Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail N1 Review

Project E:Motion is the result of Pearl Izumi engineers’ quest to create the smoothest running shoe possible. Keeping in mind the principal of simplicity, shoe construction was kept basic, functional, and even minimalist in some aspects. The idea was to create a running shoe with a quicker and more natural transition which takes less work and leads to faster running.

They found that a traditional running shoe design has a flat bottom, meaning that when you are standing in the shoe the heel and ball of the foot are in a level plane. So, when you have your weight in the shoe during the running stride the contact points do not change until toe off. This led Pearl Izumi designers to create a Dynamic Offset Midsole in which the height difference between the heel and ball of the foot is continually changing as it moves throughout the stride through the four phases of ground contact, loading, transition, and toe off. Let me rephrase that for you shoe geeks out there, the heel drop, heel differential, whatever you want to call it, is changing throughout the four phases from initial contact to toe off. Please keep this in mind as there will be some confusion about the official drop of the Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail N1 ($115) and I will aim to address this later to the best of my ability.

Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail N1

The Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail N1.

Upper

The most remarkable facet of the N1 upper is that it is seamless and one piece of breathable dual density mesh. I didn’t experience too much dust getting in through the mesh as I often do with shoes this breathable. I was also pleased at the durability of this mesh as I have yet to have a blowout despite caking this upper with a great deal of dirt, grime, clay, and snow. The mesh continues to feel supple and there is no evidence of a crease which could create a likely area for a blowout.

Welded overlays are fairly minimal and only present throughout the mid foot and heel area. A well padded tongue constructed out of SBR foam is durable and made to not absorb water, and I can attest that this upper drains well after running through a creek or getting perpetually soaked in snow. A very durable but flexible toe cap is bonded on and offers more than enough protection.

Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail N1 - lateral upper

The Trail N1’s lateral upper.

The fit of the upper is absolutely perfect for my foot and fairly moderate in fit which should accommodate a lot of runners. The heel collar and heel depth are well padded and I haven’t experienced any heel slipping, and the sausage laces stay tied and are of an appropriate length (such a small detail but many companies totally fail in this one aspect). The best part in my opinion is a wide toe box which is unimpeded by overlays which allow the toes a lot of room. Even after a few hours of running and some foot swelling the N1 still fits well. The feel is very locked down and I can bomb downhills in the N1 without any forward foot movement and this upper feels very stable on technical terrain.

Midsole

Pearl Izumi uses their 1:1 Energy Foam, which is supposed to return energy to the runner and I was pleased with the performance of this cushioning. This midsole is exceedingly simple and the ride feels a little firm on roads but perfect on the trail. Again, this is subjective, but I feel that the N1 occupies that middle ground of cushioning that seems to protect the feet, but also holds up to faster paced running. There is no dual-density midsole material or medial posting to add stability as the N1 is a neutral shoe.

From a flexibility standpoint the N1 feels nimble and flexible while running, but is misleading if you’re holding it in your hand and trying to crunch up or twist the shoe. I attribute this to wide foot plant of the N1 which does add stability, especially combined with a 1 mm Dynamic Offset. From my explanation above one can ascertain that midsole differential changes, but for the purpose of reviewing this shoe it feels like a 6 mm drop. To me, that is a good thing, but I’ve had runners ask if the N1 is a zero drop shoe due to confusing advertising and it most certainly is not.

Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail N1 - medial upper

The Trail N1’s medial upper.

Outsole

A simple and unobtrusive outsole pattern surprised me in its grippiness and traction on uphills and downhills. The lugs are very low profile which allow for comfortable road running as well. Durable carbon rubber runs the length of the outsole in all but one area of the mid foot where midsole foam comes in contact with the ground. This was likely done to save weight and it is the only area of the outsole that shows any wear. A minimal rock plate offers enough protection without reducing flexibility in the forefoot too much.

Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail N1 - outsole

The Trail N1’s outsole.

