Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3

8.3
8.3 score
[Editors rating (8.0) + Users rating (9.4)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.3)/10

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Editor rating: 8.0 / 10
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Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 Review Facts
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The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is a mild support shoe made for trail running. It’s a moderately cushioned shoe with a fairly low drop. The name of the shoe is meant to provide a bit of an explanation in terms of category and cushioning. The ‘M’ refers to midfoot stability. The associated number next to it describes the level of cushioning, in this case, the shoe is moderately cushioned.

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is an affordable option for runners and hikers alike, who are looking to travel or run long distances. It’s a shoe that offers comfort along with protection in a fairly lightweight package. It’s a great option for off road adventurers who want a solid shoe without all the heft. Overpronators will get a secure and controlled ride from the EM Trail M2 V3 along with a snug, comfortable fit. There are some durability issues with regards to the upper, the material tends to rip easily, but that’s about it in terms of weaknesses for the EM Trail.

 

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Comfortable, long lasting trail shoe perfect for long distance running or hiking
  • Great support in both the arch and thanks to the multiple overlays and snug fit
  • Quick drying material ensures minimal potential for waterlogging
  • Nice degree of ground feel
  • Very responsive thanks to the 1:1 Energy cushioning in the midsole with added cushioning in the rear foot
  • Snug heel locks in foot for a secure ride
  • Wide toe box allows for better ventilation
  • Ample cushioning
  • Fairly lightweight
Cons
  • Upper material tears easily
  • Not recommended for moderate to severe overpronators
  • Some found the instep of the shoe  was too low and caused an uncomfortable pressure point
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of the Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is the first layer of the shoe that stands up to tough trails. It's made of hefty carbon rubber. Also featured on the outsole are very aggressive multi-directional lugs which provide the bulk of traction that you'll get with the EM Trail M2 V3. Reviewers were exceptionally happy with the way the outsole performed. It's grippy and can handle multiple types of surfaces without any problems.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole of the Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 features a nice amount of cushioning (hence the M2 designation). 1:1 Energy cushioning is present in the midsole to provide impact protection and a great deal of energy return. In this version of the Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3, the shoe also features 1:1 Energy padding in the rear foot which was not part of the cushioning package in the v2.

The midsole also features an ESS rock plate placed in the forefoot to protect against hard trail debris. And, for stability, there's also a medial post in the midsole area to provide stability on rough terrain. The medial post offers only minimal stability, though, so runners who may fall into the category of moderate overpronator may want to take care when bounding across uneven terrain.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper of the Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 features multiple overlays for extra strong support. This helps to reduce the chance of rolling an ankle, especially on particularly uneven terrain. The overlays also help to keep the wearer's foot stable inside the shoe. The heel area fits really nicely and holds the heel inside without any potential for slippage.

The upper features a nice soft interior that's comfortable enough for runners to go sockless. Standard laces allow the wearer to secure their feet at their desired level of tightness.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is a pretty lightweight trail shoe. It packs in protection and stability without resulting in a clunky shoe. It's a great shoe for those looking to perform off road. Runners won't feel bogged down by the EM Trail M2 V3.

The women's version weighs in at a respectable 9.6 oz and the men's at about 10.8 oz. Reviewers felt that even with the light stability features incorporated into the shoe, it was light enough to provide a quick and springy ride.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 provides the standard amount of ventilation you would normally get from other trail shoes. The material dries quickly, so feeling waterlogged is not an issue. Water drains pretty effectively, as well. Reviewers were happy with the shoe's ability to ventilate and felt that it could handle a variety of trail conditions and weather without a problem.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Runners really enjoyed wearing the Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 even for long treks or runs off road. The fit is nearly perfect, hugging the foot just right. The shoe never gets overly wet thanks to its quick drying upper. A ride in this trail shoe feels natural and allows for a nice touch of ground feel. The shoe features an anatomical construction with a toe box that is wide enough to allow for natural toe splay. The seamless upper also adds another touch of comfort for the wearer.

Quite a few injured runners chimed in and added that the shoe provided a nice amount of cushioning to help them continue their fitness journey while remaining comfortable after a recent injury. A few runners did mention that the instep of the shoe was not high enough to accommodate their foot shape. Runners with high insteps may feel a little too restricted in the shoe and may want to opt for a shoe with more room in this area.
Style
Style

Style

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is a fairly aggressive trail shoe with some tough lugs underfoot. What makes it different, however, is that it doesn't scream 'trail shoe'. The design is almost minimalist. The round toe box area and smooth design won't look out of place when off the trails. The offered colors are stylish without being overly loud and bright. The Pearl Izumi logo blends into the overall look of the shoe while the overlays add a nice aesthetic as they work to support the wearer.

