Pearl Izumi EM/M3 Road v2 – 50 Mile Review

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

Disclosure: I am a 2016 Pearl Izumi Run Champion and yes, I like Pearl Izumi running gear, especially their running shoes, but these are a personal purchase and all the thoughts, opinions and comments are as usual – my own.

Yes, I do run in them 🙂

When I decided on my next pair of the 3’s (I like the extra cushioning compared to the N1’s or N2’s for daily trainers) from Pearl Izumi it came down to the N3 or M3, since I thought the H3 v1 was a little too much stability for me for most runs and felt that the H3 v2 would be a little too much stability too.

Plus according to various websites including Pearl Izumi the H3’s had gained a little more weight than I really wanted. Yes, I do sort of pay attention to the weight of a shoe, especially if I am going to do double-digit miles in them as part of my training. That extra .5 ounce (or more) that doesn’t seem like a big deal at 3.0 miles is pretty noticeable at 10.0+ miles. I prefer my daily trainers to be in the 9.5 to 10.0 ounce range, with more cushioning.

I didn’t get the M3 v2’s to be my race day, faster trainers or trail running shoes, I was looking for them to be my recovery day, easy trails and long slow distance trainers. You know the shoes you reach for, for most of your typical runs.

What kinds of runs have I done in the Pearl Izumi M3 Road v2’s?

 Well let’s see:

  • tar roads – check
  • gravel roads – check
  • gravel road shoulders
  • wet rainy gravel and tar – check
  • non-technical trails – check
  • treadmill – check
  • speedwork – check
  • snow covered roads – check
  • slimy mud down-back – check
  • long runs – check

In other words, just about every kind of running that I do except for the track, a race or single-track technical trails and I will explain why I didn’t use the M3’s for that kind of running later on.

Quick Impressions

This is my second pair of Pearl Izumi EM/*3 Road series – the first was a pair of H3’s which did a great job for me, but were supplanted in my rotation, not because they stopped working for me, but because I like the M3’s that much more.

Yeah, I like the M3 v2’s that much.

I am not one to be bedazzled by bright lights and fancy running shoes anymore. In fact I am pretty cynical about running shoes and how well they usually work for me, after running in so many pairs over the years, especially since 2012.

However, I have run quite well in the M3’s since I got them back on March 19, 2016.

Pearl Izumi M3 Road v2’s new

Okay so I like them, so what.

What do I actually like about them?

  • The M3’s retain the fit and comfort that I have come to expect from the EM line of shoes, my feet do not hurt while I am running in the M3’s and my legs (now that I have gotten more used to the higher weight than I had in the past) don’t feel beat up after a longer run in them.
  • The tread design is a nice multipurpose type of tread and does well in a wide variety of conditions. Based on the wear so far I have a feeling they will be very durable.

    After running in the snow
  • Yes, I think they are a good looking shoe and I do like a blue colorway. I just wish the trim was more electric yellow than gold, but that is minor.

    PI M3 Road v2’s
  • I run well in them. I not worrying about the running shoes and how bad my feet feel.
  • The V2’s retain the dynamic offset, I really don’t care what the drop is at whatever point in the gait cycle, what I care about for me is how smooth the heel-to-toe transition is and whether the shoe slaps the ground or is quiet when I am actually running in them. No slapping the feet with them on.
  • They are very quiet for a heavier running shoe.
  • The upper doesn’t have a bunch of overlays to bother my feet and has enough give that my feet feel very comfortable in them even at the end of my 10.75 mile run today.

What I did not like

  • They are a heavier shoe somewhere in the 11.0 to 12.0 ounce range per shoe according to which website you believe. The H3’s were somewhere in the 10.5 to 11.0 ounce range and while this isn’t a huge increase (somewhere between .5 to 1.5 ounces), it does affect what I do in them. They are definitely not racing flats and when I attempted a treadmill 5K time trial in them, it hurt a LOT more than it does with my N1’s.

    In other words – for me they are not a fast shoe.
  • The M3 v2’s out sole does tend to pick-up rocks, but they do not bother during the run and personally I would definitely rather have the multi-purpose out sole in M3 v2’s than the H3 V1’s out soles, which were definitely road only.

Other than that – nothing.

Are they they perfect running shoes?


I wouldn’t use them for racing or running on technical trails, so I wouldn’t have them be my one and only pair of running shoes, but as a part of a 3-shoe rotation they are the perfect compliment to my N1 Roads and N1 Trails.

Hmmm, if they could get the M3’s down to sub 9.0 ounces without losing their stack heights, I might reconsider. It would mean using something different in the midsole and accepting a little less durability though.

The reality is that

When I go for a run, the first thing that pops into my head is “Am I running fast or not and where am I running?” If I plan to run faster, I reach for my N1’s, if it is more technical trails or lots of muddy, nasty crap, I go with my N1 trails…for everything else I grab the M3 Road’s.

I know that I can run in them comfortably and not have shoe issues.

Now I am not going to get all gaga about a pair of running shoes at 50 miles, but damn the Pearl Izumi M3 v2’s are doing what I want from a pair of running shoes. Which is not really what I expected from them when I originally got them. I expected them to be my recovery and long run shoes, but not my first choice running shoes.

Their ability to be used in a variety of conditions has reduced the need for another pair of trail shoes, because I can use them for 80% of the trails that I run around here and then save my N1 Trail v1’s for trail races and more technical trails in the area. Which makes Mama very happy, but it means that I don’t need to buy as many shoes now.

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. I purchased the Pearl Izumi N1 Road v2’s from Runner’s Warehouse. 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 Advertising.”

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