Our verdict


The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD is a casual-inspired clipless bike shoe for mountain bikers and urban commuters. This pair's strong suit includes walking comfort, excellent traction, and sneaker-like style. That said, like every other footwear, this shoe does not come with no flaws. However, all things considered, it is still a solid offering, given its many benefits.


  • Stiff sole
  • Comfortable for walking
  • Traction for hike-a-bike sessions
  • Switch between SPD and flat pedals
  • Laces are kept off the drivetrain
  • Easy in-and-out clipping
  • Stylish


Who should buy the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD

The Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD is an excellent choice for those who:

  • Are looking for a casual-looking clip-in mountain cycling shoe
  • Has wide and/or flat feet
  • Spends time going on and off the bike

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD label

Stiff for power transfer, comfortable for walking

According to plenty of users, this mountain bike shoe's soles are stiff enough for power transfer but still comfortable enough for walking. In fact, practically everyone who has reviewed the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD is pleased with the shoe's incredible comfort.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD midsole

The structure of the shoe is well-thought. For stiffness, beneath the SPD, a ¾ length composite shank is added. This allows efficient power transfer and off-the-bike versatility. An EVA midsole is also found, which helps in absorbing shock during hard landings.

X-Alp Launch SPD has a comfy seamless upper

The X-Alp Launch SPD of Pearl Izumi features a seamless upper. Due to its smooth design, there are no spots that will rub against your feet.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD upper

Hike-a-bike with Pearl Izumi’s mountain cycling shoe

Based on a number of reports, the X-Alp Launch SPD has good off-bike traction for hike-a-bike sessions.

Not only does the ¾ length composite shank allow efficient transfer of power. It also does not compromise the hiking ability of the shoe.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD outsole

The outsole is also made of the Vibram MegaGrip, which provides superior traction on various platforms and in all conditions.

Smooth transition from SPD to flat pedals

Several cyclists delight that they can switch between SPD and flat pedals.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD cleat design

With its Vibram MegaGrip on the pedal zone, the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD allows instant engagement on the pedal pin. According to a couple of riders, it is easy to clip in and clip out.

Convenient lacing feature of the X-Alp Launch SPD

Some users appreciate the lace loop feature as it keeps the laces from getting caught in the drivetrain.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD loop

While its traditional lacing system offers a custom fit, some might miss the ease of adjustments that BOA dials offer since this type of lacing system does not allow adjustments while riding.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD traditional laces