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We test Pearl Izumi's stiff, light Elite Road IV cycling shoe to see if less if more
pearl izumi elite iv road shoe review
Overall Score
Boa closure makes for an excellent, precise fit
Heel cup needs a little more support to eliminate heel lift

Pearl Izumi's Elite Road IV shoe is one down (and £100 less) than the top-of-the-range PRO Leader but with much of the same stiffness, closure and design technology.

Underpinning the shoe, literally, is a seriously stiff unidirectional carbon fibre sole, which we found to be one of the stiffest we've ever pedalled with - ensuring you don't lose a single watt more of energy when pedalling than absolutely necessary.

The sole itself is drilled with the three-bolt configuration which means it will compatible with Shimano SPD-R, Look and indeed the majority of road cleats and pedals. Under the toe box you'll also see two metal mesh vents, as well as one under the arch - all of which help with ventilation, and even drainage should your shoes start filling up in a downpour!

More vents - seven no less - are found in the thin but supportive man-made uppers, which have been cleverly made with just the one seam stitched up at the rear. This is good on two fronts: it reduces weight and potential rubbing points.

Sited at the top of the tongue is the ratcheted Boa retention system, which can dial precisely the amount of tightness into the shoe that you require, spreading it evenly across the shoe the full length of the tongue. For extra security there is a Velcro strap over the top of the toe box, though this does seem a slightly superfluous afterthought.

A feature we particularly liked was the generous, replaceable heel bumper, which will ensure that the Elite IV carries on delivering cake stops for many years to come.

Our only minor criticism is that there was a modicum of heel lift when climbing out of the saddle - but not enough to ruin the light, supportive, low bulk feel of these quality road shoes.

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