“OMG, shoes that look FUN!”, that was my first reaction when I opened the box that had just arrived with a pair of Pearl Izumi Peak II shoes in it for me to try. As a road runner, I’ve wore the same brand of shoes since I began running seven years ago. Last year, when I began to convert to trail running, I got the same brand, only the trail version. These shoes have seen me through many miles, with no blisters or shoe causing injuries, so I was a bit worried to leave them. The issue was that through all of these years they have had the same boring look, even the trail version. So, hence the excitement to open the box to the neon green and blue Peak II’s. I immediately put them on to see how they felt just around the kitchen, to find that compared to my old trail shoes the Peak II are light. The Pearl Izumi Peak II coming in at 8.6 oz, make my old 9.9 oz shoe feel like a ball and chain. The Pearl Izumi Peak II is classified as a neutral minimalist shoe and has a heel to toe drop of 17mm to 8mm. This is a huge difference to what I am used to wearing, so I decided to take it slow converting to them, for fear of injury.
Taking the Pearl Izumi Peak II’s out on the trail for a run I was pleasantly surprised that even though the shoe is light and flexible, it has plenty of cushioning in the midsole and support around my foot. This shoe wraps around my foot giving it the support I want in a shoe. It also has a seam free interior, which helps to eliminate hot spots and potential blisters. The trails I normally run on are also home to the Javelina Jundred and Pemberton 50k, mostly packed granite, not highly technical or difficult. I felt very secure going up inclines and down declines in them, and the outsole gave me plenty of traction. This would definitely be my shoe of choice for running 101.4 miles at Javelina Jundred.
The only drawback I had with this shoe is that it runs a size smaller than normal running shoes. Even on the Pearl Izumi website it states that it runs a size small. (So if they know it runs a size small, why don’t they just size them correctly?) I didn’t know this and so therefore the shoe is tight on me and I would need to go a size up if I was going to take them for a run of higher miles at any point in time. I like the light weight of the shoe and cushion it provided me on the trails I run. And to top it all off, they are fun to wear and be seen in! Pearl Izumi Peak II’s come in even more great color combinations than neon green and blue. I would definitely order them again, just a size bigger.
Editor’s Note: Trail Running Club requested and received size 11 Pearl Izumi Peak II shoes to test for both men and women. Unfortunately, all the testers that tried them were 1/2 size too big or too small for a perfect fit. Testers all agreed the Pearl Izumi Peak II is a great shoe and one of their top choices, but stress the importance of trying this shoe on at your local running store and getting assitance with the perfect fit before purchasing.
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