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Pearl Izumi Trail N2v2 and N1v2 Dual Review

Pear Izumi Trail N1 v2 and N2 v2The Pearl Izumi trail lineup has quite the dedicated following. I’d guess, without know exact numbers, that when the first versions launched in 2013, they significantly boosted Pearl Izumi’s sales judging by how many I see at ultra races. The shoes weren’t updated till this July, a two and a half year span, which is unusual in the shoe industry these days.

I ran in the original Trail N1 a few years ago, doing a 50k in them, and even used them during my first 100 miler at Bighorn in 2014. While I appreciated some aspects of the shoe, they didn’t capture me like they did many other trail runners. I found the midsole a bit unresponsive, and didn’t love the rocker and midfoot thickness, especially on more technical trail. I’ve since received and run in both the N2v2 (I never ran in the N2v1) and N1v2, and have come away with some new thoughts. Disclosure: Both shoes were provided free of charge by Pearl Izumi for review.

Specs

Price – MSRP is $115 for the N1v2 and $120 for the N2v2.

Weight

Trail N1v2: 290 grams (10.2 oz) size 9 mens; 218 grams (7.7 oz) size 8 womens

Trail N2v2: 297 grams (10.5 oz) size 9 mens; 260 grams (9.2 oz) size 8 womens

Stack Height

Trail N1v2: 22mm (Heel), 17mm (Forefoot)

Trail N2v2: 27mm (Heel), 19mm (Forefoot)

Specs via Running Warehouse for N1v2 and N2v2.

Upper and Fit

Arguably the biggest asset of the Pearl Izumi trail line are their fantastic, seamless uppers. They are super comfortable, hold the foot well, and breathe/drain well too. Pearl Izumi made some improvements in the overlay placement by including an overlay that runs along the entire length of the shoe where the upper meets the midsole, acting as a mini-rand that helps prevent it from blowing out. The N2v2 has more significant and wider overlays, which I like, and I feel it holds the foot better than the N1v2. It also fits just a bit wider due to the wider midsole design, even though they are both on the same last. Additionally of note is that the N1v2 has a significantly softer heel counter than the relatively firm one in the first version, a change I like. Not much else to say on the uppers; they’re fantastic. I’m pretty fond of them, and the N2v2 especially holds the foot well with tons of comfort for long miles.

I like the N2v2 upper better. It has thicker, more durable mesh; thicker and wider overlays that hold the foot better and a slightly wider forefoot. Very comfortable uppers on both of them.

Midsole and Ride

Here is where I might get into some hot water with PI fans out there, but I’m not enamored by the ride of the shoes, particularly the N1. I can see more appeal, and actually enjoyed the N2v2 much more than the N1v2 despite expecting the opposite given my usual preference for lighter, faster shoes. Part of the reason for this is that, while the N1 is a little lower to the ground, it’s not that much lower than the N2 and feels very similar in the forefoot, yet weight is very close to the same.

The soles of both shoes are similarly rockered in the midfoot, and given the N1’s lower heel height I actually feel that it’s a bit harder to roll through the rocker than the N2, which has 3mm more heel height (note: I choose to use Running Warehouse’s specs because I feel they are more accurate to how the shoes feel than the Dynamic Offset figures Pearl Izumi claims).

The N2 also has a wider outsole and midsole, which contribute to a bit softer ride and a little less stiffness compared to the N1. For me this really makes the N1 redundant, since it isn’t flexible or light enough to be a nimble racing shoe. Instead, the N1 comes across as riding a bit more firm, but with the same stiff rocker and less roll because of the lower heel height. They both have rock plates and nearly equivalent forefoot protection.

Very similar midsole heights, the very same foam, just a little more heel cushion in N2v2 which I feel provides a smoother ride with the rockered design.

I hands down prefer the ride of the N2v2, and can actually see using them late in long races when I want the rocker because my feet are tired and my stride is really shortened. On normal training runs though, I feel the shoes don’t really grab me in any area in the ride department. They aren’t horrible, but don’t stand out either.

