Friday, March 18, 2011

And you shall have Izumis, crafted from the finest Pearl

Like many other runners, I likes me some new gear.  While training for my first marathon I may have gotten a little out of control buying new running ‘stuff’.  The downside was the associated price tag, and the property damage every time the mailman tried to cram my credit card bill into the mailbox.  Fortunately, I’ve successfully rehabbed from my buying frenzy, and I emerged with a good set of gear that I liked, and seemed to do the job for me.  Having not bought much gear in a long time, when I do get something new now it’s like Christmas morning.  If the new gear is free, then it’s Christmas morning at the Sheen house.  Crazy good times.

My good friends at Outside PR recently took on the role of Santa Claus, and sent me a package loaded with running-gear goodness from Pearl Izumi.  Inside were Infinity running tights (a new category in the gear collection), an Infinity In-R-Cool long-sleeve shirt, and a pair of Pearl Izumi Syncrofloat IV running shoes.
Bricks sold separately

Pearl Izumi Synchrofloat IV

I’ve been a faithful wearer of Asics Gel Nimbus shoes for at least the past 6 years.  Before that I tried several different brands, but once I got the Asics I never looked back.  Admittedly, the models from the other brands weren’t their top-of-the-line models, so perhaps it was an apples to bananas comparison, but the Asics did the trick so I stuck with them.  My only complaint had been that the toebox seemed to get narrower as they released new models, but the newest Nimbus 12 addressed this issue with a larger toe-box.  Admittedly, I was slightly reluctant to try something new, especially with my recent history of Plantar Fasciitis, but in the interest of science I gave the Syncrofloats a go.  So far so good.
Money, it's gotta be the shoes

I swapped out the insoles with my trusty Superfeet Green insoles, as I do now for all my shoes, but otherwise they are unmodified from the box.  They actually feel very similar to the Gel Nimbus in terms of arch location and toebox sizing.  According to the specs they are lighter than the Gel Nimbus, but I’m not fine-tuned enough to really tell the difference.  They feel a little less cushioned that the Nimbus, although I’m still breaking them in so they’re a little stiff, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  I’m still trying to train myself to consistently run with a midfoot strike, and I get better feedback from these shoes as my foot strikes letting me know if I’m hitting midfoot or the dreaded heel.

They’re very well vented and comfortable, and work well with my mostly neutral gait.  I’ve not noticed any issues with rubbing, or hotspots, and have had no hints of blisters.  My longest run in them has only been 5 miles, so I’ll see if increased mileage changes anything.  They run a little smaller than Asics, so I went a half-size larger than my Asics, and the fit is just right.  I’ve officially added them to my usually 2-shoe rotation, and I would definitely recommend them as a good training option based on my limited experience with them.

I’ll post periodic updates once they’re fully broken-in and are being worn on longer runs.  Based on the name I have to assume these also give me the ability to walk on water.  Like speedy little foot-boats.  I haven't tried this yet since I don't want to give away the secret and spoil my advantage.  Figure I'll wait until the last couple miles of my next marathon and take a short-cut across a lake, or the Potomac River.  This will no-doubt be my finest hour.

Pearl Izumi In-R-Cool LS Shirt

This was truly an unexpected surprise.  I’ve got a bunch of short-sleeve technical shirts, but only 2 long-sleeve technical shirts.  If the temp is 40 or above I’ll typically just go with a short sleeve shirt, and below 40 I’ll wear a short-sleeve technical shirt with a fleece shell over it.  I love to sweat when I work out, but I want to earn the sweat through work, rather than being dressed too warmly.  This shirt fills a nice gap as the weather warms up, but the early mornings are still a little chilly.
New shirt, new shoes, same old busted legs

