- Very comfortable
- Well ventilated upper and sole
- Asymmetric closure system avoids pressure on sensitive tissue
- Stiff sole for greater power transfer
- Roomy toe box
- Good price point
- Easy cleat placement
- Cool retro lace up style
- Laces don’t allow for micro adjustment
- Sole only partial carbon fiber (forefoot insert)
- Can’t replace heal or toe bumpers
Price: $130 MSRP
How obtained: Company sample
Available: Online or Retail
RBR advertiser: No
Sizes: Men’s 39-49; Women’s 36-43
Weight: 270 grams/9.5 oz.(size 43) men’s
Colors: Black or White (lace color varies men’s and women’s)
Tested: Indoors on a trainer
Everything Old is New Again
The classic lace up road shoes of the past have come back in vogue. In December, Pearl Izumi launched their version of this classic style in both a men’s (Tour) and a women’s (Sugar) version. Construction is the same for both styles and they are available in black or white. The only difference is sizing and lace color. Since I wear a 45, I tested the men’s version in white with red laces. A second set of laces comes with every pair — in my case black. This allows you to go bold or subdued.
Comfort and Fit
I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t overly excited to test a lace up shoe. With my narrow feet, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get them snug without using a Boa type closure. But I quickly changed my mind once I slipped them on. I was amazed how comfortable they were! The lacing allowed me to snug up the shoe, securing my foot as not to slip while pedaling.
Since it is winter here in Chicago, all my testing was done on the trainer. This is a great test for ventilation and breathability. As you can see from the pictures, the shoe is covered with ventilation holes and the sole plate features Direct-Vent technology for added cooling and drainage (if caught in the rain). The shoe was very comfortable, and I did not have issues with hot feet.
The fully bonded seamless construction of the shoe upper and a roomy toe box, provide a very comfortable fit. In addition, the tongue is notched at the top, allowing for more flexibility and movement at the front of your ankle. These shoes have the same asymmetrical closure, like the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Leader 4 I reviewed a while back, which avoids pressure on sensitive tissue. The difference is the Tour/Sugar shoes have laces and the P.R.O. Leader 4 uses BOA® closures.
To avoid getting the laces caught in the drivetrain, there’s a lace lock midway down the shoe. Just tie your shoes normally, pull up on the tab, and slip the laces through the elastic lace lock. You’re good to go.
The insole that came with the Tour was very thin, so I replaced it immediately with a Bontrager inForm BioDynamic insole for added support. For flexibility, you can run either two bolt SPDs or three bolt SPD-SL cleats. Not sure why you’d use the two bolt SPDs as it would be very difficult to walk.
Both the heal and toe bumpers are not replaceable like on some higher end models. If you tend to wear out those areas, it might be worth noting.
Maximizing Power Transfer
The Tour and Sugar have a 1:1® Composite Power Plate with carbon fiber forefoot insert to provide lightweight stiffness and durability. The supportive nylon composite sole integrates the stiff carbon plate at the ball of the foot to maximize power transfer, Both models have a stiffness rating of 8.
Pearl Izumi’s new lace up kicks are retro in look but incorporates updated technology. At $130 MSRP, the men’s Tour and women’s Sugar have an excellent price point. The 1:1 Composite Power Plate with carbon forefoot insert provides a light weight shoe with a stiffness rating of 8, translating tor good power transfer. The fully bonded seamless construction of the shoe upper is well ventilated and very comfortable. These shoes are worth a second look.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio.