of my miles have been on the treadmill, which usually tears up shoes for me, but the Beacons have done well. Although I will be interested in seeing how the wear is on the dirt road down-back after mud season is over and things dry up.

The upper on the Beacons is understated (which I like), with just the New Balance “N”s as overlays. All the extras and other nonsense that New Balance and other brands tend put on too many of their shoes just isn’t there on the Beacons and is in my opinion addition by subtraction.

The cushioning on this edition of Fresh Foam is just right – firm enough to want to run fast in them, but soft enough that running long is not an issue either. I wanted a shoe for the treadmill that had low weight and higher forefoot stack height. In this regard they do as others have said remind me a little of the original Hoka Clifton, but with a more refined feel to them and definitely a more comfortable fit for me, especially in the forefoot.

The reality is that

I may have found my Cinderella shoes.

As usual I am behind the popularity curve and most everyone has moved on to the next great thing in running shoes. The Beacons had their moment in the sun and there was a good reason for it – they are a great running shoe.

What is the Beacon best at? It depends on what kind of runner you are and the kinds of paces you typically run. For a younger and/or faster runner they are a great long tempo, easy run shoe. For the slower and older (like me), they could be a 5K or longer race day shoe, that does well on faster training runs or even just using them for daily easy runs.

I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t want to do too many trail runs in them or head outside in crappy weather, there just isn’t enough outsole there to provide good grip, although they pleasantly surprised me in wet, slushy conditions at about 20*F with how well they did.

Honestly, I when I got the Beacons I was not expecting them to “Wow” me as much as they have. I was extremely happy with my adidas Tempo 9s and didn’t think any shoe was going to supplant them anytime soon as my favorite rotation shoes. However, I when I look at my running log since I got the Beacons I don’t see too many other shoes being worn and I look forward to running in them.

Like I said, when these wear out I will be buying another pair, I like them that much and I can’t give any pair of running shoes any higher rating.

New Balance, you done good and finally provided me a pair of running shoes that I love.

Nike Rival 6 – 50 Mile Review

This is the story of a pair of running shoes that deserve more run time from me than they have gotten. The Nike Rival 6s are shoe that I run very well in (a 22:33 treadmill 5K today) and don’t have anything really bad to say about them other than they are fugly when you look down at them in my opinion.

The truth of it is that their place in my running shoe rotation was taken over by the shoes that are more than likely going to be my running shoe of the year and probably one of the best pair of running shoes that I have ever run in over the 40 plus years I have been a runner.

It was just bad timing for the Rival 6s. Continue reading “Nike Rival 6 – 50 Mile Review”

Topo Ultra Fly v1 – 50 Mile Review

Another review of the previous version of a running shoe. I figure that a lot of runners buy the older shoes, like I do, once they go on sale.

The Topo Ultra Fly v1 is a shoe that I have wanted to try since it came out. However, I couldn’t justify the full retail price to experiment with sizing and feel, on shoes I had never seen in person.

So I have been waiting for the price point to get down to the $50-70 price range that is a little easier to swallow when experimenting with a shoe I haven’t been able to put my hands on or feet in. Especially, if they do not work as planned for me.

Continue reading “Topo Ultra Fly v1 – 50 Mile Review”

Saucony Zealot ISO 3 – 50 Mile Review

Have you ever had a shoe that you bought, loved the initial step-in fit and feel that you decided that your first run in them was going to be your weekly long run. After about 3-4 miles in you go to yourself “you really are stoopid aren’t you!” Then you suffer more than you want for the rest of the run.

That is pretty much how I introduced myself to the Saucony Zealot 3’s a few weeks ago and since then I have been struggling to find that happy place of being able to run in these shoes without forefoot discomfort. Now to be honest, some of my discomfort with the Zealot’s is a function of how I run and how the Z3’s reward a slightly different running style – probably not really a bad thing.

However, there is just something that is “right” about the Zealot’s that I want to keep tweaking things to help me run more comfortably in the shoes.

