Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Pearl Izumi Women's Alp-X Drift II Shoe



Excellent compromise between on and off bike comfort and performance and a good looking shoe

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

Relaxed trainer-like shoes offering all-day comfort with pedalling performance and the ability to walk more normally than a flat footed duck are a sought after commodity if you like touring, and are just as useful for casual around-town errands or weekend café rides.

It's a bit of a personal quest of mine to find a shoe with just the right balance between comfort on and off the bike mixed in with a decent level of stiffness to maximize ride efficiency. The trickily named Alp-X Drift II from Pearl Izumi ticked all the boxes on paper. Factor in the fact that they actually looked good too, not like a couple of bricks with laces like many mtb/touring crossover shoes and I was keen to try them.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Alp-X Drift IIs were just a cool pair of ordinary trainers, rather than a bike specific shoe, such is their general overall prettiness (yes, I'm a girl. Deal with it, these things are important). Predominantly mesh uppers (apart from a more rugged toe area) mean they're not for winter use, or indeed if you're expecting prolonged periods of rain, but if you're expecting a long dry spell, or for hot weather day rides, the mesh is a good thing. The lacing system is a single handed pull lace and there's a neat little hook on the end of the loop to secure it to the front of the shoe, minimizing the chances of getting it stuck in the drive train. The sole is a chunky rugged trainer-type sole, with plenty of tread for walking, but capable of taking MTB-type cleats. There's a wodge of seriously cushy padding at the heel too.

In wear, they were incredibly comfortable, with the padding at the heel making them excellent for all day wear. Walking was a breeze, with little or no protrusion of the cleat beyond the confines of the tread and yet this didn't interfere with the ability to clip in and out of the pedals at all. My walking gait was refreshingly normal. The sole was surprisingly stiff for such a lightweight shoe, offering a decent level of pedalling efficiency, although obviously there's always going to be some small compromise with a casual shoe of this type.

There was no evidence of aching feet from shoe flex or of hot spots under the foot, so there was a good balance of stiffness and support. The mesh was enough to see off small stones and the like, and the ventilation it offered was excellent, with feet remaining a good temperature even in hot conditions.

I probably wouldn't choose them for wet weather, although, in fairness, they would drain very quickly and dry out faster than shoes with more solid uppers. The single handed lacing was neat and quick to use. Sizing is very slightly on the small side, but not a huge amount. I'm normally an EU38.5 and the 39's were spot on, with a good medium width and volume.

£80 may seem a lot for a pair of low key riding shoes, but when you consider that most walking and outdoor shoes are around that price and more, it's not bad. They'll last a good while and are the sort of shoe that could quickly become your go-to riding shoe.


An excellent compromise between on and off bike comfort and performance and a good looking shoe.

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website test report

Make and model: Pearl Izumi Women's Alp-X Drift II Shoe

Size tested: Size 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 primarily at mountain bikers, but so much more versatile than just that.

Spot on for tourers and recreational cyclists too. For anyone who spends time walking about off the bike as well as riding it!

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Nylon X-Alp Ride & Run Plate for stiffness/comfort balance

EVA running shoe midsole

Rugged outsole

Mesh upper

Quick lacing system

Available in sizes EU 36-43

SPD/Eggbeater compatible

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Very well made with excellent quality components/materials

Rate the product for performance:

Performed really well. A great balance between on and off bike usefulness.

Rate the product for durability:

Should last well.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

Not a bad weight for a trainer-type cycling shoe. No feeling of weight being carried about unnecessarily.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Extremely comfortable, both on the bike and for walking about it.

Rate the product for value:

Not cheap, but the same price as a hiking shoe and you'll be using this shoe a LOT.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Performed really well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Looks, comfort on and off bike, mesh upper, cushioning at heel.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing at all.

Did you enjoy using the product? Very much.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Extremely well designed casual styled riding shoe with enough technical features to make it spot on for long days in and out of the saddle.

Overall rating: 9/10

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 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. 

Latest Comments

  • hirsute 1 sec ago

    I was not suggesting that they should get radar merely pointing out how radar can be useful. There was a recent review of a radar unit on here...

  • BalladOfStruth 12 min 33 sec ago

    There's something I don't miss from the morning commute - an Audi A3 overtaking me within spitting distance of a junction, hard on the brakes as it...

  • Patrick9-32 15 min 59 sec ago

    As someone who has four bikes, three of which currently have punctures I haven't got round to fixing yet, I don't appreciate the poor maintenance...

  • BalladOfStruth 16 min 53 sec ago

    I think it might actually be the least popular behaviour in all of web design.

  • lesterama 18 min 51 sec ago

    Here's some hope for us chunky blokes, even if most of won't consider spending £3.5k on wheels.

  • Rezis 20 min 24 sec ago

    If running it poorly affected their salaries and bonuses (and other accountabilities) maybe they would run it properly......

  • simonmb 31 min 45 sec ago

    Passing a cyclist in the opposite direction warrants at least a nod or a gentle lift of the hand from the bars. But what about overtaking a fellow...

  • brooksby 1 hour 27 min ago

    If a bicycle is the only vehicle stopped at a zebra crossing, you should just go around them.

  • Secret_squirrel 1 hour 57 min ago

    Im considering something like this to replace my current storage bottle on my downtube.  It does the job of keeping the tools safe and dry but at...

  • brooksby 11 hours 40 min ago

    The wheelbenders were on the verge again, so since there were no other bikes in sight i locked mine along the back of them....