Pearl Izumi states both shoes weigh in at 10 oz with a 4mm dynamic offset (a heel to toe drop that is constantly changing throughout foot strike). While Running warehouse measures a 10mm drop/10.5 oz weight for the N2 and a 9mm drop/10 oz weight for the M2. Anyways, let's get down to business.
|Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail N2|
|Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail M2|
Just like the EM Trail N1, the upper is a simple work of art (on both models). It is seamless and breathable by using bonded seamless technology. Though slightly different overlay and mesh designs on both models, the feel of the upper is the same. It fits like a soft flexible pair of performance slippers (if there ever was such a thing). There is plenty of room for toe splay and the mesh provides ample airflow yet it still locks your foot down to the platform.
One word of caution: unlike other shoe laces the sausage type laces on these do not loosen up during the course of a run, so make sure you have them tied exactly how you want them. I made the mistake of tying my left shoe too tight at Weaver Basin 50K, but didn't want to stop running to loosen it for fear I'd lose the lead. It ended up causing some serious pain in my left foot and shin; user error.
The ride Pearl Izumi provides in this line of shoes is nothing short of phenomenal. I mean, it is SMOOTH! This surprised me a little bit after my initial thoughts on the N1. Like all of the shoes in the E:Motion line, Pearl Izumi uses Dynamic Offset technology, so the stack height of the shoe is constantly changing from foot strike to toe off providing a smooth transition with incomparable energy return. Both models also feature a rock plate in the forefoot for push through protection.
The N2 is neutral cushioned with arguably the smoothest transition I have ever felt in a trail shoe. I love the extra boost provided by the midsole when I'm feeling fatigued and have a sloppy stride. I wore the N2's at Weaver Basin 50K and they performed like a dream. In fact they've been my go to trail shoe lately.
The ride of the M2 is comparable and Pearl Izumi still classifies it as a neutral shoe, but with "light stability" features; bi-lateral medial support. The M2 is a great option for runners with mechanical issues needing a little more support, just keep in mind the midsole feels a little firmer. The M2 could also be viable option for later on in an ultra when your stride breaks down, just like Nick Clark did at Leadville. That way you could start out wearing the N1's or N2's and switch to a new shoe (M2) with stability features without having to worry about fit and the problems that arise when switching brands mid race (I've heard horror stories).
The outsole on both the N2 and M2 are identical. They feature multi-directional "self cleaning" lugs which provide fantastic grip on varied terrain. I found them to perform well on every surface I've encountered from mud to scree to loose dirt to concrete, though I haven't run in the snow yet. The outsole seems to be very durable as well with not much visible wear after 100 miles.
FITFor me the N2 fit true to size, while the M2 was slightly shorter. I've gotten away with wearing the M2 in my normal running shoe size, but like I mentioned in my N1 review if you're on the fence about sizing or if you like a little extra space in the toebox, I would order 1/2 size up. Both models fit snug in the heel and midfoot with ample room in the toe box and no rubbing, irritation or hot spots whatsoever.
CONCLUSIONPearl Izumi's E:Motion line continues to impress me. They seem to have a shoe for every athlete at any level with practical, functional features and a smooth-as-hell ride. The N2 and M2 are no exception. They can be used for anything from race day performance kicks to work horses for monster mileage training weeks. I'm completely sold. Grab a pair and see what all hype is about!
Thanks for the ride, Pearl Izumi!
What are your thoughts on the N2? M2?
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