Overall Impression

Setting aside all of the techno babble from the first paragraph, advertising, and shoe jargon, the eMotion N1 is a shoe that felt great right out of the box for my first run and continues to impress me after approximately 200 miles. With a weight right under 10 oz for my size 9.5 and what I’ve measured to be a 6mm heel drop, the N1 works as an all purpose shoe. I’ve worn the N1 for short tempo runs, hill repeats, and five-hour-long runs and this shoe continues to impress me with it simple and effective design. The feel is spry yet well cushioned and I have not ended a long run with beat up feet.

In a nod to the Pearl Izumi designers, I will say that the transition is very quick on the N1 and fast running is a joy in this shoe. I’ve reviewed other shoes with different rocker style technology and the N1 is the only shoe I feel actually improves transition and flow through the foot strike. I guess the ultimate endorsement from me is my willingness to race long distances in a shoe, and I will be racing a spring 50 miler in the N1 and I will likely consider it for my summer 100. The eMotion Trail N1 is hands down the best trail shoe I’ve tried for 2013.

[Editor’s Note: The Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail N1 is available in the iRunFar Store.]

Tom Caughlan

is iRunFar’s Minimalist Gear Editor. Tom’s passion for trail running and specialty running retail experience shine through in all of his highly technical reviews, which do range outside minimalist shoes.

There are 80 comments

  1. Mic Medeska

    I've yet to get my hands on the N1 Trail, but have been running in the N2 Road for a coule months now. The upper is incredible, and the dynamic offset really makes for a fast run. I'm really looking forward to purchasing the N1 Trail, but was worried about how they'd hold up to the rocks of the Northeast, but now that you mention there is at least a little bit of a rock plate I think I'll give them a try. Thanks for the review.

  2. Nick Sourlos

    Great review! Very timely as my Trail N2's are coming today…I just hope they fit my narrow heel/low volume foot.

    Cheers.

  3. David

    Gosh, I've been so interested in this line of shoes. It's just too bad that no one local carries any of the models of this shoe – I'd love to try them on to decide which version to go with.

  4. Luke Garten

    I am a big fan of Pearl Izumi shoes. I have the Streak 2, Peak 2 and Kassaki 2 and absolutely love these shoes for all of my running and they all seem to hold up well past 500 miles. When I tried on the N2 road I felt it had put a lot of pressure on my arch where their other shoes do not. I did not buy it being worried about not letting my arch flex as it should. I assume it is from the rocker shape of the shoe. Did you or anyone else get this impression from the new N series shoes?

    1. Bryon Powell

      I actually worried in the other direction, that my only moderately strong feet would flex/work too much in the Road N2s. Having run a pair into the ground and having started working through another pair, I've not had that problem, nor too stiff of an arch.

      The Pearl Izumi E:Motion Road N2 is my absolute favorite road shoe at the moment… actually, it's my favorite training shoe, period.

  5. LjD

    Patrick,

    I'm using the Trail N2 and they fit true to size (or maybe 1/4 size small; I'm wearing the M3 road as well, and the road series seems to fit a little smaller than the trail, which is great). I would only size up if you have wide or large volume feet. If you're normal or narrow, stick with normal size (I came from a size 10 in Salomon XT SLAB 4).

  6. Mark

    Thanks for the review. I wanted to like the N1's. I really did. I ran some training runs in the N1 (a couple of 10 mi and a 21 mi) and they really destroyed my legs. After running 21 it felt like I just ran 50. Previous to trying the N1, I've been alternating running in Pure Grits and Bajadas for over a year now. I was hoping the N1 could bridge that gap of having a lower profile shoe that could also go the distance. For me it didn't work. I think the midsole might have been to firm for me. It almost felt clumsy and clunky – especially on flat trails and roads. Or it could have been the rocker feel of the shoe. I did love the traction of the N1 though. There was no slipping on technical trail or even snow. After switching back to the Pure Grit and the Bajada my legs feel back to normal. I guess my legs like a bit of a softer ride. I just wanted to post another opinion. It just goes to show how much personal preference and running style plays into the equation.

