I have no idea why this product photo is coming across so huge. I’m just going to pretend I mean for it to be that way so that you can see this shoe in excruciating detail.
Full disclosure, I take my cycling shoe cues from Geargals sponsored athlete Rebecca Gross. What she wears, I wear. She was on these for a while, so I got them too, then she was on the X-Projects so I got on board with them and her taste in shoes has not let me down.
I use the same shoes for road, mountain, and tour cycling because…well, just because. I am pleased to report that the X-Project is a great shoe for that because…well, because it’s a great shoe.
This review is going nowhere if that’s the sum of my argument.
Let’s start over. This is a great shoe because it really does hit that sweet spot of ultimate versatility. Its carbon sole is nicely stiff for pedaling, but get this – when you are off your bike and walking, it flexes almost like a normal shoe. No clip clopping around like an overshod pony. I hear there are bike races that start out with a running sprint to the bikes (I hear about them, but I hope it’s not true because oh, my god what a horrible thing to do in a bike race) and I’d guess these shoes would be great for that, though I haven’t run in them and have no intention of doing so. For a normal person who just wants to occasionally get off her bike and walk around, I can confirm that these shoes are killer for that. They don’t feel like cycling shoes when you are walking in them, and the fact that “doesn’t feel like cycling shoes” is a plus for cycling shoes says a lot about cycling shoes.
While pedaling they feel great. No complaints at all. I love the fastener; no laces and minimal velcro. There’s one velcro strap, but it’s a set it and forget it style down by the toe, and I really feel these shoes really didn’t even need it. I don’t know why they have it at all. Probably a nod to some cycling sensibility or another that makes people get all cold-sweaty and twitchy if their shoes don’t have a velcro strap.
Fit is pretty narrow. I can ride these shoes completely unbuckled and not feel as if I’m missing anything. I’m in a pair that is sized up a full size and a half and I don’t feel they are too big. I would suggest sizing up in these, though what is really needed is a version with “wide” sizing.
What is SUPER cool about the fit is that the shoes come with customizable insoles. There are a series of invisible pockets in the insoles that take little wedges (that also come with the shoes) so you can dial in the arch support and camber that you want in the shoes. It’s really fun. I followed the instructions for using the wedges for my foot type, and it was fine, but I ultimately ended up going back to just a normal insole because I didn’t have any problems with those.
The only thing I actively dislike about these shoes is the venting system. They have HUGE vents right over the toes. The airflow is unreal. I’m a cold person and I live in a cold climate most of the time and even when I don’t, I never feel as if my feet are too hot. I don’t need vents of this substantial size (or any size. I don’t need vents. Don’t like ’em, don’t want ’em). However, most people will probably love these vents.
All in all, a great shoe with fancy looks, comfortable walking flex, and excellent on-bike performance. Can’t go wrong.