Disclosure: These are a personal purchase through Amazon, all opinions and observations are definitely my own. Continue reading “Saucony Zealot ISO 3 – 50 Mile Review”

Mizuno Inspire 11 – 50 Mile Review

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

Okay, let’s be real, since September 1st, I have not run in any other shoe than the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11’s. It is not like I don’t have other options or anything (I had plenty of other choices, when the month started).
In other words they have done everything I have wanted from them.

My left leg is starting to feel better since I changed to the Inspire’s and to be blunt, while the 11’s are not fancy, flashy or the newest/greatest running shoe around. They are working for me and where I am with my running right now, so I am not going to screw things up by changing things up. Which is typically what I tend to do. Back on August 31st, I finished up my Summer Shoe purge and for a LOT of reasons leading up to that post I decided to stop, look at how I actually run, what has worked for me in the past, which shoes fit well.

After a lot thought, research and actually looking back at my RunLogs, I decided to continue using a pair of what I consider traditional daily trainers, with motion control features, that will:

  1. Not hurt my feet
  2. Last more than a couple hundred miles
  3. Didn’t weigh a ton or feel like I am running in boondockers
  4. Have a higher drop
  5. Didn’t cost an arm or a leg – although it was getting so I thought about giving away that left leg 🙂

There are more than a few running shoe models that fit some of those criteria, but finding ones that fit all five was a lot tougher!

The more I read reviews online about the Mizuno Inspire 11’s, the more they seemed to be what I was looking for. Plus, I remembered how well I ran in Mizuno Elixir 7’s & Ronin 4’s, even though I was wearing a size too small. The more I thought about it, at the price point they are at now, the more appealing the idea became. Especially, when my birthday shoes stopped doing what I wanted and were returned. I knew they would last at least 400 miles, since Mizuno’s have always worn well for me and if I got the right size, they shouldn’t bother my feet. I took a chance and ordered a pair of size 9’s (in the past I had gotten 8.0’s or 8.5’s and they always felt too snug). The price came in under $60.00 through Amazon and were supposed to somewhere between 9.6 & 10.0 ounces (actually mine weigh 9.3).

When I first put them on they fit the way that I want my running shoes to fit. Snug in the heel/midfoot, but allow the toes to splay and don’t press against my Tailor’s Bunionette. I have not had any problems with the fit of the Inspire 11’s or them bothering my feet.

What kinds of runs have I done in them? Primarily my runs have usually been 3-4 miles on tar, dirt roads or groomed trails, in rain or dry conditions at around a 9:00 minute pace, even a slow treadmill run, during which I really wanted to go faster.

The 11’s have done well, without any issues or significant wear, the wave plate acts like a rock plate and protects my feet from rocks on the dirt road down-back and while the sole design does collect some small pebbles, I don’t really notice them and they pop right out if I want to get rid of them.

Actually the only area of wear that I notice is the plastic wave plate getting dinged/scratched from where I run primarily on dirt roads. The one problem that all Mizuno running shoes share is those that have a horseshoe gap in the heel will get a larger rock stuck there every so often and you have to stop and take care of it, otherwise the tapping on tar will drive you crazy – at least it does me.

Due to the problems I have had with my left leg, I haven’t attempted any hard runs in them – yet. I didn’t get them to be racing flats or faster paced shoes, they are my daily trainers/recovery and long run shoes, I have other shoes to run faster in. However, when I have gotten them up to race pace for a short distance, they felt fine, nice heel-to-toe transition, no issues when I got up and ran with more of a forefoot landing. All good things.
The reality is After 50 miles the Mizuno Inspire 11’s are doing what I want from my daily trainers, they let me run comfortably and don’t get in my way.

