Jan 18, 2015

Going the distance with PEARL iZUMi

Over the last few weeks during several group runs the topic of the maximum number of miles you should log in a pair of running shoes has come up. Since early on in my running days, I have sworn by the research I’ve read that states we should be able to log 500 miles (800km) in a pair of running shoes without doing our bodies any harm. There are so many factors that go into determining the life of a running shoe—surface you run on, your size and weight, running speed, biomechanics, weather condition. It is important to note that heavier runners are at a disadvantage when it comes to shoe durability. Generally, the bigger you are, the fewer miles you’ll get. For example, a 6-4, 250-pound guy will generate more force at each foot strike than a 100-pound woman and get fewer miles out of the same shoe.

About 9 months ago I switched to Pearl Izumi running shoes after 8 years running in Mizuno. During that time I went through at least 25 pairs and was able to reach 500 miles with each pair. However, each time you could tell by looking at each pair, and by the way they felt that I was stretching it to the limit trying to reach 500 miles with each pair. I have friends that can barely get 300 miles with a pair of shoes so this is not my attempt to criticize Mizuno. I had been having some hamstring issues for over a year, and often wondered if there was a brand with better durability out there, so I figured I had nothing to lose in giving Pearl Izumi a try.

I had always associates Pearl Izumi with running and cycling apparel, but was certainly intrigued when I learned they were also in the running shoe business. I decided to try the N2’s, which is a neutral shoe and according to the reviews, very similar to the model of Mizuno I had been using. I used these for a few months and was very impressed. They were very comfortable, extremely durable, and I’m sure played a part in making my hamstring injury subside. I was so impressed with the first pair, that I ordered 2 new pairs: the N1’s which are a lighter shoe more suitable for racing, and the TRI N1's, which is a triathlon specific shoe. Ordinarily, I like to be running in at least 2 pairs of shoes at any given time because I like racing in shoes that are light, and research has shown that alternating pairs (not running in the same pair on back to back day) helps to increase the lifespan of each pair.

Due to the fact that I have rotating 3 pairs of Pearl Izumi over the last 9 months, I am just now reaching the 500 mile mark with my very first pair of N2’s. I was extremely impressed with the great condition they are still in after at estimated 85-90 runs.

Old Pair: 87 runs with a total 500 miles 
New Pair: 3 runs with a total of 17 miles
As you can see, not a huge difference! That said, when assessing the durability of a pair of running shoes, you must factor in more than the bottom of the shoe. A significant amount of the wear and tear happens to the cushioning that is not visible. Regardless, the minimal wear on the bottom of this pair is still quite impressive. And unlike the many pairs of shoes I’ve bought over the years, this pair is actually still quite comfortable. It would have never occurred to me to retire this pair if I hadn’t logged by miles and knew I had reached 500. If you’re in the market for a new pair of running shoes, why not give Pearl Izumi a try? What do you have to loose? If you are in Cape Breton, Pearl Izumi products are available at Framework Cycle and Fitness in Sydney. If not, check out the Pearl Izumi website.