Being a woman in the cycling industry I always take special note into the products that are available to women of all levels and disciplines of each sport. I am constantly asked by both experienced and novice athletes which products work for me and why. I’ve taken novice cyclists directly into stores to help assist them with purchasing their first line of women’s wear for their cycling style. Let’s face it, women like quality apparel and whether we want to admit it or not, we want to not only look good, but feel good while sweating it out.
What works for one woman doesn’t necessarily fit the needs of another. However, Pearl Izumi’s spring cycling line far exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to have others experience this season’s products.
Great For Novice Riders
Features & Why I LOVE Them
- Bi-directional Closure: delivers a semi-custom fit by gathering equally from both sides for even foot retention, with the precision of a micro-adjustable BOA reel
- Carbon fiber injected composite shank for efficient power transfer
- EVA X-Alp outsole/midsole for off the bike cushioning and comfort and on the bike power transfer
- Low cut construction for a light, fast fit and feel
- Carbon rubber lugged outsole for superior traction and durability
- SPD compatible
So…what makes this shoe so amazing and why have I found myself reaching for the new Women’s X-Alp Launch II instead of my high performance mountain bike shoes that are sitting on my shelf?
Simple, they used one of my favorite words…CARBON! The carbon fiber components to this shoe are some of the best quality around. The rubber outsole of the shoe is pure genius for a quick dismount when needed. I can get off my mountain or cyclocross bike at any time without fear of losing my balance or looking for objects below me which might cause my foot to become unbalanced or unstable. In addition, the inset feature of the clip on the bottom of the shoe allows for ease of walking for short or long distances if the unfortunate scenario of flat should arise on your journey.
Outdoor Use - Racing or Trail Riding
During my race I never felt that the Women’s X-Alp Launch II was hindering my performance or ability to excel during the 36 mile gravel grinder. In fact, I PR’d in almost every segment, and completed Barry Roubaix with my fastest time to date. The best part was that after I crossed the finish line I didn’t find myself running to my cycling bag and ripping off my shoes so that I could throw on a pair of flip-flops or gym shoes. Instead, I rocked the X-Alps into the podium tent as if I were wearing a gym shoe. No awkward duck walk, no slipping and no sliding.
Indoor Use - Spin or On the Trainer
When I arrived at the class, I was thrilled to see the SPD pedals that would accommodate my new shoes. After 45 minutes of pure awesomeness, my class was complete and I had two people asking me about my shoes. They were blown away at how I walked from my amazing hotel, The James, in my X-Alp Launch II’s and didn’t even need to change shoes in order for me to jump on to my spin bike. The pure convenience of not having to bring another set of shoes with them was very attractive and they needed to know more. I have to admit, I found it to be pretty convenient as well!
If There Were a Downside...
The second part of my concern came during a few of my training rides. I did notice that if it was incredibly muddy the micro-adjustable BOA reel seemed to be harder to turn if the reel wasn’t completely cleaned out. I have found myself running the shoes under water in the sink after a muddy ride to clear out any debris in order to prevent clumping and improve functionality for my next ride.
I will surely continue to rock my X-Alp’s whenever possible. After all, they make the rest of the spring line come together quite nicely. More on that in part two of this three part series.
Wheel on Women!