N1v2 midsole cuts straight down, which I like better, especially for technical terrain. Problem is the rest of the shoe, with the thick midfoot and rockered design doesn’t work as well on technical trail.

N2v2 midsole flairs out. This creates a slightly wider fit in the upper and a softer feel on the ride.

Comparison of platform widths.

Outsole

Both the N2v2 and N1v2 share the same outsole as their respective first versions, with the exception of a rubber compound change that is supposed to offer more grip. I never really tested the N1v1 in very technical terrain, so I can’t recall the grip on it, but the N2v2 and N1v2 both seem to hit right in the middle of the road for grip for me, which is just fine considering where I’d use them (i.e. non-technical drier trail). I like the outsole design overall, and again prefer the N2v2 over the N1v2 mainly because it has a full coverage design that not only will hold up a bit better, but I think also helps the roll with the rockered midsole geometry. The N1 has some cutouts in the midfoot that, especially after some miles are put on, results in some loss of structure there. I don’t think this is a good thing for the N1 since the sole still has the rockered design and it compromises the function of the rocker. Overall, nice, middle of the road design with lugs that add traction but aren’t too deep to take away from the ride on smooth terrain.

Having not run in the N2v1, I always thought they had the same outsole. Not so! The N2v2 is wider and has an extra lined lug design on the medial forefoot and also doesn’t have the cutouts or as much exposed foam in the midfoot. The lug depth is the same.

Conclusion

I think the N2v2 is nearly spot on for what they are trying to achieve with lightweight but full-featured protection and a smoothed out, rockered ride. If they could just use a more responsive midsole material than their 1:1 Energy Foam on the same shoe, it’d be hard to beat for smoother, long races. I, surprisingly, prefer the N2 over the N1 and feel that it provides a much better representation of what Pearl Izumi is trying to achieve with the E:motion line. The uppers are some of the best on the market, and the overall package of the N2v2 is hard to argue against. It is probably the one of the best overall packages in a 10 oz shoe out there. That being said, I happen to like a few 11 oz shoes better for the same purpose, namely the adidas Response Trail Boost and adidas Raven 3, which are more responsive and better on technical terrain while still running very well on smooth trail as well.
the N2v2 compares most closely with the Nike Zoom Wildhorse 3 (nearly same weight, stack and drop) and, although I like the upper and last a bit better on the Wildhorse 3, I think the ride and overall package of the N2v2 is hands down better than the WH3.

The N1v2, however, I think needs to be differentiated more from the N2v2 to avoid being redundant in the PI trail lineup. It just weighs and feels too close to the N2 without really bringing something different to the table, and I would recommend the N2v2 over the N1v2 unless the 3mm difference in drop was a massive issue to someone; the ride is just much better on the N2.

The N1 needs to ditch the rocker design, or at the very least, narrow the midfoot up a ton so that there is more independent movement of the forefoot and heel, which helps stability and precision on more uneven terrain (but reduces rocker integrity, which is why I think the rocker needs to go). Second, I’d make a much lower profile outsole to lighten the shoe up a bit – get it lower to the ground and give it a racier feel. Lastly, I’d figure out how to get the weight down under 9 oz. Without those three items being addressed, it is simply too much of a duplicate of the N2v2 (similar forefoot stack/protection, same lug depth, nearly same upper), but less effective at what the E:motion concept is trying to achieve.

I’ve heard of an update to the PI trail lineup for July 2016 that includes new outsole designs, but don’t know much else at this point. I’m hoping they can differentiate the two shoes a bit more, and with a forthcoming Trail N3 (which I’m hoping to review) in March, they don’t need to beef the shoes up. Rather, they need a lighter option than the N2v2 that offers a more precise and nimble ride.

The Pearl Izumi N1 v2 and Pearl Izumi N2 v2 are available for sale at Running Warehouse.

