PEARL IZUMI'S SYNCRO FLOATGreat shock absorption and comfortable fit

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"If you haven't got anything nice to say, then don't bother writing anything."

I always remember my dad's words of wisdom, nearly 20 years ago, when I first started writing magazine reviews. "The only thing you'll gain by writing that kind of stuff is a bunch of enemies," he continued.

So a little more than a year ago when Pearl Izumi suggested I try a pair of their running shoes, well, I had to be honest with them. While they looked cool, I thought they were terrible running shoes. Almost zero shock absorption put these at the bottom of my running shoe wish list.

As with anything that's just not quite up to par, I chose not to review Pearl Izumi's first attempt at running shoes.

So when I got another call promising a complete redesign and amazing new results, I was skeptical but figured it couldn't hurt to give them another try. Pearl Izumi's marketing coordinator, Josh Parker, assured me the difference between these new shoes and the old ones was "night and day."

By the way, based on Pearl Izumi's first attempt of a running shoe, I was really left scratching my head as to why on earth a successful cycling apparel company would venture into the crowded segment of running shoes dominated by the big boys at Nike, Asics, Saucony, New Balance and others.

Nailed a winner

After trying on Pearl's new syncro Float and walking just a few steps, I knew they'd nailed a winner. For starters, this shoe fit like a comfortable glove right out the box and I couldn't wait to try them on a run.

The next morning, I laced these babies up, grabbed my dog and bolted out the door with my new syncro Floats. I'm not sure if there's a play on words here with "sink or float" but, nevertheless, I felt like I was floating. Great shock absorption and comfortable fit had me psyched about starting to run more often.

Of course it's always nice to don a new pair of shoes and feel that virgin cushioning absorb those first few steps but I've always found I need a little break-in period of three or four runs before I really feel just right in a shoe.

Not so with the syncro Floats.

They were awesome on that first run and continue to be. It's now been about six weeks since I've been running three days a week in my Floats and it's the only shoe I run in lately. And, to the puzzlement of my wife, I've got all kinds of running shoes -- Nikes, Asics, Saucony and Reebok -- that I could wear if I wanted.

"Why do you need so many running shoes?" my wife frequently asks. Of course she's also amazed at how I've accumulated, and keep, boxes of race t-shirts that span nearly 30 years of involvement in participatory sports.

But given that I have the choice to run in almost anything I want, it speaks volumes -- and surprises me to no end -- that I choose to run in Pearl Izumi running shoes. That's right, a company known for outstanding cycling is now my first choice in running shoes.

The techno stuff

Of course, technical geeks will want to know what makes this shoe absorb shock and transfer energy so well. Honestly, I never really care what kind of what material is used. And there's always some trademarked technical names for materials we've never heard of yet all do essentially the same thing: absorb shock and transfer energy.

Pearl Izumi's trademarked name for their unique new midsole technology is SyncroFrameTM. The claim here is that SyncroFrame, based on independent lab tests, outperforms market-leading shoes in shock attenuation, cushioning, efficiency, flexibility, and stability.

The SyncroFrame, combined with SkyDex cushioning and high rebound EVA, creates a smooth platform that delivers superior shock attenuation and energy return. Pearl Izumi's acclaimed Seamless Upper Technology also ensures a comfy fit around your foot.

For those worried about weight, a size 10 tips the scales at 12.4 ounces which is fairly typical for a light, all-around cushioned trainer.

Runner's World just handed the syncro Float the 2005 "Best Debut" award for a running shoe and runners and triathletes are quickly jumping on the bandwagon.

A trail running version of the syncro Float, dubbed the syncro Seek is also now available. Both shoes have a suggested retail of $94.99. For more information, visit or call (800) 328-8488.

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