Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pearl Izumi Pursuit 5” Shorts Review

Pearl Izumi was started over 50 years ago in Tokyo, Japan by a father who wanted to make bicycle racing clothing for his son.  It has become one of the largest makers of cycling apparel in the world.  The name Pearl Izumi means “fountain of pearl” and was named after Izumi, which is an area of Japan known for its clear water and the gem, pearl.  They have been selling their gear in the United States since 1981 and have branched out into selling gear for running and triathlons as well. 

I have been using Pearl Izumi cycling products for over 15 years and have found that the quality of their gear is top notch.  The durability and design has never left me disappointed.  (Click here for my review of the N2 running shoe).

Let me start off by saying that there are two things that I normally look for in a running short, no liner and a length of at least 7”.  The Pearl Izumi Pursuit 5” Shorts don’t meet either of those criteria.  I have no problem trying new things, although I was worried about chafing issues.  I got the Pursuit 5” Shorts and initially noticed the light weight material that is used.  The body is made of 100% polyester and the inner liner is made with a blend of 88% polyester and 12% elastane. 

I put the shorts on, just to see how they felt, and I was pleasantly surprised.  The shorts fit well, and the Transfer Fry 4-way stretch fabric really did a good job of moving with my body (when I did some squats and lunges).  I was excited, but a little hesitant to take the shorts on my 6 mile tempo run the next day for fear of chafing.

The temperature outside was about 75 degrees, which was warmer than normal around here.  I headed out for my run and noticed within a minute how comfortable these shorts really were.  The 5” length of the Pursuit shorts wasn’t bad at all (I actually kind of liked it).  The inner liner fit the way it should and was comfortable as well.  After this test run and another long run, I can report that there were no chafing issues.  The Pursuit 5” Shorts felt awesome! 

The shorts have some reflective material for enhanced visibility in low light situations.  There is also a back pocket where you can store your keys, gels, or a phone.  This is the one area where I would recommend an improvement.  Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with the envelope pocket.  My personal preference in shorts is to have a zippered pocket in the back, just for my peace of mind.  I hate wondering if my house or car keys have fallen out of my pocket mid run.    

Decent price at $50
Very light weight and breathable
Transfer Dry 4-way stretch material
Envelope pocket for storage
Comfortable brief liner (chafe-free)

I wish the back pocket had a zipper, but it worked well

Pearl Izumi’s Social Media Links:

I have never been a fan of inner briefs that come with running shorts.  They never feel comfortable to me.  That is not the case with the Pursuit shorts.  They were extremely comfortable and I even liked the 5” length, which is shorter than I would normally prefer.  I would definitely buy and recommend these shorts.  The price is reasonable and I think the materials should allow these shorts to last for a long time.  I am convinced now that Pearl Izumi is more than just a bicycle clothing company.  You can pick up a pair at the Pearl Izumi website, at your favorite online retailer, or at your favorite running store (click here for locations).  Get a pair and let me know what you think.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.


  1. Thanks Brian for the review! Any plans to review the endurance version of the PI shorts? The one with two side pockets for gels and a zippered back pocket? Thanks

  2. Thanks Brian for the review! Any plans to review the endurance version of the PI shorts? The one with two side pockets for gels and a zippered back pocket? Thanks

    1. I just contacted my rep at PI and they said that they will be unable to send me a pair right now, but maybe in the future. They look like awesome shorts and if they are anything like the Pursuit shorts, then I would buy them in a second.