Pearl Izumi X-Project 2.0 shoe

Still looking good

One shoe to rule them all?

Brand:
Pearl Izumi
Product:
X-Project 2.0
From:
Madison
Price:
£170/$210
Tested:
by Marc B for Five Months
Word count:
537

One shoe to rule them all?

Shoe-sock coordination is critical

Shoe-sock coordination is critical

Looking for all the world like full-blown race slippers, Pearl Izumi’s X-Project 2.0 shoes are unique in that they are designed to work nearly as well off the bike as on.  With a tapered carbon fibre sole plate, usefully-sized lugs, and even a cushioned heel, the pride of the Pearl stable aims not to add injury to the insult of walking in cycling shoes.

So fresh and so clean.

So fresh and so clean.

The middle model of three, the 2.0s combine a usefully durable upper with the lighter and stiffer of two available X-Project sole plates.  The candy-coloured translucent outsoles proudly display the underlying carbon fibre, with grippy rubber tips providing traction.  The usual two straps and a ratchet arrangement is designed to hold the shoe firmly to the foot, with a back-swept arrangement to better follow the top of the arch.

While unlikely to be anyone’s first choice for a daylong ramble, the X-Project 2.0s really do deliver when off the bike.  The flexible forefoot approaches less-supportive ‘enduro’ shoes’ ability to find stability and purchase on uneven ground.  Having drawn the short straw in a recent 24-hour race, it can even be said that the cushioned heels make running Le Mans-style starts (more) bearable.  For those of us whose adventures trend toward misadventure, the ability to push comfortably and confidently is a godsend.

Still looking good

Still looking good

On the bike, the picture is every bit as good: there’s plenty of stiffness and support to go around (…and around, and around).  Ventilation is good, thanks to the perforated uppers, but can’t match that of more mesh-intensive shoes (for that, there’s the X-Project 1.0).  In exchange – and in keeping with their on bike/off bike mission – the 2.0s’ microfibre uppers have done a great job shrugging off the usual scuffs and scrapes, suggesting a long life ahead.

Included with the X-Project 2.0s are Pearl Izumi’s 1:1 insoles, which have pockets for forefoot wedges and arch inserts of varying thicknesses.  A welcome no-cost addition, the inserts do take up more volume than other cycling insoles- be sure to check fit both with and without before committing to a size.  Also on the subject of fit: your reviewer’s low-volume feet mean that the ratchet often bottoms against its stop, even with high-arch insoles fitted.  Those with more normal feet shouldn’t have any issue, but do try with summer-weight socks before buying.

Lots of tread (and a nice look at that carbon fibre plate)

Lots of tread (and a nice look at that carbon fibre plate)

All in all, the X-Project seems like just the shoe for adventure- or cyclocross-inclined riders.  The company has delivered on its promise of pedaling stiffness and off-bike capability, and – six months in – the materials have been more than up to the task.  If the fit works, there honestly seems little reason for anything else in the closet.

Categorised as:

Clothing