I was recently told by a bike fitter that many people he fits overlook shoe choice and proper shoe fit. I thought to myself, I know a niche in the cycling industry that does the complete opposite of that – Bikepackers. While we are all looking for a comfortable all-day cycling shoe that hikes well, many features are personal preference such as weight, stiffness and the closer system. For some reason I, like many others, have yet to find the perfect shoe. I always find myself searching to fill that void. My most recent shoe is the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch, a shoe that was released in 2013 that has recently been updated. I will be using this shoe in the upcoming Arizona Trail Race, as well as many other rides and races this spring. I’ll share with you my thoughts after I feel like I have a solid grasp on how the shoe performs. Until then, I hope this first look video can help you understand the features of the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch.

Men’s and Woman’s X-Alp Launch shoes cost $160.00 – More at PearlIzumi.com


  1. Love that closure system.. Nice shoe! I recently picked up the Shimano M089 trail shoes and have been very impressed with them so far. Very comfortable to walk in and plenty stiff in the forefoot area for pedalling efficiency as well. Worth a look, especially for the price!

  2. So curious why you have opted for these over the much loved Rime’s.

    • Neil Beltchenko
      Neil Beltchenko

      After thinking about purchasing another pair of those, I thought to myself “there must be some shoe with a bigger toe box out there.” And as the story goes, I went with Pearl, as they have a reputation for big toe boxes. Hopefully this will alleviate my toe nails from dieing, but then again, maybe they won’t. It’s worth a shot, and that’s why I’m rolling with them for this year.

  3. Thomas Ray

    Hey Neil,
    Nice work out there on the ATR.How did the shoes hold up?

  4. Hey Neil,
    Could you drop me an email or do a part II post-AZT report on how the shoes did?

  5. Pingback: An Arizona Trail Recap From A to Z - Bikepackers Magazine

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