Brand: Pearl Izumi
Model: EM Trail N2
If you want more cushioning than the PureGrit, but not as much as the Hoka, this middle-way approach is for you. The EM Trail provides padding, but not so much that it interferes with ground sensitivity. When a California tester’s form deteriorated near the end of a 20-mile run, the firm EVA midsole saved the day. “The shoe absorbed heel strikes when I got sloppy, but still felt responsive,” he says.
The flared outsole and deep heel cup provide a stable platform, which turned out to be key for one tester who was surprised by a lightning storm a mile away from his car. “I ran like a maniac on wet, steep, downhill singletrack without losing my footing or rolling an ankle,” he says.
A supportive arch, cushy ankle padding, and breathable mesh upper made for a comfortable ride on long, hot runs. And the seamless interior meant zero hotspots over 150 miles of use.