The cycling industry seems to get more and more segmented every year. Product designers try to identify every type of rider and place them in a nice little box, then proceed to create products for specific applications. With this in mind, Pearl Izumi’s new line of X Project shoes are a break from the status quo in that they aren’t designed with a single type of rider in mind. They’re designed to be the best all-around mountain bike shoe possible. We applaud innovation and love when company’s take risks on new ideas. The X Project shoe is a risky venture for Pearl Izumi because it’s so different from anything else out there, but that’s why we love it.
The goal of the X Project is to provide the best combination of off-the-bike walkability with on-the-bike performance. It’s a tough task to accomplish – either have a super stiff sole that hikes like a piece of cement is bolted to the bottom of your foot or have a flexible sole that pedals like a running shoe. The X Project 1.0 features a patent-pending tapered carbon fiber plate that’s thick where power transfer is necessary and thin where your foot bends in order to be flexible while walking. It’s an ingenious solution to an ages-old problem. There’s also an EVA foam heel that absorbs impact for hiking shoe type comfort. To ensure a proper fit, customizable insoles offer three different arch and varus cant options. Cyclocross seems like the ideal application for these shoes, but anyone who has to walk in their bike shoes will love the feel. The 1.0 is the top of the line model and will sell for $279.99.
The X Project 2.0 features the same outsole as the 1.0 but doesn’t have the same seamless bonded upper. MSRP is $209.99.
The X Project 3.0 has a composite tapered sole instead of carbon and goes for $159.99.
We are really excited about these shoes and can’t wait to get our feet into a pair. Check out this video for more info on the X Project shoes and a pretty awesome endorsement from World Champion Brian Lopes, who raced a prototype version of the 1.0 to victory in a XC eliminator race in Belgium in May. It was his first time wearing the shoes!