  7. Patrick Garcia

    Mic-

    If you're already a fan of the N2 road you might check the TN2, as it's the same drop etc. I have both pairs and really appreciated the TN2 (over the N1) on rocky terrain. My $.02.

    1. Olga

      What's the difference between N1 and N2? Looking for the light and fast shoe with lots of cushioning (sounds kinda unreal :)).

  8. Joe

    Here's my experience with this shoe after a few month of running in them. – I really wanted to like them and make them my daily drivers. I've been keeping an eye on these ever since seeing Timothy O. crushed the record @ Western States 2012 wearing the N1s. I come from walking and running in 0mm-4mm all day everyday and so I was frustrated after going for my first couple of long runs (4+hrs) in them and having my achilles get a bit tight. Anytime I run in shoes with a higher drop than 4mm my achilles seems to notice that and gets a quite sore, so I'd say I'm pretty sensitive to drop since going "full minimal". I was sure that Pearl Izumi stated that the shoe had 4.5mm drop on their website. I even emailed them about it and they confirmed the drop to be 4.5mm. Now when I check Runningwarehouse.com they have the drop measured at 7mm, and after my achilles acting up I went back to my standard 4mm drop trail shoes and my issue was resolved and my long runs are pain free with the 4mm drop. A bit disappointed that Pearl Izumi has made it so confusing for buyers that might be sensitive to this. My advice is don't go into buying these shoes thinking they're "minimal drop". They aren't. They've got great cushion and the upper is fantastic, but they really don't feel like 4.5mm. I'd agree with the Tom Caughlan and say they feel more like 6mm, maybe even more. I wish they were a true 4.5mm drop shoe. So it goes.

    1. Sarah

      I agree, I've got a pair of 10oz trail shoes from NB, I feel like I'm running with weights on my legs after running in Vibrams!

    1. LjD

      I ran around outside the store in both of them. Trail N2 felt smoother to me than the Kinabalu, but they did feel similar (to me at least).

      1. Maranui

        Thanks for the answer.

        I was a little bit concerned about the drop of the both shoes.

        But the rocker shape seems to make it feel in a different way.

        A technology I'll give a try…

  9. Dustin

    Hmm, not sure which way to go now. Was really considering the N2, as my Mantras leave me feeling beat up 25 miles plus and that I needed a bit more cushion.

    Any other high mileage shoe I should look at?

    Great comments all.

    1. Tom Caughlan

      Dustin,

      I agree with you that the Mantra doesn't seem to offer enough cushioning, for me anyways, for over 50k. I do feel that the N1 has more cushioning, albeit firm, but not as firm as the Mantra. I will be trying a 50 miler in them next month. I'm interested to know just how much more cushioning is in the trail N2?

      1. LjD

        Tom,

        The trail N2 has quite a bit, feels like even more than the Road M3 I'm also running in. I haven't tried the N1, though…

        Guess I should point out I also use the same aftermarket insoles in all of my running shoes…

      2. David S

        I'm with both of you. The Mantra is a great shoe for certain applications, but I need a more forgiving shoe for longer distances.

      3. Nick Sourlos

        Tom,

        Just took the Trai N2's out for a 6 mile road run.

        They are far more cushioned then the Sense Mantra, in fact surprisingly cushioned.

        The fit is way better then the Scott Kinabalu in the heel and they feel more solid.

        So far so good.

        1. Dustin

          Thanks all, maybe I will give the N2 a spin. I have my first 50M coming up and I need to find a shoe I believe in in short order.

  10. Ben Z

    I don't think the upper is very wide. It's not as wide as a Peregrine upper and not even close to as wide as one of the Trailrocs or a Merrell upper. But for racing I could probably make due if there was more volume (or maybe better said depth) from the top of my toes to the mesh upper. Sadly there is not as I feel my toes pushing upwards against the upper as well.

