Pearl Izumi Trail N2v3 Review

When it comes to out and out trail running performance, the Pearl Izumi Trail N2v3 is without a doubt one of the best shoes out there.

By combining an excellent level of low profile cushioning, a sole that grips and grips no matter what surface you run on and just enough flexibility to feel comfortable, Peral Izumi have create a superb trail running shoe.

Take a look at the start line of any big trail race and you’ll see just how popular the N2v3 is! From first timers right through to experienced pros, the N2v3 is an incredible shoe!

Pearl Izumi N2v3 First Impressions

Pearl Izumi n2 v3

The Good: Pearl Izumi have put real thought into this trail running shoe. It provides just enough cushioning to soften impact while stilling being light enough to provide that responsiveness that all trail runners need.

The Bad: None. The only downside is that Pearl Izumi aren’t going to be making running shoes anymore 🙁

The Verdict: Hands down one of the greatest trail running shoes on the market regardless of price. Just a shame that this will be the N2v3 is the last great trail running shoe.

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What Do Owners Like About the Pearl Izumi N2v3?

  • Very comfortable out of the box, do not need to be broken in.
  • Protects the bottom of the foot from rocks.
  • Cool to the foot, don’t get hot while running.

Technical Overview

  • Mens Shoe Weight: 298g (size 10)
  • Womens Shoe Weight: – 235g (size 8)
  • Heel Drop: 8mm
  • Ideal for: neutral foot runners

What’s New

As the saying goes – “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” and Pearl Izumi have certainly taken this to heart. The current N2v3 remains virtually identical to the original E:Motion shoe that was released back in 2011.

There have been a couple of improvements on previous versions, here’s what’s new with the Pearl Izumi N2v3:

Deeper lugs. While I’ve never personally had an issue with grip in the N2v2, some runners who often run technical trails have commented that the grip on the previous version wasn’t as great as it could be. Pearl Izumi have listened and have ever so slightly increased the depth of the lugs which helps to increase traction.

Sticker In-sole. One of the big issues with the previous shoe was that the inner sole was prone to slipping, especially when wet. Again, Pearl Izumi have listened to user feedback and have used a new design to help prevent the in-sole from slipping when sweaty or wet which stops any rubbing.

New toe-box. Pearl Izumi have upgraded the toe-box. It’s now ever so slightly wider (although you’d have to be paying close attention to notice).

Pearl Izumi Trail N2v3 Upper

Pearl Izumi N2v3 Upper

Very little has changed on the upper and the N3v3 remains largely the same as the N3v2.

The shoe still features welded overlays that sit over mesh ensuring that the shoe is breathable and secure, however, Pearl Izumi have re-engineered the toe-box to be slightly roomier. Initially, I thought this was going to be a bit of a mistake but reassuringly the shoe felt tight even when running downhill.

Pearl Izumi Trail N2v3 Sole

N2 v3 sole

In a world that’s increasingly dominated by plush, super soft cushioned trail running shoes from brands like Hoka and Altra, it’s actually refreshing to run in the N2v3. The sole is soft but there’s still a firmness to the shoe that I like, especially when dashing downhill or covering a technical section as you just get a greater feel through your feet.

One feature that I thought would let this shoe down was in the choice to use foam rather than plastic for the rock plate. Having run a particularly stony trail I can confirm that the rock plate worked perfectly throughout the run.

The update outsole sees new lugs added which do actually seem to provide more grip and have a slightly stickier feel when running over larger rocks.

The true beauty of the Pearl Izumi N2v3 is with how it rides. Thanks to the slight curve of the E:Motion sole, the shoe transitions with a slickness throughout the foot strike.

As an additional impressive feature, the sole of the N2v3 did extremely well when running in the hills. Despite covering some pretty messy terrain, the shoe drained water well and didn’t become heavy with clagged mud.

Who Should Buy These Shoes?

Honestly, if your interested in trail running, make sure you pick up a pair (or three) of these shoes!

Now that Pearl Izumi have pulled the plug on running shoes then you’re going to want to horde these shoes as they are excellent for everything from walking in the hills, right through to running ultra marathons over technical courses.