Pearl Izumi SynchroFuel RD II review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

Triathletes and runners are a loyal bunch. Especially when it comes to our shoes. I wore one brand/model for 4 years, then another for 6 years, and then another for 11 years. 11 years in one shoe – through updates and tweaks that made me crazy.  I’m not into short-term relationships with my running shoes.

Recently I was given the opportunity to review a few different shoes. I was like a 7th grade boy at the dance. Giddy with anticipation, but not quite sure how to approach the experience.

One of those shoes was the Pearl Izumi  SynchroFuel RD II, Pearl’s best selling shoe. I was skeptical. Isn’t Pearl Izumi a cycling apparel company?

I selected the “Black/Screaming Yellow” model. It’s an awesome looking shoe right out of the box. It says “Look at me! Yes, I’m rocking screaming yellow shoes. SCREAMING YELLOW!” Just slipping them on gives a boost of confidence every runner needs.

I also liked the Colorado state flag detail incorporated into the lacing system. We’ve never lived in CO, but our trips there recently have caused mommy and I to fall in love with Boulder as a “maybe someday” location.

I’m flat-footed, so I normally wear a stability shoe, but the SynchroFuel provides “mild pronation” control in a neutral shoe. They felt great as soon as I slipped them, so I felt “neutral – ie normal” and that made me happy.

Here’s some other technical stuff about the shoe from

  • New 1:1 Bonded Seamless Upper creates an unparalleled fit with a seam-free interior
  • 1:1 360° Lacing anatomically conforms to the foot for a tailored fit regardless of foot shape
  • Half-length medial side syncro Stability Frame
  • 1:1 Energy Foam cushions the foot upon impact and then returns energy back to the runner
  • Full blown rubber outsole with carbon rubber heel crash pad
  • Ortholite sockliner for amazing step-in confort and long-lasting cushioning
  • 360°
  • Performance Last
  • Seamless Upper Technology®

I don’t know what a lot of that means, so I’ll just tell you about my experience in the SynchroFuel RD II.

I definately noticed the seam-free interior and the Ortholite sockliner when I put them on. As a triathlete I do a lot of my short course racing without socks, so I tried them on both with (Swiftwick) and without socks. I was equally comfortable both ways due to the seamless interior. That makes this shoe a good choice for triathletes who want to add elastic laces later. (Pearl Izumi also makes a line of Tri specific running shoes).

The SynchroFuel RD II isn’t the lightest shoe I’ve ever worn, but its not a clunker either. These aren’t minimalist shoes, but as standard “old fashioned” running shoes go, they felt awesome.

My first run in the shoe was 3 miles. I felt light in the shoe and knew immediately that I could actually race in this shoe rather than using strictly as a trainer. The shoes width gave me a sense of stability and allowed my foot to spread out upon impact.

Since that first run I’ve done about 10 more runs in the SynchroFuel RD II, ranging from 3-10 miles. Over the years I’ve trained my foot to run in stability shoes with a lot of cushioning in the fore foot. The SF RD II has a little less cushion than I’m used to on long runs, but that’s not a bad thing. They aren’t uncomfortable – just different for a guy who is used to bulkier shoes. It’s kind of nice feeling a little closer to the road.

I’m planning to race these shoes over 13.1 soon, so I’m confident in them. That’s saying a lot from an “over pronator”. I believe in this neutral shoe after putting them to the test.

So, two things:

1. Pearl Izumi is not just a cycling company. They make killer running shoes and gear too.

2. Like that 7th grade boy at the dance, I’m a bit smitten with my new crush. In fact, I think I’m in love. Really. It’s serious. I’m like “I think I love these shoes.”


– Daddy

* I was given these shoes by Outside PR and Sports Marketing for purposes of this review. My opinions, however, are my own or my 7th grade alter egos.