Gearflogging is hard work. I know, I know, "What do you mean? What about the naked speed-dating in a giant chocolate fondue fountain?" Sure, and that's fun and all, but eventually you have to sober up and actually get on your feet to, you know, go do something. And when that something is running, we cringe because we know a little part of us dies with every step. That's because running is insanely boring, repetitive and redundant. And repetitive. Maybe that's why 2 million people came to their senses and stopped running last year. Seriously, that's not bitter us talking, that's science! (Ed: that's not science, that's a wanton misreading of the data.)
In any case, there is one exception: trail running. Running in the woods is awesome, not least because once you're behind some trees, you can stop running and just puke your hungover guts out in blissful solitude. And yet there are ways to make even trail running suck, and that's with minimalist running shoes, which allow you to feel the full pain of every rock and root that you land on. Road runners clued in a while back to the fact that more padding is better, and now the revolution has come to the backwoods: behold, the Pearl Izumi Trail N3.
The N3 has a whopping 30mm heel stack, yet manages to feel supremely nimble and stable in all directions thanks to a wicked grippy sole. A beautifully tuned rocker ensures that every bit of energy you put into your stride is seamlessly translated into smooth forward motion. The uppers are supremely breathable, and the seamless construction and muted colors make the N3 a truly classy looking shoe that can walk to the office as well as pound up a mountain. The toe bumper provides adequate protection versus the inevitable incidental contact, and the no-slip laces really do stay put. After a month solid on our feet, wear is minimal.
The Pearl Izumi N3 is the real deal: high performance plus extreme comfort in a tough and good-looking shoe that can stick with you anywhere. Highly recommended.