Pearl Izumi N1 Trail v1 – 200 Mile Review

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Okay, I am on the Pearl Izumi Run Champion’s Team, but I purchased my N1 Trails before I was selected and continued run in them after being selected. 

Enough of the disclosure stuff.

How did this pair of Pearl Izumi N1 Trail V1’s end up doing after 200 miles.

Pretty damn good.

Yes, this is the second pair of the model that has made it to 200 miles for me. However, I did make a slight adjustment in the size. 

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails

My original N1 Trail’s were size 9.0 and I sized down to an 8.5. It did make a positive difference and were more true to my size. Even though they were a little more snug with wool socks on than my first pair, it was not enough to bother anything.

I didn’t do as much trail running in them as I would have liked over the past few months, this year was not the best, either not enough snow or too much ice for winter trail running. 

However, I did a LOT of winter road running heah in Maine on the roads and down-back, so I have a real good idea of how they perform in the real world. 

In other words the Pearl Izumi N1 Trail V1’s performed exactly the way that I wanted and I have no plans to stop using them.

The good

I didn’t worry about my shoes, I worried about the weather, whined about how cold it was, how far could I run in this weather, whether Bennie was doing okay and all the other things I could worry about while running in the winter. 

However, I didn’t think about the N1 Trail V1’s when I was running other than to think about how good they felt on my feet. 

Which is the ideal that I am always chasing. My shoes need to disappear and I forget about them.

I ran well in my N1 Trails, no blisters, hot spots, they didn’t bother my trouble-some Tailor’s Bunionette and most importantly were comfortable, very comfortable for me to run in. 

They have enough traction in the snow, mud and crud to keep me upright in some pretty tough winter running conditions.

No holes in the uppers, very little wear on the bottoms and my right knee is not giving me signals that I need to get rid of them.

They are great shoes for a variety of surfaces and run smoothly wherever I have run in them. I use them for running fast, slow and all paces in between and they are my cruddy weather race day shoes.

These are all good things.

The bad

My biggest complaint with the first pair I owned was that they let in too much grit through the gap between the upper and the tongue. 

N1 Trails where the dirt and grit gets in

Most of the problem has been resolved with sizing down to 8.5’s. Unfortunately, I find that the N1 Trails still let in a little more grit than most other trail shoes that I have run in. 

Something that could be easily fixed by gusseting the tongue. Not a big deal, but something could be fixed.

The pleather pull tab on the back of the N1 Trail v1’s pulled out and needed to be cut off, (so I did both) which didn’t affect the shoes in any way (made them a little lighter) and they didn’t bother with them in V2, so it has been fixed.

One thing that bothers me about the N1 Trail’s that I really don’t have a good answer for is when I get my feet wet, not just damp. Like after a stream crossing, or lots of deeper puddles, the insole/insert tends to feel like it is hydroplaning inside the shoe. 

You know when you forget to take the boardwalk and go have fun.

Which might be because I do not cinch down the laces and like a looser feeling when running in my shoes, but it is unsettling to be running along, especially down-hill and feel as though the insole is not secure and might/does move around on you. I know that it slowed me a down a few times on some pretty wet trails before things froze up.

None of these things are reasons that I would call reasons to get rid of the N1 Trail v1’s and are actually pretty minor in comparison to how much I actually like to run in them.

The reality is

It comes down to whether I will buy another pair of N1 Trails v (verion whatever) or will I get something else?

This has been on my mind for a couple of months now, because I really love these shoes and know that I will get 400-500 miles out the shoes if I want to. 

The one thing that might make me move to a different model (not a different brand I will stay with Pearl Izumi thank you – they work too well for me to be screwing around trying other stuff out right now), is that the older I get and the more miles my body gets on it, the more I like a bit more cushioning.

I have learned that I like a softer, more cushioned ride as I get older. Personal preference nothing more, nothing less.

Yeah, the N1 Trail V1’s are at the lower end of the scale when it comes to cushioning and while I can use them for any run that I normally do, I haven’t done any double-digit runs in them this cycle. I do notice that on my longer runs in the N1 Trail V1’s that I feel a bit more beat up than I do when I run in my H3’s for the same longer distances.

So even as much I like the N1 Trails they seem to be a shorter distance shoe for me, especially if I have to do a lot of road running in them. Which means that I will probably look closer to the N2/M2 Trails or maybe even the new N3 Trails that are coming out for my every day trail running or winter road running next year.

All that being said – I will not get rid of my N1 Trails if I do, since I will still need a pair of lighter-weight trail shoes for the local trail races I want to do this spring/summer/fall and they are still my choice for cruddy weather (snow, slush, multiple terrains) race day shoes.

While the N1 Trails might not be the exact trail running shoe I am looking for, due to the more minimal cushioning that they have. However, if push came to shove and I could only have one pair of running shoes (the horror of that kind of thinking), I could see the N1 Trails being the shoes that I would choose, because I can do so many different things in them. 

From road racing to single-track trail running in just about any conditions.

They remind me a lot of my Ford Ranger Pick-up truck.

Reliable, have a bit firmer ride, do what I want when I want, not afraid to get it dirty, go anywhere I want or need to go and the Ford cleans up well to wander around town, take TheWife out for supper or gets me to work in any kind of weather. The Ranger can go on longer trips, but you will feel it a bit more afterwards than something with a little softer ride and no it is not the same thing or style that everyone else is riding around in. 

Yeah, that pretty much sums up how I feel about the N1 Trails V1’s too.

See more at: if you want to read more about my 50 mile review.

Yes, I can grab the N1 Trail’s, go out for a run in any condition and not worry about my running shoes. Even though I might move to the N2 or M2 Trails for my next new trail shoes for that little extra cushioning, I am not in a super big hurry to do so and even after or if I do, I have feeling that these N1 Trails will still get some use and not fade completely into the back of the closet.

I just feel very confident in my N1 Trail V1’s and have heard nothing but good things about the V2’s.

Disclosure I was selected on December 22, 2015 to be a member of the Pearl Izumi Run Champions Team and am positively predisposed to Pearl Izumi products. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experiences with Pearl Izumi products 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 Adv

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