    I'll stick with The Peregrines or Trailrocs.

  11. Tyler

    I have been running in some N1s for a little over a month now and I love them. The transition is super smooth and seems to make each step a little easier, which is nice. I also love the grip and stability. I broke my ankle and tore some ligaments last year and descents have been sketchy since. I had been putting all my miles in Peregrines and I feel way more solid going downhill in the N1s.

    The only drawback for me has been that I need to tie them pretty loose. It took a awhile for me to figure this out and when they were too tight it felt like someone was pulling my feet apart, which was kinda weird. Since I have started tying them less tight they have felt awesome. Also, being looser I can slip them on and off without having to untie, the solid heel cup makes this possible. Overall, they are the best running shoes I have owned and plan to use them up to 100 miles later in the year.

  12. David

    Man, I totally wanted to pull the trigger on these…but really prefer a low or zero drop shoe. Some of the comments here pushed me in another direction. Oh well.

  13. Melissa

    Suggestion on shoes for a newbie trail runner, wide flat feet (wmns 10EE), overpronator w/ custom orthotics? Run in Brooks Ariel/Beast of late (till they change them). In looking around, seems like mfrs think everyone who wants to run trails has regular width feet, neutral pronation and wants a minimalist shoe – think I'm part of an underserved market demographic! :)

    1. Ben Z

      Ditch the orthotics. You are a neutral runner, you just don't know it yet ;)

      Merrell Mix Master or a wide NB shoe would be a good place to start.

      1. Anonymous

        Seconded. My wife work Saucony motion controls thanks to the Running Room, like running with Frankenstein's monster. 3 years on, in Merrell Pace Gloves, it's like she's levitating and her recurrent injuries have stopped recurring!

    2. Jeremy

      Careful Melissa. Lots of people are unable to run at all without orthotics. Not sure where the other commentors got their medical degrees, but the doctor who prescribed your footbeds thought they were right for you. There are lots of lighter shoes than those Brooks models that will protect your feet and could work with your orthotics. Also, take a look at the podium of most ultra, trail and mountain races. Lots of beefy shoes on the podium.

      Best of luck.

      1. dogrunner

        Careful Jeremy, skeptisism should aim in BOTH directions. My podiatrist and several PTs told me I needed custom orthotics, stability shoes, etc. but none of that prevented recurrent injuries. Once I started running in neutral shoes without squishy (unstable) cushioning, and focused on form (proper form = whatever works so it does not hurt anywhere when you run), all my chronic pains went away. People with medical degrees do not have a good track record of fixing running-related problems.

        Melissa – you sound like me – wide flat feet, tendency for overpronation. I like some cushioning but not squishy shoes, and low drop – all of which facilitates proper form. The road shoes that I like best are Skechers GoBionic (NOT the Gorun). You do need to get used to low drop if you are used to steeply sloped shoes. Still seeking the "perfect" trail shoe, but on non technical trails the Gobionics work too (except their tendency to collect rocks).

  14. Chris

    Used the N1s for a hilly, technical 50K in February and a relentlessly hilly but not that technical 50M last week, and was very pleased with the feel and performance. It's good to have a go-to shoe again.

  15. Jacob Puzey

    I'm relatively new to the trail ultra scene. One of the challenges I've found in making the transition from the roads to trails is the dearth of responsive, protective, light yet aggressive performance trail shoes. I've tried just about everything out there made in my size – 14. I've been more than pleased since putting the N1 Trails on a little over a month ago. I've run and been fortunate to win two trail races in the last few weeks with terrain that required adequate protection and traction without sacrificing responsiveness. My feet are happy and I am happy that Pearl Izumi has created such a great shoe (especially in a size 14).

    1. Tom Caughlan

      Justin,

      The N1 (can't speak for the N2) cushioning is a little firmer than the pure grit, but just as substantial. Definitely a different feel than the Pure Grit which has a lot of contoured arch support in the footbed. Also, a wider forefoot in the N1 and a rock plate.

