I’ve got a whole wardrobe of cycling specific footwear: my rigid and almost-impossible-to-walk-in race shoes, my protective and warm winter boots, I’ve even got a lightweight mesh pair of summer riding shoes. But the footwear I’ll reach for more times than any of the others, is a shoe that’ll do the job year round, on any of my bikes, is as easy to walk in as a trainer and yet still stiff enough for me to give it a bit of welly if I want.
The X-Alp Seek WRX from Pearl Izumi is just this type of shoe. Made for use either as it is, or with SPD style cleats, it’s a shoe primarily conceived for mountain bikers, but one that will equally appeal to leisure cyclists, commuters and tourists.
The seamless one-piece upper is made from a tough soft shell type fabric with a durable water repellent treatment. The fabric protects from all but the worst weather, yet still allows the foot to breathe enough to avoid uncomfortable dampness developing inside. I’d question whether feet might overheat in full summer conditions, but I’d certainly feel confident using these for the vast majority of the year.
The sole is well shaped to make walking easy, with an EVA midsole for comfort, and a decent tread and grip for any surface or conditions. I was as happy wandering around off the bike as on. Yet they are stiff enough to maintain pedaling efficiency.
It’s a good looking shoe as well, and wouldn’t look out of place with jeans if you’re nipping out for a pint of milk, or a pair of capris or baggy shorts if you’re touring or out for a low key day ride. Tons of reflective accenting help with visibility and safety too.
With a simple lace-up design, these are very like trainers for riding in. The comfort levels are those of trainers, even for long periods of time, as are the casual looks. But they offer more protection for the feet, and a stiffer sole.
A men's version is also available.
If you only want one pair of riding shoes, that'll do it all, and you’re not too bothered about being the fastest on the road, then the X-Alp Seek WRX is one to consider.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl Izumi Women’s X-Alp Seek WRX Shoe
Size tested: 39
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Aimed at cyclists looking for a versatile shoe that's comfortable for walking yet still stiffened for riding.
An all-rounder for leisure cyclists, mountain bikers, commuters and tourists. Especially good when prolonged walking could be part of the ride.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
• Seamless one-piece water resistant and breathable Softshell woven upper with DWR finish
• Ride & Run nylon plate for easy hike-a-bike and great pedaling power transfer
• EVA run shoe midsole for walking comfort
• Carbon lugged outsole for superior traction and durability
• Flexible forefoot and a running shoe beveled heel
• Low cut construction for a light, fast fit and feel
• Compatible with SPD style pedal systems
Does just what it is supposed to. Water resistant, yet not too hot in most conditions; easy to walk in and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Provided you don't wear them off road too often, these should stay looking good for a good few years.
Construction wise I'd expect them to last very well.
At about 380g for a size 39, these are pretty light, especially for a year round shoe.
Put them on in the morning and there'll be no complaints from feet all day, no matter how much walking you have to do in them.
Not cheap, but the amount of wear you'll get from them offsets that a lot.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent levels of comfort straight from the box. Easy to walk in and yet still great on the bike too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Versatility- suited to any riding (except racing or speed work) and easy to walk in.
Style- trainer like good looks.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A jack of all trades shoe for year round use. Everyone should have a pair like this.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.