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Shoe Review – Pearl Izumi Trail M2

April 22, 2015 Comments (0) Gear Reviews

Shoe Review – Pearl Izumi N1 & N2

Pearl Logo


Mens N2 (L) and Womens N1 (R)


I’m not the kind of runner that waits to break in a sweet new pair of trail running shoes. However, the best thing I did was just that, on a long 21 mile local favorite trail. The first thing, I did when I got Pearl Izumi N1s was to lace them up and take them for a straight up, technical grueling climb up Dripping Springs loop. This 21 mile loop of rocky single trails can obliterate the weakest of shoes. Not only does this trail have a solid climb, but a long grueling descent, which tests the midsole of any shoe. The Pearl Izumi was made just for that days like that.  Overall, the N1is an outstanding performance shoe on this particular run. The shoe felt great from mile one to the finish. In particular, I had NO hot spots, a big plus out of the box! After logging 300 miles on these shoes, I have yet to find a significant problem area. I look forward to using these shoes for my next 50 miler.

The fit of the shoe cradles feet very well. The toe box has a bit of room, but for those used to larger toe boxes they may find it somewhat limiting. Generally the N1 has a snug fit. Some of our testers had doubts at the beginning since it could indicate a potential problem for blisters but to my surprise, we had none. Whether our testers ran in the desert terrain of Southern California or the mountains of Utah, the upper of all the Pearl Izumi’s maintained breath-ability and durability.

The shoe is designed for Neutral runners who want a lightly protective shoe, coming in at just 9.6 oz. Certainly not eh lightest shoe on the market, the N1 adequately protects the runner at a reasonable weight. The N1, as well as all of the other Pearl’s we tested have a rock plate in the forefoot.  Many of our testers barely noticed the lack of drop in the shoe from heel to toe, a great shoe for those interested in trying out a more minimal drop approach.

The difference between the N1 and the N2 are really quite minimal. They utilize the exact same upper, outsole and midsole. Both have rock plates and are weight conscience shoes. The slight differences between the shoes are IMPORTANT though. We would recommend that any runner with a slight hesitation to a low heel drop, or need for a wider shoe, consider the N2. See below for the explanation of the differences.


N1 N2
Upper More narrow Slightly wider
Outsole Narrow Wide
Stability Neutral Neutral
Heel to Toe drop 1mm 4mm


Project E:Motion

Project E:Motion


All of our testers put a great deal of miles on these shoes and all of them recommend the shoe, and still love them. They were very comfortable to run in any terrain from very groomed trails to mountainous terrain. The shoe has sustained quite of bit of running abuse and has still held up fairly well with no major observed wear and tear. We highly recommend these shoes for anyone looking for a low profile cushioning/light shoe for a long run.


“The Pearl Izumi N1 and N2 are simply phenomenal!”

 N1_N2 Cairn

TAUR Tester Feedback of the N1 & N2


Tester Quotes of the N1


I have taken this shoe on several technical mountain runs, and the outsole is still in great shape. The tread is great and has good grip and traction on steep technical trails, as well as snow. I was very pleased with the performance of the N1.

The N1 is a solid shoe for almost all occasions. I would use this shoe for any distance, but would not wear it casually due to the graphics.

This shoe fit like a glove. I was very happy with the fit and performance. I had the shoe on some very steep technical mountain trails and it felt great no matter where I was.

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Tester Quotes of the N2


Really easy shoe to just throw on out of the box and just go. As a larger guy (6’2’’) they fit well, allowing you to feel fast and nimble on the techy trails. Learn the limits of the tread for blasting down steep trails.

Pearl has done an excellent job with the fit of their shoes. With only 4mm drop, they really have felt light, fast and nimble for a 10 oz shoe.


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