Brand: Pearl Izumi
Model: E:Motion Trail M2 v2 Trail Runner
Thanks to a high-density, firm EVA midsole and a 1mm EVA rock plate in the forefoot, our testers’ feet remained blissfully armored and stable. The stiffness works well with a pack, as one tester found in the Grand Canyon. “I had a 40-pound pack, going 10-plus miles a day, and my feet felt great,” he says.
Widely-spaced lugs clear mud on sloppy trails and the carbon rubber outsole is grippy on rock, but the dense midsole minimizes groundfeel. “That’s a pro and a con,” says one tester. “It’s great for traction in mud and steeps, but definitely a drawback when you’re scrambling and want to feel footholds.”
Because of the carbon rubber outsole (high carbon content adds durability), the lugs still look new after months of testing, and the midsole foam shows no sign of breaking down. “It should last longer than some light hikers I’ve used,” one tester says.
On both road and trail runs, the dense sole and rockered forefoot felt fast and responsive. It didn’t cushion as well as the Altra, but it still felt cushy enough on long runs. “You don’t feel like you’re losing any power in your step,” one tester says.