Mountain bike shoes are a direct extension of preferred riding style and bikes for most. Some of us may prefer a 6″ travel enduro bike from little brand X where others may prefer a 4″ travel xc race bike from big brand Y. The new Pearl Izumi X-Project Pro attempts to merge the riding styles of those looking for a lightweight efficient pedaling shoe with a casual high-performance walkable sole.
The X-Project Pro is unique in that it blends the stiff carbon sole of an XC race shoe with a more flexible forefoot of a casual shoe. In addition, Pearl Izumi adds co-molded rubber to the lugs for increased walking traction and a convenient double BOA closure that would be worthy of a NASCAR pit crews shoe changing efficiency.
Details: Pearl Izumi X-Project Pro $350 Weight: 370g (size 43)
Key features from Pearl Izumi:
- Advanced 3-Layer Seamless Composite Upper offers exceptional breathability and eliminates hot spots by adapting to your unique foot shape
- Zonal Bi-directional Closure wraps the foot for a semi-custom fit and secure foot retention
- Double BOA IP1 reels allow 1mm micro-adjustability and pop up for full release, BOA dials are directional and twist to tighten in different directions on the left and right shoes
- Co-molded carbon rubber tips on hollow TPU lugs provide impressive traction on an extremely lightweight bottom unit
- EVA foam heel absorbs impact for off-the-bike comfort
- 1:1™ insole system allows independent left and right arch and forefoot varus canting adjustability for optimal pedaling mechanics
What I like: The upper and tongue are very light and soft feeling. This makes for a very comfortable shoe without hotspots and easy to get in and of out thanks to the great dual BOA’s tongue placement. The sole is more than adequately stiff and efficient without being so stiff that comfort is sacrificed. The footbed system is excellent with enough wedges to make your feet happy no matter what shape or size.
What I don’t like: The molded rubber attached to the hard plastic lugs is beginning to show some signs of wear and peeling off after nearly 600 miles.
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Fit is true to size if you’re familiar with Shimano, Giro, Five Ten. I wear either a 42.5 (if they have half sizes) or go up 1/2 size to 43 if half sizes unavailable. The shoe volume is good very good and should accommodate most well. The toebox offers plenty of room for the toes to move around without being sloppy.
Whether XC or trail rider the X-Project Pro’s are a great choice. Co-molded rubber lugs aside, I wouldn’t change a thing about this shoe. The Pearl Izumi X-Project Pro is light, stiff, efficient and most of all extremely comfortable. As a rider that desires comfort, lightweight and efficiency while on the bike most, the X-Project Pro fits my needs better than any shoe I’ve tried to date.