X Project Shoe
Pearl Izumi is finally about to release the highly anticipated and coveted X Project mountain biking shoes. We first saw the shoes at last years Interbike show, but they were having some issues with the Italian-made sole, so they hunkered down until they got things right.
Mountain biking shoes are an oddity, since they are asked to perform multiple functions, including offering a stiff platform for optimal power transfer to the pedals and walkability for off the bike forays. The sports apparel and footwear company Pearl Izumi wanted to meld the benefits of pedaling and walking performance, so they designed the new X Project mountain biking shoes by starting from a clean blank slate, which allowed them to look at things from a unique and different perspective. By using innovation and biomechanical engineering and partnering with established Italian shoe artisans, they designed features into them that made sense for off-road functionality, so that the shoe would pedal and hike, with no performance loss for either endeavor. In a nutshell, the X Project shoe uses a tuned carbon sole which is rigid while pedaling, and then will flex when hiking or running over technical terrain. The shoes have an EVA foam heel to absorb impact, co-molded rubber tips on TPU lugs for traction, and a full-length tapered unidirectional carbon plate for power transfer and hike-ability.
The shoes come in three models, the top of the line uni-sex X Project 1.0 ($280), and the men’s X Project 2.0 ($210) and X Project 3.0 ($160). They have a women’s specific version in the X Project 2.0 ($210) and X Project 3.0 ($160) models, which has a corresponding anatomical last. All the shoes have the exact same performance and power characteristics, and there are just fewer features, increased weight and decreased cost as you move down the model lineup, and they’ll be available in the fall time frame.
X-Alp Enduro IV Shoe
The new X-Alp Enduro IV follows along the same design characteristics as the X Project shoe, but it comes in at a $120 price point, in both men’s and women’s versions. The shoe is fully walkable and transfers power to the pedals, and will be a great shoe for beginners and experts alike; in fact, Brian Lopes raced them at the Legends of the Kamikaze in Mammoth.
The shoes have a full EVA midsole, a carbon rubber outsole, and a fiber reinforced shank that runs along the middle half of the shoe. The shanks location gives the shoe flexibility at the toe and heel for walking, and stiffness under the foot for power and control. They used the CSU’s Physical Activity Energetics/Mechanics Lab (PAL) under Dr. Ray Browning for biomechanics assistance, testing and expertise. They use their 1:1 Anatomical Buckle Closure System and highly breathable and quick-drying mesh/synthetic upper.
The new MTB Barrier Jacket utilizes the ELITE Barrier fabric for wind and water resistance, and features abrasion-resistant panels on the outer arms for protection and durability. In the typical barrier type of jacket, its meant to keep the body core warm, and can be used on cooler days and in light rain and snow. It has a chest pocket and two hand pockets for storage, and a full-length zipper. The jacket will come in two colors with fluorescent highlights and will retail for $95.
The Launch short got some brighter colors this year. The Launch short utilizes a stretchy ballistic ripstop nylon fabric, which has great abrasion and breathability. The short has an 15-inch inseam, large thigh zippers for venting, two hand pockets, a zippered thigh pocket, and has a nice external waist adjustment system. It comes with their 3D Tour Chamois and retails for $125.