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Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoe Review

For 2019 Pearl Izumi has a new lace up cycling shoe called the Pearl Izumi Tour Road. It’s a bit of a throwback to lace-up cycling shoes, but with all the modern touches of today’s cycling shoes.

Obviously price point was something Pearl Izumi must have considered and I think they nailed it with the Tour Road’s $130 price point.

Fantastic Cycling Shoe For The Money
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Summary

The PEARL IZUMI TOUR ROAD cycling shoe just works. For those looking for a fantastic lace-up cycling shoe that performs flawlessly and feels great on, you will not be disappointed.

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Pearl Izumi Background

My first real introduction to the Pearl Izumi brand was back in the early 90’s. I was in full swing doing triathlons and at that time Pearl Izumi made some rather tasty running/cycling apparel perfect for triathlons. Fast forward to August 2016 and Pearl Izumi stunned the running world when they announced that Pearl Izumi would ceased production of their running line of shoes and apparel. 

Pearl Izumi wanted to focus solely on their core, which in Pearl Izumi’s case was cycling.  From 2017 on efforts would be focused on “being the best at performance cycling, mountain bike and tri apparel, shoes and accessories”

Based on what I have seen come out from Pearl since 2016, they have certainly met my expectations including their very cool winter line of cycling essentials.

Unboxing

The Pearl Izumi Tour Road cycling shoes arrived in a typical box in a box. There wasn’t much fan fair or a mesh shoe bag to be had, it was all business.

Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoes Arrive
Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoe Unboxing
1 pair of shoes + Shoe Manual + 2nd set of laces (Orange)

The shoe box contained your typical shoe wrapping paper and padding, a manual and an extra set of orange laces for those who want a little flair.

Pearl Izumi Tour Road Lace Up Cycling Shoes
Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoes comes with lots of holes to vent air through
Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoe Bottoms
Can use both SPD-SL 3 bolt setup or SPD 2 bolt setup
Closer look at the Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoe
SPD-SL 3 bolt setup or SPD 2 bolt setup

For those that are more keen on using 2 bolt SPD cleats rather than the typical 3 bolt setup most road shoes come with, you can go that route or choose the 3 bolt option instead.

Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoe heal bumper
REVIEW

Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoe Review 2019

The first thing you will notice is the Tour Road’s lacing system. While in the last few years the trend has been for cycling companies to incorporate BOA or other like systems into their cycling shoes, many companies are now offering lace-up alternatives to BOA, usually with a much nicer price tag.

Cost Savings

The Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoes retail for $130, which is a far cry from Pearl’s top of the line $350 P.R.O Leader 4. It’s rather refreshing to see a cycling company coming out with a cycling shoe that doesn’t break your bank account, but still offers a killer value in performance.

Obviously for $130 there had to be some cost cutting and Pearl Izumi achieved this by using a nylon composite sole vs a fully carbon sole, and incorporating laces vs using a BOA system.

Laces Out

Pearl Izumi Tour Road 2 Laces

Pearl Izumi nailed it with the lacing system. Like the P.R.O. Leader 4, Pearl Izumi uses an asymmetrical slightly off-center lacing system to avoid sensitive areas on top of the foot. It virtually eliminates pressure points of a traditional center setup and really hugs your foot.

The downside of laces, especially for those who love to micro adjust their shoes while riding, is you will need to stop to make any adjustments. You will also have to make sure the laces are properly secured before riding. It’s no fun getting laces tangled in a chain or other moving bike parts.

The good news is the Tour Road do come with lace locks, providing a safe place to stash your laces

2 Bolt SPD or 3 Bolt SPD-SL Flexibility

Pearl Izumi Tour Road 3 bolt SPD-SL and 2 bolt SPD

The Tour Road gives the rider the option to either use 2 bolt SPD type cleats or the 3 bolt SPD-SL pattern.

