It may seem strange today, but when it launched in 2013, Pearl Izumi’s X-Project was one of the first performance-oriented shoes designed to work as well off the bike as on. The market moves quickly, however, and after an early top-half revamp the Colorado company has revisited the sole at the heart of the line.
The revised X-Project line consists of two models, each of which share an updated carbon fibre sole. Now trimmed further back, the stiff stuff now ends aft of the toe studs, allowing for a great deal of flexibility under the toes. At the same time, softer rubber aids off-bike and midfoot traction. Heel padding has also been improved, making longer off-bike stretches more manageable.
The men’s-only Pro has a lightweight upper and dual Boa closures at $350 (£270) while the $275 (£210) Elite adds a couple of women’s options, a little weight, and trades the lower Boa for a Velcro strap.
The first two hundred shoes available will arrive in a special Elite edition benefiting the Amy D Foundation, which supports female cyclists in honour of Amy Alison Dombroski who passed while training for a cyclocross career in Belgium. $100 (£75) from each sale will be donated, for $20,000 total.
At a more attainable $135 (£100), the long-running X-Alp Enduro gets a 5th iteration with an updated upper and real rubber sole borrowed from the Launch.