Pearl Izumi EM Trail N1, $115
Category: Versatile Cruiser
Weight: 9.6 oz (men’s); 8.7 oz (women’s)
Height off the ground: 23mm (heel); 16mm (forefoot)
**Most Versatile Model — Competitor’s Spring 2013 Wear-Test**
FIT: A medium-width heel snugs up through the midfoot and opens into a roomy, but not-too-voluminous, toe box.
FEEL: Testers loved this model for its familiar, easy-flexing road-shoe feel. Most raved about its versatility, while one specifically noted the seamless, stretch-mesh toe box design allowed his toes to “feel free” and allow for uninhibited running on most types of terrain.
RIDE: The Trail N1 is decidedly smooth and sublime, like a lightweight road shoe only with trail-oriented traction and some protection against sidewall scuffing. Testers lauded the rocker design for its smooth footstrike and toe-off and welcomed the balance of responsiveness and underfoot protection. “A shoe I could run in all day,” gushed one tester. Moderate, multi-direction treads made for a breezy transition from roads to dirt to mud and the minimal rock plate added just enough stiffness and protection to make them ideal for medium to long runs.
FILED UNDER: Shoes and Gear / Trail Running TAGS: Brooks / Dynafit / Inov-8 / Karhu / La Sportiva / Mammut / Montrail / New Balance / Patagonia / Pearl Izumi / Running Shoes / Salomon / Saucony / Skechers / The North Face / Trail Running / Trail Running Shoes