  16. Jeremy

    Exactly on the skepticism. I am just making the counterpoint to the deluge of less is better opinions. I train and race in SCOTT shoes and tend to race in middle of the road heft/cushion/tread. T2 Kinnabalu has served me well in two 100's this past year and will be my go-to for the remainder of 2013. I also own offerings from Hoka, Montrail, NB, Salomon, etc. One should try many shoes and not assume that the least shoe is best. A light shoe is just another tool in the toolbox. Try a few Melissa and see what you like.

    For me, "drop" has nothing to do with proper form, only the efficiency and ease at toe off. I also feel that the weight and drop of the shoe has nothing to do with "minimalism." That's about how much gear/food/water one packs for their adventure. A long committing route in the deep mountains, shirtless and bottle-less, with dependence on streams for water and huckleberries for calories is Idaho "minimalism."

    Anyway- those N1's look really nice. I attended a 12/24 hour/ 100 mile race recently and many top performers there wore the N1's. They look like a very solid balance of features with enough meat to go 100.

    1. dogrunner

      +1 on the need to experiment. I have tried a lot of shoes and been disappointed a lot (ouch to the wallet if I can't judge right away just by the fit), but still worth it to keep running. I agree on the minimalist label – don't get hung up on that. Choose shoes that fit well and don't cause problems. For me that is a low drop (preferably zero), with some firm cushion, very flexible (so the Altras mostly don't work for me) and wide toe box. This has proven to be a hard combination to find. The extremely low stack height shoes (VFF, NB MT00, Merrel TG, Inov8 BareX) are fun on soft trails and short distances if they fit, but not for rocky or paved or long runs (for me). I wish the PI N1 came in a wide size, but they do not and they do not fit.

  17. Chris Cawley

    Hey Tom,

    Having enjoyed the fit and durability of Salomon Speedcross for a couple years, I've been trying to run in Sense Mantras this spring and despite really enjoying the shoe in a lot of ways, there's something about the sole profile/midsole stiffness that is giving me occasional bouts of what feels like plantar fasciitis. It's a bummer because I think they're very sexy and they are just the right amount of shoe, but at the end of some runs in the Mantras, they feel flat, stiff and blocky, and the next day my feet are tender in all the wrong places…

    How would you compare this shoe and the Sense Mantra, particularly in terms of how they fit and how the sole profile feels on longer runs?

  18. michael

    Sounds good! I like zero but have been OK with 4mm shoes; worry a little about 6mm but would be willing to try… once my S-lab sense wears out; they are so good!!

    Thanks for the review

    1. CJ

      That was a great workout to have in the fitness account. I hope to deposit a few more of those between now and the Garden 10 miler :-)

  19. Tom Caughlan

    Chris,

    I've spent a lot of miles in both shoes this winter/ spring. I also experience some discomfort with the Mantra and I feel that they're a bit stiff. After 50k hard in the Mantra I was beat up quite a bit. I like the Mantra for shorter faster runs but the tread doesn't seem to lend the amount of control that the N1 does.

    I've been wearing the N1 for back to back long runs of about 20 miles on tough terrain recently and my feet are happy. A bit more flexibility, a bit more forefoot room, and a bit more cushioning. I love the rock plate as well on the N1 because you'd never know it is there but it does help a lot.

  20. Scott Anthony

    I just bought the P. Izumi Em Trail N1's and I was pretty happy on my first 16-miler. I originally ordered a size 12, which is my typical size, but everything felt off and my big toe felt like it was spilling over the front inner edge of the shoe. So I went up to a 12.5 and it eliminated that feeling right away. I usually tie my shoes loose, but found that with the up-size I can tie them tight around my mid-foot and let my toes spread out- it feels really good. Shoe laces lock in tight, some sort of twisty shoe lace technology that is pretty nice. Really nice grip in mud. Very soft on descents. The sole wore pretty quickly on the first run when I had to do a short stretch on the road, but hoping to avoid this by sticking to the trails. So far they've been as advertised. Looking forward to logging more miles on them.

