Pearl Izumi N1 Road v1 #1 – 50 Mile Review

Originally posted on: October 16, 2014.

I have over 200 miles on my Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road 8/16/14 running shoes, which means – I get to write about them again.Here were my initial impressions from my first run, why I chose to buy the N1 Roads and my 50 Mile Review of the N1 Roads.My previous reviews of the N1 Roads have been very positive. Over the years I have learned if a running shoe makes it to the 200 mile review, I really know how it has worked for me.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 RoadsWhat do I think of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads after 200 plus miles, without all the hype?


Nothing changed here, but I will include it since price is such a big deal for me and many other runners, I decided to put it right up front.How much did I pay?

N1 Road price

I got a fantastic deal at Sierra Trading Post, thanks to a close-out sale and a 35% off discount code.They were still available on the Pearl Izumi site for $115.00 as of 10/16/14.Prices for this shoe ranged from $63.00 to $120.00 on various sites that checked. If you look around, you can get some really great deals on the Pearl Izumi N1 Roads, in the older colorways.

How have they worked out for me?

It took me two months to get 200 miles on these shoes in my current running shoe rotation.They are a damn good pair of running shoes and I like them.  I have put them through:

  • track workouts,
  • hard treadmill interval workouts,
  • long runs,
  • faster-paced runs,
  • recovery runs,
  • runs down-back with Bennie on a rock dirt road
Pearl Izumi N1 Roads at 50 Miles

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads at 50 MilesI haven’t changed my opinion all that much since my 50 mile review where I said:The N1 Roads are EXTREMELY comfortable and have done everything I can ask of a new pair of running shoes. I haven’t found anything that they do not do well or that I do not like about them yet.

Something I believe is very important is the N1 Road’s flexibility (the ability to be used for different workouts, not how bendable they are), if I feel the need to change a workout, while wearing the N1 Roads I do not feel limited by the shoes, which has not always been my experience with other shoes. I feel confident that no matter what kind of run I am doing (from a recovery run to track speedwork) that I can do it.Over the past couple of months, the N1 Roads shared the workload as the primary running shoes with the N2 Roads in my current rotation. The only change is that I don’t like to use them for slower long runs or recovery runs. It isn’t that I can’t do them, I just prefer to use different shoes for those runs.If I remember right, initially the N1 Roads were marketed as Pearl Izumi’s minimal shoes. However, in my opinion they are more like the Nike Free, Saucony Kinvara, Brooks Pure Flow, etc. — which I put in the light-weight neutral trainer category – shoes that were more bandwagon efforts by the brands to say they had “minimal running shoes”, when they were something different.It is a style of running shoes that generally work well for me as a “faster shoe” or longer distance racing shoe. By design they are more minimal and less protective than what I consider a daily trainer, but still have plenty of cushioning for a variety of running.For the way I run and how I like my shoes to feel, during a run/race and then after, I probably wouldn’t use the N1 Roads for more than 1/2 Marathon distances. While I run well in these shoes, when I run double-digit mileage in them, I feel more “beat-up” after, than I do in more traditional daily trainers.


The size 8.5 from Pearl Izumi’s EM line fits true to size and fit me about as good as any line of running shoe ever has.I said this about them in my initial impression post and have not changed my mind:

The 8.5 Mens – N1 Roads fit my feet the way that I want a shoe to fit. Snug in the heel, enough room in the arch area so that it doesn’t feel like I have the laces cinched up tight and plenty of room in the toe box.

They do not bother my tailor’s bunionette and my heel doesn’t slide/move around – no issues with blisters. My N1 Roads do feel slightly, ever so slightly wider than my N2 Roads, both fit well, but I like the fit of the N1’s better.

Feel (different from fit)

The N1 Roads are a quiet running shoe for me and when my right foot splays out – that right shoe slaps a little, which cues me to correct my stride.While I am mostly a heel striker, the dynamic offset design (whatever that actually is) provides a nice heel-to-toe feel/transition that I really, really like, throughout the EM line of Pearl Izumi shoes.

