Pearl Izumi X Project Shoe Launch


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), which come in vivid green, orange and red colors, respectively. 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, and comes in purple and blue colors, respectively. 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 March 2013 time frame.

The obvious highlight of any of the X Project shoes is their brightly colored translucent soles. The 1.0 uses a combination of TPU and mesh materials, which makes it light at 320 grams and provide good ventilation, so it would suit warmer conditions, while the 2.0 use of synthetic leather would work better in wet and colder environments, and the 3.0 uses a mixture of synthetics and mesh.

The 1.0 uses a fully bonded composite upper construction which is commonly used in running footwear. It has the strength of traditional synthetics that are perforated, but gets the breathability and weight savings by using a single-layer mesh (like a running shoe) and bonding a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) skin with a synthetic underneath. This unique three-layer construction has a great strength to weight ratio, with good suppleness and breathability. The 2.0 uses synthetic leather, while the 3.0 uses a combination of synthetic and mesh.

The 1.0 features their padded and fully featured P.R.O. micro-adjustable buckle, which has a low profile, and three side locations for instep height adjustment. The buckle has a long throw lever adjuster arm and push button release for on the fly adjustments, both of which are extremely easy to use. The 2.0 and 3.0 models use their more typical buckle closure system.

The two lower straps are canted 25 degrees back to follow the natural contours toward the lateral side of the foot to help with hot spots and blisters. The well-padded tongue uses a SPR foam (open cell) which is very dense and doesn’t absorb water, and gives good cushioning and protection to help with pressure spots.

The 1.0 and 2.0 uses their semi-custom 1:1 insole system, which has some mild orthotics, and includes a metatarsal pad and adjustment wedges for tuning  the arch and varus in the forefoot. The 3.0 model has an insole that only has a metatarsal pad.

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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  • spokes572 says:

    why so bright colors. No gray or black. Biking is not a Rumba class.

  • Francis says:

    >>why so bright colors. No gray or black. Biking is not a Rumba class.

    Agreed. All of the models need to be available in grey or clear accent. Some neutral color. Currently, the X Project 1 is only available in green, the 2 in orange and the 3 in red. This will force some buyers to go up and down the product line depending on color preference.

  • Warp says:

    So, basically the main difference is the buckle and inserts? Weight difference is 10grs from top to bottom model, so not a factor or one easily lost on manufacturing tolerances.

    Hard to gulp the extra 120 bucks for the top of the line just for inserts and buckle… unless you REALLY like neon green. If you only need the inserts you can just shell out the extra 50 bucks for the middle one… if you really like orange.

    The top of the line will be a hard sale given the little difference with the lesser models and the higher price. But what do I know? XTR sells like pancakes.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Each of the three models uses different materials for the uppers, which is detailed in the article. I am not sure of the exact weights between the models, since they are not in production yet, so take them with a grain of salt. The 1.0 upper has better ventilation and is more supple, while the 2.0 uses synthetic leather and would best suit UK wet climes, while the 3.0 use synthetic leather and mesh. They all have the same performance from the sole and sticky lugs, and the 3.0 just uses a heavier glass layup instead of full carbon fiber.

  • Steve says:

    No wide sizes, booooooo

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