Pearl Izumi EM N2 Trail Review
On the Pearl Izumi website, they say the EM N2 is built for the demands of the world’s toughest ultra’s. The good news for my product testing was that the shoes came just in time for me to train for and run my first 50 mile trail race. When training for longer distances whether it’s a half marathon, marathon, 50k, 50 miler, or 100 miler, I find it important to find a shoe that won’t just be able to handle the terrain technically, but also be comfortable for the long haul. So how does the Pearl Izumi EM N2 trail running shoe stack up you might ask?
Fit of the Pearl Izumi N2 Trail Running Shoe
The Pearl Izumi EM N2 trail running shoe has one of the best fits on a trail running shoe that I have wore in a long time. One of the better fitting shoes I’ve tested prior to this shoe is the Pearl Izumi N1 which is a trimmed down version of the N2. One of the reasons this shoe fits so nicely and is so comfortable on the foot is Pearl Izumi’s seamless upper construction. This is something Pearl Izumi has been doing for a number of years now and they really seem to be getting it right when it comes to the fit with their running shoes. While testing these shoes out on 20,30, and 50 mile runs, I never ran across a time where I found a hot spot which is a big bonus in my book. While the shoes definitely make a difference, I have to plug wearing toes socks is my other must have on longer runs above 15 miles. Between a good fitting pair of running shoes and toe socks, I am happy as a clam on my long runs.
The upper of the Pearl Izumi N2 Trail Running shoe is similar to many others high end trail running shoes on the market. The upper consist of a breathable mesh with some synthetic overlays that keep the foot secure in the shoe while running. The breathable mesh dice a nice job for breathability and keeping out larger items such as sticks and stones, but smaller sand gets through this mesh pretty easily. For toe protection, there is a thin rubber layer, but not super burly to protect you toes from a big toe stub. For the average toe stub, this should protect those pretty little toes.
Midsole and Outsole
The midsole of the Pearl Izumi EM N2 Trail Running shoe is made from a springy EVA that is soft and has a lot of energy built into it. You may notice that there is an N2 in the title of this shoe and this stands for neutral and moderate cushioning. As a neutral shoe, I feel the best comparable shoe is the Brooks Cascadia. For the tread on the Pearl Izumi EM N2 Trail, the designers didn’t go super crazy and use big aggressive lugs, but they used moderate sized lugs that can be best used for everyday training. I’ve tested these shoes out technical rocks and roots, soft dirt, muddy terrain, and standard jeep roads. Overall performance? Pleasant experience in all types of terrain.
When I first received the Pearl Izumi EM N2 Trail’s, I thought to myself, here goes another bright green shoe to test. Pleasant to my surprise, this shoe performed like a trail running rock star! I found the EM N2 Trail to be a great companion for logging long miles on the trails and they also do the job when it comes to long distance trail races.