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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
About David Henry

David Henry is a 31 year old husband and father of 3 young children. He has completed over 23 ultra marathon events as well as many other shorter races. Some of the notable races he has completed include The Pike’s Peak Marathon, Speedgoat 50k, The Rut 50k, Gorge Waterfalls 100k and Bighorn 100. He has raced in diverse environments ranging from Alaska in winter to the Arizona desert. David appreciates well-crafted running shoes and running on any surface and distance. If interested you can follow my running on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/davidjonhenry

Comments

  1. Hi, David. Thanks for another great review! I own a pair of n1v2 and, while they are uninspiring at slower paces, they do come alive whenever I feel the need for speed. But I have to agree with you: the midsole isn’t very responsive and the ride is a bit too firm. After reading this comparison, I kind of wish I had bought the n2v2. A question: how does the fit of the Response Trail and the Raven compare to the n1v2’s? I’m particularly interested in the forefoot, as I have wider than average feet. The n1v2s fit me well now, but for the first 60 miles the forefoot was fairly constraining until it finally broke in a bit and the mesh softened. Both Adidas you mention look great, and I’d certainly prefer a more rugged upper for my trail/mountain shoes.Thanks!

    • David Henry says:

      Hey Nelson. Thanks for reading! I like what PI is doing but I think they’ve waited a little long to update the ride on the trail shoes. They’ve got new versions coming in July so it will be interesting to see if they change much on the ride. I just feel that the last couple of years have seen much better midsole materials than PI seems to use which would really help the ride if they would invest in a little more responsive foam.

      RE: adidas response trail boost and Raven 3. The Response Trail Boost is probably as wide as the PI’s and are really fantastic. They were one of my favorite shoe from last year and really can’t recommend them more, especially as a competitor to the PI trail shoes. The Raven 3s are nice too and I find them pretty wide, but lower volume like a Nike Kiger so for some people that feels more constricting…the upper material is soft and stretchy in them though so I found them very comfortable. Make note that these are the discontinued Raven 3 not the new Raven Boost, which is an entirely different shoe and one I can’t recommend. All the best! -David

      • Thanks for the reply. I’m glad to know the Response Trail Boost aren’t narrower than the Pearl Izumis. I’ve become interested in some of the Adidas trail shoes after reading your reviews, but was afraid they might be narrow for my feet. I’m looking forward to the changes in the Pearl Izumi lineup later this year as well, especially to see if the Road N2 is a significant update or I should just get the Road N2v2 at the expected discounted price. All the best to you as well!

        • David Henry says:

          Yeah adidas do tend to run narrower, especially in their adizero line (i.e. adizero XT Boost), but the Response is somewhat of an exception there…it’s not Altra width or anything, but I don’t feel they are narrow. I’ll be putting together my review for the Skechers GOtrail Ultra 3: link to runningwarehouse.com which is another shoe to look at if you are comparing to PI N2 and the upper and fit on it is fantastic…better than the PI shoes, and there are not very many shoes I’d say that about. -David

          • Then I’ll look forward to reading your review. It’s not a model I had considered, but it looks interesting, maybe a bit too much stack height for my taste, but that forefoot look roomy and the outsole seems to allow good flexibility. Thanks for the suggestion! Regards.

          • David Henry says:

            Nelson, yeah I can’t tolerate any other max cushioned shoes (hoka, altra, etc.), but the GOTrail Ultra 3 runs so much better than those, they are very flexible and the upper is super nice (something I’ve not found good on Hokas). Thanks for reading. -David

          • Hey David, Altra Torin is under my radar for quite some time. What do you dislike about Altras?

          • David Henry says:

            I haven’t run in the recent Torin or Instinct models and don’t necessarily have anything against them. I do feel that their higher stack height models (i.e. Olympus, Paradigm in particular) have a very unnatural toe off to them because of the zero drop nature combined with the high stack height. Other than that, it really depends what you are looking for. The Torins are going to be a pretty soft ride and wide Altra fit. If that is what you are looking for, they might not be too bad. Hope that helps, -David

          • Thanks a lot for the reply.

