This is my first impressions of the Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0. I will not turn this into a review, because I have not used these shoes yet. With that said, there is something very important you need to know about Pearl Izumi and it has to do with their sizing.
You might have heard me mention before that I am getting into gravel cycling soon. In fact, I am just waiting for my gravel bicycle frame to arrive and then the bike build can begin! I was not too motivated to spend money on new shoes at the moment, but I could not bear the thought of destroying my neat knitted road cycling shoes on gravel and dirt roads. Also, road cleats can be a nightmare to clip into if they get dirty. That is not something I want to battle with during one of the upcoming gravel bike races!
So I searched the second-hand bike market and came across the Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0. Sometime had them listed as “brand new” and in a size 46. This is where it gets interesting…
Pearl Izumi Sizing and Size Comparison
I wear a size 46 Fizik road shoe and it fits me perfectly. Seriously, my Fizik road shoes are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. They fit like a glove! I also owned size 46 S-works road shoes, but I sold them because I felt like they were too narrow for my feet. Specialized shoes are notoriously narrow. As part of my shoe hunt I went to try on a pair of S-works 6 XC shoes and the size 47 was a much better fit. If they were not so damn expensive I would definitely have bought them.
I figured ok, it will be touch and go. The Pearl Izumi shoes will either be a little too small for me or be a perfect fit. To my surprised, they were the smallest size 46 shoes I have ever seen. I knew from the minute I took them out of the box that they were too small. When I tried them on, they were squeezing my feet from every direction. The shoes owner was actually a guy running his own bike shop out of his house. He had ordered the shoes for himself but they were also too small for his feet. He concurred that they were an extremely small and narrow fit compared to other brands.
Fortunately, he was able to order me a pair of Pearl Izumi shoes from Johannesburg for the same price as he was selling these. He ordered me a 47, but they were still too small! We had to return the 47 and order a 48. Finally, the Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0 size 48 shoes were a perfect fit for my feet. I had to go 2 sizes up from my current Fizik shoes and 1 size up from the notoriously narrow S-works shoes.
Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0 First Impressions
Right off the bat I can tell you that these shoes look and feel amazing. They are also surprisingly light and stiff for a shoe that is so comfortable to walk around in. They also do not look “bulky”. Originally I was a bit worried when I saw photos of these shoes online. This is before I ever got to look at them in person. When I saw what they looked like on my feet I was immediately sold. That is why I went to so much effort to find the correct sizing, because I knew I had to have these shoes.
I am also very impressed with the double boa-dials that can be adjusted BOTH ways. I find this to be a very important feature. It comes in especially handy if you are in a bicycle race and would like to adjust the tightness of the shoe while riding. I am sure you have seen professional cyclist on TV do this numerous times during a race?
That is about all I can comment on! Like I said, I can not turn this into a review of the Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0, because I have not tested them out yet while riding. I have only tried them on, seen what they look like and walked around in them a bit. They are going to be stored in my closet until my gravel bike is built up.
Do you own a pair of the Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0?
Let me know what you think about them in the comments. I would love to hear from you and I would be curious to find out if you also had to buy a size or two up, before finding the perfect fit.