Summary

We spent 5.7 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what cyclers think:

6 reasons to buy

  • The Pro Leader v4 is described as a very comfortable cycling shoe by almost all of the owners.
  • A majority of the buyers rave about the stiffness of the outsole, delivering excellent power transfer.
  • The BOA dials allow for quick micro-adjustments, says many people.
  • Plenty of reviewers love that the toe box has a bit of room while the rear offers a snug hold.
  • Multiple cyclists barely noticed wearing this trainer because it felt so light.
  • A lot of folks state that the electroplated outsole makes the footwear look more interesting and visible on the road.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Several consumers aren’t satisfied with the breathability of the Pearl Izumi Pro Leader v4.
  • According to a few users, the placement of the BOA dials could be improved.
  • The upper tends to stretch, so the dials need to be readjusted throughout rides, says a commenter.

Bottom line

This pair of cycling shoes from Pearl Izumi receives much praise for its overall construction. It has design elements that promote movements without chafing, such as the notches on the tongue and collar. The rigidity of the bottom improves one’s pedaling powers. It is also well-received by the cycling community for its style, comfort, and ease of use.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated Road cycling shoe

Expert Reviews

81 / 100 based on 6 expert reviews

  • 85 / 100 | Gear Mashers | | Level 3 expert

    Looking forward to a V5 version, I expect slight changes to the upper with a more softer feel and possibly changes to the heel material. As far as BOA positioning and Carbon stiffness, I am not really sure there is any room for improvement.

  • 90 / 100 | Road.cc | | Level 2 expert

    Performance-focused shoes that are comfortable, secure and well-made.

  • 87 / 100 | Road Bike Action Magazine | Level 2 expert

    This is a shoe that, thanks to its seamless shell, looks sleek and simple. The lack of ventilation in the sole is made up for in the upper without sacrificing support.

  • 80 / 100 | Cycling Weekly | | Level 2 expert

    The new Pearl Izumi PRO Leader V4s are decent cycling shoes that'll serve you well. However, they are not the most performance-led shoe and others in the high-end realms will be better in terms of stiffness.

  • 80 / 100 | Road Bike Rider Cycling Site | | Level 2 expert

    The P.R.O. Leader v4s hold their own against other high-end road shoes when it comes to quality and price, but there is still room for improvement in terms of those consternating drawbacks.

  • 60 / 100 | Cycling Tips | | Level 2 expert

    I had high hopes for this latest version of Pearl Izumi’s flagship road model, especially given the initially positive reaction when I first pulled them out of the box and strapped them on in my living room. But ultimately, the work Pearl Izumi has done is betrayed by the company’s stubborn commitment to a material that just doesn’t work that well in this application.

Become an expert

The Pro Leader v4 shares many features with its predecessor, the Pearl Izumi Pro Leader v3. Both of these road cycling trainers use the same type of stiff outsole with replaceable heel pads, a Look-style cleat system, and vents for aeration.

Most of the updates occurred up top. The upper of the Pro Leader v4 sports a more straightforward design with an all-black colorway. It does, however, feature a pop of color on its outsole. The closure is now placed at an angle for a pleasurable riding experience.

Pedaling efficiency. The bottom of the Pro Leader v4 is made of 1:1 Integrated Carbon Power Plate. This compound is light yet very stiff. The rigidity makes for better pedaling motion as it doesn’t easily bend, reducing power loss.

Enhanced visibility. The outsole has been treated to electroplating as marked by the mirror-like finish in some areas. This element amps up both the style factor of the shoe and the rider’s visibility.

The Pro Leader v4 has three holes to accommodate the use of a Look-style cleat system. This road cycling trainer is compatible with the following pedals: Look Keo Blade, Time Xpresso 10, and Shimano Dura-Ace PD-R9100, to name a few.

Comfort. The top of this Pearl Izumi cycling shoe is made of a 3-layer Seamless Composite. It has no stitches inside that could cause blistering or chafing. The material is soft and breathable, ensuring in-shoe comfort at all times.

Lockdown. Atop the tongue is two BOA dials. They can be micro-adjusted using 1mm increments and can quickly be released by popping up the dial. The use of two dials evenly distributes the pressure on the instep to avoid any discomfort as the cables get tighter.

The ‘T’ structure at the back serves as a heel cup. It keeps the rearfoot steady while pedaling and also prevents unnecessary heel lifts.

Two features in this cycling footwear enhance the fit. The first is the Zero Distraction Upper Fit, which puts the lacing system in a slanted orientation to avoid discomfort in the soft tissue of the instep.

The second is the Zonal Bi-directional construction of the closure. It aids in securely wrapping the foot. Both features contribute to the snug, customized fit of the top.

A 1:1 Insole System can be found inside the Pearl Izumi Pro Leader v4. What makes it different from other insoles is that it has slots for wedges. These foam components improve support and cushioning under the ball of the foot and the arch.

The heel bumper on the Pro Leader v4 and the insole can be replaced.