Post written by Susan Lacke.
“We want you to RUN LIKE AN ANIMAL.”
When I got an letter from Pearl iZUMi with this statement, I had to double-check to make sure it was actually my name in the header. It was. Surely, the company made a mistake. I don’t run like an animal. At best, I suppose I could run like a lobotomized duck, but even that’s pushing it.
I’ve been a fan of Pearl iZUMi’s cycling gear since I began triathlon training. On long rides, I swear by their women’s cycling shorts. Without them, my ability to feel my bum after 60 miles would be non-existent. No other brand will do for me.
In spite of my ass full of gratitude, I was a bit apprehensive when Pearl iZUMi asked me to test out their running gear. Typically, when a company with a strong reputation in one discipline tries to expand into a multisport role, they flounder.
My curiosity outweighed my skepticism. This lobotomized duck took their running gear for a spin. If you want to Run Like An Animal, too, here’s what you need to know. (Disclosure: Pearl iZUMi sent me this stuff to try out for free.)
The Apparel (Finally, no PINK!)
Girls, let’s be frank: Not everyone wants to run in pastel flowered skirts. If that floats your boat, great…but when I’m sweating it out and blowing snot rockets, I don’t really care if I look ladylike. I swear, if I try on one more trisuit with a pink hibiscus…
The cool thing about the Pearl iZUMi line for women is the availability of bold colors in addition to the standard girly fare. My test samples were the Infinity short and Infinity In-R-Cool Short-Sleeve shirt, in — y’all ready for this? — black and white.
Both these products performed excellently. The material is soft and light, with awesome wicking and ventilation features. The shirt is cut a bit longer and features a built-in sunblock (UPF 50). The shorts were super-comfortable and the lining never got damp, even on long runs. My favorite part? The inseam never rode up like some of my other running shorts do (if you’ve ever dealt with chafing thighs or had an embarrassing race photo where you look like you’re wearing a strange bikini bottom, you know what I’m talking about).
Bottom line? I can’t wait to stock my running closet with these. They’re going to get some heavy rotation this summer.
In the midst of Running Like An Animal, my skepticism about a cycling company making running shoes was both confirmed and disproved.
Two pairs of shoes were sent to me for testing. While the first pair was a bit of a letdown, the second was a pleasant surprise.
The SyncroFloat IV is a neutral trainer made with recycled material. When I first slipped my feet into the product, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The shoes are highly cushioned, almost to the point of feeling like an overstuffed couch. The product description I was given stated this “Energy Foam” was highly responsive and bounces energy back on every step. I didn’t experience that. Instead, it seemed to me the foam was slow to respond, like when a person presses down on a memory-foam mattress. It’s great for sleeping, but when I run, I need something that springs back faster.
To be fair, my research on the product revealed this shoe is more for heel-strike runners. I’m a mid-foot striker. Perhaps it was a case of the wrong shoe for the wrong person.
Pearl iZUMi redeemed itself with its isoTransition triathlon race shoe. One second in these kicks, and I was in love. The shoe is light, flexible, and easy to slip on — essential in transition during triathlons — thanks to the quick-pull lace system. The upper hugs the foot well, eliminating any need for socks, and the ventilation (in the upper and in the soles) is excellent. The cushioning wasn’t extreme like the other pair I tested — in fact, I found it to be just right for runs up to ten miles.
You’ll be seeing me sport these in my shorter-distance triathlons this season…they’ve got the NMA Triathlete Stamp of Approval.
Do You Want to Run Like an Animal, Too?
The friendly folks over at Pearl iZUMi want to give you the opportunity to Run Like an Animal, too. They’ll be giving away two pairs of shoes to NMA readers — one for the guys, and one for the gals. Go to their website, check out their shoes, and come back here to comment below with the style you’d pick if you won. Winners will be selected randomly on March 22, 2011.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susan Lacke serves as No Meat Athlete’s Resident Triathlete. While writing this article, she consumed an entire 1-pound bag of baby carrots. When she isn’t getting down with her bad NMA self, she’s usually searching for the perfect cupcake or writing for Competitor Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke