by Marc Basiliere
September 25, 2013
On/off-bike shoes for everyone
As exciting as Pearl Izumi’s X-Project shoes are, their XC-oriented styling (and premium price tag) won’t appeal to everyone. For anyone who needs good on- and off- bike performance and prefers a more trail or – dare we say it – Enduro aesthetic, the X-Alp Enduro IV may be just the ticket. The fourth generation of Pearl Izumi’s well-regarded trail shoe, the X-Alp Enduro is stiff enough for long days in the saddle, has plenty of flex for extended off-bike stretches, and a walking-friendly tread and rubber compound. The shoes even steal a bit of EVA foam from Pearl’s running line to make heel strikes that much more comfortable.
Two Velcro straps hold the forefoot while a micro-adjust ratchet keeps the heel in place. The X-Alp series are engineered with durability in mind- something that has made them extremely popular in these parts. An all-black model is available for Cure fans, but didn’t photograph as well as the grey/orange/blue shown here. US pricing is set at $120, the UK price will be £109.99 with the shoes becoming available around March. There’s also going to be a Seek V and a Drift III model, at £99 and £89 respectively.
Ladies get all of the same features at the same price in a pair of attractive colours.
Also new for 2014 is the MTB Barrier Jacket. The wind- and water-resistant jacket isn’t really the things for full-on rain, but will keep the core and arms comfortable on cool days and in light rain. Designed for mountain bike use, the MTB Barrier has abrasion-resistant sleeves and is cut loose enough to cover a pack in a pinch. US MSRP is set at $95 and the jacket will also be available in black with fluoro accents.
The matching Launch short is carried over from 2013 unchanged save for colours. A bit sturdier than the fast-and-light Divide short, the Launch is built out of abrasion-resistant stretch nylon fabric. Pearl Izumi’s internal rear belt is a personal favourite and despite being at the sturdy end of the Pearl Izumi spectrum, the Launch is still lighter than many trail shorts. Zippered vents and an included 3D Tour Chamois liner complete the £100/$120 picture. (A ladies’ verison forgoes zip vents and saves $20.)