Feb 4, 2016

Why Pearl Izumi?

I have been running competitively since 2005 and over that time I’ve trained for and raced 20+ full marathons and dozens of others races of varying distances. I have to concede that I have splurged on many of the gadgets currently on the market for runners, including a Garmin GPS watch with heart rate monitor foot pod, and cadence sensor, as well as an iPod.  However, one of the things I’ve always appreciated about running is that all you really need is a good pair of running shoes. As with most runners, when I find a brand and model that I like, I usually stick with it long term. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it right? When I started training for my first marathon in 2005, I bought a pair of Asics (I can’t remember the model). I didn’t have very much to compare to, but for the most part, I liked them. I went through 3-4 pair of Asics between 2005 and 2007 – replacing each pair after 800 kilometers. My only complaint with Asics was that they would seem to lose a great deal of their cushioning after about 500k. In 2007 I had heard some good things about Mizuno, so I decided to try a pair of Wave Rider’s.I liked these much more than the Asics I had been running in because they were a lot lighter without having to sacrifice any cushioning. Between 2007 and 2014 I purchased approximately 30 pairs of the following neutral shoes in the Mizuno lineup: Wave Creation, Wave Elixar, Wave Musha, and the aforementioned Wave Rider. I really liked each model I tried and I must say, it was nice to have multiple options to choose from depending on the time of year/distance I was running/racing. My level of satisfaction with Mizuno started to decline early in 2013. They came out with an updated edition of each model, and I don’t know why, but they just didn’t last as long as they used to, and didn’t fit the same way they used to. The cushioning was gone within the first 300k and the treads on the bottom started to wear off soon after. Consequently, I was only able to squeeze about 600k out of my last few pairs. This was particularly frustrating because we pay a premier price for running shoes and when they only last 75% as long as they used to, it costs extra money.

Early in 2014, while eager to end my “long-term relationship” with Mizuno, I was introduced to Pearl Izumi’s E:Motion line of running shoes. I read about them on their website, watched a few videos and was impressed by their innovative technology. And I must admit, they were nice to look at as well! So, being that I was already dissatisfied with what I was currently using, I decided to give them a try. I started out in the Tri N1’s because triathlon season was just around the corner and I never ran in a triathlon specific running shoe before.

Tri N1: What makes the Tri N1’s triathlon specific? Essentially two things: built in speed laces and integrated tongue – both of which help to speed up transition. The laces don’t need to be tied and because of the integrated tongue, chaffing on the instep area is much less likely. I’ve since retired my first pair of Tri N1’s after two years of racing (sprint to half ironman) and countless speed/tempo sessions. I had no problem reaching the 800k mark with these shoes (or any pair of Pearl Izumi for that matter). There was still a surprising amount of support and there was only minimal wear on the treads.

Road N2: The next pair I purchased was the Road N2. Like the Tri N1’s, the N2’s are also a neutral shoe (the “N” stands for neutral). I was planning to do another marathon in the fall of 2014, so I wanted a heavier shoe for my long runs. The N2’s weighs 9.9 ounces – compared to the Tri N1’s, which weigh in at 9.5 ounces. That may not sound like a huge difference, but that extra weight really helped to speed up recovery after my long runs.

Road N1: My intention was to reserve the Tri N1’s for triathlon races only, so I decided to invest in a pair of Road N1’s. The N1’s are built much like the N2’s, but are almost a full ounce lighter (9.1). I purchased these so I’d that have something lighter to do my speed/tempo runs in, as well as road races. These were (and still are) my favorite model to use for training and racing.

Road N0:  Early in 2015 Pearl Izumi released the Road N0. The N0 is a “racing flat” and by far the lightest shoe Pearl Izumi has ever developed (6.5 ounces). In the past I’ve never been able to run in a shoe this light because, although my running form has improved, I am, and likely always will be, a “heel striker.” When my first pair of N0’s came in, I could not believe how light they felt on my feet and how comfortable they were. I started off with “baby steps” because I knew it would take time for my body to adjust to a shoe that was so light and with so little cushioning at the heel. The first few workouts I did were on the track. Then I tried them on the road for a few short easy runs. Eventually I got to the point where I used them in a 5k race (December 2015). These light weight shoes allowed for quicker turnover/cadence, which usually means better form for “heel strikers” like me. As a result, I feel that I am landing closer to mid-foot and because I wear a cadence sensor I know my turnover has improved. I’ve also been doing all of my treadmill runs with the N0’s, and my total mileage so far is 215k. As a result, I can’t confirm how the N0s will hold up as I approach the 800k mark. However, because of my past experience with the other models mentioned above, I have no reason to believe the N0s will let me down!

Since switching to Pearl Izumi I have purchased 7 pairs (including multiple pairs of the N1’s and N2’s) and I couldn’t be happier! Other than comfort, durability, and performance, what else do I like about Pearl Izumi running shoes? First, I think they look great! The color schemes and design they’ve chosen are very flashy! And lets me honest, who doesn’t like their running shoes to look good? Secondly, they are competitively priced. Each of the models mentioned above can be purchased for under $150CAN, which is consistent with the other top brands in the running shoe market. If you are using Pearl Izumi running shoes, I’d love to hear what you think of them. If you are not, but are intrigued, give them a try! What do you have to lose? If you live in my “neck of the woods” (Cape Breton), Pearl Izumi products are sold exclusively at Framework Cycle and Fitness in Sydney. And if you join their email list you’ll receive 10% off all regular priced items!

For more info on the Pearl Izumi E: Motion check out this video. 

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