Editor rating:
10/10 on
User's rating:


  • Plush cushioning with a nice stable platform that is slightly narrower than similar trail shoes.
  • Comfortable well-fitting upper.
  • Superb traction on all types of terrain with flexible and effective rock protection.


  • Bulky appearance.
  • High Price tag


The Trail N3 rounds out the trail running line up in the E-Motion line. The N3 provides a great deal of plush cushioning in a light weight bundle.

The N3 would suit most runners as a daily trainer and would be an excellent choice for racing ultra-distances.
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Trail N3
10.80 oz. (306 gr.)
136 US$
4 mm
Heel Drop
Mar / 2016
Release Date
Daily trail running or runners training and racing ultra-distances.

My first thought upon pulling the N3 out of the box was that these shoes are enormous. However, after picking the shoes up they are much lighter than they appear (even more apparent when I ran in them).

The outsole is very similar to other EM N/M trail shoes with a seamless upper and well positioned simple overlays, a nice anatomic shape, and wide toe box. The shoes I received had a simple and subtle color scheme which I appreciated.

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 General Info

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 - Lateral Side

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 – Lateral Side

New for 2016 is the EM Trail N3 a beefier more cushioned version of the popular N2. The N3 offers a great blend of cushion, comfort, and performance.

The shoe remains consistent to the core technologies of the E:Motion line using a Dynamic offset outsole giving the shoe a fast transition and smooth ride. 1:1.

Energy Foam rim and core cushions the foot on impact and returns energy back to the runner for a resilient ride.

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 Sole Unit

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 - Sole

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 – Sole

The N3 uses 1:1 Energy Foam around the rim and core which by design puts soft cushioning under your entire foot.

This nice thick bed of foam provides the shoe with a pillowy soft yet resilient ride which is one of the best that I have ever run in. I appreciate that I can run miles and miles over any terrain and not feel beat up afterwards.

The N3 utilizes a Dynamic Offset stack height in the heel of 30mm and the effective offset is 4mm at heel strike and 7.5mm at mid stance. This substantial offset gives the N3 a quick smooth transition.

With such an impressive amount of midsole foam most would think that the N3 would be prone to ankle rolling especially on cambered terrain.

This is definitely not the case as the shoe has a wide stable sable platform with a great anatomic shape.

The N3 has a durable outsole with a consistent tread pattern that Pearl Izumi has been using through the entire EM trail line, but with an updated carbon rubber compound for improved traction and durability.

The N3 has moderate lugs that performed awesome on a variety of surfaces and terrain that I put under them.

The N3 also utilizes Pearl Izumi’s new ESS forefoot rock plate, this offered solid rock protection while maintaining flexibility and decent ground feel.

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 Upper Info

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 - Top

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 – Top

The upper of the N3 is a seamless one piece construction which Pearl Izumi has perfected. Well placed bonded overlays did an excellent job of holding my foot in place without constriction or discomfort.

I found the Transfer Dry breathable mesh to be light keeping my feet well ventilated, and after 50+ miles show very little signs of wear.

The shoe has a perfectly padded ungusseted tongue, which I did not find to be an issue as there are 3 lace holes which hold it in a perfectly centered position.

Fit is true to size and the anatomical forefoot shape toe box is accommodating and has space for foot swell and toes to splay.

The heel counter is a unique 2/3 and 1/3 design of flexible plastic and mesh padding. The cup was supportive and well positioned below the heel and ankle bones.

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 Conclusions

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 - Heel

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 – Heel

The combination of offset and cushioning that the N3 offers makes it hard to beat and is definitely a shoe that I could run in all day.

Despite its bulky appearance and size the traction, platform, transition, along with the superior fitting upper make the N3 a must try.

We thank the nice people at Pearl Izumi for sending us a pair of Trail N3 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.

Pearl Izumi Trail N3 Price Comparison

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