In other words they just work – so far. I am not going to get too hung up on a pair of shoes at 50 miles, right now the opinions I am forming about the 11’s are still pretty much my initial impressions. The real test of a running shoe for me, is if they make it to 200 miles and if I continue to run in them after that point. Then the big if, you know if I go out and buy another pair in the line or do I keep looking for something else. Unfortunately, as much as I am enjoying running in the Inspire 11’s, I don’t see me getting either the Inspire 12’s or 13’s, due to their pretty significant weight gain. The 12’s in a size 9 according to Running Warehouse come in at 10.8 ounces and the 13’s will weigh 11.1 ounces. Which in my view is a pretty significant weight gain from my Inspire 11’s 9.3 ounces. To me the additional weight makes the Inspire line go from a light-weight daily trainer with some motion control features, to a much more traditional motion control running shoe that weighs more than what I want to run in. My feet, my choice, my cash, so I will stay with my sub 10.0 oz daily trainers. Which is too bad, because the Inspire 11’s check off just about everything that I want or expect from my daily trainers. I have a feeling I might try to pick up one more pair of 11’s at a cheap price (while I can) and then will probably move over to the Mizuno Catalyst or the Rider lines which seem to be pretty close to what the Inspire 11’s were. Sometimes when a brand “improves” a shoe, they don’t always target the same segment of runners who did run successfully in that style/model in the past and do it to differentiate the line from a similar line, but don’t communicate that to the people who loved the shoe that had been working for them. It seems that is what Mizuno has done with the Inspire line??? Too bad, but Mizuno has other shoes that fit the style of running shoe that I am looking for, so I will stay with the brand and move over to a different style. Sometimes you have to ignore the line names and go with the style of shoe and stats you are looking for within a certain brand that tends to work for you Although, I would have preferred to have kept being Inspired.

Under Armour Bandit v2 – 50 Mile Review

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

Well this 50 mile review took a LOT less time to get to than my last one :-). Finally, starting to get so I can run again, which is a good thing.

The Under Armour SpeedForm Bandit 2’s were a birthday present from Mary (that I picked up the week before at Olympia Sports in Waterville, when I decided to go in a different direction from my last daily trainers). It was tough to leave a new pair of running shoes in the closet for a week, when I knew they were they just waiting for me to run in them.

Enough background how are they doing?

You can my initial thoughts here

So far, they are comfortable to run in and haven’t bothered my feet in any of the runs that I have used them, although there is a distracting snugness in my right foot at times. It took a couple of runs to get used to the slightly different stride from my other shoes. Yeah, it is my experience that each pair of shoes has its best way to land in that pair of shoes that seems to be slightly different – I might be full of crap, but that has been my experience.

One thing I have noticed is the Bandit 2’s run lighter than their listed weights and that is something that I have experienced with my other U/A shoes.

Some Stats

Weight from my new scale:

My Bandit 2’s are size 8.5 U.S. men’s and so I expect them to be slightly lighter than the standard weights listed by the Brand or Retailers, which typically use either size 9 or 10.

Weight: 9.5 oz (size 9) Stack Height: 29mm (Heel), 19mm (Forefoot) for a 10mm drop, which is where I wanted to be with my Achilles issues. *Stats from Running Warehouse website

Weight: 9.8 oz (Under Armour website) What are these shoe’s purpose in my rotation?

The Bandit 2’s are my everyday runners and when I get back to the point that I can run long again, my run long shoes.

What kinds of runs have I done in them so far?

Shorter and middle distance stuff on tar, dirt roads, treadmill, groomed trails and runs with Bennie (which brings out flaws in some shoes very quickly, because it is much more like interval work). I am still limited with Achilles/Left heel issues. So longer or faster runs haven’t happened, but I have been able to stretch the distances a bit and pick up the pace for some runs. I have managed to get up to speed a couple of times in the shoes and they did well.

Are they comfortable? The Bandit 2’s size 8.5’s fit the way 8.5’s are supposed to fit. When I tried on the 9’s I could have gotten away with wearing them, but the 8.5’s felt better, the 8.0’s were just too snug. So for me the sizing is just about right on.

The toe box is borderline on the width, but the upper has enough give/stretch around my tailor’s bunionette to make it only feel snug, but it has not bothered my foot, other than I notice the snugness for the first part of run and then forget about it as the run goes on. It does mean that I don’t want to wear thick socks with these shoes.

