After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Pearl Izumi N1 Trail Running Shoes - 200 Mile Review - 2014

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: March 7, 2014

In my 50 mile review of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trail Running Shoes, I gushed about how great they were:
That being said, of all the running shoes that I have run in over the past 10 years, make that 20 years, hell maybe forever, if I had to pick and use/own just one pair of running shoe (no specialty shoes) to do roads, trails, speed work, winter running, or even race – The Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails are the running shoes that I would choose – period.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails at 200 miles.

Bold praise indeed for a pair of shoes, that I had only run 50 miles in, especially since I have run since the 1970's and have run in a few pair of running shoes.

So how did the next 150 miles go?

Pearl Izumi N1 Trails - Right side view at 50 miles - they do look a little more battered at 200 miles than they did in this photo.

I still LOVE the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails there is no doubt. Yesterday I ran 13 road miles without any issues from the shoes, so they are still working fantastically for me and if I had one pair of running shoes that I needed to everything in, these are the shoes I would choose.

Very little wear on the sole. They are trail shoes and I have used them as my primary winter running shoes.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails - sole view

Which means that they got/get a LOT of road miles in varying conditions, but more time on tar than dirt trails, which meant I was worried would cause more wear than it did.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails a closer look at the usual wear spots for me - Yes I land on my heals and toe-ff too much

The tread has worked in the variety of winter conditions that I have subjected the N1 Trails to: snowmobile trails, slush, snow, wet, salty/sanded roads or sidewalks and even muddy/sandy road shoulders. Hell they were even comfortable for running on the treadmill, which for a trail shoe, hasn't happened for me in the past.

I really like the way the rock plate doesn't interfere with the shoe's performance, but definitely protects your feet from road debris, the rocks that the roads/side walks up heah have on them after so much sanding and even running on a rocky railroad track bed.

Unfortunately, the trails up heah have been ice and snow-covered, so I have not done any typical trail running in them - yet.


The N1's survived my post-holing on crusted snow without tearing or putting a hole in them. They are a colder shoe (they breathe a little too well for winter-time running) and you need to wear merino wool socks when it is cold out to keep your feet warm in single-digit temps, so they will be fine for three season running (spring, summer, fall) and crazy runners for winter (oh yeah - I guess that describes me pretty well).

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails - uppers. You can see the salt residue from the roads up heah.

I haven't noticed any loose areas, rips/tears, cracks or wear spots in the upper, even though they have been soaked several times in with the nasty shit they put on the roads up heah, which destroyed a lot of running shoes I have used during winters in the past.


Except for the issues that I describe below, these are one of the most comfortable running shoes that I have ever run in.


However, during those 150 miles I did discover a couple of small things that, while they are not big issues, but they did/do affect how I look at the shoes.

Issue #1

The way the tongue is designed it allows sand/grit inside of the shoe. If you look at the where the tongue attaches to the shoe, when it is flexed there is a small gap between the tongue and the upper. Unfortunately, this small gap allows sand and grit to get inside of the shoe, which can be a pain and distracts me when I am running.
N1 Trails where the dirt and grit gets in

A minor issue really, but one that could be easily fixed by gusseting the tongue of the shoe in the update that will eventually happen.

Issue #2

When running on roads with sand or dirt, sometimes a piece of grit/sand gets stuck in between my Achilles/heel and the shoe. I have to stop to remove it, to avoid getting a blister or sore spot.
N1 Trails Rear View

Pearl Izumi N1 Trails where sand/grit get on the front of the tabs and then moves down into the shoe

Issue #3

This only applies to me and my personal preferences. I love LockLaces and put them in all of my running shoes (I am lazy and like the idea of not having to tie/untie my shoes all the time).

Pearl Izumi N1 Trail - Front view

The N1 Trails were extremely comfortable without the LockLaces and I waited until they had over 100 miles on them before I put them in.

Unfortunately, since the I put the LockLaces on these shoes, they are not as comfortable and I am tempted to put the original laces back in.

Pearl Izumi N1 Trails with LockLaces

It isn't that the LockLaces are not working, it is that the shoes seemed to lose that "magical" fit that they had before I put them in. Now my the top of my left foot bothers slightly on a longer runs and the flex point on my right foot rubs the top of my foot slightly. Neither of these things are enough to cause any issues, they are just a little distractions, but I didn't have these distractions before I put the LockLaces in.

The Reality is that

Other than those 3 very minor issues, I LOVE the Pearl Izumi N1 Trails. I can do any kind of run that I do in them - up to and including racing in them at any of the distances that I run.

The Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trail running shoes are the ones that when I go for a run, I want to wear. If I have a choice of running shoes at the door these are the ones that I want to put on and run in, no matter what kind of run I am doing.

Do I have better running shoes for a particular workout or race - probably, but at the same time none of the other running shoes that I have run in lately felt as comfortable to me when I am running as the N1 Trails do.

I know that when I put them on, that I am not going to worry about my feet hurting for the distances I have run (up to 15 miles), I don't have blisters and they do not get in the way of how I run. The confidence that I have in how these shoes feel on my feet and work for me, go a long way in compensating for benefits that other styles - those more specialty running shoes could bring to the table, but are not as comfortable to me.

In other words, I can put them on and forget about 'em.

Which is the bottom-line for me when it comes to a pair of running shoes - to not have to worry if they are going to work or not, because I know that the N1 Trails do work for me.

Getting back to my original 50 mile praise of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails statement - I wouldn't change it.

What will the next pair of running shoes be that I buy?
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails

All the signs are pointing to the Pearl Izumi N1 Trails for both road and trail running.

What your experiences with P/I N1 Trails or EM series of running shoes?

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