Pearl Izumi Kissaki 2.0 General Info:
The Kissaki is a neutral daily trainer that also has the potential to be a race shoe as well. A double-edged sword for runners, if you would be so inclined to think of them in that capacity. The 2.0 returns with the same reliable midsole, outsole, and a redesigned upper that provides improved fit and support.
Pearl Izumi Kissaki 2.0 First Impression:
I had the opportunity to run and review the Kissaki last year. I heavily criticized the fit and comfort of the upper but definitely saw a lot of potential in the shoe. So when v2.0 arrived I was excited to see what changes if any had been made. When I opened the box I was elated to see a newly renovated upper.
Placing my foot into the shoe brought a smile to face as all the problems that plagued the shoe previously had been expunged and what I was wearing now was a comfortable light weight daily trainer that I couldn’t wait to get out and run on.
Pearl Izumi Kissaki 2.0 Sole Unit:
Pearl Izumi wisely decided to go with what works and recreated the exact midsole that worked so well for v1.0. I really became a fan of this midsole, which is why I couldn’t give up on the shoe so easily after its first go around. The 1:1 energy return foam does such an awesome job of transferring energy back to the runner verses just displacing it. The responsiveness is nice and resilient.
The flex grooves along the forefoot also have had no changes made and continue to provide optimum flexibility through the forefoot.
Traction with the 2.0 still impresses me as the shoe performs well both on and off road, and also handles wet conditions like a champion as well.
Pearl Izumi Kissaki 2.0 Upper:
AHHH now here is where we get to the good part. In v1.0 a seamless upper was used with some rather oddly placed bonded overlays. V2.0 still returns with a seamless upper but uses a slightly thinner more flexible mesh, and less substantial and better positioned bonded overlays. This combination not only has increased overall flexibility of the upper, but also eliminated the awkward pinch points in the toebox that the overlay previously created. This has also created a slightly roomier feeling toebox as well.
Many will remember that v1.0 had a unique wrap around tongue that I particularly had no problem with and actually found it to be a redeeming quality of the upper. I guess that I didn’t make the cut either as it has been replaced with a standard padded tongue that fits nice also.
Moving on to the two biggest areas of contention that I had with v1.0 the lacing system and heel counter. So the lacing system before really seemed more like a zipper than anything. It was comprised of a series of tight rigid loops spaced close together. What this did was create pressure to the top of the foot and left the mid foot sloppy. To combat this problem Pearl Izumi has gone to a somewhat more traditional overlay lacing system with an added touch. Inside the upper is an additional heavier bonded support that wraps the foot bilaterally. This new system is definitely a 180 from before providing a snug and comfortable fit.
The heel counter as I mentioned also has improved. The loading dock that was used before has been slimmed and dropped. This new heel has more of a race car seat feel hugging the heel and supporting it rather than the dump truck bed that just held it in place before.
Pearl Izumi Kissaki 2.0 Opinion:
So I ask myself again weapons for the feet? This time I will have to say most certainly so. I think that Pearl Izumi has created a killer shoe by using what works leaving it alone, and fixing what doesn’t. What they have created is a lightweight shoe that has great resilient cushioning and a fast seamless transition.
The only fault that I have is that once again the shoe runs a little small and most runners should consider going a ½ size up. Aside from that this shoe will make any efficient neutral runner an outstanding daily trainer and even a good race day choice as well.
We thank the nice people at Pearl Izumi for sending us a pair of Kissaki 2.0 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.