  21. panos from greece

    I have the peak II and i like it very much.

    Have someone compare peak 2 to N1 in terms of cushioning and fit ?

  22. MikeZ

    I have both Peak II and N1 trail. Normally a size 9. N1 fits true to size at 9. Peak II fits small so I had to get size 10. N1 has more toe room.

    N1 seems to have better cushion and protection. Peak II is a little more flexible.

  23. Jeff

    I am still working through the N1. I do really like it, but have had some issues on longer runs — not due to cushioning but how my right ankle feels in them. To be fair, I sprained it badly in December in different shoes so that is not the N1's fault.

    I ran my first 50-miler (Lake Sonoma) in La Sportiva Helios after testing 20 miles of the course in N1s. The Mantra comparison is interesting to me since I can do about the same in N1s and Sense Ultras now (same ankle issue), but the cushioning seems much better in the N1s.

    I say give them a try if you are inclined!

  24. Anonymous

    Tom – where was the mention of this in your Mantra review or comments there? In reading that review it seems like another perfect shoe…

  25. Ben Z

    So I want to update my comments as I took the N1s for a spin the previous two days.

    While I still think the N1 upper feels more constrictive then the Peregrines or TrailRoc 245s it still might be a really good shoe. Here's why:

    1) It's smooth. Before I took them on two rolling runs the past two days I had already read about it being anywhere from a "1mm offset" to "feeling like a 6mm heel drop" so I wasn't sure what to expect. And while I'm still not sure just exactly what type of drop it actually is I can say that it has a very smooth transition. Very smooth.

    2) It's pretty bombproof. At least for me. Coming from a minimalist running shoe background (0-4mm drops with low stack heights) I feel like I can run over anything with this shoe. But still keep a pretty quick turnover. It definitely has more protection than the TrailRoc 245 (and it should, it's thicker and heavier) but it also seems to have more than the Peregrine or Peregrine 2. I didn't feel any type of push through despite running on pretty jagged rocks yesterday in stretches.

    3) It actually does require break-in time. My first run it felt so-so in terms of the responsiveness. The second run was much better.

    4) The upper is really not that constrictive. Especially with thin socks like I prefer. Sure, the foregoot is not as wide as the new TrailRocs but perhaps it doesn't need to be.

    But one knock on the shoe may be heel slippage. I noticed I had to re-tie the shoe pretty tight twoards the tongue to keep my heel locked in. I'm hoping with some quick laces or adjustment of how I tie the shoes (because the sausage laces are great) it solves the issue for me.

    If this shoe works as well as I hope it will on a longer trail run (I'll test it in Auburn on June 1 in a 50k) it's going to be my White River shoe this year.

    1. Todd

      I'd definitely like to hear your feedback on it after the Auburn Trail Run. That area & the Pioneer Express Trail are my main stomping grounds.

    2. David

      Thanks for your additional comments, appreciate the comparison to the 245. Got a pair ordered and on the way.

  26. Ben Z

    Jim –

    I've never run the UTMB course for what it's worth, but yes, I think they would be suitable for a mountainous 100 miler. After all, they set the course record at States last year (OK, fine, Timothy's legs did most of the work).

  27. Kelly

    I have tried on the trail N1s and M2s. The drop is very confusing on both. I like the fit of the M2 better but it feels a little higher than its advertised drop of 4mm. I am curious how PI measures the drop in these shoes. The M2 feels spot on but I sure wish it felt a little lower in terms of drop.

  28. Ben Z

    Todd –

    I run the Auburn SRA trails every week and that's where I used these shoes. It's a perfect shoe for the rollers on and along WS I think.

    1. Todd

      I've been looking for something to supplement my MT110's for longer hauls. I CAN do longer runs in them, but the next day my feet are pretty tender.

