The Pearl Izumi Elite Road IV is an excellent mid-range good shoe which offers performance on a par with plenty of its more expensive competitors. The carbon sole is stiff, the fit excellent with a secure and micro-adjustable closure system which prevents pressure points, and the impressive ventilation keeps your feet cool. The only thing I would change would be to have replaceable toe bumpers.
When you think of a carbon-soled shoe with a fully bonded upper and a smart look, your mind is taken towards the £250+ price bracket, where most brands’ top-end footwear stands, including Pearl Izumi’s £229.99 P.R.O. Leader II shoes. Below that flagship tier, there’s often a caveat: “they’re good shoes for the price”. These aren’t just good shoes for the price, but excellent shoes full stop.
The sole is key to any performance-focused shoe and here it’s made from a uni-directional carbon fibre with a thicker, central ridge to provide additional rigidity. The result is a very stiff sole that matches many top-end shoes that I’ve used in the past, and this ensures there’s no discernible flex when stamping hard on the pedals.