The Trail and Ultra team was very excited to put the Pearl Izumi N1 v2 to the test after enjoying the first version. Each of our testers put a minimum of 200 to 300 miles on these shoes. With such an extensive time for testing we truly feel the feedback in this review will reflect what our readers can expect to find in the N1 v2. Additionally, this review reflects one of the most cohesive collection of tester feedback the team has had for a product in a long time. Like it’s predecessor, this model is very similar to the previous versions of the N1 with only slight changes.
One of the things we actually appreciate about PI is their kind of no-frills appearance. They seem to be built on function with a few subtle highlights added in as needed. We noticed this integrated simplicity in the slight improvements in the upper construction of the N1 V2. The shoe maintained a seamless upper with modifications that decreased the weight of the shoe without compromising the integrity of the shoe. Most noticeably the toe cap is more of a bonded overlay verses a glued cap. Even the other overlays on the upper are slightly thinner. These modifications really give the shoe a truly neutral race shoe feel.
In regards to fit, the N1 v2 seems to run slightly more narrow and with less room in the toe box. While not a narrow shoe, those who prefer a more snug fit in the right places will appreciate the N1 v2. Overall, we thought these fit really nicely! The rating in this category was dinged a touch because our testers preferred to have a wider toe box to accommodate for toe swelling.
We were really impressed with how well the upper held up, even with some pretty heavy use on some nasty trails. Cumulative testing of more then a 100 miles from our testers included technical mountain terrain, sandy deserts, wet and soggy mud, and rocky rooty east coast trails. All of which left our testers very impressed with the overall durability of the shoe, including the separate components of the shoe.
The upper of the N1 v2 is very breathable and yet durable. It drained very well and dried out fast on wet runs. One tester spent 6 hours in them one day in wet conditions with no problems. The Upper does not overheat feet on hot muggy days or desert dashes in the sun. On some occasions the shoe allowed some of that fine moon dust and silty sand in the shoe, this could certainly be a frustration.
The outsole of the N1 v2 remained the same and actually worked better for us. The shoe gripped well, though not as well as some competitors, but had plenty of traction on uphills. They did wear out a bit faster than expected, but nothing major. The outsole is durable and built in mind to last. One note was made that those heel strikers may notice some midsole compression after about 300 miles.
Across the board our team was very impressed with this shoe for its comfort, weight and durability and we found that it was a fantastic all-purpose trail shoe. Most of our testers really loved the simplicity, bright colors and functionality of the shoe. Our guys were not super impressed with the purple Beet color, fortunately Shadow Grey is another option.
-Seamless synthetic mesh upper
– Weight: 9.2oz/261g
– 1mm heel to toe drop
– Sure lacing
-ESS Forefoot rockplate
-1:1 Energy Foam
– Heel stack height: 19.7 mm (includes midsole/outsole)
– Carbon rubber outsole