Pearl Izumi X Project Shoes

Interbike Shoes

Pearl Izumi new X Project mountain biking shoe were designed from a clean slate, which allowed them to look at biking shoes in a different manner, and design features into them that makes sense for off road functionality.

They use 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 X Project 1.0 ($280), X Project 2.0 ($210), and X Project 3.0 ($160), and will be available in January 2013. They have a women’s specific version in X Project 2.0 ($210), and X Project 3.0 ($160) models.

I got a short test ride using the X Project 1.0 at Outdoor Demo, and I was pretty impressed. They were lightweight (320 grams), supportive, and gave excellent power to the pedals. I did a couple of brief hike-a-bike forays, and they climbed pretty well on the abusive rock terrain at Bootleg Canyon. They didn’t feel as flexible during hiking as their Alp-X Elite shoes, but those offer quite a bit less stiffness during pedaling. I am looking forward to trying the X Project series out in the future for a long term test and review.

I really liked the P.R.O buckle, which had a nice small button that you pressed to release the buckle.


Press Release

Pearl Izumi Reinvents The Mountain Bike Shoe
New X Project: Ride, Run, Hike

Louisville, Colorado – September 11, 2012 — Pearl Izumi, a worldwide leading creator of run, bike and triathlon apparel and shoes, today announced the innovative and game-changing X Project, a new category of mountain bike footwear that hikes and runs as well as it pedals a bike.

X Project, which debuts at both Eurobike and Interbike 2012, redefines the mountain bike shoe category. As proven by rigorous lab testing, on bike the shoe highlights high performance details and emphasizes maximum pedaling efficiency. A patent-pending tuned carbon shank provides power transfer equal to any mountain bike shoe offered by Pearl Izumi, while offering vertical and torsional flexibility during off-the-bike foot strikes. Perhaps best of all, this performance shoe weighs in at a scant 320 grams for a typical product in the line.

Pearl Izumi’s position as a leading running and cycling shoe purveyor made the cross-platform connection possible. “For serious mountain bike junkies, cyclocross addicts and anyone who pushes the limits, the question isn’t whether you’re going to get off the bike and hoof it, the question is when,” said Cycling Footwear Product line Manager Tony Torrance, “This shoe is pure performance on the pedal and just as efficient as any carbon shoe – with the added benefit of hikability off the bike.”

Created with insight from four-time MTB champion Brian Lopes and all-mountain, BMX standout Ross Schnell, the X Project line is made with the most technologically advanced materials available today, and tested specifically for the professional level athletes that wear the brand.

“For years mountain bikers have had to compromise a comfortable off the bike shoe for on bike stiffness and power; lightweight materials for more durable, heavy components, breathability for foot protection. This is the first shoe that can do both, superbly.” said Lopes “This X Project shoe is everything we have been dreaming of as we spend long hours on and off our bikes, trekking up hills, running through streams and forging paths when we’re not shredding the single track.”

At just 320 grams on average, X Project features co-molded rubber lugs on hollow TPU lugs that offer superior off the bike traction, and running shoe, molded-heel EVA strategically placed for increased walking, running, hiking comfort

The X Project line will retail between $160 – $280, and will be available in January 2013.


About Pearl Izumi
Pearl Izumi ( is a world leader in the manufacture of high-performance, high-tech sports apparel and footwear for avid cycling, tri, and running enthusiasts. Based in Louisville, Colo., a suburb of Boulder, Pearl Izumi is a wholly owned subsidiary of Shimano American Corporation, located in Irvine, CA.

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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  • duder says:

    some cool stuff, but no replaceable toe cleats is the kiss of death for me

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Do you mean replaceable lugs? Their design highly integrates the sole and its constituents as a one piece unit, so the lugs are molded into the system, and wouldn’t be replaceable. I will confer with the engineers when I see them next month and get a better answer.

  • carverboy says:

    No, he means cleats not lugs. And yes if you race you need replaceable cleats up front for muddy hike a bikes. the second pic of the different colored soles seems to show placement for cleats. at this price point gotta believe the shoe has them.

  • kevin says:

    So are these shoes ever coming out? I’ve look around online and cant find anyone selling them. what happened?

  • Kyle says:

    Like one of the guys above, I’m looking for these things but they don’t seem to be for sale. I might be interested in buying a pair but that seems impossible.

  • Overdrive says:

    Any update/ETA on these? Been holding off replacing some tired shoes but deadline draws very close. These look(ed) so promising.

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