Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pearl Izumi Road N2 Review

I haven't worn a road shoe in a quite a while, but as soon as I slipped these on my feet I knew I had to review them. The Pearl Izumi E:Motion Road N2 (Neutral cushioned/ Level 2 cushioning) weighs in around 9 ounces for a men's size 9 with a 4mm stack height. It's said to be your "one quiver shoe" and here's why:

Just like the other shoes I've worn in the eMotion line, the upper is flawless and phenomenal. It features a flexible, breathable, seamless mesh upper with minimal TPU overlays. The upper on the N2 manages to feel slipper like by using bonded seamless technology that ensures a blister and friction free running experience while still securing your foot to the platform.
I found the upper to be both soft and supportive. They also seem to dry relatively quickly. The only complaint I have is that sand and grit enter the shoe easily on the trails, but then again, it isn't a trail shoe.


This midsole, as well as all midsoles in the eMotion line, features what Pearl Izumi calls Dynamic Offset technology. Dynamic offset provides a smooth running experience by enabling the heel to toe differential to change constantly from the loading phase to transition (4mm drop at initial contact, 7.5mm drop during transition). Pearl Izumi did this by moving the toe spring from the ball of the foot back to the midfoot. See more here and here. This midsole design makes you feel like you're being propelled forward.
The N2's  midsole is Pearl Izumi's level 2 (of 3) cushioning. It features their 1:1 foam in both the heel and forefoot which provides ample shock absorption and energy return. This is a neutral shoe, so if you feel like you have pronation issues, you may want to consider the Road M2, M3 or H3
I've used these on the both the roads and single track and the transition is flawless. They're cushioned enough for the long haul, but responsive enough for fast running on almost any surface. And even though the Road N2 lacks a rock plate, I found the EVA to be resilient enough to protect against push throughs and rock bruising on the trails.


The outsole is slightly lugged and has blown rubber in the forefoot and carbon rubber in the heel. They obviously performed as you'd imagine on the road, but to my surprise they worked very well on the trail. If I felt inclined to, I could wear these shoes on 90% of the trails that I run here in Ashland. I would be hesitant to wear them on really rocky terrain (because of the lack of a rock plate and toe bumper) and I certainly wouldn't wear them on muddy trails, but for roads and dry groomed single track they are great.

I'm very familiar with the trail shoes in the eMotion line, but this is my first experience in a pair of Pearl Izumi road shoes. I put these shoes through the ringer. From a 20 mile mountain run to tempo work to recovery runs and I am thoroughly impressed. Though I wouldn't use them on sloppy or technical trails, they are one of the best road shoes I've worn in a very long time.

What are your thoughts on the Road N2?

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