Pearl Izumi Men's X-Project 20 Cycling Shoe Review
Mountain Bike Shoes Reviews

Pearl Izumi Men’s X-Project 2.0 Cycling Shoe Review

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Let’s start with the basics. What exactly are cycling shoes? How do they differ from other high-performance sporting shoes? You know, the general questions that we all ask. Well, cycling shoes are considerably different from most other sporting footwear. This is mostly because cycling does not involve running or lifting the foot off the ground.

Since cycling is fundamentally different from most other sports, it’s no surprise that cycling shoes are quite different as well. So let’s see what some of the key characteristics of cycling shoes are.

Cycling shoes utilize something called clipless technology. Simply put, there is a cleat on the bottom of the shoe. A cyclist can use the cleat to temporarily attach the shoe onto the pedal, which allows them to pull on the pedal instead of just pushing the pedal down.

The ability to push as well as well on a pedal allows a cyclist to put fluid effort into the entire pedaling stroke. This results in greater efficiency in transferring power onto the pedal and achieves greater cycling speed.

Aside from the cleat, cycling shoes tend to be far stiffer than with significantly thinner soles. This prevents the shoes from flexing when force is being applied to the pedal. These shoes also feature buckles and straps so that cyclist can firmly strap their feet in positive and avoid slipping.

Let’s take a look at Pearl Izumi Men’s X-Project 2.0 Cycling Shoe and see how it lives up to everything we expect from a cycling shoe.

Pearl Izumi Men’s X-Project 2.0 Cycling Shoe


Most high-end shoes sacrifice walkability and traction for maximal power transfer to the pedals, which is fine for professional cyclists. However, most cycling enthusiasts need to walk, at least, a little in their cycling shoes as well. This is where X-Project 2.0 Cycling Shoe comes in.

The shoe is designed to deliver the maximum energy transfer of a rigid carbon fiber soled shoe without actually having to sacrifice on the ability to grip over rough terrain. Despite a high degree of rigidity, the shoe can still flex in the places, which is important when you have to walk with your cycle over impassable trail objects.

The reason X-Project Cycle Shoe can achieve such a feat is due to being outfitted with a full-length carbon fiber plate inside the sole. The plate is tapered to provide just enough flexibility to be able to walk over rough and loose terrain without sacrificing too much on power transfer to the pedals.

The shoe has a running shoe EVA foam placed under the heels that allow the shoe to dissipate some of the impacts of walking and makes walking in these cycling shoes a realistic possibility by alleviating some of the discomforts.

The shoe also features co-molded rubber, which along with hollow TPU lugs provide an incredibly tenacious grip, all of this without adding greater weight or excess bulk. Last but not least, the upper part of the shoe is fully bonded with synthetic material, which allows a shoe design without seams and a shoe box, effectively eliminating pressure points and hotspots.


  • A fully bonded upper body without seams, pressure points, and hotspots
  • Ensures flexibility to traverse over impassable trails
  • Full-length tapered carbon fiber plate in the sole


  • Sacrifices some power transfer for walkability
  • Available in only two colors

Summary of Features

The Pearl Izumi Men’s X-Project 2.0 Cycling Shoe is a premium mountain biking shoe that provides walkability as well as an efficient transfer of power to the pedal. It is a fully bonded shoe that eliminates any need for seams and potential pressure spots. The EVA foam in the heels absorbs some of the impacts from off-the-bike hiking.

The shoe has bi-directional closure mechanism, which allows the shoes to deliver a proportional fit from both sides and ensures even foot retention. It also has a micro-adjustable BOA reel for the greatest possible precision power transfer.


Let’s look at Tommaso Montagna 200 Mountain Bike Cycling Shoe and compare it with Pearl Izumi Men’s X-Project 2.0 Cycle Shoe. The Tommaso Montagna Cycling Shoe is a buckled cycling shoe with fiberglass reinforced soles.

The shoe design focuses more on comfort than the transfer of power to the pedals. The shoe is made out of durable synthetic leather, which offers ventilation as well as hugs the foot. It is a highly versatile shoe that will ensure maximum walkability while sacrificing on cycling power.


As you can see from the comparison section, both shoes are designed for mountain biking but focus on two different aspects of biking. The X-Project Cycling shoes offer maximum power transfer of power with enough walkability to traverse impassable terrain.

Whereas Tommaso Montagna focuses more on walkability and less on the transfer of power, which means it can also be used for spinning, touring or commuting.

If you want truly mounting biking shoe, then there is no doubt that Pearl Izumi Men’s X-Project 2.0 Cycle Shoeis the perfect choice for you. It provides just enough walkability to take your cycle beyond impassable terrain but will give you the most you can get from your mountain biking experience.

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