Pearl Izumi EM/H3 v1 – 200 Mile Review

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

Another pair of old shoes that are now in the discount or can’t get them category. So why am I writing up a review about them?

Pretty much, because I can.

This post is primarily aimed at being here for my records to have what I think of these shoes and if another reader finds some information here that helps them – well that is a good thing.

So which shoes are we talking about this time?

The Pearl Izumi H3 Road v1.

See I told you it was an older shoe. I bought them from Sierra Trading Post last October (2015) when I was moving back to the Pearl Izumi brand for running shoes and wanted to try out a series 3 shoe. Even though I am now a  Pearl Izumi Run Champion in 2016, I got them before I was one and all opinions are my own.

First and foremost all I do like the H3 v1’s, they are quiet and have Pearl Izumi’s EM line’s smooth feel, but most of all I can put them on and just run as far as I want or need to in them. Here is my 50 mile review of the H3’s

Good vibrations right off the top.

If you are so all in with Pearl Izumi in 2016 why did it take so long to get to 200 miles in these shoes?

Well when I got them in October, yeah October…winter was on its way and I got a pair of N1 Trails for outside and N1 Road v2’s for the Treadmill, which meant that they got most of the mileage and then when I got the N1 Tri’s from PI and bought a pair of M3 Roads V2’s, it reduced the amount I used the H3’s quite a bit in the rotation.

It wasn’t so much that I had stopped liking the H3’s, it was just too many other pair of shoes in the rotation to use them and that I liked the M3’s that much better for where I primarily run. You can read more about the M3’s here

However, last week I decided to finally get that last 6 or so miles I needed to put them over the 200 mile barrier and get this review done.

What do I like?

Everything I have said that I like about Pearl Izumi’s EM line of shoes holds true for the H3’s.

  • quiet
  • smooth
  • great fit and feel
  • disappear on my feet – they don’t bother my Tailor’s Bunionette
  • confident that I can take them out for a double-digit run whenever I want
  • not feel beat-up after running a long run in them
  • wear well – the soles look hardly worn for having 200 miles on them
  • hell I even really like the colorway – as Mary says they are “Harold” shoes
  • At the top-end of how much I would like my daily trainers/long run/recovery running shoes to be at somewhere between 10.5 to 11.0 ounces each.

What don’t I like?

  • Not as versatile – with the sole design, they are pretty much road shoes or do well on groomed trails. Any kind of slime or wet grass and they become part of the problem, not part of the solution.
  • They are not great winter running shoes due to the tread design, better than some, but not what I want in a winter running shoe.
  • The H3’s are not race-day shoes, although I would choose them of all the shoes I have in my current rotation if I was going to run (not race) a Half Marathon.
  • The tongue is a bit short and causes the top of the foot to feel funky if I don’t have them quite right – I guess I should say the tongue positioning is finicky to get the right feel.

In other words there is not a whole lot that I don’t like about the H3’s and some of it is simply because of design choices by Pearl Izumi versus how I want to use the shoes. They are supposed to be a road shoe and do well on the roads, just because I expect my running shoes to go where I want, when I want, doesn’t mean it is the shoe’s issue – it is a Harold issue.

In my 50 Mile Review of the M3 v2, I stated that I liked running more in them than the H3’s. I think that the wider platform, a little more room in the toe box and the multi-purpose outsole are the biggest differences. However, after running again in the H3’s the past few days, I think that the differences might not be as pronounced as I thought.

The H3 v1’s are about .5 to 1.0 ounce lighter (dependent upon which website you trust) and while an ounce doesn’t sound like a lot, I tell the difference towards the end of a run if I am attempting to push the pace in either of the two.

The reality is

That I do like the Pearl Izumi H3 v1’s quite a lot, but I haven’t been running in them as much because I do like the fit and versatility of the M3 v2’s more, even if they are heavier. Which means that the H3’s tend to stay inside the shoe rack, when I decide on which pair of running shoe to use that day.

Unfortunately, they do not fill any niche that other shoes I am using regularly and like more do not fill. Now they primarily get used for times when the M3’s are still wet from a previous run or to wear to work.

They are still good running shoes that have a lot of running miles left on them, but I don’t see them getting a lot of time in the sun or is that run, unless something happens to my liking the M3’s as much as I do.

However, it is always nice to have a pair of running shoes sitting around the house, that you have confidence that you could put them on, run down the road for a double-digit run and know that your feet and body would feel just fine during and after the run.

There is something good about being able to say that about a pair of running shoes – it has not always been that way for me in the past.

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