Verdict from 10 experts and 91 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • The prevailing thought of reviewers on the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch is that it is more lightweight than the average mountain bike shoe.
  • Most users say that this footwear is well-made and durable.
  • According to a significant number of wearers, it is comfortable.
  • This cycling shoe provides adequate stiffness for mountain riding, say several cyclists.
  • A handful of riders like the grip provided by the toe and heel areas of the outsole.
  • Some wearers appreciate the pair’s breathable and easily drying materials.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some cyclists gripe about how the center part of the outsole isn’t grippy enough to stay on the pedals.
  • An expert reviewer wishes the shoe came with water-resistance and a lace tuck.
  • There’s not much ankle protection, according to a tester’s opinion.

Bottom line

The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch is footwear engineered for mountain bike riders who prefer the freedom of flat MTB shoes. Due to its breathability and stylish looks, it is recommended for summer days and casual rides where the wearer plans to go straight to town after a ride.

However, the lack of outsole grip in the mid-section left some consumers unsatisfied.

Tip: see the best mountain cycling shoes.

Good to know

Who is it for? This Pearl Izumi bike shoe is for mountain bike riders who are used to the spontaneous release of their foot from the pedal. 

What is it good for? The pair’s adequately stiff soles, grippy toe and heel areas of the outsole, and reinforced toe cap contribute to efficient mountain cycling. It performs well on the bike and grips on rocks and surfaces every time the need for pushing the bike arises.

Shock absorption. The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch features a midsole section made from EVA. This part provides dampening of impact to keep the foot comfortable during long, rocky rides.

Two grip zones. In partnership with Vibram, this shoe was designed with two zones of differing traction levels. Both zones are crafted from the durable Vibram MegaGrip, but with different designs for various uses:

  • The pedal area, or the mid-section of the outsole, features a smooth, siped rubber outsole design.
  • In the toe and heel areas, open lugs shaped in a chevron pattern provide traction for off-bike use when pushing the bike is needed.

The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch employs a flat outsole. The pedals that are compatible with this shoe are Crank Brothers Stamp 7, One Up Components Aluminum Pedals, and ACROS A-FLAT MD.

Comfort. This pair’s upper features a seamless bonded upper that provides a lightweight and comfortable performance. It is durable and breathable as well.

Protection. Reinforced toecaps yield protection against rock strikes, impacts, and bumps. It guards the toes against the elements in the rugged trails.

Time-tested fit. The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch employs the traditional lace-up closure. It offers a precise and lockdown fit without pressure point or added weight.

  • The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch is the brand’s first flat pedal shoe.
  • A clipless version of this model aptly called the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD, is also available.


How Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 39% mountain cycling shoes
All mountain cycling shoes
Top 11% Pearl Izumi cycling shoes
All Pearl Izumi cycling shoes
Top 40% flat cycling shoes
All flat cycling shoes


The current trend of Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch.
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