Those shoes are among the lightest, stiffest and most comfortable you’ll find, and have a price tag to match, but a quality set of cycling footwear needn’t cost you a fortune. Which is where the Elite Road IV shoes from Pearl Izumi come in.
As with most bike bits, there’s a point where the law of diminishing returns kicks in and a pair of shoes like the £149.99 Elite Road IVs are a good benchmark of that ceiling. We found them to be very comfortable when we reviewed them, with a super-stiff sole and excellent ventilation.
The Elite Road IVs were launched as Pearl Izumi’s second-tier road cycling shoe behind the then-flagship PRO Leader IIs, and are very similar in style as a result.
A carbon sole and a retention system consisting of one BOA dial and a Velcro strap looks very familiar indeed, with the biggest differences being the added weight of the Elite Road IVs and the bulkier upper.
Picking up on feedback from earlier iterations of the shoe, Pearl Izumi focussed on ventilation for the Elite Road IVs and have cut 12 mesh vents on each shoe. Their location, above and below the toes and underneath the arch of the foot, ensure plenty of airflow, which is always a bonus on a hot day.
Pearl Izumi have also worked carefully to reduce the likelihood of pressure points – and here’s an example of that trickle-down tech – by mirroring what they did with the Pro Leader II and sticking the BOA dial in the middle. It means the wire is tightened evenly on each side.
You get a one-piece (and therefore seamless) upper too, which also contributes to the clean lines and stylish looks offered up by the Elite Road IVs. Onto the sole and the uni-directional carbon fibre adds up to a level of stiffness which can hold a candle to some top-end (and much more expensive) shoes in the business.
In short, Pearl Izumi have hit the bang-for-your-buck sweetspot with the Elite Road IVs. These aren’t just good shoes for their price, they are excellent shoes full stop.
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