Gear Review: Women’s Pearl Izumi Trail N2 v3 Hiking Shoe

Pearl Izumi Trail N2V3 Women’s Hiking Shoe

Basic Specs:

  • Seamless upper allows plenty of forefoot splay
  • 1:1 Energy Foam in forefoot and heel provides shock absorption
  • ESS rock plate protects feet against stone bruising and rock push-through
  • Carbon Rubber outsole offers superb traction and abrasion resistance
  • Heel Stack Height: 27.5 mm
  • 9.4 oz
  • $125

I tested the Women’s Pearl Izumi N2 v3 trail shoe on a trip to Alaska and a short backpack on the Appalachian Trail. The best thing I can say about this shoe is that I didn’t think about my feet at all while hiking.  When you don’t notice your shoes, that’s a great thing. This shoe is really light and airy but with a great sole to keep you from feeling rocks and roots. I especially loved the wide open space sensation around my toes and forefoot. I never had the feeling of my toes smashing into my shoes. These shoes felt great hiking up and down hills and they gripped well on wet and slippery rock.

pearl izumi on rocks

Great gripping on rock.


Light as a feather and plenty sturdy for rocky trails. Plus comfort!

Shoes you don’t think about are the best. This shoe felt light on my feet all day. I didn’t get that “oh my goodness I’m wearing bricks” feeling at the end of the day – I could have stayed in these and not switched to crocs. They didn’t overheat my feet or make my feet feel squished. The wide expanse and seamlessness of the front of the shoe seems to really make a difference in comfort. I don’t have wide feet and my feet are generally really happy and not blister-prone, but even so this shoe is really comfy. Even on rocky, rooty sections these felt great with plenty of hard sole between me and the sharp things on the trail. No slipping or sliding on wet rock – the traction was great.


shoe on roots

They feel great even on roots!

Despite their meshy-quality and lightness, they kept my feet cozy and dry even on wet rocky trail to see glaciers. I would have expected my socks to get wet but that didn’t happen. Granted, I am a puddle avoider and I didn’t splash through deep water, but they kept my feet dry in light rain and general wet trail.

izumi shoe on wet rocks hiking

Great on wet rocks too!



Looks like a mall walker – not a huge fan of pink.

I’m not that big into fashion but I wish that outdoor companies would not assume that women want their gear in pink. I felt a little silly traipsing all over the wilderness in my pink shoes. I guess they’re closer to mauve, but either way I generally prefer a neutral color like grey or black or brown. These shoes don’t look technically cool to me. They look like something a 75 year old would use on a few laps around the mall. But man they are comfortable so I pretty much don’t care. And at least they were half grey!

Note: there is an enamel blue (i.e. non-pink) version of this shoe as well.

If you have special-needs feet or need ankle support these might not be for you. Also they are meshy and breathe which also means that they won’t keep your feet as dry in seriously wet conditions, although as I pointed out above, I was surprised at how dry and cozy my feet stayed even on wet muddy trail.

shoes with alaskan ground squirrel

This Alaskan ground squirrel wanted to see my shoes! No, I didn’t offer it any snacks.


I love them and will keep wearing them.  Ultra comfortable.

The most important thing to me in a trail shoe is comfort.  And these meet all my comfort needs.  They’re lightweight so my feet don’t get tired, they protect my feet from rocks and roots, and they feel great on the uphills and downhills.  No pain, no blisters, no worries.  Fantastic!


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