Pearl Izumi X-Alp Enduro III shoes review£100.00

Distinctive race/trail shoes

BikeRadar score4/5

Pearl’s distinctive Izumi X-Alp Enduro III shoes are hybrid race/trail shoes that walk and pedal well – but the looks aren’t for all.

The chunky hiking treads and deep EVA cushioning soles are definitely more trail shoe in style. They’re comfy and impressively surefooted for clambering or standing about in, while the hard ‘Ride & Run’ shank underneath actually pedals as well as most race-stye shoes, with no hint of a cleat hotspot even on extended rides.

The rounded toes with broad, deep toe bumpers and plenty of toe-wriggling room are also more hike than bike in style. The two short Velcro straps are backed up with a slightly incongruous ratchet for closure.

The combination does a good job, with the padded tongue protecting against pressure points as long as you can tame its tendency to loll off to one side as you put them on.

The plastic buckles tighten well enough, and they’re particularly easy to undo, but there’s a lot of play in them even from new. While we haven’t broken one yet, they’re definitely more vulnerable to trailside rock damage than a metal buckle. 

On the bright side, both buckle and strap are removable and replaceable if our pessimism proves well-founded.

Those tall heel counters don’t get an extra plastic cup, but they’re still secure without being over-attentive of your Achilles' tendon. Big mesh toe panels make the Pearl Izumis breezy – or more likely damp – but they’re quick-drying and the taller than average sole is a bonus if you’re paddling through the deep, deep summer puddles.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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