Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0 Shoes - Review

Jul 7, 2014
by Mike Levy  
Finding the balance between efficiency and comfort is, after fit considerations, one of the biggest factors when looking at a new pair of shoes. Weighing in at 320g and sporting more acronyms and catch-phrases than most bikes, Pearl Izumi’s X-Project 1.0s have been developed to deliver an good level of power to the pedals, but also to offer flex in their soles in the name of comfort. Lengthwise along the outsole is a (take a deep breath now) carbon/thermoplastic polyurethane layered plate that is shaped to provide an optimum level of stiffness. The plate is shaped wider under the cleat base and tapers towards the toe and the EVA foam heal. The layered plate is a way to tune the flex and shave weight from the shoe. Pearl Izumi’s 1:1 anatomic P.R.O. Buckle system ratchets at a 25-degree angle, and is said to provide comfort and support over the top of your foot, while the anatomically designed pad works to eliminate pressure points and maximize heel retention. The P.R.O. buckle works alongside two other hook-and-loop straps. Pearl’s 1:1 Insole System with Total Tune Performance Inserts allows for even further custom adjustment of both the arch support and varus (forefoot) angle. Pearl Izumi provides a test chart to help with initial setup, and then your own personal preferences can guide you from there. The 1.0s reviewed here sit at the top of the X-Project line up and they retail for $280.00 USD. The neon green/black color scheme is unique to the X-Project 1.0, and sizing starts at 38 and goes up to 49 with some half sizing available. www.pearlizumi.com

Pear Izumi X-Project 1.0 review test

The X-Project 1.0s proved to be stiff in the sole but still comfortable when forced to dismount, although they aren't inexpensive and not the best choice for riders with wide feet.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesLooking for a shoe that is stiff enough in the sole to feel cross-country efficient, but still flexes enough to not put your feet in the pain cave when it's time for a hike-a-bike? The X-Projects could be them. We've had two pairs of Pear Izumi's black and green kicks in rotation for awhile now, and they became an immediate favourite that was used for everything from all-day epics, shuttle runs on the big bike, and even when scoping lines and taking photos saw us walking far more than actually riding. The customizable arch and varus support worked wonders for one of the testers, with him saying that it really helped to get his feet in the correct position over the pedal and that fit was spot-on. The other tester wasn't so enthusiastic, however, reporting that his slightly wider than average feet had a hard time dealing with what feels like a pretty skinny fit to the X-Projects, as well as pointing out that the upper strap felt like it was applying too much pressure onto a single spot when done up barely snug. Much like bike seats and toothbrushes, shoes are a pretty personal thing, aren't they? That said, the X-Projects likely aren't the best option for those with paddle feet. Both pairs of shoes have seen extensive use in rain, mud, sun, and dust, with them showing no real signs of wear beyond what you'd expect to see, and off-bike excursions have shown them to be very walkable given their stiff feeling sole. - Mike Levy



38 Comments

  • + 8
 I just can't see myself going back to this type of shoe after getting my Giro Chambers. Still less than 500g and far more comfortable than my plantar fasciitis inflicted feet could have ever dreamed of.
  • + 4
 Same here, having been using five ten hellcats for the last two years, they're so much better than silly XC disco slippers. So much more comfortable and so much easier to find the pedal again should you have to unclip.
  • + 3
 I've been looking at the Giro Chambers online,any tips on sizing ?
A 5 Ten size 45 fits me perfectly,where as i can't get my foot into a Shimano AM 45 of the same size.
The last pair of 5 Tens i bought got destroyed very quickly,they seem to be more of a fashion shoe since the Germans came in.
  • + 3
 Unfortunately these STILL seem like vapourware in most sizes??? I'm on a close competitor in the Specialized S-Works Trail, and while an excellent shoe for pedalling and my fit, the rubber soles on them just don't last. I was in UT/AZ when I first got them, took the toe spikes off by the second day for traction on the rocks, and within two weeks I had worn down the rubber to the carbon and I don't hike-a-bike much. Fortunately Specialized warrantied them and in softer places like BC/PNW they would be great.

Have had much better luck with the Contragrip rubber used by Mavic on a pair of Mantras(carbon sole/agro grip) I had that lasted almost three seasons.
  • + 1
 I just checked the PI website and they had a bunch of sizes in stock. Maybe ask if your local dealer can order some up? Not sure what's going on in Canada vs. the US. If they are out, they must have sold them to dealers somewhere.

