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Pearl Izumi Peak II
$115, 9.6 oz, www.pearlizumi.com
The Dirt. The long-awaited evolution to the popular Peak XC, the Peak II is actually a different shoe—a lightweight ride and seamless upper are about all the XC and II have in common.
Testers praised the gusseted slip-proof tongue and house-slipper comfort. Equipped with a more aggressive lug pattern than its predecessor and a more cushioned midsole, the Peak II shined on a variety of terrain, from fire roads to dry singletrack to even pavement. However, testers felt traction was lacking on wet and rocky surfaces.
A flexible mid-foot and a relatively low-profile construction (it has a 9mm heel-to-toe drop) made the Peak II fast and nimble on the trail. However, narrow-footed testers had a hard time synching laces enough for a snug mid-foot fit.
Fit. Fits medium- to high-volume feet best and caters to the neutral foot-striker wanting a low-profile, cushioned hybrid.
Best For. Testers found it was best suited for well-groomed, packed, dry trails of any distance. One tester raced a 5K in it while another, wore it in a trail marathon. Still another tester reported he would run a 100-miler in the Peak II.
Tester-monial. “I was able to easily transition from one terrain to another—a testament to how versatile this shoe is for its light weight.” —Tim Barnes, Louisville, Kentucky