Holy crap! So many things have been going on with the running shoes, I don’t even know where to begin. There’s a gillion different shoes coming out, and shit’s just, like, crazy.
First, people got all wound up when at OR just about every shoe company introduced some max cushioning, HOKA-esque product, in reaction to all the, you know, “minimalist” stuff that had been out for a few years. So people got boners and were all, “minimalism’s dead” and shit. But no one ever really defined “minimalism” and even Philip Glass didn’t like the term. So, you know, there. Ultimately, the shoe companies, despite their protestations that they’re all into you and your health as a runner, are really into profit, which is totally legit, because business. So they’re going to make any shoe that they think people will buy. Like the Springblade.
And then there were some studies that came out that said, like, the Nike Free doesn’t absorb shock as well as a traditional trainer. (This is where you say, “Duh!”) And some other studies that people got all wound up about but that were basically confirmations of several separate studies that I guess people forgot about. I tend not to get too excited over that kind of stuff, because 1.) I don’t get excited over much, ever, and 2.) all that stuff proves to me is that we–as a group of runners, Westerners, whatever–tend to be really good at deconstructing things, at about the same rate as we forget to look at the big picture. I don’t know what that means.
And then I ran in some shoes, which is the cool part. So I’m going to write about that now. Get a coffee. Take a load off, Annie.
So the first shoes I ran in have been out for a while, but I didn’t have access to them, mostly because I didn’t ask for a pair until now. Actually, two shoes. The Pearl Izumi EMotion Road N1 and Trail N1 were hooked up to me (?) by the fine people at Pearl Izumi, which is a Japanese company based in the People’s Republic of Boulder or someplace. One, they’re Japanese, so this is where I tell you that Kayoko Fukushi is awesome and I love her.1
Over the years, I’d tried Pearls a few times, and mostly my reaction was the same–meh. I know a lot of people who have lovedlovedloved Pearls and would ask for them, by name, but I never really understood that. Mostly, their shoes blew goats. They just weren’t, you know, good. But this new EMotion line? There is no blowing of goats. It’s good stuff. Real, real, real, real, real good stuff. Well, at least the couple I’ve tried. They’ve nailed the upper—one piece, stretchy, clean fitting—and the simplicity of the midsole/outsole is a thing of beauty. The Road N1 are, at first glance, just about what I think running shoes should be. Simple, light, functional. Kinda remind me of the Green Silence. In a way. I don’t know. When you first step into them, they have a little rocker thing going on in the midsole. Though nothing like the Skechers, it’s there. But when you roll out the door that goes away, and then all you’re thinking about is how maybe you could’ve restructured that sentence so it would read “…shoes blow goats.”
But here’s where shit gets goofy. The EMotion have what they call “Dynamic Offset.” Which means that the offset of the shoe changes as you move through the gait cycle. I think. I’m going to stop there. Let’s take a moment to think about that for a sec. Ok? All good? Ok. Wtf. They’re just making shit up and calling it science. Or marketing. If you want to talk more about it, IM me or whatever and we can talk about it, but to me it sounds like the marketing team got baked as hell and just, I don’t know, invented shit and then were all, Let’s market the SHIT outta that!
But in the end, all you want to know is that the shoes run a hair short, but otherwise fit like the proverbial dream. A real good dream. Except without the laundry issues. The ride is mmmmmmm, running shoesy. I would put another mm or two of foam under the met heads maybe, or maybe add a little more rubber to the midsole foam compound. It needs some more, I don’t know, pop. But that’s forgivable because everything else is so delightfully, simply awesome. Now that I think of it, the ride of the Trail version has a bit more bounce to it, which is something you might want in the road shoe. The Trail seems to fit even a bit shorter than the Road, which doesn’t have anything to do with anything except that you might want to know that in case you wanted to, you know, try it on. As it is in many cases when I try a few similar models from the same brand, it seems like a they’ll get a few things right on one model, and then another one or two things right on another, and maybe if they just put all the good stuff in one shoe, then there’d be one less model to worry about and they’d have one kick ass model that just said, you know, Take me now.
Either way, Pearl are on to something. I hope they continue with this lineage, because it’s good shit. And then maybe come up with some marketing that doesn’t make my neurons just go all fakakta.