Pearl Izumi have strayed from the norm in the construction of the PRO Leader III, scrapping the lasting board which is a staple in a shoe. Instead, the PRO Leader III’s carbon sole is effectively used as the lasting board, so the upper is wrapped around the bottom of the sole, and the bottom of the shoe is wrapped in a layer of polyurethane to make for a neat finish. The advantage isn’t a drop in weight, with a size 43 shoe coming in on par at 235g, but a reduction in stack height by 1.5mm to 5mm.
The upper, meanwhile, is a seamless design, which acts as a second skin. It has two obvious layers: a full mesh inner layer and an outer webbed layer to act as reinforcement. The result is an upper which, due to its flexibility, moulds around your foot and helps with ventilation. It makes for a surprisingly comfortable experience – I half expected them to feel super-harsh as a result of the lack of padding – but if they fit properly then it’s absolutely nothing to worry about.