Pearl Izumi

Pearl Izumi Road

The eMotion Road N0: A Low Drop Road shoe with Minimal cushioning, which means it is low to the ground, super responsive, and light weight. Pearl tells us this shoe is best suited for an "efficient" runner, and for long distance racing, we'd agree - a runner's form tends to break down over the course of extended efforts, and there definitely isn't enough cushion on the heel of this shoe to absorb huge hits at speed. What they fail to understand is that most of us aren't 1) at the front of the pack where the speed magnifies the force at impact and 2) running 20 miles in our everyday trainers. When you exclude these folks, we think this is a great shoe for beginners who don't already have bad habits and developing runners looking for feedback as they work to avoid form issues. Oh, and its also really good for efficient speedsters who want to show off as they blaze across the finish line!

What we really love about this shoe is the amazing level of comfort. Pearl Izumi seems to have the base of their shoes figured out (see our love affair with the eMotion Road N2, below) and running in any PI shoe is best described as effortless. The astonishing thing about this shoe is the combination of its light weight and seamless upper makes it almost like wearing a protective sock over your foot - its great for speed workouts, everyday runs, 5ks & 10ks, or just walking around the neighborhood. Lastly: it looks awesome on your feet. So come on in and give it a shot. Your feet will thank you.

The eMotion Road N2 (v1): A High Drop Road shoe with Transitional cushioning, making it an excellent option for everyday training as well as the most competitive races. This shoe really cuts the difference between shoes with a ton of extra heel cushioning and shoes with none, and as such is a great option for the vast majority of runners (regardless of background and foot strike pattern). Pearl Izumi avoids gimmicks and tricks in favor of good old fashioned hard work, and have created a shoe with a fantastic shape that truly eases the transition from foot strike to push-off. To save us the marketing jargon, here’s what PI has to say about the shoes on their corporate web site. Better yet, here’s a solid (if not somewhat biased) review from one of the “Team Pearl Izumi” runners. We like what he has to say, and agree with his overall love of the shoe.

This shoe quickly moved into our lineup when we first considered Pearl Izumi products, and we continue to stock it despite the fact it has been replaced by an updated version. We find this version has an extremely snug heel cup, which some of our customers really enjoy. We will continue to stick this product in key sizes until stock has dried up, but please be aware our available sizes may be limited by manufacturer's supply.

The eMotion Road N2 (v2): A High Drop Road shoe with Transitional cushioning, making it an excellent option for everyday training as well as the most competitive races. Much like it's predecessor, the similarly named (and by that we mean identically named) Road N2, this shoe provides what we consider the perfect mix between high-drop, high-cushion "traditional" shoes and today's most extreme minimalist offerings. The Road N2 v2 builds on the solid foundation of the original Road N2 by offering an even more refined ride. The seamless upper (re: totally comfortable foot fit) is one of the best we’ve seen, with no seams or contour points designed in that may cause hotspots or otherwise hinder an awesome running experience. We continue to love the "carve" of this shoe, meaning that the parts that touch the ground are cut justright to ensure a smooth transition from landing to takeoff - which means you will feel even better after the fist mile than you did when you put the shoe on.

So what did Pearl Izumi do differently with Road N2 v2 compared to the prior model? We would call it a more "refined" shoe: It uses newer and more impressive materials to feel even better, the tread design was changed completely to ensure a more even ride, and the shape of the shoe has been adjusted to fit a larger percentage of the population. Our friends at PI tell us the cushioning is now softer, and while we have trouble noticing the difference ourselves, we really like the silky smooth feel of our feet on the ground when we wear them. So from our perspective: Mission accomplished. Run on in and see if the newest version feels as great on your feet as it does on ours!


The eMotion Road N3: A High Drop Road shoe with Comfort cushioning, the Road N3 takes the things we love about the Road N2 and adds another level of plush midsole to the mix. This means our friends at Pearl Izumi now offer a shoe more suitable for training, long runs and recovery days, while maintaining the smooth feeling and comfortable upper the eMotion line has become so well known for. We love the single piece upper, which eliminates seams and offers little to no friction with our feet, and the generous toe box, which doesn't cramp our toes as much as many offerings on the market. This is a comfortable shoe that gives us a margin for error missing on more minimal models, and we're happy to support Pearl's efforts at reaching a broader market. Keep in mind that while this shoe purports to feature the same "variable drop" design as the Road N2, we feel the heel-to-toe ramp quite a bit more. We're in the process of getting our own measurements to confirm the feedback from our feet, but it may be this one has a slightly higher "real-world" drop than previous Pearl Izumi models.

Pearl Izumi Trail

The eMotion Trail N2: Take everything good we said about the Road N2 above, add a rock plate, brighter colors, and a tread that provides sick traction, and you have the Trail N2. This is a great trail shoe. How great? So good that the winner of the last two Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run has worn them both years - even after he was signed by a competitive shoe manufacturer! So good they were named TrailRunner Magazine's Editors Choice last year. So good we sought out Pearl Izumi and asked them if we could bring the line in, and we sure are happy we reached out to them. Pearl makes other trail shoes, but this is the one we wanted to ensure everyone had the opportunity to try. These shoes are smooth, fast and light, and you're going to love being off-road in them.


We work really hard to offer a full spectrum of Pearl Izumi shoes to meet the needs of all our customers, and we stock full size runs of everything we carry. If there is an Pearl Izumi shoe you don't see here, it doesn't mean its not a good product...just that we decided it wasn't part of our core offering. Please don't let that stop you from coming in - we'll work with you to identify the correct product and fit for your specific goals, and we'll even order it for you at no extra charge.


Forgive us if we don't toe the line and spout out a long tribute to Pearl Izumi's history of participation in sports and try to convoke everyone this gives them credibility in the running shoe market. That's just not us. For years, Pearl Izumi was into biking, and they did a great job of it. Then they got into triathlons, and from what we hear they did a pretty good job there as well. Running? Well, let's just say they made running shoes. We don't know of many people that were breaking down the door to get them, but there were some specialty running stores that carried them. With that said, they were not exactly the type of shoe one would expect to see at the Ultra Running Company.

Then, Project eMotion happened. Pearl Izumi is a business built by athletes, and from what we can figure they got sick of making "just another shoe" in an industry full of other mediocre shoes. Maybe they were embarrassed, maybe they just wanted to be the best. Who knows, but they didn't enhance their existing product - they went back to the drawing board. They broke the shoes down. They started over.

The result is a line of shoes that truly stand out in a crowded market. There are no gimmicks in the Pearl Izumi eMotion line - just solid design and a quality approach that sweats the details and enhances the running experience. These shoes feel better with every mile you put on them, and that's saying a lot because they feel pretty darn good when you slip them on for the first time. The Pearl Izumi approach supports an efficient and natural foot strike, and does so in style and comfort. From the one-piece upper that eliminates rubbing to the smooth footbed that makes every step quieter and quicker than ever before, these are our go-to shoes for folks trying to figure out why their old shoes don't provide the ride and comfort they deserve. Because the folks at PI know you deserve to be comfortable, and they've nailed it.

Pearl Izumi at the Ultra Running Company