For a mild motion control shoe, I think part of the reason for the above is that the Bandit 2’s are a little more of a curved last than some other similar style shoes, which would be more of a problem for me if the upper didn’t have some give to it. I have done up to 7.0 miles without any issues other than a feeling of snugness, which is okay by me.

I have worn them casually without socks and believe that I could run without socks and not run into any problems. However, I am too used to the sock routine so it is not really something that I look all that closely at for running.

Initially I had in the stock laces, but just didn’t like them, so I changed over to LockLaces and it took a few more runs to get the fit where I wanted it. I needed loosen it up little more than compared to the left foot, now they are fitting quite nicely.

I like a more cushioned feel and the Bandit 2’s have that feeling when I am going slower, however, when I pick up the pace, the shoes seem to firm up and don’t bottom out like some other cushioned shoe I have run in. There is a nice firm feeling that make them feel faster and lighter than their listed 9.5 to 9.8 oz. 
They are comfortable, fit my feet and running style. Do they run quiet or slap the road?
The B2’s have a tapping sound when I am landing towards the back of the foot due to the amount of rubber and how the heel unit is designed. When I am running with more of a forefoot landing, they are much quieter.

I guess I have two running forms, one for running faster and a more heel first when I am running slower. Nothing is ever consistent about me it seems.

Are they rock collectors?
One of the things I like is that except for a couple of times, there have not been any pebbles to constantly pick out of the sole unit. Although if I do land just right on a rock it does stick in the exposed foam.
Are they multipurpose or strictly roads/trails/snow?

Like most shoes primarily designed for the roads, the B2’s are not what I would call a real multi-purpose shoes. Running on groomed trails is not a problem when they are dry and they do fine on wet roads. I think they would be okay in dry snow, but in wet slushy stuff, mud, lots of rocks or wet grass, there just is not enough tread and I have better choices.
What don’t I like about them?
The flat laces just didn’t do it for me and I put in LockLaces and they are working great.

I think that for a light motion control shoe, I would like to see more of a straight or semi-curved last versus what I see as too much of a curved last.

Appearance

The hounds-tooth look might be cool for casual dress and wearing them with jeans, but they are running shoes first and foremost, not lifestyle shoes.

So I would have preferred them with different choices in the colorways besides the houndstooth and I think some runners will be put off by the non-running shoe look they give off. Just my opinion, but if I had to pick a pair of running shoes based on appearances, I would take my U/A Apollo 2’s every time over the Bandit 2’s.

Nike Zoom Streak LT3 – 30 Mile Review

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

Most of the time when I do a running shoe review, the first one comes after 50 miles, but with racing flats, I mean true racing flats like the LT-3’s, you know those sub – 6.0 oz shoes that you want to “go fast” in, I tend to know what I need to know about them after 25-30 miles and at least one race.

These were a personal purchase from Running Warehouse.

Well the Nike Zoom Streak LT3 has the requisite mileage, but unfortunately, not the one race and since I am on the shelf with Achilles Tendon issues, there are no races where I will be racing in them for a while, I figured that I might just as well go ahead and do the review.

I got the LT3’s to fill a void in my running shoe rotation, I had my long run shoes, but the shoes I was wearing for racing, I felt were more light-weight trainers than racing flats at around 8-9 oz. I strongly believed that I would run faster in true flats than what I had been using, especially for me to do a mile race on Memorial Day.

Notice I said race, not run. I wanted to really hammer that race and once I got the LT3’s, I started to train for a fast/hard mile.

It was working, I was running faster in training and even had started to get into the hallowed sub 6:00 minute pace range every so often. As the graph blipped into the range I really wanted to get near for that mile race, it was after that second blip that things started to go bad and by the time I did the 4th repeat I knew it wasn’t going to be a good thing.


So yeah I liked the LT3’s – A LOT!!!

They make me want to run fast in them and they did everything that I asked of them, including some runs of up to 8.0 miles or so. It got to the point that I wanted to run in them too much.

You see I like to run fast (well fast for me) and the Nike Zoom Streak LT3’s let me, hell they encouraged me to run faster than my actual fitness levels were at the time.

Unfortunately, I am also a helluva lot closer to 60 than I am 30 (I will be 59 in August) and ramping up the speed as quickly as I did, lead to an Achilles injury. While I was wearing the LT3’s when the injury occurred, in the above workout (I forgot to change the shoes on Strava) – I didn’t and still don’t blame it on the shoes.

I blame it on my dumb training and doing too much, too soon on too old a body that just wasn’t ready for the paces I was running.

Getting back to the LT3’s

What did I like:

I feel fast in the LT3’s and know that I can run fast in them.

Comfortable, the toe box and upper combination did not bother my Tailor’s Bunionette at all, I was able to run more than 8.0 miles in them and not have my feet hurt at all. Once I figured out that I didn’t have to cinch down on the laces too hard, that having them snug was enough, the shoes just seem to mold themselves around my feet and it just felt good, not too tight, but not sloppy either.

Light at around 5.5 ounces, yet they felt protective enough to run down-back on the dirt road without any issues. No I couldn’t just run without paying attention to where my feet were landing like in a pair of Hoka’s or trail shoes with a rock plate, but they make me feel nimble and I managed to avoid most of the bigger rocks.

Mostly quiet, not PI quiet and smooth, but other than a light tapping when landing, they were quiet and the softer heel combined with a more stable forefoot really seemed to work well for my stride. Until I got tired it seemed as though I was running with more of a mid-foot stride when running in them.

One of the reasons that I got them was the multi-purpose type of outsole. It is a little more aggressive than many of the racing flats that I have run in before, which is something I wanted for racing over at Quarry Road or some of the course up heah that have dirt/grass/road combo’s and the choice seems pretty rock solid. Also they show no signs of wear, which is not something I could say for many pairs of racing flats I have had in the past even at the 30 mile point.

The insole is glued down and doesn’t move around at all.

What I didn’t like

They do collect pebbles in the forefoot and once in a while a rock will get stuck in that cavity in the midfoot area. I did have to stop one run and did it out because it was poking into my foot and making a dreadful noise on the road every time my foot landed.

The colorway is okay, but this one doesn’t really do anything for me.

When I wear them, I feel as though I am supposed to go fast in them, which is a good thing when I am supposed to go fast, but a bad thing when you are supposed to be going slower. In other words they are not a shoe I would wear again for runs that are planned to be slower, because I would end up running it too fast.

In other words not much.

The reality is that

The Nike Zoom Streak LT3’s allowed me to run faster than I have in a while, they didn’t get in my way of how I run and I enjoyed running in them.

For me and looking back with 20/20 hindsight, for my purposes I probably would not run more than a 10K in them. I need a little more cushioning than what they have for longer training runs. Although, I know that I could race a 1/2 marathon in them, but I would feel pretty beat up afterward.

Once the Achilles gets healed up and I get my legs back in shape, the LT3’s are going to become my 5K and shorter racing flats. However, I will not run as aggressively or the sub 6:30 paces, get real Harold the sub 7:00 paces, until I get muscled up and better trained for it next time.

I can’t wait to get back to running in them, there is just something about the LT3’s that makes me want to put them on and “go faster”.

I just gotta remember that sometimes going faster has unintended consequences when an old fart’s body ain’t quite ready to go THAT fast. Right Mr. Achilles.

A shoe that I really like so far.

Nike Lunar Glide 7 – 50 Mile Review

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

Yeah, I know the Lunar Glide 8’s will be coming out in a few weeks and I am just doing a LG7 review…what else is new.

I always seem to be reviewing last year’s news.

Anyways, I moved back to the Nike Lunar Glides because I wanted a higher drop shoe to run in while recovering from my most recent Achilles issues. There are many that poo-poo how much drop matters and all the other theories or studies they bring to the table…all I know is that in this experiment of one, when my Achilles acts up – I go back to a higher drop and it has worked well for me.

