Pearl Izumi Trail N2 - 100 miler review

As mentioned before, going into the Superior 100 I wanted to test out a new shoe at the 100 mile distance. Something more agile feeling than the Hoka and considering my Hokas are the tarmac version, something with a little trail ready outsole. Something with some nubs on it. YEAH. NUBS. DIGGING INTO THE DIRT. TRACTION.

My biggest concern, and it was a big one, was my feet not making it through a race in anything but Hokas. I feel this concern may be shared with many Hoka owners and might be part of Hokas game plan. Fear of failing feet is a strong motivator. The debilitating pain of an inflamed plantar fascia pushed to its limits has ended 2 of my runs and hindered a few more. The N2’s did show me though, that I don’t need the full Hoka to survive 100 miles.


The sole did a good job of mitigating the feel of sharp rocks. It felt agile all night, even with tired feet. No visible signs of wear (They now have 107 miles on them 95% of that being trails), except for some shaving of the nubs. The foot pain was manageable considering I was on my feet for longer than I had ever been before. I think they got wet a few times and didn’t bother me too much.


The traction wasn’t all that great. I fell on my ass twice when they gave way on dry rock or loose dirt. I excepted them to slip in most situations and they did. I feel with the inov-8’s I wear, they surprised me with their level of traction often where the N2s met my subpar expectations. The fit of the shoes was a little tight and a wider toe box would have been appreciated but it didn’t bother me much during the race. Zero drop is a cool thing for a shoe to be, don’t know that it would have made a difference here.

Overall, Cool shoe. A definitely capable Hoka replacement.

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