Originally posted on: September 25, 2014
I have over 200 miles on my Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road running shoes that I got back on 1/18/14 , which means - I get to write about them for the first time.
MMMMMM Harold you almost always do an initial and 50 mile reviews on your shoes, what happened.
When I got this particular pair of N2 Roads in a trade for some shoes that I didn't like, I was doing the initial, 50 and 200 mile N2's reviews based on the pair that I got for Christmas and started running in on 12/26/13.
So this pair of shoes just got worn, not reviewed.
What do I think of the Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads after 200 plus miles, without all the hype?
Since price is such a big deal for me and many other runners, I decided to put it right up front.
How much did I pay?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this pair of Pearl Izumi EM/N2's in a trade, with another runner for running shoes that I didn't care for. I got lucky and it only cost me the price of mailing the other shoes to him. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experiences with this product might be different from mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
The Pearl Izumi site, still has them for $120, but you can find them on sale at other sites from around $80 to list price or above. With discount coupon codes, you can get them for less.
How have they worked out for me?
This is the second pair of N2's that I have gotten at least 200 miles out of.
Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road
Initially, I made these my treadmill shoes, since I had a pair of N1 Trails and N2 Roads already in the rotation. To be honest through most of the winter, I didn't use them all that much and it took until the end of April to get 60 miles on them.
During March, I had gotten disillusioned with my PI's especially the N1 Trail's and the amount of grit they were letting in to make things distracting/uncomfortable and said this about my first N2's, after a 11.0 mile run on 3/21/14.
So I decided to try the N2 Roads to see if they kept the sand out any better. They did, but I missed the extra traction that the N1 Trails would have given in a few places, when I had to move onto the shoulder and it was loose dirt/mud or melted/slushed ice. The N2 Roads just don’t have the traction for that kind of running. Other than the traction fun, the N2’s were the right choice for the drier pavement and I didn’t have any issues with my feet.
At this point I had decided that I needed different running shoes, that didn't let in so much grit and had a bit more traction and did the big spring shoe search. Which looking back with 20/20 hindsight was a big mistake and a waste of money on other shoes that I attempted to run in, that didn't work out nearly as well as the N2's were/had/are.
I didn't use the N2's again until the Boys and Girls Club 5.0 miler in April, because my "new" shoes were hurting my Tailor's Bunionette and this is what I said after that race.
How did the Pearl Izumi N2 8.5 do? I didn’t think about them at all, which is a good thing and what I want from my shoes. They were smooth feeling, but at the same time something was missing, not sure what? I can run far comfortably in my Pearl Izumi’s, but I really haven’t run that fast in them, despite of all the miles I have run in my 2 pair of N2 Road’s.
My attempt to use the N2's as race shoes was a mistake too - they are not racing flats and this experience pushed me to look elsewhere for yet another pair of running shoes.
After that race I didn't run in these Pearl Izumi's N2's until 8/14/14, when I ran a 10.0 miler in them.
Why did I run 10 miles in a shoe that I hadn't run in, in several months?
There is just something about the N2's that I knew I could just run in them and have confidence that they will not bother my feet, plus I had just ordered a pair of Pearl Izumi N1's and wanted to get used to running in the EM's dynamic offset design before they came in.
They did fine on the 10.0 miler, no issues and since that run, I have kept them in my running shoe rotation and used them for everything but speedwork. I still don't really feel as if the N2's are a "fast" shoe, but for anything else, they work nicely.
Harold be honest.
I have had a love/hate relationship with my N2 Road 1/18/14.
Many runners do not like the out of the box experience with the N2's, I know that I didn't. Just like my original N2 Road's they felt stiff and inflexible and needed to be broke-in, before they really were comfortable to run in and this need for a break-in period can be a deciding factor for many, whether they continue to keep running in them or not.
Runners today have been spoiled with so many running shoes being great right out of the box, that when we get a pair that need 20-40 miles to break, we do not want to deal with that and quickly move to a different pair that do not need a break in period.
I wonder how many "great" running shoes we miss out on, simply because we do not/are not willing to break in a pair of running shoes?
It sometimes seems as though our expectation for all our running shoes now is that we should be able to do a double-digit run in them the first time we put them on our feet...I know I have been guilty of this and when I can't run "long" in new shoes comfortably, I have returned them.
Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road
Also, I do not like this colorway and to be honest, I think that this affected how much I actually ran in them. Maybe I was a little "vain" about how they looked. I am not a fan of the "gray" running shoe look.
Now that I have gotten them broken in and gotten over the colorway, I have run comfortably in the N2's at all distances and I have not worried about my feet hurting because of my shoes, when I wear them.
They work best for me when I use them to eat up mileage, but I do not like them for speedwork or attempting to run faster.
