I recently lucked into a sort of three-for-one shoe deal. I’ll admit to being a running shoe fan, so I’ve been having fun testing out these new shoes on the Appalachian Trail.
Last weekend I drove out to where Route 56 passes through Tyro, VA before crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can climb the Three Ridges if you head north, but I chose south to climb the Priest. I knew it was a big hill, but figured I could possibly run up twice, swapping shoes between. I started out with the Pearl Izumi Trail N2. I had been wanting to try the Pearl Izumi trail line. Their soles have a nice rocker shape, similar to the Hoka’s that I really like. They are a bit less shoe than my Hoka Stinson Evos - hence my intrigue. My legs were more fatigued than I had realized. The Priest was more mountain than I had realized. There was no second climb.
Today I opted for an easier route to ensure I could get both remaining shoes tested. I headed out to the relatively flat, less technical stretch along the AT south from Rockfish Gap. I started in the Pearl Izumi Trail M2 shoes. They are very similar to the N2, but with a bit of support. I think they may have been laced too tight; I didn’t enjoy them nearly as much as I remember enjoying the N2s. Perhaps I really am more of a neutral runner these days? After 10K I swapped out for the Hoka One One Rapa Nui. The Hoka Stinson Evos have been a dream for me. Their clownish amount of cushioning saved my legs during many long runs. The Rapa Nui is a lighter, slightly less cushioned, performance version. I loved the ride.
It’s fun trying new shoes. The Stinson Evos had been my go to trail shoe, but I’m excited about the prospect of this new lot. It’s less than two weeks until Hellgate 66.6 miler, so I still have a bit more time for testing ;)