Enough yakking, let’s talk about the Nike Lunar Glide 7’s.


I bought them at Nike Outlet Store in North Conway. It is my second pair of Lunar Glides, my first pair were the 5’s, which I liked a lot – enough that when I needed to look again, they were at the top of my list.

Weight: 9.1 oz (size 9) Stack Height: 25mm (Heel), 15mm (Forefoot) *Stats from Running Warehouse*What are these shoe’s purpose in my rotation?

The LG7’s are my injury recovery, everyday runners and when I get back to the point that I can run long again, my run long shoes.

What kinds of runs have I done in them so far?

Mostly shorter, slower stuff on tar, dirt roads, a groomed trail run and runs with Bennie (which brings out flaws in some shoes very quickly, because it is much more like interval work). I have been limited lately by a bad stretch with Achilles/Left heel issues. So longer or faster runs haven’t happened. However, I still have managed to get up to speed a couple of times in the shoes and they did well.

Are they comfortable? They passed the hardest hurdle for any pair of running shoes that I get…they made it to 50 miles and I am still running in them. Too many other running shoes haven’t made it to that point. Since I bought them locally I got to try them on first and yes, that does make a difference in getting the sizing correct. 

I found out that the size 8.5’s fit the way 8.5’s are supposed to fit and that the 8.0’s were too tight in the toe box, while the 9.0’s too long.
The toe box is wide enough to not bother my Tailor’s Bunionette and the uppers just feel good, but the few times I have  worn them casually without socks, let me know that going sockless was not an option for me.
There was a bit of a learning curve in figuring out how tight I needed the laces with the flywires. However, once I figured that snug, not tight was enough I have been loving the fit.
I have learned over the past few years that I like a softer heel and the LG7’s have that feeling and while the forefoot is forgiving at only 15mm stack height it still has some firmness too. Which I prefer in the forefoot.

The other thing that I like about the LG7’s is they don’t weigh a ton at just over 9.0 ounces and I feel pretty nimble in them. Well as much as an old fart can feel nimble.
When I run in the Lunar Glide 7’s – there are no issues with the shoes. They disappear on my feet and I focus on running, not how my shoes are doing.
Yes, they are comfortable. Do they run quiet or slap the road?
They are quiet, but not as smooth as the PI’s. The noise is more a tap, tap sound that is there even when I walk in them, so it is more the shoe and the amount of denser rubber in the heel unit, than how I run in them. Are they rock collectors?
It seems like most modern road shoes just collect pebbles and small rocks in the sole. With the amount of sole for the most part I don’t feel anything and they come out easily when I stop. 

Are they multipurpose or strictly roads/trails/snow?
They are not what I would call a real multi-purpose shoes, but at the same time running on groomed trails is not a problem when they are dry and they do fine on wet roads. I think they would be okay in dry snow, but in wet slushy stuff, mud, lots of rocks or wet grass, I have better choices.
What don’t I like about them?
The flat laces just didn’t do it for me and I put in LockLaces and they are working great. Other than being rock collectors as I said above, I like them and can’t think of things I don’t like about them.

The reality is that
I like the Nike Lunar Glide 7’s – a lot. No, putting 50 miles on a pair of running shoes does not make it a great running shoe and I will know more at the 200 mile mark. However, being able to run reasonably through my Achilles/Left heel issues in them has made a very good impression with me about them.

Now to get to running a little more regularly in them and see how they do when I am not an injured runner making 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.

I can’t wait to just run in them.

Would I get the Lunar Glide 7’s again?

I am already looking at what Bennie is getting me for my birthday in August and another pair of these are the leading candidate. Who knows I might even look closely at the 8’s, but I like the tread design better on the 7’s (the 8’s siping design just don’t look good for much other than the road and I would have concerns when it is wet too), so I have a feeling it might be another pair of 7’s.

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.”