Pearl Izumi EM Road M2 ReviewAugust 29, 2014
- Mid-foot stability
- Short laces
- Average feel
Pearl Izumi is taking a minimalist design philosophy to their road series of shoes without gels, air bladders or molded plastic platforms. The goal of the Road M2 is a smooth ride created by encouraging a mid-foot strike. The whole classification of N-M-H and 0-3 naming was complicated at first glance but once deciphered is easily understood. The Road M2 advertises mild mid-foot stability with substantial cushioning and 23mm stack. Carbon rubber in the rear-foot transitions to blown rubber in the mid-foot. A vertical flex groove is something we are seeing in both the Pearl Izumi and Asics line.
Plush but not overtly cushioned foam provided a natural secure wrap around the heel collar. I was surprised to like the semi-rigid molded heel cup which is 3/4-height. Minimal padding was present on the tongue yet wide oval lacing dispersed lace tension and I had no hot spots on runs from 5k to 15 miles. My favorite aspect of this shoe was perhaps the cheapest component: the bonded synthetic and plastic upper.
The total contact sole delivered a reliable platform for my neutral stance without excessive medial support. That being said there is a higher density medial post with EVA in the midsole for the mild pronator. A shallow vertical flex grove traveled from heel forward and medial thereby encouraging a natural line of progression. The medial inner surface created a snug wrap around the navicular and arch thanks to a felt like material.
This shoe did not feel overtly fast however it had a snappy turn over. At a modest 10 ounces I had no difficulty wrapping up speed on levels. My pacing was average around mid 7:30’s for distance.
I was taken aback by the smooth transition from mid-foot striking forward. The advertised dynamic offset seems more rocker bottom related with a flexible forefoot than anything. Stance phase offered a smooth transition, which was not nearly as smooth but almost like a Hoka One One type feel.
After 40 miles in the Road M2 the sole is wearing slowly. The shallow imprinted Pearl Izumi logo along the medial ray is in plain sight without true wear. My slight supination from mid to terminal stance did provide slight wear over the lateral sole however this is expected in a mild pronation shoe.
At $110 with moderate durability and no frills design this shoe is reasonably priced.
The Pearl Izumi EM Road M2 proved to be a comfortable but average road shoe with 4mm offset great for the mid-foot striker. On longer runs, the impact absorption was less successful and more harsh than the Asics Gel-Pursue, Brooks Ghost and Mizuno Wave Paradox but the EM Road M2 offered better road feel than any of those. The Pearl Izumi EM Road M2 felt fast and efficient due to a flexible forefoot and modest off set. This shoe is best suited for moderate distance runs and those looking to transition into mid-foot running.