by Marc Basiliere
August 22, 2013
Despite a flurry of activity and press at Interbike nearly a year ago, Pearl Izumi’s X Project line of shoes have been conspicuously absent from shops. The idea behind this project was to create a shoe that would be stiff enough to race in but flexible enough to run in. To make this possible, PI used a roughly triangular carbon fibre or composite (depending on model) insert, tapering in both thickness and width towards the heel and toe. They stole a wedge of EVA foam from the company’s running line to make fast dismounts and slow trudges more comfortable. The plate and foam were then to be encased in one of several candy-coloured translucent soles and topped (bottomed?) with grippy tread rubber.
A month later, there was a press camp with still more details and some promising first rides. Then we waited. And waited. The target early spring delivery date came and went and still no shoes. It turns out that the heart of the X Project – the Italian-made sole – was giving the company fits. Rather than rush an incomplete product to market, they decided to wait until the shoes were ready.
The cellphone pic above is the first we’ve seen on the project in some time. The bright blue and green are unmissable and could well be the ‘cool kid’ colours for the coming season. These are the updated X Project 3.0 model (target RRP $160/£130), which uses a composite sole plate and perforated synthetic leather upper in place of the pricier 1.0’s mesh upper and carbon fibre sole plate. Beyond being cheaper and slightly heavier than the flagship, the 3.0s should be a bit more scuff-resistant and cosier come winter. In this case, they should be harder to lose in the closet.
We’re now hearing that October will be go time for the 3.0s, January for the 1.0s and 2.0s- sadly, they’ll miss most of ‘cross season. A more subtle black with a red sole will be offered- but these are hard not to like. What say you? A step too far, or just the thing to brighten up a dreary day?
Like the look of them? Tune in to tomorrow’s Fresh Goods to see what colour our ones are… Oh, and you need to see the matching socks!