With bags of comfort and enough stiffness to satisfy most riders the Pearl Izumi Tour shoes are a real treat. The classic looks, adjustability and lack of weight afforded by the lace-up style further combine with the very reasonable price to make these one of the best mid-priced shoes on the market to date.
Edge of the tongue was uncomfortable for first few rides
By James Bracey
Style, fit and function. The holy trinity of cycling shoes and the Pearl Izumi Tour answers all three and is deserving of a place in Editor’s Choice. Stiff enough to race in but with just the right amount of flex to make them work for long days, it was one of our best shoes tested in 2019.
The resurgence of lace-up cycling shoes doesn't seem to be abating any time soon and most of the mainstream brands have at least one example within their road range. For Pearl Izumi this position is filled by the Tour Road. But whereas many brands limited lace-up models to some of the more exotic and superlight examples, the Tour Road sits firmly in the more affordable section of Pearl Izumi's road range.
Upper comfort and retention
The Pearl Izumi Tour Road features a seamless perforated upper made of thin and malleable material with the front part receiving a more weather-resistant finish. This conforms to your foot shape incredibly well and is backed up with a well padded heel cup to create a comfortable environment in which to spend a few hours in. Laces might be a primitive way of keeping your shoes in place from a cycling perspective but they do have the advantages of allowing almost infinite tuning of the retention along the length of the shoe as well as being lightweight. Pearl Izumi has offset the lacing for the Tour to alleviate any potential hotspots and I personally had no issues with the setup.
Like many lace-up shoes, once the lower part is adjusted for your foot shape it's only really the top two/three eyelets that I fiddled with in order to get the shoe on or off. An elasticated strap on the tongue gives you somewhere to tuck the laces out of the way when riding thus keeping them out of the drivetrain. Pearl Izumi also includes a second set of black laces if the red ones are a bit too garish (I've been riding one of each as I got a little lazy after changing one shoe)
The tongue of the Pearl Izumi Tour Road almost curtailed my testing of the shoes within the first ride. Initially the edge of the tongue dug into the front of my ankle to an extent that it made riding pretty uncomfortable. However this begun easing after a couple more rides and now the Tour is so comfortable that I almost forgot this happened. As a caveat I do have pretty bony ankles so this is probably more to do with my physiology than a major issue with the shoes themselves.
Taking care of performance is a composite sole unit with a relatively thin profile, keeping the foot as optimally placed over the pedal as possible. It incorporates a carbon fibre plate in the forefoot area, to which both two and three bolt cleats can be bolted. This provides adequate stiffness to prevent any hotspots or discomfort from happening and I can confirm this is certainly the case.
The rest of the sole has a little more flex than a full-on race shoe but this isn't necessarily a bad thing especially if you find ultra-stiff shoes a bit too much for everyday riding. Twin vents on the sole help to circulate air or, more likely to help drain UK precipitation. A neat wrap around heel pad aids walking, however the toe bumper is pretty minimal and as such scuffs to the toe are pretty inevitable and lead to the shoes looking a little scruffy within a few months. Go to Pearl Izumi's website to find out more about its range of shoes and clothing.
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