Pearl Izumi's Race road shoe is a well-made entry level piece of footwear that's comfortable and performs pretty well, but it's not really doing anything that you can't get elsewhere for a bit less cash.
The Race shoe is an all-synthetic upper attached to a nylon composite sole that's drilled for both SPDs and three-hole road cleats. In terms of weight it's the kind of shoe you can wear for most of the year, with overshoes: it's vented at the front and in the sole for a bit of airflow in the summer, but it's solid enough to keep the morning chills out.
Pearl Izumi talk plenty about their 1:1 interface system in the blurb for this shoe, but from what I can tell 1:1 basically boils down to trying to do things well, rather than any specific technology. "Think of 1:1 as the perfected, zero-tolerance, interface between athlete and gear. Gear designed and constructed to fit perfectly to the body in motion.", says their website. Bits of the Race shoe that are classed as 1:1 include the sole plate (venting, anatomic support, low stack height), the buckle closure (anatomic fit and flexibility) and the heel cup (power transfer).
The Race shoe is certainly nice and comfy, and the two velcro straps and ratchet buckle make it pretty adjustable for fit. The ratchet is simple to use and adjustable on the fly, and the composite sole isn't super stiff but it's plenty stiff enough for most applications. The small rubber bumpers on the sole help with walking off the bike a bit, though like most race shoes you still need to take care.
On longer rides the Race Road performs well, although I personally found that the middle of the shoe was a bit wide for my foot shape making it a bit less stable than other shoes I've tried. That's more of a personal thing, it may suit you fine.
The main sticking point for me is the price. At £109.99 they're not cheap for what's effectively an entry level shoe. Online you can get them for less - around £90 - but even that's more than the list price of the equivalent Shimano shoe, the RO87, and dhb are giving you a full Carbon sole for that kind of money. There's no particular problems with the Pearl Izumi shoe and it does the job just fine, but since it's not an outstanding performer it's hard to recommend over similar, cheaper offerings, although again, if it fits well it might be the shoe for you.
Well made entry-level road shoe that performs well on the bike, but pricey compared to similar offerings from other manufacturers
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl Izumi Race Road shoe
Size tested: 48, Black
The all new Pearl Izumi Race RD model provides benchmark performance and fit in a light and affordable package with top-of-the-line features like our 1:1 Power Plate with built in Longitudinal Arch Support and patent pending 1:1 Anatomic Buckle Closure System.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Select 1:1 Heel Cup integrated Molded Power Band for benchmark heel hold and power transfer
Select Insole provides excellent Longitudinal and Transverse Arch Support
Select 1:1 Power Plate Grade Nylon and Composite Fibre plate for lightweight stiffness and durability Direct-Vent technology for cooling and drainage concave shaping for ultra low 70mm stack height enhanced plate stiffness and anatomic support and built in Longitudinal Arch Support for optimal support power and efficiency
1:1 Anatomic Buckle Closure follows the natural anatomic shape of the foot to eliminate hot spots and remove pressure from your instep, and an adjustable buckle mounting plate that delivers ultimate fit and flexibility (patient pending)
SPD-SL 3-bolt style and SPD 2-bolt style
292g (size 43)
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd probably point them at cheaper entry level road shoes
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.