Rev3 Summit - Pt III, The Pearl Izumi HQ Tour

Rev3 Summit Part I and Part II here, if you haven't caught up yet. Just over two years ago, I bought my first pair of bike shorts—some Pearl Izumis with a generous inseam—without knowing anything about the brand. Funny to think that just a few years later, I’d get the chance to tour the headquarters out in Louisville, CO.

On Saturday, the Rev3 age group team invaded the Pearl Izumi headquarters to meet some of the brains behind the product and learn more about the shoes, kits and other gear we’d be rocking this year. And PI rolled out the red carpet…. we learned all about the product and process, enjoyed a personal tour of the headquarters and got to meet Tim DeBoom, who told us all about his awesome history and relationship with the company.

Walking around, all I could think about was either 1) if I ever got the chance to race professionally, these would be the guys to do it with and 2) in the likely case that #1 doesn't happen, how do I submit a resume?!?!

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Before I go into some of the product-specific stuff, did you know that each Pearl Izumi pro (e.g. Cait Snow, Jesse Thomas, Flora Duffy and, yes, Tim DeBoom) gets their race kit specially measured and fitted to their body? It’s not “Small, Medium, Large” sizing, it’s “Jesse Thomas”-specific sizing. It's like when models are sewn directly into their clothes for runway... how cool is that? Once the measurements are taken, the suits are then hand-sewn, in-house.

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Everywhere you looked these signed, custom jerseys were displayed on the walls, like a shrine to the triathlon/cycling worlds:

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First, we learned about every type of product coming down the line for 2013 and beyond. The work they are doing with shoes—stability, cushioning, etc.—is particularly revolutionary. First off, they are making strides (pun intentional… heh heh) with their new line of Project E-Motion shoes, which feature a dynamic offset midsole (just shake your head with me like we both know what I’m talking about…) that supposedly promotes more fluid foot position while running. Compared to other running shoes where you usually have a fixed drop difference between the heel and toe, the E-Motion line varies based on where you are in your foot strike, making for an overall smoother ride. Bottom line - all I really need to know is that my feet are going to be happier and (hopefully) my run splits faster.

Explained better here, courtesy of PI:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwXexIzSM3Q]

In addition to the sole technology, PI is transitioning to a naming convention where the letter (N, M, H) corresponds to how much stability you need (N being neutral, M being stability for midfoot pronation, H being stability for rear pronation) and the number being how much cushioning you need (1 being the least cushioning, 3 being the most). So I have my eye on the upcoming Road N-2, which is a neutral shoe with medium cushioning.

They’re also bringing some of their fashion sensibility to the footwear line. The last pair of PI shoes I had (ISO Shifts) were a pretty tame white and teal. Now check out their rainbow of hues for both men and women… BAM:

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Plus, I may have to get into trail running, just so I can get one of their colorful shoes with the Colorado flag lace holder… such details!

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We also learned a lot about the tri race lines and run lines. Admittedly, I’ve only ever worn a run skirt from the PI run line but am looking forward to some of their other gear. Some really cute run tops and layers—including a white sun shrug, which I have to admit I'm a tad bit skeptical about. Overall though, PI is knocking it out of the park with some of their new clothing lines when it comes to both technology (so soft!) and fashion... and this is coming from a former lululemon employee/addict. With everything I’m eyeing, I’m starting to get a little worried for my bank account…

I’ll leave you with some photos from the tour, including their advertising wall of fame:

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Including some photos that got banned from certain magazines for being too risqué ;)

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Have to love a cheeky company!