This is my first experience with Pearl Izumi shoes and I was pleasantly surprised! Before doing too much research on the shoes, I popped them on and went for a trail run. The best way to describe the Trail N1 is that it provides a light but cushioned ride and would make a great shoe for a new trail runner.
• Perforated SBR tongue foam doesn’t absorb water, while offering great comfort and breathability
• Bonded seamless toe cap protects feet from rocks, roots, stumps and other trail hazards
• Seamless upper uses bonded technology for structure and durability, leaving the inside of the upper smooth and comfortable against your foot.
Weight: 8.9oz (Size 8)
This shoe was tested out in two different trail areas. The first was a rolling hills, dirt path through a local park. The minimalist style, 1mm drop low-profile shoes performed very well, offering a comfortable ride for many miles. For my foot type, they are a bit too wide for me but for a relaxed trail run were perfect. The next time, I tested them on a steeper, rocky terrain with more switchbacks. They did not perform as well here. Again, the loose upper came into play, allowing my foot to slip too far to the side even after tightening the laces. I also noticed they were not offering a "grippy" feel in one particular spot on the shoes. It happened every time I went to turn on a switchback up or downhill.
The orange stripe near the ball of my foot seemed to be the trouble spot. When I would push off of that area, it would not grip as much as I would have liked. The N1 outsole has a "self-cleaning lug pattern" so rocks do not get stuck and so on, but I think the grip was sacrificed for that feature. Over rocky terrain, it does protect the feet well, offering a fore-foot rock plate to protect against pointy rocks. I would recommend this shoe for new trail runners, someone that has wider feet/bunions, or long distance, non-technical trail runs/races. It has found its place in my closet by becoming my easy run trail runners and also my comfy hiking shoes!