I've been riding these for a while now, and really like them. Good grip everywhere I've been, Moab, Fruita, Whistler, New England, etc. No abnormal wear or funky stuff, just solid shoes and I can actually walk in them. My slightly wide feet fit in the 1.0 just fine, but I do use a standard flat run shoe style insole, not the multi-piece one the shoes come with. Not uncommon for me in any cycling shoe I've ever had.
  • + 1
 I've had the X Project 2 (a bit cheaper, a tiny bit heavier and less ventilated) since the beginning of the season and I'm very happy with them. They are by no means some magic combo of a comfy sneaker and a carbon race shoe but they work pretty much as advertised. I haven't felt insecure carrying the bike up some bouldery steps and can wear the shoes while hanging out and having a beer after a ride but can still crank away on the climbs like I'm wearing a decent xc shoe. I would recommend trying them on as the fit is a bit particular. The 1 and 2 come with Pearl's adjustable insoles which helps but the 3 is probably the best bargain if your feet don't need a dialed fit since you get the same sole and quality in the shoes with a tad more weight and without the insoles.
  • + 1
 I've been waiting for someone to review these. I've been drooling over them ever since they came out. I don't like the Price Tag too much as I usually just buy a pair of $100.00 shoes that have been clearanced down to $50.00. Maybe it's time to step up and get a nicer pair.
  • + 1
 spent a lot of money on sidi dragons, rode them for years thinking high cost equated to high quality. recently left them at a friend's place and wanted to ride, so bought a pair of lower cost shimano boot/shoes, and man i love em. will likely not be putting the sidis on anytime soon.
  • + 1
 I just spent a weekend of mixed riding (and mixed weather) wearing the new five ten freerider VXi elements clipless and have to say theyre possibly the comfiest shoe I've used. Stiff enough to ride in and flexy enough for hikeabike. And finally a "weatherproof" five ten - that doesnt take a week to dry out Smile
  • + 1
 After almost 5 seasons my shoes are thrashed. I think I have it narrowed down to either mavic crossmax giro terraduro perhaps this shoe or the bont riot. Bont has heat moldable insoles. Im not sure if any of these others do but I have molded soles in my ski boots and I love them.
  • + 3
 get the terraduro ive got some and ive had no problems in the last year
  • + 2
 Steal the terraduros via ecommerce @$130.
Plus they come in all black. No brainer really.
  • + 5
 Stiff and flexible huh? ¬ ◡ ¬
  • + 9
 Marketing department is breaking the limits :- D
  • + 2
 Finding perfect shoes is maddening sometimes. Had a pair of Shimanos for several years, then retired them after Megavalanche. Wish I still had them.
  • + 1
 I just realised I've had my Gore Tex shimanos since 2007. I lost one pedal recently and have been wearing them daily without cleats. Have had 2 $6 repairs to them, have never retreated the Gore Tex on them and they are still water proof. They have seen a fair bit of shovel time too.
  • + 1
 Goretex is a material, not a treatment, it sits between the actual inside sock and the main construction of the shoe
  • + 2
 Im not 100% but I'm pretty sure you can to protective measures to ensure the goretex material continues to be waterproof.
  • + 1
 It's not a waterproof coating though, its a breathable membrane, meaning the fabric itself is waterproof but breathable
  • + 2
 If you paid any attention before you jumped up this guys ass to be a know it all, you'd notice he said that he re-treated the gore-tex. He didn't re-treat anything with goretex.
  • + 0
 And your saying im up his ass? For a start, he didnt retreat anything, thats his point, that hes not needed to. And being so pedantic about a f*cking - is ridiculous, and when your point is incorrect, you just sound like even more of a tool.
  • + 2
 No you're still wrong. He never said goretex was a treatment. You accused him of that. That's the point.
  • + 0
 No. I simply said Goretex is a material. And your still wrong because he didnt retreat anything. My second comment was slightly mis worded, it should have been it doesn't need a waterproof coating because of the design of the material.
  • + 0
 And saying 'goretex on them' implies on the surface I.e. A coating
  • + 1
 You're both wrong
  • + 1
 My understanding is that the Gore-Tex Fibres on the shoes hold a treatment that can be renewed with mild heat or a special rinse wash product available at outdoor stores. Some spray repellants claim compatability with GoreTex fibres also.
  • + 2
 I know it's a little thing, but please PB writers it's heel (foot) not heal (get better).
  • + 1
 Terraduro has been working VERY well for me. Stiff, light, great for hike-a-bikes and the Vibram sole is awesome. Much cheaper than these as well.
  • + 3
 Hahaha 'Paddle feet'
  • + 2
 Very true. I walked out of them in a size that was crushing my feet. Couldn't tighten the strap near enough.
  • + 2
 "Paddle feet" in bike shoe terms is like saying "Man Feet". Basically you must have the feet of a woman, (small and narrow) for these shoes to fit correctly. If you have a man size foot (12 wide) no bike shoe will fit you. lol.
  • + 2
 Pear Izumi? any relation to Pearl?
  • + 2
 Just beat me to it!
  • + 4
 ...and of course it's corrected leaving us looking out to lunch.....mmmm lunch!
  • + 4
 Sorry guys =)
  • + 1
 Buy Sidi.
  • + 1
 I like em!
  • + 1
 5 ten hellcat.

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