As Pearl Izumi’s Project Emotion shoes continue to gain favor with the running community the company continues to listen to its runners to help improve its products.
Version 3 of the road N2 is definitely a testament to Pearl Izumi’s commitment to adapting a shoe off the feedback from its wearers.
Version 3 really is not a completely new shoe, but has been introduced with a few very thought out refinements. This version features Pearl Izumi’s 3D Print upper and a unique Strobel board construction.
Version 3 maintains a carryover midsole from its predecessor, also with some refinement.
I ran in version 2 of the N2 and after receiving this pair I thought that I could probably just cut and paste the review as they looked very similar, and initially felt the same when I first placed them on.
However, after my first few miles in the shoe the refinements of version 3 quickly became apparent.
Pearl Izumi Road N2 v3 Sole Unit
Version three still continues to use the same 1:1 energy return foam that it utilizes in the Emotion line and in the N2 previously.
V3 also carries over from V2 its Dynamic Offset Geometry which is a given because if it didn’t it wouldn’t be an Emotion shoe.
The result of this material and engineering is still an incredibly smooth and fluid transitioning shoe, which is what I absolutely loved with the previous version.
So what’s new? Well if any of you have read my previous review of the shoe, or have followed its evolution the biggest complaint by most runners was the shoe was really firm.
Many described the ride as harsh and inflexible which to a degree I agreed. With version three a couple of refinements have been put into place to help fix this problem.
The 6mm heel 1:1 Energy Foam in the N2v3 is softened from 52C to 45C. In Addition N2v3 uses and new mesh Strobel board.
Typically this board, which is used to connect the upper of the shoe to the sole, is constructed from a glue soaked piece of cardboard or fabric.
Pearl Izumi has lightened the board by making the center mesh, reducing the amount of adhesive and material.
The result, according to Pearl Izumi, is not only a more environmentally friendly approach but a softer more flexible, smoother feel under foot.
These two refinements have definitely improved the ride of the shoe creating greater underfoot cushioning and taking the harshness out of the ride.
Please don’t mistake this as that the N2 is no longer a firm shoe as this is still the case it is just a lot more pleasurable to go down the road in.
Pearl Izumi Road N2 v3 Upper Info
A Couple of updates have been made to the upper of the N2 v3. A 3-D Seamless Print Upper is now being utilized on the N2 v3 and with the majority, if not all, of the EMotion line.
Instead of heat applied and glued overlays, the entire upper is laid flat and screen printed.
The technology allows varying thickness overlays from 0.3mm to 1.5mm providing more structure where it is needed and less where it is not. This creates a soft, light well-fitting upper with the added bonus of reducing waste.
Additionally a saddle has been added to inside medial portion of the shoe that is incorporated into the laces. This helped improve midfoot support and provided some nice additional structure to this area of the shoe.
A highly reflective tongue mesh as well as heel accents have been placed on v3. With a claimed sight distance under headlights of 800 feet Pearl Izumi is looking to increase night time safety on the road in all of their new shoes and clothing.
Version Three uses the same rigid heel counter as before with some additional padding in the heel and collar for greater comfort and better lockdown.
Pearl Izumi Road N2 v3 Conclusions
Sometimes less is more. I think that this statement never rings more true than with this version of the Emotion Road N2.
By making some simple refinements Pearl Izumi has made a pretty good shoe a great shoe that I have found a pleasure to run in mile after mile, and on almost any surface.
I still continue to stand behind my conclusion that the Road N2 is firm and will continue to be a firm shoe.
What has changed is that Pearl Izumi continues to listen to runners and has tweaked v3 to eliminate the harsh ride, and evolved the N2 into a very smooth transitioning high mileage shoe that many runners seeking a durable, lightweight, high mileage trainer are sure to love.
We thank the nice people at Pearl Izumi for sending us a pair of Road N2 v3 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.