The size 8.5 from Pearl Izumi's EM line fits me about as good as any line of running shoe ever has and seems to run true to size. Although I believe that the N2's are slightly narrower in the toe box than the N1 Roads, I have not had any issues with the fit bothering my Tailor's Bunionette.
Feel (different from fit)
The N2 Roads like the N1's are mostly quiet, they have a slight tap, tap, tap sound when running on tar and when my right foot splays out - that right shoe becomes more noisy, which cues me to correct my stride.
I am a heel striker and the dynamic offset design (whatever that actually is) does not exacerbate my the heel striking (make it more pronounced), like some shoes do and provides a smooth heel-to-toe feel/transition that I really, really like.
Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads
The N2 Road's were stiff and fairly inflexible when I started running in them and while they are still fairly inflexible and firm compared to other shoes I like. Now that they are well broken in, I don't seem to notice the lack of flexibility or stiffness, now when I am actually running in them.
They do feel more cushioned than the N1's, but not as soft as my GoRun Ride2's or even my Brooks Launch's, but there is enough cushioning that I don't notice the rocks and other road debris that you tend to land on around here.
The N2 Roads are road shoes, the flat tread design makes no doubt about their purpose.
Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road
My experience when the dirt road downback is really wet/muddy, is that they are not the best choice of shoes to run in down there.
When I took them over into Bond Brook yesterday, they did fine protecting my feet in the conditions over there, but it was dry. With the lack of tread in the design, if it had been wet, I would not have even tried to run on any of the ski or single-track trails there.
The N1 Roads protect my feet better than some trail shoes I have worn, which means that they do not have a lot of road feel, which is fine by me, I am looking for protection and do not worry about feeling the road.
During the winter, I don't enjoy finding the road with my arse, due to flat-bottomed shoes. Which means unless it is dry and clear, that I won't use them outside after the first snow.
Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Road
I have been pleasantly surprised with how little wear there is on my N2's after 200 miles and the best part is my right knee hasn't started hurting yet - which is my cue that a pair of shoes are toast.
I am not crazy about the colors of this pair of shoes, but getting them free in a trade, you take what you get. I would never have picked this colorway, if I had to buy the shoes and I wonder sometimes if how much a pair of shoes looks to us - affects how we view them and want to run in them.
I like the Black/screaming Yellow colorway a lot better than this Gray/Yellow/Red colorway.
The upper is one of the biggest things that I like about the Pearl Izumi's, they are a more minimal upper, that have welded overlays and have enough give that they do not bother my Tailor's Bunionette, in any model that I have tried so far.
I really believe that Pearl Izumi nailed the uppers.
The N2 Road's are still available on the Pearl Izumi website and they came out with updated colorways this summer, so they are continuing to support this model. Of the colorways available, I still like the black yellow one the best.
They are still available on most of the major online retail sites and even on some of the discount sites for the older colorways. Luckily our local running store The Rail Trail Run Shop carries Pearl Izumi, although none of the other retailers in the area do, so I can get them locally which is a good thing.
I have heard rumors that PI is going to release version 2 soon. It will be interesting to see what changes they make, (rumor has it they will be a little more flexible and have a more cushioned feel). Personally, I would welcome a little more flexibility and out of the box runability.
If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?
Pearl Izumi N1 Roads
If I needed to go out today and get another pair of running shoes, the Pearl Izumi N1 Road's would be at the top of the list due to their versatility/faster feel and the N2's Roads would be my choice for eating up miles.
The Reality is that
This is the second pair of Pearl Izumi N2 Roads that have reached 200 miles for me (the other pair are now my primary walking shoes and I wouldn't hesitate to take them for a 10 miler).
They are also a shoe that I have tried to ignore at times this year, but seem to keep coming back to them when - I just want to run.
The out of box experience and need for 20-40 miles break-in is something I did not like in either pair and is something that has to be acknowledged/thought about before purchasing.
The Pearl Izumi N2 Roads are part of my current 3 shoe rotation and I use them primarily for my long runs and running down back on a rocky dirt road and they do what I want. The N2's are comfortable, do not bother my Tailor's Bunionette and I am able to focus on running, not how my feet are feeling or if when is the pain going to distract me, that has happened in so many other shoes this year.
I fully expect to get another 200 to 300 miles on this pair of shoes and am planning on getting a pair of N2 Trails for winter running.
Honestly, I wouldn't pay the full list-price $120 for these shoes and do not believe it would be necessary and you can find them on sale in the $80 range or less with other discounts available at most sites.
Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads
Next spring, when I need to replace these shoes, I will take a close look at the revisions Pearl Izumi makes with the new N2's and if I do not see/like any major changes, I will probably pick up a pair of the original N2's on close-out and do the break-in routine again.
I can't give a pair of shoes a higher recommendation than I would get another pair.