The gold standard in lightweight, minimalistic, trail racing shoes just got even better. The new men’s Peak II is completely overhauled this season to offer exceptional protection, cushioning and durability in a very lightweight, minimal package.
- NEW 1:1 High Abrasion Bonded Seamless Upper creates an unparalleled fit with a seam-free interior
- 1:1 360 degree Lacing anatomically conforms to the foot for a tailored fit regardless of foot shape
- 1:1 Energy Foam cushions the foot upon impact and then returns energy back to the runner
- TPU forefoot protection plate
- TPU toe cap for maximum protection and durability
- Full carbon rubber outsole for maximum traction and durability
- Orthlite sock liner for amazing step-in comfort and long-lasting cushioning
- 360 degree reflectivity
- Racing Last
- Available in sizes 7-13 in 1/2 sizes, size 14
- Available in Men’s and Women’s and 4 colors each
- Measured size 10.0
- Weight – 275 g without insoles (9.7 oz)
- Forefoot width – 98.4 mm (3.9 in)
- Stack height – Heel (21.4 mm), Toe(11.4 mm), Drop (10 mm) without insoles
- Insoles – 4 mm thick, 22 g (0.8 oz)
- Retail – $115
I had a pair of the original Pearl Izumi Peak XC Shoes that I reviewed a while back on the site. I liked those shoes, but their life was cut a little short by tearing in the upper, you can see pictures in the review. Pearl Izumi recently sent me a pair of the new Peak 2 shoes to review. I was looking forward to these shoes. I hoped they improved on the durability issues I had with the first pair without changing too much else.
The Pearl Izumi Peak 2 Shoes are the lightest trail running shoe Pearl Izumi makes. They are considered a lightweight trainer and racer. The first thing you will notice about the Peak 2 are the bold colors. This year Pearl Izumi has used much bolder colors across all their shoes making them stand out. The uppers of the Peak 2 are made out of 1:1 High Abrasion Seamless Mesh. They have gone to great lengths to make the interior of the shoe seamless. This mesh has several synthetic overlays to add structure to the upper. There is a triangle shaped overlay over the outside and inside of the midfoot to hold the foot in place. As well as one that starts next to the lace eyelets and travels around the back of the heel. The logo also adds a bit of structure. Over the toe there is a TPU toe cap for protection and durability. The Peak 2’s feature Pearl Izumi’s 360 degree lacing system. The 1:1 Lacing consists of internal overlays specifically placed at the midfoot to keep the upper snug to the foot. The tongue is made out of a stretchy mesh material and is gusseted to the sole of the shoe creating a foot hugging fit. The insole is an Orthlite sock liner with EVA cushioning and step in comfort.
The cushioning in the forefoot of the Peak 2’s is made out of 1:1 Energy Foam. This foam cushions the foot upon impact and then returns energy back to the runner. In the midfoot Pearl Izumi uses EVA foam for its main cushioning. The bottom of the midfoot has a TPU bridge. A thermoplastic unit intended to maintain forefoot and rear foot torsional integrity. In the forefoot there is a TPU protection plate to protect from rocks and other sharp objects. The sole of the shoes is made out of Carbon Rubber to give long lasting traction and durability. The Peak 2’s are built on Pearl Izumi’s Race last. According to Pearl Izumi the race last features a narrow heel, close fitting midfoot, and close fitting toe box.
The first pair of Pearl Izumi Peak 2’s I tried on was my normal size 9, but they were way too tight. I therefore went with the size 9 ½ for the first part of my review and still found them to be on the tight side. Originally when I was looking at these the Pearl Izumi website suggested sizing up a half size on this model, I notice that as of writing this it now say to size up a full size. Over the course of wearing these shoes I would pretty much agree with that statement. While testing a 9 1/2, I felt like I could still go a 1/2 size larger and they would allow me to have more toe room. With a 9 1/2 they are on the snug side but after loosening the laces and always wearing a thin sock they treated me better. I did try to wear these without socks and managed to get a blister on the top of one of my toes. I think this may be more from me lifting my toes rather than the shoes themselves. Ultimately after some time I ended up switching these for a size 10 and they fit much better.
Once you are into the correct size the shoes fit like a racer normally does. It is snug all over but not overly snug. The midfoot area hugs the foot exceptionally well giving you a snug feel when running. Unfortunately, I did notice that the gusseted tongue was not quite as snug as it was in the 9 1/2. I preferred the midfoot fit of the 9 1/2 and the toe room in the 10. The 9 1/2 felt way too tight in the toe box but when sizing up a whole size to a 10 the toe box felt much better. The toe box does have a lower volume to it so if you like a higher volume toe box then you might look at another model. Over all my testing, the heel felt comfortable and did not move at all.
Running in the Peak 2’s has been similar to the Peak XC’s. They shoes are nice and light and offer a good balance of protection and cushioning for most of the trails I have run. Just like its predecessor the Peak 2’s are good for drier conditions and all but the most technical trails. They also are plenty comfortable for running on roads if needed. Most of my runs tend to be on mixed terrain so these were great shoes to get me to the trail, on the trail, and back home. I like how these shoes offer a little less stack height as I tend to like lower drop shoes better than higher drop ones. I would love it if Pearl Izumi would make this model in a 4-6 mm drop. Even though these shoes are lightweight they seem to be holding up rather well to the mileage. I have not seen any wear and tear on them yet. The upper does a good job keeping the foot snug and the sole has a medium amount of flex to it. I felt like the shoes have descent traction, I did not get a chance to test them in true mud but they had ample traction for the high desert trails we have here.
The soles are made out of carbon rubber for durability and grip. The carbon rubber covers most of the sole. The only places not covered by the rubber are the seams on the sole for flexibility. There are several vertical and horizontal seams to add to the flexibility of the shoes.
The Pearl Izumi Peak 2 Shoes are a step forward in most aspects from the Peak XC’s. The only place where I feel they missed the boat is in sizing the shoes properly. I imagine this will lead many not give these shoes a chance. Apart from being sized incorrectly the shoes are comfortable and well made. Like the Peak XC’s, I have been a fan of these shoes and hope they are more durable than the XC’s were. I also feel these are one of the best looking pairs of shoes I own; I love the bold colors and just recently Pearl Izumi released two new color ways. I would recommend these shoes for narrow to medium width feet who want a fast cushioned shoe. It is good for mixed terrain and will be suited for all but the most technical trails. I would agree with Pearl Izumi that it is best to get a full size larger than normal, crazy I know. At $115 these may be a bit on the expensive side; it depends if they last longer than their predecessors. As always, your mileage may vary.
- Lightweight and cushioned
- Awesome appearance
- Slightly lower drop
- Sizing is a full size small
- Depending on lifespan they may be a bit expensive