The Pearl Izumi X Alp Enduro III was built for great pedaling support and amazing hike-ability. These shoes are a nice all around mtb shoe that does a great job of bridging the gap between a race driven platform and an all around shoe that performs equally well on and off the bike.
When it comes to finding a great shoe that will support you well enough during long days on the saddle as well as maintain traction during those burly hike-a-bike sections we can face here in Colorado the pickings are slim. But Pearl Izumi freaking nailed it with this great shoe. For years I have ridden with a number of shoes from a number of companies that seemed to be all about race power and aesthetics while clipped in to your pedals, but few could handle the sections of trail when pedaling was just not going to do it. I can remember quite a few times trying to hop across a half frozen stream with my old bike shoes on only to slip into the creek soaking myself. Lets face it for years the cycling shoe was designed to be only a cycling shoe, and hybrids that would show up on the market were either not stiff enough or lacked the sole to grip uneven terrain. Fortunately I think the designers at Pearl Izumi are actually cyclists and hikers, just like me and they took the hike-a-bike sections to heart when creating the X-Alp Enduro III.
The upper of the shoe is well vented…almost too well vented and as the temperatures dropped I could feel my toes getting cold prematurely. On the up side of this is that when my feet got wet in the stream crossings or the poorly placed puddle, my feet dried rather quickly. To keep this all-in-one shoe on my feet it comes with two velcro fasteners and one ratchet buckle that has a replaceable clasp should it break…but why would it? The tongue of the shoe is ample and pads enough to negate any hot spots or pressure points that are some times a pain in the ass on cycling shoes. The sole of this shoe is where the magic happens, not only does it feature a recessed mounting plate for your cleats, but it has a ride and run plate that gives the support as well as flexibility to "run" should you need it. What this means is that if the incline you're attempting to ride is too steep the toe of the shoe flexes much like a running shoe to allow you to easily ascend what your wee little legs cannot pedal up.
The true awesomeness of this shoe comes from the total package of the breathability, secure closures and amazing sole. The comfort of this shoe is no joke either as many many days I would forget I had a mtb shoe on and would walk in them all day only to be amazed at the end of the day when I realized they were still on.
I am stoked to own a pair and when these blow out I will more than likely seek out another pair…or maybe try and find a pair of the soon to be released Pearl Izumi X Project which I hear are going to be AWESOME! If I get a pair in for review trust me you'll hear about it!