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Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
photo: Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 trail running shoe

A very comfortable trail runner. Suitable for most off road running, but really shines on gravel road and softer trails. Great for a beginner looking for a cushy ride.


  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Laces do not slip


  • Traction wears quickly
  • Specific model difficult to find

Shoe runs a little small so sizing up isn't a bad idea (especially when it keeps your toes from hitting the box on downhills!). Almost a sock-like feel due to upper construction. 

Very comfortable trail running shoe right out of the box, pretty much zero break-in time. Did get rocks and other debris in shoe, but it's a tradeoff from the increased breathability. 

In exchange for being very comfortable the shoe does not offer much in the way of protection from harsh terrain. Had some problems with top of foot pain, but I think that was my own issue as a beginning trail runner since switching to ladder lacing fixed the issue. I wouldn't buy it again to use as a runner in the desert landscape I train in, but would use as a day hiking shoe! 

Shoe is very porous, but does dry quickly. Grip was incredible when first purchased and managed rocky terrain very well (especially when bombing technical downhills). Breathability also kept shoe very comfortable in warm conditions (in the 90s). 

Wear on the shoe was noticeable with the cloth snagging on ocotillo and other prickly desert plants. Sole also wore out after three months of hard use (200+ miles) training for a trail half marathon. Loved the laces (sausage link style) on the shoe, seldom had an issue when running. Didn't really understand the "midfoot pronation" technology and even after wearing other trail runners I'm not sure it affected my stride, strike, or foot placement. 

Retired the shoe as my trail pick and wore day to day for a couple months before donating to a homeless shelter as part of the entry for a local 10K (they still had a lot of life!). Most comfortable pair of shoes I've ever owned. 

Would recommend for varied trail use (although road will wear the sole down a bit faster than trails...but then again depends on your trails). 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: on clearance for $40

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