Friday, March 8, 2013

Pearl Izumi EM N1 Road review

I have posted several of post here on my blog about the upcoming Pearl Izumi  E:Motion project. Now some of the shoes has been released and I was quick to order a pair of EM N1 Road. Pearl Izumi has been researching and testing these shoes for over three years now and promotion videos and Timothy Olsen record breaking Western State 100 last summer caught my attention. I really liked the idea of the new dynamic off set and a smooth ride. In the past I have really like the Pearl Izumi Streak for its light weight and really nice road feeling. So when I got the shoes I was eager to test them. It was like Christmas eve here in NJ!

Pearl Izumi would like to describe the Dynamic offset like this:

Pearl Izumi Info
Our lightest road style, the Road N1 is designed for the runner seeking a light-as-a-feather, ultra-smooth running experience. Perfect for race day, our E:MOTION midsole promotes a smooth and quick running sensation with the liveliness you need for maximum speed.
 Dynamic Offset
1mm at initial contact to 4.5 mm at mid-stance.
 Lightest weight dynamic offset-shaped E:MOTION midsole delivers a responsive, smooth ride with an ideal balance of cushioning and support.
 Seamless Upper creates a supple, glove-like fit.
Moisture management spacer mesh keeps feet cool and dry.
8.2 oz / 232 g

 My Take:

First Impression
The N1 Road is a very good looking shoe for sure. I'm not sure about the neon green color option but the black and blue is very eye catching to me. when putting them on, I start to worry, the heel feels very insecure. I'm trying to adjust the laces but the secure feel is not there. Other things that catches my eyes is the waffled laces, these guys usually helps to secure the fir but not in this case. I was a bit worried.

Pearl Izumi continues  to improve its seemless upper with a great result in the front part, how ever I find hard to secure the heel cup. The Heel cup is semi firm and its very thick pattered. Im trying to secure the heal by adjusting laces but the feeling over all is sloppy. I do not  get a secure snug fit around the heel. The mesh is very nice and soft the front of the shoe impresses me, snug but still gets the toes a chance to spread out. As mentioned above the shoes are equipped with waffled laces which improves the fit over all. In short: Nice upper but the heel slippage worries.
Midsole and Ouotsole
So Pearl Izumi is not talking about heel drop or stack heights, instead they are focusing on the Dynamic offset. But off course the heel drop has an impact, Runningwarehouse has measured the stack height and drop to: Stack Height: Heel (22mm), Forefoot (15mm), so a drop of 7mm. The ride promotes a nice midfoot strike but I do not experience any "game changing revolution" dynamic offset feeling......
The midsole EVA is very firm and offers surprisingly  flat affect to me. I'm used to PI Streak which have a nice energy return but I do not feel the same energy return using the N1. I had hopes for a nice smooth ride but the feeling is not there, its kind of feel dead! The outsole has blown rubber and has a full contact to the ground. When looking at the outsole it does not look like it would provide a good grip, but it actually does a nice job. In short: N1 offers a ride that is firm and flat, the energy return is missing. Outsole offers a nice grip and seems to be durable.
The N1 is suppose to be Pearl Izumi E:Motions racing option. When other brands releasing racing flats that come in under 7 oz, the N1 comes in over 8oz. The N1 has a thick EVA midsole that offers a flat affect ride with minimal road feeling to it and it does not gives you a "race day feeling" when putting them on. I like to feel fast on the race day and N1 does not offer that feeling. Pearl Izumi continues to offer a nice seamless upper but the heelcup could offer more. I experienced a none secure fit in the N1. Dynamic Offset is to me just a marketing campaign and  a way to catch runners attention. Stack Height and Heel drop is still there and that is what the most runners are looking for. I hope Pearl Izumi continues to improve their "other" shoes like Streak, as I feel the Streak is a much better option for the race day with a nice road feeling.

After I been experienced Pearl Izumis E:Motion Project it was like the Christmas Eve that never came. Maybe I had to high expectations? I realize its hard to design a whole new shoe line and it took Pearl Izumi over three years to design the E:Motion shoes. In my opinion E:Motion need further tweaks to get the nice smooth and road feeling right.


  1. I agree. They will get the job done.....but not such a great shoe. Very flat and run very hard.

  2. I compare all the running shoes I purchase to the P.I Streak II, and I just recently bought the EM road N1 and have not even tried them on yet because as you know - our streets here in New Jersey have so much ice;sleet and dirty snow - it would be a shame to wear these running shoes climbing the ice bergs at the end of each block. Thank Gov.Hippopotamus -.hope you choke to death on a porkchop.