Welcome back folks. Back in late November, I was lucky enough to review the "pre-production" Pearl Izumi E:Motion N2 road running shoe. You can see that review here. I left that post with an update that PI had offered to send me out a post-production pair when they became available.
Arriving at my doorstep a few days ago are the shoes pictured above, featuring the obvious new colors but more importantly a promised less firm midsole. Let me say up front I'm not opposed to a "firm" midsole, my current marathon shoe is a the firm midsoled Boston 3s by Adidas. PI listened to the opinions coming in from all their beta tests and decided that the midsole was just a little too firm for a trainer, and I agreed with my experience in them.
PERFORMANCE: Thank you, Pearl Izumi. Thank you so much. You have to feel this upper on your foot, you really do. It feels like a compression sock with areas of stiffness in all the right places. So go to a store and put these shoes on and you'll understand. I won't even spend any more time on the upper, and I hate to use the phrase as it's so overused but screw it, it fits like a glove. I'll skip down to the outsole, which is unchanged as far as I could tell other than the color. Still has that sweet curvey line running through the spine, still does exactly what it is supposed to. Finally, the new midsole is exactly what I want in a trainer when you're race shoe features a firm ride. It's noticable less firm, but not to the point of losing feel or responsiveness. I ran twice in them in the last couple days, a slow recovery run of 8 miles, and a medium pace 12 miler, a typical workout for me where I would be using trainers and not a racing shoe. I'm a shoe nerd. I have shoes for every single specific run you could thank of, from a 5k to a marathon, from a recovery run to a speed workout, to shoes that I will only wear if there's snow and others that I'll wear if it's raining. I rotate about 12-14 shoes at a given time. Based on my recovery run and my medium pace 12 miler, a bunch of those shoes are getting the boot. Pun intended. The shoes are trainers. The shoes are perfect trainers. Comfortable, cushioned, that oh so sweet upper, and just the right weight.
LOOKS: My original review used the phrase "jelly bean colors" to describe the pre-release model. I've got these new cherry/lime flavored ones, and I can't say I'm disappointed, but can't say they're my favorite color combination. I'd rather the lime be the color that runs through the mesh upper, with the symbol and accents colored in grey. But I want POW, and I applaud PI for making the choice to be a tad more subtle.
RECOMMENDED RUNNING: Training. Recovery runs, medium pace runs, your long run, and I'm sure some people will want these for marathons. I'm going to need more time to find out if I could use to race in a marathon, but I feel like if I needed just a little less weight I'd have to get my hands on the N1s. (which is something I'm considering)
NOT RECOMMENDED RUNNING: Races shorter than half marathon.
Overall: 9 out of 10. Based on what they are: trainers.
Final additional note: Pearl Izumi is my new favorite company. First, they had the best demo night I've ever been to, with a ton of swag, a great rep, and plenty of shoes to try. When I wasn't 100% satisifed with a pre-production model (which should be "wear at your own risk, deal with it, homeboy") they offered to replace them with the finished model, which was shipped to me with no expense coming my way. They listened to their customers feedback and adjusted accordingly. My training begins after my 3/24/13 marathon for the USATF Mountain Running Series again, so I'm even eyeing the Trail N1s, and as mentioned, thinking about picking up a pair of N1s for the road. Based on the quality of their products and customer service, they are now the first running company I'll be looking towards for shoes and apparel before I look elsewhere.
The N2s are currently available for purchase at Running Warehouse: Here