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On paper, the Pearl Izumi Men's EM Trail N1 Trail Running Shoe gives runners a minimalist-oriented 4mm heel-to-toe drop, or offset. When you hit the trail, though, you find that there's more to it than meets the eye: this trail runner's E:Motion midsole features what Pearl Izumi calls a 'Dynamic Offset' that changes as a runner moves through his stride. Because the effective heel-to-toe drop changes as you roll from heel to toe, you'll find you're driven forward with an intuitive flow and a natural, no-slap, no-crash, smooth-as-silk feel. Add to this a glove-like fit on the upper and trail-ready traction underneath, and you have a recipe for breakthrough runs.

The EM Trail N1 Trail Running Shoe is one of the three trail-specific offerings in Pearl Izumi's new Project E:Motion line. It is lighter and more minimalist than the N2, which is also designed for neutral runners. In comparison, the M2 features the same advanced Dynamic Offset technology as the N1 and N2, but with additional stability built in for runners in need of some pronation control.

  • Lightweight, supple seamless upper conforms closely to your foot
  • Tongue padded with perforated SBR that doesn't absorb water and offers great comfort and breathability
  • Dynamic Offset E:Motion midsole changes from 1mm at contact to 4.5mm at mid-stance to smooth out every stride
  • 1:1 Energy Foam in forefoot cushions impact and offers excellent energy return
  • Forefoot rock plate protects your foot against bruising stones and other trail debris
  • Durable carbon rubber sole features aggressive, multi-directional tread pattern for excellent traction
  • Welded toe cap protects your feet from trail hazards without weighing down the shoe

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Here's what others have to say...


Not a Placebo Effect, I Think

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:True to size
  • Height: 5'10"
    Weight: 170 lbs

After being told by several of my running friends that I had to give these a try, I finally gave in and got a pair. To say that I am satisfied is an understatement. After a month of running in these, I have better form, am striking more consistently on the mid-foot and am running more quickly. They are very smooth and seem to propel you forward with every step. The upper has a very close and comfortable no seam fit and a little feature that I love is the sausage laces. The tread is suitable for hard pack to mildly rocky terrain. I feel that they are pretty true to size. For comparison, I wear an 8 in most Inov8 models, the Brooks Cascadias, & most Salomon models and wear an 8 in these.


Great shoe

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:Runs small

I'm using this as a shoe with a bit more cushion / support for longer runs where my usual inov-8's (roclite 243) can be hard work.

I love the fit, and the rocker makes the shoe feel flexible in spite of being more shoe than I'm used to.

My only slight niggle is that the rubber is not very grippy on wet rocks... then again all shoes seem to fail on this point when compared to inov-8's


Best Trail Shoe I've Worn

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:Runs small

running shoe reviews are always a little subjective but this is by far my favorite trail shoe and even my go to hiker. everything about it is perfect down to the sausage laces that never come untied and the tongue that stays in place. feels low-profile and light with just enough support... like a cross between your traditional shoe and minimalist. so versatile - I wear it for my 5 mile runs, 50k races, and everything in between. also own the Road N2 and while I'm happy with it, it feels more like a trainer where PI's trail edition feels like both a trainer and racer. will definitely be purchasing the N1/N2 Trail again. the guys at Pearl Izumi have seemingly revolutionized running shoes with their EM series (aside from road racers of course).


Good Design

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:Runs small

I like these shoes from PI, they have a profile with some curvature that encourages a mid-foot strike. All of the project EM have this profile and these are the lowest to the ground of the trail series.

Like the other reviewer, I believe you should buy 1/2 size up. I normally wear a 46 EU, but I got a 46.5 EU

Do these run true to size or......

Do these run true to size or......

The run slightly small, recommendations to order a full size up.

Best Answer

I'd say a half to full size up depending on the thickness of your sock and how much room you want for foot swelling. I'm a 10.5 in casual shoes, 11 in running shoes, and have both an 11 and 11.5 in the N1 Trail.

EDIT: 11.5 fits best - go a full size up from your casual shoe, 1/2 size up from running shoes


Light and plenty of cushionand traction

    I primarily trail run, which these are great for given their significant tread and light weight. But it's been surprisingly comfortable on road as well. There is plenty of cushion for both surfaces. The upper is very breathable. Laces stay tied really well.