Pearl Izumi has focused on refining the fit of its re-energised footwear line-up for 2010.
Sitting at the top of the road range again this year is the ultralight Octane, weighing in a claimed 470g for a pair of 43s. The new Octane SL retains the original's carbon fibre plate and buckle-less three-strap layout but the straps are now more offset to lay more naturally across the top of the foot and there's now a loop of carbon fibre (the 'PowerBand') wrapping around the back of the heel for additional support.
The last volume has also been decreased – especially around the toe box – for a snugger fit and the vamp (that section of shoe ahead of the base of the tongue) has been shortened to better accommodate a wider range of foot widths. Also, cushy memory foam has been added to the tongue (last year's was essentially unpadded), the heel cup now sports dual-density foam for a tighter hold, and three different insoles will allow for a somewhat customised fit.
The new P.R.O. Road II shoe gets the same fit refinements as the Octane SL plus an adjustable-length main strap.
Riders who prefer a more conventional buckle-and-two-strap upper can instead look to the updated P.R.O. model. The main strap is now adjustable in length on both ends – via a novel hook-and-pin system on the inner side and a two-position buckle on the other – and a thick EVA pad cushions the top of the foot.
Like on the Octane SL, the P.R.O. also gets a revised lower-volume fit, angled straps, dual-density heel cup, and the more supportive Power Band carbon heel counter. Claimed weight for a size 43 pair is 550g.
The same updates given the road-going P.R.O. shoe have also been added to the off-road version.
Off-road riders get their own Octane SL and P.R.O. versions, too, with all of the same updates as the road-going models but with the requisite lugged outsole.
The fully lugged outsole provides superior traction while the partial-length plate hidden beneath still affords efficient pedaling.
Riders seeking even more security when on foot, however, can instead opt for one of the X-Alp models, which essentially mate racing-oriented uppers to a hiking boot-like outsole for superior traction. A rigid, partial-length plate still affords efficient pedaling, too.
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