            I’m looking for a replacement for Enigma 3 which is my high cushion shoe (it’s starting to fray in the medial side, but the outsole is pretty new still).

            I really enjoy a wide toe box (and narrow heel if possible), so the Torin was under my radar, but so are Zante v2 wide, 1080 v6 wide and Instinct 3.5 (I know, very different shoes).

            If you have any other idea or suggestion please feel free to comment.

          • David Henry says:

            Interesting. Of the ones you mention I’d say the Zante v2 would be hard to ignore. I really like the Zante (ordered some v2s a couple of days ago too) and find it plenty wide, but like you said with a narrow heel fit which is also what I like. Altras, generally have a pretty wide heel usually and not as snug of a midfoot as something like the Zante. Also, I would consider the drop in the shoes especially considering that you were running in the Enigma which is a 12mm offset. Something like the Zante at 6mm is going to be less of a shock to the system than a zero drop Altra. The that said, the Zante is not going to be super plush feeling cushion wise, but somewhere in the middle of high cushion and firm. Of shoes that I have run in and might fit what you are looking for, you might look at the Skechers GOrun Ultra Road here: link to runningwarehouse.com Awesome cushion and I think a pretty wide toebox. One of my favorite road shoes when I want a softer ride. -David

        • Nice. I’ll consider the GOrun Ultra Road. GOtrail Ultra looks very nice too with even wider toe box (infering it from pictures).

          I forgot to mention that my go-to shoes are 0mm or 4mm drop (Ferus, Cursoris) so a low drop shouldn’t be a problem. And too bad Altra fits wide in the rear foot, I had really high expectations :(

          • David Henry says:

            Good to know on drop and that makes more sense. RE: Altras, I think they are getting better in the heel fit, but I still think most of them are too wide. Also, their foam is not great either…this is where Skechers shines since their new 5GEN midsole material is in all their 2016 models and also the Ultra Road. RE: the GO Trail Ultra 3…yes it is fantastic, I’ve had a pair for a few months and the fit is awesome and great ride on them I’ll have a review on those soon. -David

          • Great. Looking forward to your review. Thanks!

  2. Good stuff David – I didn’t realize that you found the N1 and N2 to feel so similar in terms of the feel and ride. I’ve favored the N2 for trail races as of late, though I will be curious to see how the Trail N3 is received by runners.

    I recently acquired a pair of the Wave Hayate 2 by Mizuno, and I’m eager to see how this one fares on more technical terrain.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks Austin. Yeah, I felt like the N1 and N2 really do ride pretty similar, particularly in geometry with the rocker and width of the midfoot and how that translates in the way the shoe rolls. Granted the N1 is firmer, lower in the heel and a little lighter, but all in all I feel the running experience is very similar in both. Have you run in the N1 and come away with a different feel?

      I’ve been eyeing the Hayate 2 as well. The Hayate was one of the first shoes I ever reviewed on runblogger and it looks like they made some good improvements to it. I’d be curious to hear how you like them after run in them. -David

    • David Henry says:

      Forgot to mention, I should be getting the N3s in sometime in February so will have a review up in the spring.

  3. Do you have also experiences with the road shoes of PI ? If so, do the trail shoes ride and feel somewhat similar (beside the trail specific stuff like outsole, rockplate etc.) ? I´m interested to get my first “real” trail shoe and PI is definitely on my list as i really love their road shoes. The PI road N1v2 is my favourite shoe right now and one of the best trainers i´v ever run in, super smooth with a fast feel and i can do any type of run with them. Interestingly i found the PI foam quite responsive for my liking (on road) or maybe it´s the whole package with the rockered midsole that seems to be a good match for my stride.

