Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch
Flat pedals aren't just for downhillers, which means that the shoes to go with them don't always need to be big and overbuilt. Pearl Izumi's new X-Alp Launch shoes are aimed at trail and all-mountain riders, with a low profile, casual look that won't attract strange glances if you wear them into a coffee shop or local watering hole at the end of a ride.
The shoes use a dual compound Vibram sole, with stickier IdroGrip rubber underfoot to help them latch onto pedals, and a more durable MegaGrip rubber at the toe and heel. The uppers are bonded rather than being sewn, which eliminates potentially uncomfortable seams while also saving weight - claimed weight for a size 42 is 340 grams. There will be men's and women's versions, both priced at $150 USD. X-Alp Launch SPD
Pearl Izumi also have a clipless pedal version of their X-Alp Launch on the way. The shoes have a composite shank that runs 3/4 the length of the shoe, which provides stiffness underfoot for pedaling while also making it easier to walk naturally when you're not on the bike. There's a smooth section of Vibram Megagrip rubber around the cleat area to help prevent any interference when clipping in and out, and the rest of the shoe is lugged for traction on slippery hike-a-bikes. Like the flat pedal version, there are both men's and women's options. MSRP: $160 USD. X-Alp Elevate
Pearl Izumi bills the X-Alp Elevate as their do-anything shoe, whether that's a quick lap after work or a mega-adventure deep in the backcountry. The fit is adjusted via a Boa closure dial on the upper portion of the shoe, with a Velcro strap just behind the toes to further fine tune the fit. The Boa mechanism ratchets in 1mm increments, and is released with a simple upwards pull on the dial. MSRP: $180 USD.