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Review: Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch Flat

I have kept this blog focused on tech for as long as I have had it. Like everyone else, I have hobbies outside of tech and often I’m looking for reviews on products that I can’t seem to find. I decided that I would write reviews of these products and post them myself to help others. Now that the lead-in is done, let’s get down to the review.

I have been a long-time Five Ten user way before the Adidas purchase. I have mainly used their Impact shoes. After many years what finally destroyed the first pair was that the soles started following off. I started using a new pair that I had and the same thing started happening within a couple of months. The grip on those shoes is fantastic, they just don’t seem to be holding up like I would expect. I decided that I would look at other flat-pedal shoes. There are a lot on the market such as CrankBrothers Stamp, Specialized 2FO, Leatt, Ride Concepts, Giro Latch, Shimano, and Pearl Izumi to name a few. Many of these don’t have good reviews or recent reviews, couple that with the fact that most local shops don’t carry many models, it’s hard to just order and hope they work out.

I have been using Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD shoes since 2012 and I have been super happy with how they fit and how they have held up. Many of the X-Alp Launch flat reviews were at least a couple of years old and were positive except for how well they grip. I made the judgment call that if I were going to order a pair of shoes I would at least order a brand that I trust and I know how they fit. I ordered the same size that I wear in SPDs which is 46cm. They fit the same. I find the X-Alp line of shoes very comfortable and I like the BOA system that is being used. That is another big selling point, it has the the BOA system. My first pair of X-Alp shoes had a ratchet at the top and just the velcro straps. My second pair came with the BOA and the evenness of the tightening is awesome. The X-Alp Launch Flat BOA feels the same and I wouldn’t go back to laces. I like a roomy toe box and I feel like these are roomy and my feet don’t feel cramped at all.

Finally, how do they grip? Well as in most of the reviews, they aren’t as grippy as Five Ten shoes. I have tried them with RaceFace Chester, DMR V11, and PNW Components Loam pedals. There was minimal movement once I found a good foot placement. If the placement wasn’t great there was some sliding and I could adjust, which just isn’t as possible with the Five Tens. I’m hoping the soles “break in” a little and they get a touch gripper.

Overall, I’m happy with them.

Thanks for reading,


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