Monday, August 1, 2016

Pearl Izumi Trail N2 v3 Review

*Pearl Izumi has decided to exit the run business and will no longer produce shoes as of January, 2017*

Are people going to think this review is bias because I run for Pearl? It's certainly possible! But keep in mind that I've never wasted my time reviewing a shoe I didn't like regardless of my sponsors and I decided to review these bad boys on my own because I haven't put on a trail shoe this comfortable in quite some time. To be honest, I mostly train on the roads, so I never even tried the TN2v2. My v1's have plenty of life in them and I find them to be a perfectly acceptable trail shoe in most situations.
But my buddy Ryan sent me these and I loved them so much that I only put one 8 mile / 2,000 foot test run on them before I took them out for SOB 50 Mile and then turned around and ran them through White River 50 Mile the following weekend for a total of 108 miles and 19,000 feet of vert. If that doesn't make you want to buy them and you're a nerd like me, then read on for sweet and short review. 

The TN2v3 Weighs in at 10.5oz for a men's 9 with an 8mm drop at mid stance and an MSRP of $125.


The upper is as comfortable as ever with Pearl Izumi's well known and loved seamless construction. A bonded toe cap provides plenty of protection against aggressive rocks and roots (I kicked plenty of gnarly rocks in the middle of White River and I still have all of my toe nails).
The overlays are bonded and flexible and the heel counter is firm, but not ridged. My heels feel locked down, my midfoot feels secure and the toe box opens up comfortably giving just the right amount of wiggle room. The upper almost moves as an extension of your foot and feels extremely natural with great breatheability. They fit true to size.


The midsole features Pearl Izumi's 1:1 energy foam coupled with a crash pad in the heel and EVA throughout. There is just the right amount of cushion and response in these kicks. Not too much, not too little. The midsole is firm enough for clicking off 6 minute miles on fire roads and cushioned enough for bombing 4,000 foot descents. The balance achieved here really is spot on for a trail shoe. 
The midsole also features Pearl Izumi's Dynamic Offset. With the toe spring positioned lightly further back than most shoes and a slightly concave midsole shape, it eliminates a static offset and forefoot slap. According to Pearl Izumi, Dynamic Offset "allows the foot to move continuously and smoothly through mid stance, rather than pausing briefly, as weight is transferred to the forefoot in preparation of push off." So the drop of the shoe changes throughout the gait cycle providing the runner a very smooth feel under foot. If you haven't had the pleasure of feeling this, do yourself a favor and try any pair of Pearl's E:Motion shoes.


The outsole features carbon rubber with multi directional lugs for superior grip and a forefoot rock plate for added protection. They have the same lug pattern you've come to love from Pearl; the pattern you'd recognize if you saw the foot print on fresh snow or dusty single track, but they've decreased the durometer of the rubber providing a stickier rubber on wet surfaces. 
Like I mentioned previously, I didn't try the N2v2, but this outsole is a pleasant departure from the v1. I'd have no qualms about running slick ridges in these, whereas the v1 made me fear for my life on slick, mountainous terrain. The improvement is noticeable and would be a big confidence booster if running in the aformentioned conditions. 


If you want a shoe designed for the mountains, in the mountains, then this is your shoe. I've never liked or trusted a shoe enough to take them on one test run before hammering a 50 Mile race, so that alone should say enough. The fit and comfort is unmatched in the trail market right now and the durability makes them worth every penny. Get yourself a pair and let me know what you think.

SOB 50M finish in the TN2v3 - PC: Terry Croft

Running the TN2v3 at White River 50M - PC: Glenn Tachiyama

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