I can say without a doubt this is the nicest running shirt I now own.  The material is super light and crazy soft, and wicks sweat extremely well.  It’s got all kinds of fancy mesh panels that keep the air flowing well, and stop you from overheating.  In the pictures I intentionally wore this on a day that was too warm for it (around 60 degrees) to see how it would do with wicking and keeping me cool, and it was truly impressive.  I kinda lucked out with this shirt in that the fit is almost like it’s tailor-made for me.  I need to stay away from the Guinness and/or chocolate-covered pretzels or this shirt may not be looking too good wrapped around my girth.  Perhaps I could call it compression-gear at that point.
What the ladies see right before they Chick me

My wife and my daughter both commented on how much they like the shirt, which is a rare double-compliment on anything that I wear.  I’ll add that I think it looks good too, but that’s about as valuable as Donald Trump’s opinion on hairstyles.  This shirt keeps me warm before and at the start of a run, and keeps me cool during and after, and looks/feels good throughout.  I like it so much that I’m actually following the care-instructions to try and keep it alive as long as possible, which is not the way I usually operate.  Bull in a China shop with my laundry habits.  Shirt stink … me wash … dryer hot … grrr.

If you’re looking for a new workout shirt, and don’t mind investing a few dollars, I would highly recommend giving Pearl Izumi a try.
Yes, we are perfectly synchronized at all times.  Just how we roll.

Pearl Izumi Infinity Running Tights

I’ve worn the tights a few times, but unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of me wearing them, so I’m going to hold off on posting a review just yet.  What fun is posting a running-tights review if I can’t subject you to pictures of me wearing them?  The first couple runs I wore shorts over them, but after reading another blog post mocking guys who wear shorts over their tights, I gave in and ran without the shorts.  Have to admit I felt a little naked out there.  Different, however, from the times I’ve actually run naked.  Ah college ….. good times, good times.


  1. I have yet to try out any of PI's running gear and I do look forward to giving it a run. ha ha 'pun intended'
    I love their road shoes (cycling) and if that is any indication of their running shoe comfort level, I'm in!
    Love love love the top! Sweeet

  2. I love Pearl Izumi's cycling gear but I too have not worn their running gear. I guess I should give them a whirl.

  3. They make great stuff! I have some for a review as well, and have been very happy with it!

  4. Their gear sounds fantastic. I've heard that they are a great brand but have not tried them yet.

    Oh, and my favorite part of your post, "If the new gear is free, then it’s Christmas morning at the Sheen house. Crazy good times." Made me laugh out loud; thank you for that!

  5. I am going to only eat McD's food until I see a picture of you in your tights.

    I love the PI running stuff. I have the synchofloats too and have been very happy with them. My favorite part of the shirt is that nifty design on the back. I won't go so far as to call you metrosexual...but that sure is fancy.

  6. I've never tried any of their gear before. Sounds awesome. And, yeah, that shirt does look good!

  7. Yeah, the design on the back makes it, though clearly the synchronized running adds to the appeal.

  8. Hey Man, that suit is you,
    Woo-wee, you'll get some leg tonight for sure,
    Tell us how you do!
    (Come on Dave, give me a break)
    Hey, hey, hey, one break, coming up!

    Name that song.

  9. Props on going sans short. It'll just motivate you to run faster! :)

  10. Love PI stuff (and that they are a CO company :))

  11. Awesome ... looks like this stuff was designed especially for you!

  12. Great shirt, it looks great both coming and going!!
    It will be interesting to hear how you like running in tights, keep us posted!

  13. So fun to get new running gear, especially when it's free! Love the new shirt and I'm glad you found some shoes that you like that give you some good feedback.

  14. Hey! I'm glad you found my blog... I'm now a follower of yours, too!

    I definitely have PF. I am using a foam roller and a tennis ball right now but am going to look into a Foot Rubz. I'm game for any excuse to go to REI and at this point anything that will help.

    From what I've read, you've recovered from PF? How and how long?

  15. I want some Pearl Izumi stuff.... I'm obsessed with their cycling shorts, and the winter running coat I bought was PI.... I love that they're fab-o performance wise and super cute... well in your case I mean... hip manly and cool...obviously.... ;)