Recently I got in touch with an old high-school friend who is an active & avid cyclist and runner. I was in the market for some new performance shoes, preferably cross-trainers. She asked me a few questions about stability and within 10 seconds said "Get the Guide II by Pearl Izumi". I was familiar with Pearl Izumi from my days in the Northeast, loved their cycling socks and hoodies but I had never tried a pair of their athletic shoes. I used to be a Nike guy until I grew up and had a few injuries, then became a loyal follower of ASICS, which did wonders for my plantar faciitis. However I recently underwent a knee surgery and developed some complications, so the recovery has been slow and long. Along with the slow recovery has come several unwanted pounds to be more specific 8-9 pounds. I have been involved in a pretty aggressive physical therapy program, that includes some low impact plyometrics and light weight training. The pain from knee injury, surgery and complications is expected, but my feet were starting to take a beating as well. My new ASICS, which did not take well to that type of training from day one were giving out. I tried the ASICS cross-trainers but they just did not fit well on my feet. So this brings me to the Guide II shoe. Oh before I forget, an awesome feature is this shoe utilizes Skydex, which is also used by the US Military. Skydex is a product that provides superior cushioning www.skydex.com. The Guide II is a stability running shoe but I find can be worn as a cross-trainer. The shoe fits true to size, though the Pearl Izumi representative told me occasionally people find them to run about 1/2 small (just a heads up). The shoe's frame from front and heal gives you a solid platform for functional/performance training and the soft pliable upper is perfect for running. I consider that a huge plus since true cross-trainers seem to be tough on the feet whether your are on a tread-mill for a mile or doing a sprints. These shoes are very light and breathable (is that a word). Pearl Izumi advertises a 360 degree lacing system, which I don't understand other than the fact that they feel great laced up. I am putting these shoes to the test and time will tell how they hold up, but so far so GREAT! To make this all even better there is new release coming out pretty soon, this is a win/win. One, the new version is being released soon and two, because of the new release I was able to get a discount on Guide II. There is one thing I am undecided on, I want to get another pair to just wear around with jeans, but I also want to try the new release...decisions decisions. ****A few notes: I am not a hard core runner by any means, I put in 2 to 5 miles when I do run. I prefer sprints or participating in sports: football, basketball... My workouts are more geared to MMA training and involve weights, striking, jump rope that type of stuff. I am a big fan of P90X as well. I find this type of training puts a beating on my feet, especially as I get older. My opinion so far on the Guide II is based on my physical therapy program, a modified P90X program and a ton of elliptical machine and light tread-mill for rehab.
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