It’s great to see brands take notice of the need for a more performance oriented shoe for the trail rider who also seeks comfort and traction. Recently I’ve used everything from glorified foot sponges that take days to dry to xc race shoes with a little rubber glued on to the soles. Frankly, I’m surprised at how BAD some of the popular shoes are. I mean why wouldn’t I want a shoe that holds nearly triple its weight in moisture? Are the PEARL iZUMI X-Alp Elevate the comfort and performance harmony I’ve been searching for?
PEARL iZUMI X-Elp Elevate | $180 | SPD Compatible | Vibram Sole
Strengths: Comfort – Walking traction – Quick drying
Weakness: BOA lace wear on eyelets
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Initially, I didn’t feel that the shoes were super comfy, but that only lasted a few rides. Other riders I’ve spoken with said they were comfortable from day one so maybe I didn’t have something adjusted quite right initially. Regardless I’ve found the comfort to be excellent with the X-Alp Elevates. That became very apparent when I slipped into my race shoes that I previously had found to be VERY comfortable.
There is very nice padding around the heel that keeps blisters at bay even if you have to walk that flat a few miles. The toe box in the shoes is substantial and gives the toes plenty of room to spread out. Oh, and I can’t forget how quickly these shoes dry. Dry feet are happy feet right. Comfort rating: 9/10
How’s the Pedaling Performance?
Coming from a very stiff shoe this is one of the first things I noticed about these shoes. They aren’t the most flexy shoes I’ve ridden by far, but they do have a good amount of give to conform to uneven surfaces when off the bike. I’ll take that added comfort and traction over stiffness. 7/10
What about the BOA System?
Let me just say that after 6+ years riding BOA its definitely now my preferred system. The BOA IP1 dials on the Elevate’s are placed in a great location away from harm’s way on top of the foot. The system offers easy in and out as well as on the fly adjustment. I have had zero issues with the ones I’ve used recently.
For some reason, I think BOA’s scare some away that have never used them. They think “one more thing to fail on my shoes”. The earlier version’s may have had some issues, but the later versions are pretty rock solid. The good thing is that IF you do have issues, BOA is one of the easiest companies to deal with for replacement parts.
Who are the X-Alp Elevate’s for?
The X-Alps are great for the trail and enduro rider that needs an SPD shoe that offers high performance on and off the bike. I highly recommend these shoes especially for those with frequent water crossings due to their quick drying.
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If I have one complaint about the shoe it’s the eyelets that the BOA lace goes through. After a solid year and 2400+ miles in my previous Pearl X-Project Pro’s the laces begun to saw through a couple eyelets. These appear to be the same eyelets in the Elevates. I had one eyelet that did fail but was easily fixed with a small zip tie. PEARL iZUMI does have a very generous lifetime warranty should you have any issues like this.
The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Elevates are easily some of the best shoes I’ve tried recently. They dry quickly, offer nice performance and most of all are super comfortable. Add in their ease of use with the BOA lace system that allows on the fly adjustment and good looks and I believe you have a winning package.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]