Sound, comfy shoes with a stiff carbon sole, but a little heavy and lacking in breathability
Pearl Izumi Elite Road II shoes
7 10

Pearl Izumi's Elite Road II is a decent road shoe, its best feature a unidirectional carbon fibre sole.

The sole is fairly slim, with a stack height of 7mm above the pedal. It's also stiff; you can occasionally feel a small amount of torsional flex when you get out of the saddle and jump on the pedals, but very little. As well as being efficient, that means you feel no particular pressure under the ball of your foot when you put the power in.

The shoe has a longitudinal arch support - so, if it fits right, the outsole scoops up into the arch of your foot to provide extra stability - while little moulded-in bumpers at the heel and toe provide some protection for the outsole when you're walking. There's a small vent up front, just underneath your toes, and the area where your cleat attaches is textured to provide a bit of grip.

The upper looks like leather but it's actually a synthetic fabric in disguise. Most shoes these days have large mesh areas that let plenty of air in and moisture out. These are just perforated so they're not quite as breathable as some. Your feet still stay fairly cool when you put the hammer down, but I've used shoes with more air conditioning.

Closure is via two lower Velcro straps and a broad ratchet-buckled upper strap. The ratchet tightens really well, although there's no way of loosening the strap just one notch if it's a touch too tight, something you can do with, say, Sidi or a Boa dial system. It's easy enough to use all the same, and a padded tongue provides extra comfort.

The heel cup isn't the most rigid design ever. The nylon 'Power Band' strip keeps your heel fairly still but, personally, I like something that holds it rock-solid in place. I guess that's a matter of preference. It's well padded inside, and the dual-density insole comes with more comfy cushioning.

As for the fit, I found this pair of size 46s just a smidge shorter than usual. The toe box is a pretty generous width. They're not ridiculously broad - I could adjust them in easily with the lower strap - but if you need a bit of forefoot space, you might consider giving these a go. And I'd always advise you to try before you buy when it comes to shoes because the fit is vital.

The test pair (size 46, don't forget, which Pearl Izumi list as equivalent to UK 10.5) weighed in at 721g, which isn't especially light. Don't get me wrong: it's not mega-lardy either, but the lack of mesh areas and a generous amount of padding does have a small effect on the weight - if such things keep you up at night.

All round, these are good, solid shoes that are going to prove very durable. If you love the looks or fit, they'll serve you well; it's just that, if I'm being critical, they strike me as workmanlike rather than particularly inspiring.

They're available in red/silver too.


Sound, comfy shoes with a stiff carbon sole, but a little heavy and lacking in breathability

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pearl Izumi Elite Road II shoes

Size tested: Mens, size 46

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?

Pearl Izumi says, "The Elite RD II combines our Patent Pending 1:1 Anatomic Buckle Closure System, ELITE Carbon 1:1 Anatomic Plate and lightweight one-piece upper tcreate an ultra efficient, lightweight performance shoe at an incredible price."

It's a general road shoe for everyday road riding with a sporty edge

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

It's well padded although not as well vented as many other shoes

Rate the product for value:

Did you enjoy using the product? Yeah, fine

Would you consider buying the product? Probably not. It's fine, but it's not exceptional

Would you recommend the product to a friend? If the fit is right, they could give it a go

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 190cm  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.