Gear Review: Pearl Izumi M2 V2 Women’s Trail Running Shoes

New from Pearl Izumi’s E:Motion line, The M2 V2 is lightweight and built for speed and control. I hit the trail in Killington, Vermont and Pine Grove Furnace State Park in PA to see how the M2 stands up against the most rocky terrain.

New Pearl Izumi M2 V2 Women’s Trail Running Shoes

MSRP: $125.00
Weight: 9.1 oz (for a size 8)
Best Use: Trail Running/Hiking
Cushioning: Mid-foot Stability, Medium Cushion


The M2 v2 has a seamless upper for a supportive fit with the added benefit of reducing rubbing and hot spots. The upper also features thin and breathable mesh to keep your feet dry and blister-free.

M2 stands for mid-foot stability, meaning that this shoe provides extra support for people whose feet tend to pronate or “roll-in.”

The dynamic offset is 4 mm at initial contact to 7.5 mm at mid-stance. The sole is thicker under the arch to promote a healthy mid-foot strike while running and ensure a smooth ride.

The rock plate in the forefoot helps to protect against bruising on sharp rocks.

Medium sized, multidirectional tread ensures a good grip whether you are moving uphill or down.


Killington Peak

First impressions

I was surprised at how minimalistic the M2 felt for being a stability shoe. Immediately after slapping these on for the first time, I noticed how light they felt. At 9.1 oz, they weigh almost a half-pound less than my previous hiking shoes, the Salomon Sense Mantra 2.

The dynamic offset from heel to toe is designed to create a smooth rolling motion as you walk and it made me feel like I was being propelled forward. The smooth ride combined with the snug fitting upper gave me a feeling of control and connection to the ground.


I typically wear between a size 10 and 10.5. In the M2, the 10.5 fit me just right. The forefoot features a wide toe box and makes this a great shoe for people with a “high-volume” foot.

The interlocking laces helped to ensure a snug fit. Hiking downhill, I never felt my toes hitting the front or sides of the shoe.


That lady looks like she knows about shoes

Hiking Pros

  • Lightweight – When compared to a typical hiking shoe, or even other trail running shoes, the M2 is extremely light. These are perfect for the hiker who wants to move fast and light, but also wants a little bit of stability and protection.
  • Multi-directional Tread – The medium-aggressive tread does a great job at grabbing gritty trail surfaces and did very well on un-even trails. It can also easily transition between trail and road.
  • Interlocking Laces – The interlocking lace design allows the laces to catch on each other and stay tight for longer. This means less time stopping to adjust and more time bagging peaks.
  • Snug fit – The seamless uppers combined with the interlocking laces gave me a lot of control when navigating different types of terrain. It also stopped my foot from sliding side to side on a pitched trail.
  • Breathability – The large portions of mesh kept my feet dry and happy. Less sweating means less blisters.

The bumps in the laces help them to stay tight

Hiking Cons

  • Slippery on smooth or wet surfaces – While the tread grips gritty surfaces well, beware smooth and damp surfaces. The tread is just thick enough to make a wet slab of rock feel like an ice-skating rink.
  • Thin Mesh – The open mesh is great for breathability,  but if you step in a puddle, you’ll get soaked fast. Also, while I haven’t had any issues yet, thin mesh is also likely to wear out faster, especially if you plan on putting a lot of miles on your shoes.
  • Rock Protection – Thicker soled shoes or trail runners with a more aggressive rock plate will do a better job at protecting against rocks. Your feet may bruise after extended periods hiking on rocky surfaces with the M2, especially if you have a heavier pack weight.
  • Minimal Toe Protection – Those who stub their toes a lot (like me) may not be happy with the M2 in rocky areas. The thin toe protection is good for a short run but not for a long hike.

The Verdict

The Pearl Izumi M2 V2 trail running shoes have an extraordinarily comfortable and thoughtful design with features specifically designed to improve comfort, reduce friction areas, and provide a feeling of control.

I enjoyed the M2 for everyday hiking and wear, but after a few hikes I decided that excessively rocky trails and a heavy pack weights are best avoided with these. The M2 is a great light trail shoe for easy to moderate hikes and could be used for more aggressive hiking if you know your feet can handle it.


And it comes in my favorite color!


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