    • David Henry says:

      I don’t really. I ran in the road N1 back 3 years ago or so and didn’t mind it for easy days, but in the end, just don’t care for that much rocker even though I do find it more tollerable on the roads. If you are looking for a similar riding shoe for smoother trails, the Trail N1 will probably feel pretty good if you like the N1 road. It is a pretty good all around shoe and will handle some light road use which is nice. The main point in the review is that the Trail N2 does all of these things and rides better in the end while not being that much heavier, so I just think the two overlap quite a bit in function and would like to see a Trail N1 that could handle some more technical terrain, which I think it would then need to go away from the rockered design setup. For a general, all purpose trail shoe (especially, heaven forbid, you only have 1 shoe) the PI trail shoes are some of the best out there. -David

      • Thanks! I´ll definitely consider the Pearl Izumis. May i ask another question: due to zero experience with trail shoes, are there actually any models which are quite flexible (in the forefoot, not a Nike Free flex, but medium to good road shoe like flex without a blocky heel) and kind of lightweight (ca. 8-9,5 ounces) ? What always turned me off when i tried on a trail shoe was the stiffness of their midsoles. I understand there are justified reasons for that, but this pronounced wooden clunky feeling bothers me (and my ankles) a lot and i don´t feel secure or stable in such kind of shoes. This was actually a reason from staying away from many trail shoes that feel more than hiking boots rather than running shoes. For trail use, beside grip, i´m especially looking for agility underfoot and most trail shoes are quite the opposite for me, though protective and grippy. A road shoe that served me best for my occasional trail excursions was the Adidas Boston Boost. A grippy trail equivalent like that would be very nice! I liked also the feel of the Nike Lunaracer offroads, while the outsole being a very limiting factor though.

        • David Henry says:

          Totally understand where you are coming from on trail shoes and I end up running in road shoes a lot too including the Boston…don’t know if you saw my post here: link to runblogger.com

          As far as trail shoes I’d recommend in this category that are currently out, check out the adidas adizero XT Boost, which was my top trail shoe from last year. The Montrail Fluid Flex ST (and forthcoming update, the Fluid Flex FKT, due in a few weeks) have a really nice ride on them that is more road shoe like. The adidas Response Trail Boost, review here: link to runblogger.com actually rides really well too and flexible forefoot…not 9 oz, but rides lighter than it looks or weight would imply…super comfy upper too. -David

          • Thanks, the Montrail Fluid Flex look very nice, unfortunately they are hard to get in europe. Will check some Adidas models too, maybe i´ll try a discounted pair of the adizero xt 5. Oh my gosh, the adizero rocket from your post looks awesome! The midsole construction is exactly how i wish the adidas models should be for my taste, nearly full ground contact with a less prominent torsion system, that doesn´create a gap in the midfoot. AND adiprene, one of the most underrated foams ever! When it comes to going fast and very efficient it knocks out the nowadays Boost, imo. I wish Adidas would make new performance models with Adiprene or an even lighter version of adiprene…

          • David Henry says:

            Agreed on adiprene…great foam that I hope they don’t fully do away with. Yeah, adizero rocket is pretty sweet :). Check out the adizero adios 1 haile: link to adidas.com Not sure on European availability, but I just got in a pair and they are fantastic…very trail worthy too.

  4. Lightning Racer says:

    Hi David,

    I find I just about always have different experiences and opinions than you on shoes that I’ve tried, so here’s a different perspective on the N1V2.

    Like you, I think the upper fits and feels great, though I don’t feel like the N1V2 is missing support. But the mini rand does nothing to prevent the upper from blowing out. Mine started blowing out at 70 miles. At 465 miles or so, the tear goes from the tip of the toe to the midfoot overlays, though it is still usable. I’m temporarily away from the shoes/home, but when I get back, I’ll continue to use them until they fall off my feet because the soles will probably feel good forever.