On my indoor trainer I use a 2 bolt Shimano SPD setup, which is a more typical setup for indoors. Out on the road I use the traditional 3 bolt pattern cleats.

It really boils down to preference and with the Tour Road you have flexibility to use either one.

Stiffness

According to Pearl Izumi the Tour Road has a stiffness rating of 9. To give you some comparison, the P.R.O. Leader 4 has a stiffness rating of 13. I’m not exactly sure how Pearl Izumi calculates stiffness, but the Leader 4’s do feel a bit stiffer when climbing and when you are out of the saddle sprinting.

I am willing to bet the average Joe or Jane isn’t really going to notice much difference. It’s really the pros who might want the stiffer sole of the P.R.O. Leader 4.

Speaking of soles, one reason for the difference in stiffness has to do with the materials used. The Tour Road was developed with a nylon composite sole with a carbon forefoot. The P.R.O. Leader 4 utilizes a full carbon sole.

Direct-Vent Technology

Pearl Izumi has incorporated just the right amount of venting and drainage into the shoes to keep your feet cool and comfortable.

Pearl Izumi Tour Road Bottoms
Pearl Izumi Tour Road air flow

There are 4 mesh vents on the bottom of the shoes and laser cut pinhole venting on the upper. For summer, late spring and early fall these shoes would be an excellent choice.

For winter, cold springs and late fall I would probably recommend teaming them up with Pearl Izumi’s P.R.O. AmFIB WxB Shoe Covers or P.R.O. Thermal Toe Covers depending on temperature.

Technical Highlights

Pearl Izumi Tour Road Specifications

Features:

  • Seamless upper offers exceptional comfort and avoids hot spots by adapting to your unique foot shape
  • Traditional lace closure for a precise fit and all-day comfort
    Lace lock provides a safe place to stash your laces to keep them free of your drivetrain
  • 1:1 Composite Power Plate with carbon fiber forefoot insert provides lightweight stiffness and durability (stiffness rating 9)
  • Plate features Direct-Vent technology for cooling and drainage
  • 3-bolt SPD-SL and 2-bolt SPD compatible
  • Weight: 270 grams / 9.5 oz. (size 43)
Bottom Line

At $130 the Pearl Izumi Tour Road cycling shoes are one heck of a bargain. The seamless upper provides a fantastic feel and the asymmetrical lacing setup means the top of your feet will not get hot spots.

The shoes look great on and provide excellent performance. You will not be disappointed.

Check out the Pearl Izumi Tour Road on Pearl’s website (https://www.pearlizumi.com)

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of GearMashers.com, 10KstepsDaily.com, EndTheTrendNow.com, AntiqueOutings.com, MiniatureReview.blogspot.com and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

6 Comments

  1. Roman

    Hi Guys, many thanks for the nice review – I will go for these shoes!
    Is there a “special” sizing, or is the size like normal shoes (e.g. usually I have 42, also with Specialized Bike Shoes, but Sidi 43).
    Do you think 42 is the right size?
    Thanks in advance!
    Best, Roman

    Reply
    • Tom Crandall

      Hi Roman,

      I found the shoes pretty true to size as far as cycling shoes go. Sidi’s tend to run small, so that is probably why you needed to size up.

      For me, I didn’t feel I needed to size up with them, but everyone is different as to fit and comfort level.

      Reply
  2. Anne

    Have you tried walking in these with 2-bolt SPD cleats?

    Reply
    • Tom Crandall

      Hi Anne,

      Only in my room that has carpet. I think using 2-bolt SPD cleats with these outdoors wouldn’t be a good option.

      Reply
  3. Anne

    Would LOVE to see PI bring out a mtb version of this shoe for improved off the bike walking. Tempted by this version but the cleat on ground is what has had me migrate to all mtb spd shoes. LOVE the fit of PI shoes.

    Reply
    • Tom Crandall

      Hi Anne,

      Agreed. It would be very cool to see a mountain bike version of the shoe.

      Reply

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