Pearl Izumi Women's Elite Road IV shoes review

We see how the Pearl Izumi Women's Elite Road IV shoes fit in to the growing market of high-end women's cycling shoes

Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Pearl Izumi Women's Elite Road IV shoes are one of the best women's race shoes currently on the market. Power transfer is excellent and the low profile design means they look good too. The only snag is if you've got narrow feet, when they might be difficult to get tight enough.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Stiff sole

  • +

    Excellent, efficient power transfer

  • +

    Low profile look

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not suited to narrow feet

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

As part of the P.R.O (Performance and Race Optimised) series, the Pearl Izumi Women's Elite Road IV shoes sit at the top of the Pearl Izumi tree, having been designed to be both efficient and aerodynamic.

>>> Buyer's guide to cycling shoes

When on, I was really impressed by the unidirectional carbon sole which was stiff and gave a sense of direct drive between shoe and pedal, enabling highly efficient power transfer. The concave shaping claims to give a lower than average 7mm shoe stack height, which some say gives a marginal wattage increase, in reality it may mean lowering your saddle a touch.

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The Boa reel closure is innovatively placed on the tongue of the shoe, giving the Pearl Izumi Women's Elite Road IV shoes an overall low profile look and makes for an even pressure distribution across the mid-foot, allowing a millimeter perfect micro-adjustment for fit. However, I was unable to tighten the toe box Velcro closure quite enough across my narrow forefoot, although Pearl Izumi does say that this manmade upper should soften over time.

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All in all, these are a slick pair of race shoes and tick quite a lot of the necessary top end race shoe boxes. With women’s race shoes as rare as the proverbial rocking horse dung, these are one of the best pairs we’ve seen in a long time.

For more information head over to the Madison website.

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Hannah Bussey

Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.

Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.

For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas. 

She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.