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads

Pearl Izumi N1 RoadsThe N1 Road’s were a little stiff at first, but quickly became quite comfortable, which has been a concern with some of the Pearl Izumi EM line of shoes for me, but was not an issue with the N1’s.The N1’s are designed to be a faster shoe, which means they will/should have a firmer ride. They are not a soft marshmallow/cushioned style of running shoe and are a lot firmer than my GRR2’s. The feel is about the same firmness as my Mizuno Elixir 7’s/Ronin 4’s were.The N1 Roads do not have great ground feel, but I definitely can feel the rocks and road crap in them. Sometimes I feel the dirt road down back a little too much, but not to the same point of more minimal or racing flats do.I think that they give the right amount of protection from the road in a lightweight package – a fast, protective feel.


The N1 Roads are road shoes, the flat tread design makes no doubt about their purpose.

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads after 200 miles

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads after 200 milesThey have done a great job on the roads and shoulders that I do most of my runs on, including runs in the rain. While they do pick up the occasional small pebble/rock, they usually shed them quickly and if one does get lodged in the sole (see photo), it can be quickly cleared.The N1 Roads are not designed to run in snow/slop, so they are a 10 month running shoe, at least for running outside up heah in Maine and will become my primary treadmill shoes.One of the concerns I had initially was the perceived lack of durability of the N1’s outsole. The reality is that they are wearing better than many other shoes I have run in over the years.


Nothing has changed from my 50 mile review where I said.I LOVE the looks of the N1 Road’s, the design meets my need for bright colors, while at the same time not being overwhelming – hell even TheWife likes their looks.The upper is one of the biggest things that I like about the N1’s, they are a more minimal upper, that have welded overlays and have enough give that they do not bother my Tailor’s Bunionette.

I really believe that Pearl Izumi nailed the uppers.One thing that I have noticed about the N1 Road Uppers is that on the heels of both shoes, I am wearing through the fabric into the padding.

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads heel wear 200 miles

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads heel wear 200 milesWhile this has not caused any issues for me yet, it has been my experience when that begins to happen, at some point the wear in the heel liner will cause blisters eventually. It will be interesting to see if/when this happens.I also have a feeling that some of this wear in the heel is a result of how I take off the shoes. I hold the heel down with my other foot and slip out of the shoe while it is still tied. So some of this is my fault, but…it is how I do it with all of my shoes.


The N1 Road’s are still available on the Pearl Izumi website and they came out with updated colorways this summer, so they are continuing to support this model.They are still available on most of the major online retail sites and even on some of the discount sites for the older colorways.I have heard rumors that PI is going to release a version 2. It will be interesting to see what changes they make, (rumor has it they will be a little more flexible and have a more cushioned feel).Now that I have run in them, keeping the N1 Roads pretty much the same would not be a bad thing.

If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?

The N1’s would be my choice for fast training runs up to 10 miles or as 5K to 1/2 marathon racing shoes, but not as my daily trainers, they are a little too light-weight for me.

The Reality is that

After 200 miles, I have gotten to know the N1 Roads pretty well. I still like them a lot and will have them in my running shoe rotation as the shoes I reach for when I want to run faster.Could I use them as my primary daily trainers – mmmmmm probably, but I do not believe that I would be able to handle the 40 mile weeks as well as I am as my primary trainers. The N1 Roads work best for me, as part of a shoe rotation, where I use them for faster paced runs, the treadmill and alternate them with more protective trainers for longer and recovery runs.

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads

Pearl Izumi N1 RoadsI will continue to use the N1 Roads as part of my running shoe rotation. They will become my winter treadmill/speed work shoes and then I am planning to buy another pair of N1 Road’s next March or April to get ready for the spring/summer racing season.I cannot give a better recommendation other than I am planning to buy them again. Although, I might try the Tri version, since I like the slip-on/slip-off design.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I paid for these shoes. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experiences with this product might be different from mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”Email PostLabels: #reflection200 mile reviewPearl IzumiPearl Izumi N1 Road v1reviewrunning shoe review

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