    Comparing the midsole of the N2V2 to the N1V2: I tried the N2V2 out in the store and could tell straight away running down the hallway of REI that I didn’t like the midsole at all. The heel gets in the way of my stride. Clunk, clunk, clunk. The N2 is very different from the N1 for me. Whether the difference is really only 3 mm doesn’t matter – the experience matters. The N1 is very smooth for me. I found that the N1 midsole extremely and uncomfortably firm, but only for the first 40 miles (3 days, so no big deal) or so until the edges had been softened up a bit. But after that, the firmness of the foam helps the ride remain consistent with mileage. It hit the sweet spot in feel as the upper started blowing out at 70 miles, and still feels the same/excellent/perfect at 465 miles.

    Outsole on my N1V2 has no wear to speak of at 465 miles. No loss of structure that I notice… like I said, it’s in the sweet spot for me and likely will remain that way uppers completely separate from the soles.

    The rocker design does not need to be ditched. Neither does the wide midfoot. Those are things that make it sweet for me. I actually look for those things in shoes because shoes with those characteristics have been my favorites. We may be total opposites! Which is cool. Just wanted to put this out here.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the feedback…we’re not that opposite as were both obviously shoe geeks haha. Agreed also that the mini rand is likely not large enough to prevent the upper from blowing out…v1 had nothing there so I was merely pointed out it could be better than v1. One unfortunate piece of reviewing a lot of shoes, is that I usually don’t get the time to run 400 miles in each pair to see if they blow out…although I’ve had shoes shoe wear or get holes in 50 miles and that’s not a good sign!

      RE: N2 vs N1, Yeah I don’t get the clunky feel from them and since I’m fine with the N2, the N1 seems really similar. The rocker has its place for sure, especially on smoother trails and later in long races, so I’m not down on it completely…I just want to see PI put out a racier shoe than the N1 (10 oz is not super racy).

      Thanks again for the comment! Disagreement is welcomed and makes me really have to think about things and not just spout off opinions. I do try to review a shoe more on whether the company pulls off the intended design more than just whether I like them or not…in this case I felt the N2v2 runs more like what I feel like PI was going for with the E:Motion line-up and with the N1 and N2 being so close in weight, I felt like modifying the N1 was the best way to differentiate them beyond just a small amount of heel drop, which is currently the main difference. Happy running! -David

  5. Yesterday I took the N1s for a 20k evening run, most of it on slightly muddy dirt paths and trails, the first couple of kilometers on wet road. Here are some comments:

    – if the mud is not too deep, I find the outsole provides me with enough traction to run with confidence;

    – on wet rocks, though, the grip is pretty bad–it didn’t bother me much on flat or downhill terrain, where my foot just slides back a bit behind me, but on steep uphills it became unstable enough that I ended up hiking terrain I would have run otherwise;

    – the N1s run pretty well on the road, even compared to road-specific shoes (IMO), and grip is not too bad on wet pavement . . . but on wet sidewalks the shoes felt really unstable (which might make me reconsider the Road N2);

    – the durability of the outsole, though, is impressive, especially considering mine have seen some amount of pavement since I got them.

    I’m liking better the way my N1s ride lately, maybe because the midsole is breaking down and compacting a bit, now the shoe doesn’t feel as high as before and ground feel and flexibility seem improved.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the continued feedback. I’d generally agree with your assessment and good to know the shoes feel a bit better after more miles in them. They really are pretty good all-arounders. – David

      • They are indeed a shoe that performs well on most terrains and circumstances, but definitely feel more at home on dry and compact ground, at least in my experience. I don’t have access to really technical trails, but on more demanding terrain they aren’t as forgiving as other shoes with more structured uppers, and I need to pay more attention to foot position.

        An improvement I’d really appreciate would be an overlay on the lateral forefoot, because the mesh covering my pinky toe often rubs against small bushes and is starting to show wear.

        Regards.

