Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pearl Izumi Men's EM Road N2 - Review

*DISCLAIMER: I look at running shoes a lot like ski boots. Because we all have different foot types, running forms and terrain choices, we all seek different comfortfeatures and performance from our footwear. Like choosing a ski boot, it is important to visit a retailer who will take the time to analyze your foot and running style to allow you to select a shoe that might be the right choice. But, only after running a few times in the selected shoe can you determine if it is the right one.

*I love getting new shoes. I love opening the box, the smell, how clean they are and their seemingly perfect fit when you first slip them on. And, more often than not, the first run (or even first few runs) in a new pair of shoes your mind is in a state of euphoria, which is why I wait until I have at least 25 miles run in pair of shoes before determining how right they are for me and then reviewing for others.

PRODUCT: Pearl Izumi Men's EM Road N2
MSRP: $120
"Your one-shoe quiver, the Project E:Motion Road N2, is the perfect balance of light and fast with just enough cushioning and durability to provide the maximum confidence you need to go the distance. The Road N2 will be your go-to high mileage neutral trainer."

A nice sock like fit when you slide these on; for me the heal cup felt a little too roomy, but not sloshing around and after lacing with the heel-lock holes the fit was much better. As I put miles on the shoes and they broke in a bit they seemed to mold to my foot. The seemless uppers are smooth and do not produce any pressure points or hot spots.

The no seam uppers are where this shoe shines. I feel like the shoe wraps my foot and holds it in place with little effort. I understand the point of the sole rocker and  it sounds like a nice shift to add stability in a mid-foot strike, but I found that it creates a stiff platform for heavier runners with more significant foot strikes.

On the first run, I really felt the stiffness in the sole and lack of feel for the road. Because I am a bigger (6'3", 200 lbs.) runner (plodder) with a longer slower stride rate I feel better having a shoe with more flexibility in the sole and through the foot connection to the ground. As mileage logged in these shoes progressed, I was more and more cognizant of the stiff ride and lack of flex in the sole.
This stayed consistent through the first 25 miles I logged in the shoe. I always felt like my foot was wrestling with the sole to grip the road and produce good push/lift into my stride. After testing a faster pace and then shorter/quicker strides I could feel how this shoe would be a high performer for a smaller/lighter and/or higher stride rate runner.

Not my favorite shoe. A+ on the upper and comfortable fit, but for me, this shoe fails in the performance characteristics.

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