It's no secret, we're big fans of Pearl Izumi biking gear. One thing we haven't tried is their cycling shoe line, but that changed when we tried on the X-ALP Launch flat pedal shoe.
We decided to make the switch from clipless – goodbye Eggbeaters, we loved you so! – to work on our flat pedal technique for a change of pace. The Launch seemed like a good shoe on paper, and once we had it on our feet it proved to be everything we needed.
The Launch has a Vibram Megagrip grip zone on the sole that gives you the positive engagement with your pedals that you need to maintain control. You don't have to think about your feet so much when you're clipped in, but that all changes with flats. Even with our aggressive Race Face Chester pedals, the Launch is tough enough to not get shredded even with aggressive riding.
The Launch looks as good as it performs, and as it turns out the one area we were nervous about – comfort – was no problem at all. The Launch easily switches from trail to tarmac, and you can wear it out on the town after a hard day of riding with no worries. The winning combination of performance, durability and just plain good looks makes the Launch our go-to flat pedal bike shoe.