Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pearl Izumi Project Emotion - Dynamic Offset

The new Pearl Izumi Project Emotion line of shoes have made use of a new fancy label...

Dynamic Offset

In looking at the new lineup, it seems that there is no stated heel or toe stack height, only a range of drops based on this idea of the dynamic offset.  I asked Pearl Izumi if they have a measured stack height for the new line of shoes, but haven't heard back as of yet.

In the mean time, one reviewer, Sam, has posted stack heights for the new shoes HERE which he states are from Pearl Izumi.  I can't say they're verified numbers, but according to him, here are the stack heights.  THANK YOU SAM!!!
  • EM N1 Road/Tri - 19mm heel, 18mm toe = 1mm drop with 4.5mm dynamic offset
  • EM N2 Road/Tri - 23mm heel, 19mm toe = 4mm drop with 7.5mm dynamic offset
  • EM M3/H3 Road - 25mm heel, 21mm toe = 4mm drop with 7.5mm dynamic offset
  • EM N1 Trail - 19.7 heel, 18.7mm toe = 1mm drop with 4.5mm dynamic offset
  • EM N2/M3 Trail - 24.5mm heel, 20.5mm toe = 4mm drop with 7.5mm dynamic offset

What is "Dynamic Offset"?
I wasn't too sure myself even after reading Pearl's explanation of it.  After some thinking, I believe it is a concept that applies to ALL shoes unless of course you wear something that does not have cushion - like wooden clogs.  Dynamic Offset, as illustrated HERE by Pearl Izumi, is the changing (hence "dynamic") heel and toe stack height of a shoe.  As your foot strikes the ground whether it be the heel, midfoot, or toe first, the cushion of the shoe compresses, causing the initial stack height to decrease as the material absorbs the impact.  As you progress through the motion of your foot strike to the eventual toe off, the difference in height off the ground of your toe versus your heel changes as demonstrated by the image taken from the above mentioned video.

Isn't that the same for other shoes?
In my opinion, yes.  On the grand scale (aka, ignoring any technical details that Pearl might throw at me), the height off the ground of the ball of your foot compared to that of your heel changes throughout the progression of your foot strike no matter what shoes you wear.  Again, ignoring wooden clogs.  It's a natural characteristic of the materials we use for the soles of our shoes.  They simply compress to absorb impact; some more than others. 

So how do the new Pearl Izumi shoes differ from any other shoe?
To be honest, I'm not sure.  We can obviously assume that these shoes will differ in all of the typical ways - the fit, the material, the feel, etc.  However, as far as the dynamic offset, I do not see how the new shoes differ from the general idea of any other shoe design.  I am certainly not privy to any insider information, but I see the new label "Dynamic Offset" as a marketing ploy as opposed to a purely design characteristic. 


Update on the Release Date:

Outside PR, a marketing group that Pearl Izumi uses, told me via Facebook that I should look for the new shoes on Feb. 15th.

My local Fleet Feet store expects to have delivery of the shoes by next week.  My number is on their list to call when the shoes come in!


1.  When shopping for anything, do you critique the labels and/or product descriptions?
I find a lot of product descriptions, commercials, and labels to be misleading.  They all say "the best" or use fancy terms that really mean nothing at all, but make you think "Ooooh, that's fancy!"

2.  Have you ever worn wooden clogs?  
I'm Scandinavian and those things are not comfortable!

3.  Do you know what the offset or stack heights of your shoes are?
I'm curious how our favorite brands and models compare.

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

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