Pearl Izumi running shoes have many fans among the staff here at Running Warehouse. The reason so many of us like them is that they tend to disappear under the foot. The shoes are more firm than soft, but that does not describe the ride. Rather, the shoes are so smooth you forget about cushioning and just enjoy your run.
On the surface, the naming convention of Pearl Izumi shoes seems confusing. But once you crack the code, it’s quite straight forward, and helpful for finding the shoe that’s right for you. There are six parts to 2016 Pearl Izumi shoe names. Once you understand these parts, shoe selection is much easier.
The name starts with “EM”, which is E:Motion. This represents the design concept that makes the shoes so smooth. The name ends with the version: “v2”, “v3”, “v4”. The middle of the name is where you identify the shoe.
Use is for the type of running you will be doing. Road, Trail, or Tri (short for Triathlon).
Pronation is for how your foot moves and there are three type of shoes.
- N stands for neutral: for neutral pronation or supination.
- M stands for midfoot stability: for mild to moderate overpronation.
- H stands for heel stability: for moderate to sever overpronation.
Cushioning relates to midsole thickness. There are four cushioning levels:
- 0 is minimal cushioning (16mm heel)
- 1 is moderate cushioning (22mm heel)
- 2 is substantial cushioning (26mm heel)
- 3 is 30mm maximal cushioning (30mm heel)
Additionally, shoe models with cushioning levels of 0 or 1 have a heel-toe offset of 5mm (dynamic offset* of 1mm). Shoe models with cushioning levels of 2 or 3 have a heel-toe offset of 8mm (dynamic offset* of 4mm).
It should be noted that all combinations of use, pronation and cushioning do not exist. Here is a break down of the possible combinations by use.
So, when shopping for a Pearl Izumi shoe, first determine whether you want the shoe for road or trail running, or for triathlons. If you run road and trail in the same shoe, a trail shoe is probably your better option.
Next match the shoe pronation level (N, M, H) with your foot motion. We can help you with this by providing a video gait analysis.
Lastly, select the cushioning level (0, 1, 2, 3) you desire. None of the shoes are truly soft but the higher number cushioning level will feel softer than a lower number.
*Pearl Izumi references a dynamic offest with their shoes. This describes the relationship between the heel and forefoot at a specific point during the loading phase of the gait cycle. Learn more in this video.