Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pearl Izumi Kissaki 2 road running shoe - review

 The Pearl Izumi Kissaki 2 road running shoe.  Today was my first run in these puppies.  If you would like to refer to the technical information from Pearl Izumi you can do that via this link here- Or follow me below and I will explain it very simply for you.  


First off in the past I have had issues with Pearl Izumi running shoes in terms of them fitting my foot.  I have a normal foot with a very high arch and a fairly narrow heel.  Pearl Izumi in the past have been very boxy in their "Last" and simply have been too much shoe for me.  I often found myself sliding in them and for those reasons simply just wore them around and not ran in them other then once or twice to try them out.  I have been running in the syncrofuel road II which they have under the "light stability" shoe category which I agree with.  I have wanted them to come out with a light neutral shoe other then their racing models.  They nailed a winner in the Kissaki 2 which I ran in today.

I will break this shoe down in 4 areas- Midsole, Outsole, Upper, and the Inner sole.

Midsole- Often referred to in footwear technology as the most important part of the shoe.  The Kissaki 2 is a great shoe for those that have a neutral gait through out the foot strike with minimal cushioning in the forefoot and heal.  They call this cushion, "Energy Form" under the forefoot and on the heel crash pad.  Similar to other forms of cushion by other companies but this is Pearl Izumi patented and I like it!

Outsole- This area of the shoe is what comes in contact with the ground.  It needs to be durable yet light so we the consumer get plenty of miles out of our investment.  This material is called "Blown Rubber" complimented with a carbon rubber crash pad on the heel.  Blown Rubber is simply a lighter form of carbon rubber and very responsive with each foot strike.  The carbon rubber on the heel is more durable thus lasting longer.  With today's age of forefoot running craze I would have liked to see Blown rubber the full length of the shoe since those that run in neutral shoes don't land on their heels.  We are mid-foot to forefoot strikers thus not needing the carbon rubber on the heel.  This would save a few ounces on the shoe for something that is not needed in an area that won't be used.

Inner sole- This is really nice.  The insole is lined with EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate).  EVA is what all shoe manufactures use to use as their cushioning technology in the old days of running shoes in their mid-soles.  Now days due to improvements in shoe technology they can save that material for the inner sole thus providing more cushion with less weight.  You can read more about EVA here- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethylene-vinyl_acetate, but basically EVA is a polymer that approaches elastomeric materials in softness and flexibility, and works great with glue.  The insole of the Kissaki is molded with EVA and provides a "cradle" for the foot as soon as you step in it with solid heel support.

Upper- The upper is constructed with "Seamless SKIN" technology with really thin film providing structural support in a supple way.  Basically no seams in the upper of this shoe.  Which saves on weight, manufacturing cost and provides a more sleek shoe profile.

Some might ask the question why the $130 price tag when they are saving manufacturing cost?  When making any product, rather it be bikes, wheels or shoes there is a huge degree of research and design that needs to take place.  Then field testing followed by revamps.  Then if all goes well the product can be released to the market.  So a lot of the pricing that you see on shoes is simply money companies have to charge not only for their technology of the product but to also cover the cost of years of development before launching it.  Most consumes only see the $130 price tag and think why?  Not taking into account the dozens of people working on the product on several different continents for years to provide that product to them!

Pearl Izumi says that their shoes run a 1/2 size large.  I have found they run true to size as I ordered a size 11 and run in size 11 in other brands.  But I like my shoes tight and I am use to a tighter fit then most people from years of playing soccer as a kid so please order up a 1/2 size if you generally like more room in the forefoot of the shoe.

I honestly like the Kissaki 2 and think it is worthy of the $130 retail price tag.  If you would like to talk further about the Kissaki 2 or other shoe models by Pearl Izumi available through Luna Cycles please contact me at the shop.  
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