The first version of the Pearl Izumi Streak was designed to be a lightweight trainer which could be used for racing. This newest version reverses the focus of the technology, dropping the weight down to 7.6 oz and creating the lightest Pearl Izumi shoe yet. With the aim of being a long distance racing flat as well as a lightweight trainer, I set out to see if the Streak 2 could also offer enough protection as a daily training shoe.
Pearl Izumi Streak 2 Upper
Certainly one of the best fitting uppers out of the box that I’ve tried on, the Streak 2s upper consists of breathable open mesh throughout most of the shoe which isn’t overburdened by robust overlays. Pearl Izumi employs a seamless race upper to decrease abrasion and hot spots throughout the shoe, and their design works very well. Right out of the box the Streak 2 is comfortable, smooth, and required no break-in whatsoever.
The lacing system really creates a customized fit, using internal overlays and loop eyelets to allow the wearer to adjust the fit through the mid foot to their preference. Imagine putting on a shoe which does not require any excessive grunting or maneuvering at 5am, and then simply pulling the laces taut to get a snug fit. At no time did I feel like there was undue pressure on the tops of my feet, and the laces stayed tied nicely throughout speed workouts and long runs.
An Ortholite sockliner aids in providing additional underfoot cushioning which conforms to the foot with extended use.
Pearl Izumi Streak 2 Midsole
I was concerned initially when trying on the Streak 2 and walking around that the forefoot cushioning was lacking compared to the ample heel cushioning. Pearl Izumi uses their EVA based Energy Foam throughout the shoe, and with a 10mm heel drop, the heel does feel quite a bit more cushioned. As a mid foot striker I found that the forefoot cushioning was very resilient and held up well during runs up to ten miles. Any further distance and I found myself craving a little more protection in the forefoot, but let’s remember that this is a racing flat designed to race 5k to the marathon.
The Streak 2 is a neutral shoe with little medial support for overpronators. Its flexibility is consistent with other racing shoes and with little noticeable arch support in the midsole it allows the foot to work naturally. A thermoplastic bridge on the inside of the mid-foot offers some support but is aimed at decreasing twisting throughout the foot strike, and the ride of the Streak 2 is really quite phenomenal. For heel strikers looking for a racing shoe, the Streak 2 offers a great deal of soft underfoot cushioning with a ride that seems bouncy yet firm.
Pearl Izumi Streak 2 Outsole
Rather than trying to decrease the overall weight of the shoe by using cutouts in the outsole, Pearl Izumi uses lightweight EVA foam covered by a blown rubber outsole and some carbon rubber in areas of high wear. After a week of running and just under 70 miles in the Streak 2, I found little to no wear on the outsole. The outsole is sticky but I was unable to test it on wet pavement, and it lacks any traction lugs or nubs gaining traction through surface area contact alone. At no time did the plastic TPU bridge touch the ground while running which can be unpleasant.
Pearl Izumi Streak 2 Overall Impressions
If you’re looking for a racing shoe with great cushioning and protection for races up toe the marathon distance then the Streak 2 is definitely worth a look. The upper of the shoe fits very well and the width of the upper from heel to forefoot is fairly universal and accommodating for many foot types. The Streak 2 is only 7.6 ounces and feels incredibly lightweight and unnoticeable on the foot. Forefoot and mid foot runners will like the Streak 2s soft but resilient cushioning, but the real crowd for this shoe is heel strikers due to the higher than normal 10 mm heel drop and amazing transition from heel to toe.
Although born from a lightweight trainer, it would take a very efficient and lightweight runner to be able to use the Streak 2 for daily training runs. After a week’s straight worth of daily running in the Streak 2 I feel that shoe is very durable (it shoes absolutely no signs of wear, just some dirt) although I felt a bit beat up after runs longer than 10 miles. Where the Streak 2 shined was in performing tempo runs in marathon type training and it felt more protective than other racing flats in it’s weight class.
While it would be impossible to improve on such a customized fit, the only changes I would like to see for the next incarnation of the Pearl Izumi Streak would be a bit lower heel drop and increased forefoot cushioning which could make this shoe into a great daily trainer for neutral runners, while maintaining a racing flat feel for marathon running.
We thank the nice people at Pearl Izumi for sending us a pair of Streak II to review. This did not influence our review of the shoe, written after running more than 50 miles in them.