  6. Hi,

    I’m looking for a fairly minimalist trail shoe that still has decent protection.

    Two models I’m considering are the Merrell Bare Access Trail and Inov-8 F-lite 195. Veering towards the F-lite as it looks like it can handle stretches of road. Does it have good enough protection for 10K training runs on trail though?

    Terrain is a mixture of mud (though not bothered about grip), road and hardpack with some stones.

    Thanks,
    Ollie

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Ollie. Yeah the F-Lite 195 standard fit would be a decent choice (or 192 if you can find them still…one of the best minimalist shoes ever made IMO). Also you might check out the Topo MT-2: link to runningwarehouse.com. Great shoe minimalist fit and ride at a good price and with an outsole that will handle everything from road to moderate trail just fine. I prefer them over the Merrell’s for sure. -David

      • THanks for the reply. Not sure about the Topos, arch sounds a bit high for me.

        I’ve seen some flite 240s are still available in my size, are they more protective than the 195s?

        • David Henry says:

          The 240s are great too…just a bit more protection than 195s but same great fit and feel.

          Topos have a snug fit, but I don’t find the arch that intrusive, but yeah not as open as something like and F-Lite which basically has zero arch structure.

  7. Late comment, but I was wondering if you had a chance to compare the actual weights of your test shoes. The Running Warehouse figures make no sense–why give up support, durability, and cushioning to save 7 grams? According to other sites (e.g., backcountry.com), the n1 is claimed to be an ounce lighter than the n2–not a huge difference, but one that starts to make sense. If the BC numbers are right, the difference between the n1 and the n2 starts to look a lot more like the difference between the Kiger 3 and the Wildhorse 3.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the comment. I did compare weights and they were about 25 grams different between the two. One caveat being though that this is in size 13 so I would guess the difference to be less in a size 9, although not as little as 7 grams, but maybe more like 10-15grams. That said, I do feel like they are a bit too similar as I say in my conclusion and yes end up recommending the N2v2 over the N1 for that reason. I have both the Kiger 3 and Wildhorse 3 and those shoes are more differentiated from each other than the PIs in my view. -David

      • Thanks for the response. I received my n2s about 5 minutes after writing that comment, and took them on their first run this weekend. I like them a lot, though I was surprised at how firm they were. Given that they aren’t particularly soft, I wonder if it’s actually the n2 that’s redundant. I understand youre reasons for preferring the n2, but if forefoot protection is roughly equivalent, the best option might also be to take the small weight savings and lower, more stable heel. In any event, I just ordered a pair of n1s so I can see for myself–hopefully I won’t regret it.

        For more cushion, the n3 that you mentioned might replace the n2. Of course, according to Running Warehouse, the n3 has the same stack height as the n2 and weighs only 0.2 ounces more. So it definitely seems that Pearl Izumi has a problem with differentiation :).

        I look forward to your eventual review of the n3.

        • David Henry says:

          Thanks for the follow up Eric. I will say the PI foam softens up quite a bit after 25-40 miles in them and the N1 is noticeably firmer than the N2 even out of the box. The other factor for why I prefer the N2 is that the rocker profile they have, I feel it actually just works better with a higher heel height (which I normally prefer a lower drop). I’d normally be right there with you if I had two comparable shoes, I’d go with the lighter one every time, but in this case the N2 just runs better/smoother to me for what they are trying to do and the N1 isn’t quite light/nimble enough to “feel” that much faster (even if it is lighter).

          Regarding the N3, I’ve seen the specs from RW and I think they are not correct and the N3 will probably come in a fair bit heavier…I should have mine in in the next few weeks so can compare in person then. You might be right though that they might function as a better N2 and then the best option might be the N1 for a semi-light trail option and the N3 for cushion/protection. Time will tell, I do know they are updating the N2 with a v3 this July…the N1 won’t get an update till next Spring (though I haven’t seen heard anything yet…I just know it is not updated in their fall 2016 line). -David

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