First, let me just say that I have a neutral foot-strike and with a shoe designed to promote the naturalist strike, I'm a mid foot striker. I like shoes that allow me to run this way, meaning the heel-to-toe ratio is normally just in that "minimal" threshold. I don't like a 0mm drop but somewhere around 7-9mm is good for me. So, when looking for a shoe, I consulted my husband. He usually does a lot of research and unlike me, can remember the facts and recite them back. He suggested I try a shoe that he had recently bought, the Pearl Izumi Project EMOTION.
So about two months ago, without too much thought, I bought them online. They have different models for the different types of foot support needed. I knew that I needed one of the the N models but I didn't like any of the colors so I chose a pair bases on a color scheme I liked. I didn't think it would make any difference if I chose the M model which is meant to provide mid-foot stability or the N model for Neutral support. Big mistake! It was almost immediately that I started to get "Runner's knee" symptoms which is something I don't normally have. I would occasionally get a a sharp pain in my right knee when running downhill and it sucked. It lasted for about a month and a half, I was icing, taking vitamin I (Ibuprofen) and generally taking it easy on my runs but if I lengthened my stride or ran downhill, I would feel the sharp pain under my kneecap. I didn't think it was the shoe right away. I really liked the way they felt, they made me feel like I had a bounce in my step and so I didn't want to believe it was the shoe which was giving me problems.
Then my last race started approaching and I just knew that I was going to have some knee pain during my race. I was willing to accept it. Since I had put over 250 miles, ran a muddy 85km race and ran lots of trails runs where my foot submerged into puddles in the M2's, I thought it would be best to get a new
pair for the race. So, I placed another order but this time for the N2s. I hoped they would get here in time before the race and luckily they did. They arrived on the Wednesday before my race. I knew I didn't have time to break them in but I felt I would be fine wearing them during the race, so I did. And not one time did I get that runner's knee pain running downhill that I had experienced the weeks and month prior. It was crazy. I thought maybe it was a fluke and the excitement of the race dulled my senses but I've ran in these shoes every run since the 100km race and not one time have I had that pain.
I'm not 100% certain the shoe caused the knee pain but I think that they did. I really like the N2's, they feel great and I feel like I run faster with them. I think they are a fabulous summer shoe except for the fact that they are not waterproof. I wish Pearl Izumi used some sort of water resistance technology because then I would have no complaints. I will say, that even though my feet get wet easily while wearing them, they also dry rather quickly. And, when they do get wet, they don't feel like they weigh a ton, they actually don't feel any heavier, they just feel wet. I will definitely wear them for my next race which is the SwissAlpine 78km in Davos, Switzerland but I'm not sure if I will put them to the test during the Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) 119km. For TDS, I may just revert back to my old trusty pair of SpeedCross 3 with Climashield technology.
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