Pearl Izumi E:Motion Road N2

Right around the time I had resigned to working on speed over trails, my usually-full shoe cupboard went perilously empty of road shoes.  My Asics 890V2s and the On CloudSurfer had seen about a thousand miles each and it was time for something new.

Each of those pairs of shoes fit me perfectly in terms of fit, wear, and drop, and since I’d long IMG_4344ago abandoned the “I only buy trail shoes” mantra, I went hunting.  In full disclosure, Pearl Izumi provided me with this pair of shoes for review, without any expectation or request for a positive review. The thoughts are all mine.

Initial Impression:

IMG_4347Yeah, it’s a running shoe. Pretty flashy and colorful with a lime green sole, but it’s a road shoe after all. The padding along the ankle is thicker than many shoes I’ve held or worn, but it’s by no means a boot.  Feels pretty boxy up front and it seems to be a seamless upper.  I generally try to fold the shoe up to determine its flexibility, and this one passes my little test moderately.  Nothing blows me away, but it feels like a nice shoe.


The Road N2 is certainly not the lightest shoe I’ve got, but it doesn’t feel heavy at all while on the feet.  It’s a very comfortable shoe that I’ve used in a wide array of workouts and would probably be great for a variety of different types of runners.  It’s not an exciting shoe, but it feels very safe and able to withstand some serious mileage and speed.

The toe box is a bit more generous than some shoes I’m used to, and that comes in handy on long runs when my feet swell.  Towards the other end, there’s a heel cup that keeps my narrow foot perfectly immobile and balanced.

Without a doubt the most impressive aspect to this shoe is the seamless upper. It’s sock-like towards the toe box, then has a bit more plush structure towards the rear, and I’ve had zero problem with rubbing, chafing, or overheating in this shoe. There must be some wicking properties in the material, as I don’t end up with wet feet after a hard run.

One major issue is sizing. I’ve got a lot of shoes and wear a size 12 in every single pair. ThePearl Izumi 12s don’t fit me…they’re too small, but the 12.5s are almost perfect.  I’d highly IMG_4329recommend trying these out at your local running shoe before purchasing to ensure you have the right fit.


This shoe allows my foot to roll well. There’s no pavement slapping and pounding is limited.  It does sit high and slightly forwards, but just enough to feel fast while running.

Weight and Drop:

They weigh in at 12.2oz for a mens 12.5, which is pretty heavy.  Billed as a “light and fast” all purpose shoe, that’s only partially true, but as I mentioned, the weight disappears once it’s on the foot.

The Road N2 has a 4mm drop. I would have guessed it was 6-8m, as I get a slight “leaning forward” feeling with these. I’m comfortable in anything from a 2-10mm drop for trainers, and this feels like a shoes that’d do me no wrong.


IMG_4182Great, safe shoe for training.  Neutral, cushioned, and stable, this PI is a top candidate for the long paved/light trail run.  The tread is meant solely (get it?) for the road, as no real grit is available for traction.

If I had a road 50k or 50M coming up, I’d choose the Road N2 above all others. I’m running about 60 miles per week right now and most of those are in this shoe.  After my run, I generally wear them around town when out on errands.


The tongue is not gusseted and it’s slips around on my runs, eventually wedging itself in the side of my foot. Not a huge deal, but something that should be fixed with the next generation of this shoe.

Sizing…see above.


$120 with an assortment of wacky color combinations.IMG_4333

Final Impressions:

I like this shoe a lot. It’s quiet, I don’t pound with it, and it’s one less thing I have to worry about with a few big races early next year.  I’m not sure I would initially pull this shoe off the shelf in my local running store, and that’s unfortunate. It’s a fast and safe shoe that’s worthy of some serious mileage.



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