Pearl Izumi Men's Elite Road IV cycling shoes - review

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Pearl Izumi Elite Road IV shoes – review

Top-end performance without the top-end price

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.

The Elite Road IV shoes sit in the middle of Pearl Izumi’s range but offer top-end performance

The sole has a low 7mm stack height, which helps keep the foot as close to the pedal as possible, allowing for more direct power transfer and, as a result, you can really drive the power through the pedals with almost no flex – just what you want in a top-end road shoe.

There are bumpers at the front and rear of the sole to provide some grip and to protect the sole when off the bike, and while the rear bumpers are replaceable, which is always useful for improve the longevity of the shoe, the same can’t be said for the front.

The upper of the shoe is full bonded and so has no seams, eliminating the potential for anything to rub or create pressure points. That helps in the comfort stakes, along with the Boa closure system. The dial sits in the centre of the shoe as opposed to what’s more commonly seen with the dial on the side. The thinking behind this is that by having it in the middle, the Boa dial gather the cable evenly from both sides of the shoe, reducing the possibility of pressure points. Boa is one of our favourite closure systems and its micro-adjustability also helps fine-tune the fit, particularly when making quick on-the-fly adjustments during a ride.

In addition to the Boa dial there’s a large velcro strap at the toe box which provides a little additional security when pedalling. The rest of the shoe also helps with this too, with a good insole providing more than adequate arch support and the high heel cup offering plenty of support without causing any heel rub. It’s worth noting at this point that the sizing comes up a little small. Whereas I normally wear size 43 cycling shoes, the size 44 tested provided a better fit.

The centrally-located Boa dial helps prevent pressure points

The shoes have plenty of ventilation, with 12 mesh vents on each. Nine are above the toes, two on the sole below the toes and one underneath the arch behind the cleat. This combination allows for plenty of airflow through the shoe – great in warm weather, though perhaps not when it’s a little chillier. Still, that’s why we where oversocks/shoes.

Aesthetically the shoes look really good too, with clean lines throughout helped by the seamless upper, and especially in the white model tested (a black option is also available). I received some positive feedback from club mates when wearing the shoes – which is a nice change from my regular fluoro shoes.

Twelve mesh vents on each shoe ensure there’s plenty of airflow through the shoe

Another point that normally sets the very best shoes apart from the rest is their weight and these don’t disappoint. Thanks to the carbon sole, single Boa closure system and seamless upper, they come in at a svelte 278g, which is good for the money and only 30g more than Pearl Izumi’s flagship P.R.O. Leader II shoes.

Conclusion

With an RRP of £150 these aren’t cheap shoes by any means but you’re getting plenty for your money, with a high-quality full carbon sole, low weight, Boa closure and seamless upper combining to offer a shoe which performs very well, both in terms of the stiffness of the sole and comfort. Other than a minor moan that the toe bumpers aren’t replaceable, there really isn’t much not to like and, all things considered, the Elite Road IV offers top-end performance at a mid-range price.

Pros

– Great value
– Stiff carbon sole
– Micro-adjustable Boa closure system

Cons

– Toe buffer not replaceable
– Come up a little small in size

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