  29. Kelly

    I take back what I said about the M2's. I have no issues with the drop and the shoe is the best I have tried this year. Perfect fit from heel through midfoot and awesome cushioning.

  30. Todd

    At roughly what mileage are you guys feeling this magical break-in? I've got roughly 20 miles on my N1's and they feel like a brick. I do love the fit though.

  31. Todd G

    I really like this shoe and I'm on my second pair. The only issue I have is that I've blown out the material beside my big toe on both pairs. Anyone else have this problem?

  32. Mason

    Tom,

    I have been running in the N1 for a while now, and LOVE it. I bought them in part because of your review. I am curious, though, how you would compare it to the Salomon Sense Ultra/Mantra. This is purely out of curiosity. I love my N1s and am buying a fresh pair to break in before my first 50 end of this month. I would like to maybe try the Salomon just for kicks (get it?) despite being happy with my current shoe, but wondering if the price tag is worth it :)

  33. cp

    Just ran a 40 miler in a brand new pair of these this weekend. Started getting some hot spots after 13 miles, but put some lube on my toes and tightened the laces a little and had no more problems. I was looking for a lower drop shoe with a little cushioning. I have had chronic IT band problems for years, and only experienced relief when changing to Altra Superiors, a zero drop shoe. The toe box in the N1 is definitely not as big as the Altras, but they still fit well. True to size at 12.5. I actually tried the N2's but could tell that they allowed me to land further back on my foot than I wanted. I even got some of the IT band pain coming back during a 10 mile run. I personally think that foot strike has a big effect on my IT stuff, and the N1s are a low enough drop to force me to run with better form.

  34. David

    I bought a pair of N1's back in May and after a few short runs, did a 45 mile Grand Canyon run in them. I thought, "these are pretty sweet, but there's probably something better." Well it turns out (for me) there wasn't. I tried trailroc's, helios, lone peaks, etc. and have kept coming back to the N1. After running lots of rugged Colorado mountain trail miles in them, as well as using them for San Juan Solstice 50, they've proven to be the best shoe – even when I thought in theory that some others would be better. The combination of protection, smooth ride, and ultra distance comfort is just hard to beat – looking forward to getting my next pair.

      1. David

        No – that's one of the few I didn't try. But I came back to the N1 enough times to know it's the shoe for me…plus the price of the SU is a bit more than I'm willing to pay.

  35. leighNZ

    Can anyone give me an idea about how the cushioning on the N1 compares to the amount of cushioning on Inov8s? I currently run in Inov8 Roclite 315s or Terroc 330s. I'm looking for something with a bit more cushioning for long runs (but possibly not as much as the N2s).

  36. Andy

    Don't know if anyone will see this now that it's Feb 2015, but have had a bizarre mystery with the Pearl N2 trails.

    It's been my go-to shoe for the past year. So, after three pairs showing their wear, I ordered two more. Same size. They arrive and they are notably smaller — in both length and width — and not just by feel but by the tape measure. The friendly customer service folks at Pearl Izumi did their homework but insist it can't be something in the production lot and tell me they probably just need to "break in" and that the foam will expand as I wear them. The outsole will expand by 1/8 in. or more?! I doubt it. And why did my first three pairs of size 11s — in three different colors — fit perfectly right out of the box?

    Has anyone else had a similar issue with the N2 recently? Not sure where to go from here other than order up a half-size and hope for the best.

    1. kjz

      Interestingly, I found myself up a 1/2 size in the recent N2 v2 trail compared to when I wore them 2 years ago, but I think I would be okay in the 1/2 size smaller–they'd just fit like a glove rather than with a bit more room like I prefer. I just figured my feet grew. :) ha! It really does seem strange that you'd get two pairs of shoes with the same issue… did you try ordering them from a free shipping/returns online store or can you go to a local shop and actually try them on/compare and contrast? Good luck!

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