The men's version of the shoe comes in two variations. A dark charcoal version with red and blue accents and a black version with neon striping. The women's version comes in a grey coloring with pink accents and a darker purple option.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 suffers a bit in this area. Reviewers were not too happy about the shoe's rapid and visible wear and tear. Runners observed that the mesh upper was easily torn even after short jaunts on the trail. The outsole seems to hold up well, though, thanks to its carbon rubber components. Unfortunately, a ripped upper is a bigger deal for trail runners than it is for road runners. It creates the potential for trail debris to enter the shoe more easily and it reduces the amount of protection around the foot.
Protection
Protection

Protection

While the easily torn upper of the Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is a problem in terms of protection, the shoe still does a good job at keeping runners safe n other ways. The 1:1 Energy cushioning provides excellent shock absorption. In this version of the shoe, even more of the cushioning has been added to enhance the padding underfoot even more.

The shoe also features a tough rock plate in the forefoot area. The ESS rock plate protects against hard rocks and sharp objects that could potentially be encountered on the trails. It allows runners to focus on their run and avoid staring down at their feet while they run.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is very responsive compared to other similar trail shoes. It manages to provide an excellent degree of energy return thanks to its 1:1 Energy cushioning. In this version of the EM Trail, the cushioning has been increased leading to an even more responsive feel overall. Even with a protective rock plate, runners will feel snappy and light on the trails.
Support
Support

Support

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 provides support to wearers thanks to its upper overlays which help to ensure a supportive fit. The shoe also features a supportive midsole post. Reviewers felt that the EM Trail provided great support over long distances. The shoe manages to provide support while feeling lightweight, as well.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 features some pretty tough lugs. On the outsole, runners will notice some pretty aggressive multi-directional lugs. These provide great traction and a peace of mind for runners as they bound down rocky terrain.

The shoe performs well on trails thanks to various other features as well including a quick drying upper, a protective ESS rock plate, and a durable outsole.
Price
Price

Price

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is an affordable trail shoe packed with features. The bevy of positive comments from reviewers just goes to show that most appreciate the value received from the EM Trail. The shoe offers slight support even on uneven terrain. The outsole provides exceptional traction. But, comfort is not forgotten. Reviewers agreed that they felt the EM Trail was a very comfortable shoe. The only real negative is the flimsy upper material. Is it a deal breaker and does it reduce the value of the shoe? Not at all.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 has a really grippy outsole that's outfitted with several prominent lugs. The lugs go in different directions, increasing the amount of traction provided. This makes the shoe perfect for off roading. Even loose rocks are no match for the EM Trail. The carbon rubber outsole works well on both well-groomed trails and on wilder terrain.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 provides an impressive amount of flexibility for runners. Even with a sturdy ESS rock plate, the shoe can still move naturally from heel to toe. This is likely because the rock plate does not run the length of the shoe so there's more room for movement.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is a mild stability shoe. It offers a bit of control to runners who need to stave off excess inward rolling. Does it do the job? The midsole post does provide some degree of correction for runners but when used on particularly rough terrain, the stability just isn't good enough for those with even moderate pronation problems. There's just not enough control there. It's a shoe that's best used by neutral runners to very mild overpronators. It should also be avoided by runners with weak ankles as the support is just not good enough to provide that much stability on rocky trails.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 has a nice low 4mm drop. This means that trail runners will feel close to the ground and will be better able to navigate uneven terrain using feedback from underfoot.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

- Carbon rubber outsole provides good traction
- Multi-directional lugs make the shoe aggressively grippy
- 1:1 Energy cushioning is very responsive
- New Energy cushioning in rear foot
- ESS rock plate in front of shoe
- Seamless upper
- Shoe is anatomically shaped to provide the best fit
- Overlays on the upper enhance support and help with control
- Soft comfortable interior
- Standard lacing
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is uniquely poised to deliver a stable ride for neutral to minimal overpronators on a variety of off road surfaces. The shoe is fairly lightweight and features a sleek and appealing design.

With a moderate amount of cushioning and protective ESS rock plate, this shoe works well for long distance runners wanting to head out on the trails. The shoe is durable, despite its flimsy upper, and delivers a great fit that reduces pronation and wobbling. Even recently injured runners found themselves running comfortably again with the EM Trail. The newly Energy foam infused rear foot ensures full-length protection and comfort.

The Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 V3 is a great trail shoe option with an all around solid reputation.