Verdict from 4 experts and 31 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Excellent quality: Almost everyone who has reviewed the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Gravel thinks it is well-made.
  • Comfort: This MTB shoe is commended by plenty of users for its excellent comfort.
  • Versatile: Many users praise this pair's ability to perform on varying surfaces.
  • No hotspots: The X-Alp Gravel's almost seamless upper and off-center BOA placement eliminates pressure points, according to several wearers.
  • Stiff yet walkable: This pair yields enough power transfer and flex for walking comfort, say some testers.
  • Value for money: A number of buyers claim it has an excellent performance-to-price ratio.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Retention issues: Several reviewers gripe about how the closure design requires trial and error to get the correct fit.
  • Limited colors: A tester wishes there are more color options to choose from.

Bottom line

The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Gravel's most liked attribute is its ability to adapt and perform on several surfaces such as gravel, XC trails, and general MTB cycling. It is also praised for its comfort, quality, and balance between rigidity and walking flex.

That said, individuals keen on getting their fit right the first time might find this shoe off-putting. Nevertheless, the X-Alp Gravel by Pearl Izumi is a more than competent shoe for its intended purpose.

Tip: see the best mountain cycling shoes.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Gravel: A hybrid of road and mountain bike shoes

The X-Alp Gravel is purpose-built for cycling on gravel surfaces. Footwear for this activity requires road cycling shoes' comfortable snug and sleek upper and MTB shoes' grip and walking capability for hike-a-bike sections. This is precisely what the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Gravel provides.

Who is it for? Despite its gravel-focused build, this pair's construction is generally considered versatile. Aside from gravel cycling, it can also be used for the following activities:

  • Cyclocross
  • Leisure mountain cycling
  • Urban commutes
  • Touring

Other gravel bike shoe models you can try

Fizik Terra X5. Compared to the X-Alp Gravel, this Fizik model's main differences include a micro-Velcro strap to separately cinch the toe area, more color choices, a heel pull-tab, cutout tip of the tongue, and an option to choose from two upper materials. Both the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Gravel and Fizik Terra X5 retail for $150.

Giro Privateer Lace. The most apparent distinction of this pair from the X-Alp Gravel is its use of the traditional lace-up closure system. Hence, it is for cyclists who love retro-inspired cycling shoes. Price-wise, the Privateer Lace is $10 cheaper at $140 compared to Pearl Izumi's $150 offering.


How Pearl Izumi X-Alp Gravel ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 14% mountain cycling shoes
All mountain cycling shoes
Bottom 21% Pearl Izumi cycling shoes
All Pearl Izumi cycling shoes
Bottom 16% spd cycling shoes
All spd cycling shoes


The current trend of Pearl Izumi X-Alp Gravel.
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