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Weight: 9.6 oz
Trail running is a sport that takes some real talent, at least that is what I tell myself as I effortlessly glide over the loose mountain trails near my house. Full of confidence as I run like a gazelle over a mixed bag of decomposing granite, rock, dirt and ice, then the reality hits. It IS the gear, not me nor my perceived "talent", you see trail running is about strength and determination as well as having the right equipment to accomplish your goals and for me the goal is not necessarily to be the fastest rather I just want to feel fast and thankfully these shoes allow it to happen.
I consider myself a cyclist with a running problem and while on the rare occasion I feel myself start to smile as I run it is not as often as those crazy folks that run constantly. However since I first laced these shoes on I have been in love. Designed to be a trail race shoe the Trail II is Pearl Izumi's answer to the folks that want a lightweight yet durable shoe to take them the distance and for me it works amazingly well. I have to admit that I am intrigued by the minimalist trend and although barefoot is not my bag quite yet dropping the ounces and the reducing the heel to toe offset makes a world of difference and this shoe is the one that really made me aware of how much of a pounding runner I was.
Built around the goal of building a bomber trail shoe that feels like something you would actually want to run in all day and I would have to say for me they nailed it. This shoe feels so damn light that I can hardly believe it, especially when it provides so much great protection that you can't feel all the little nasties that a lot of minimalist shoes make you oh so aware of. Also having a lower heal than classic shoes I have noticed that I have slightly shifted my running style from firm heel strike to toe roll to now a soft almost gliding toe roll as first contact on the ground. I also noticed that I was controlling my feet more as I was taking the strides, where as with clunkier shoes I would some times catch my opposing calve with the inside of my shoe, with these I had none of this!
Now to be fair I have only tried a few trail shoes that were this light and designed to be this fluid so I cannot say that I have a huge knowledge base, but I do know shoes and have run for years and this pair of shoes may very well my favorites. Yes I will buy another pair when these wear out, absolutely!!