Struggle less.

When we watch our professional idols dance up mountainsides and float to the front of the peloton, their speed seems effortless. Sure, we often see their grimaces, but they're nothing compared to the ones carved into our own faces as we grind our way through local hill climbs and road races. No ride will ever be effortless, but Pearl Izumi's Pro Leader III Men's Cycling Shoe aims to take away a bit of the struggle.

Occupying the top echelon in the brand's line, the Pro Leader III conspires to disappear on your foot as soon as you put it on. A lithe, dual-Boa upper molds around the top of your foot for a fit free of hot spots and pressure points, while adjustable arch support prevents fatigue and improves efficiency on longer rides. Of course, no top-tier shoe would be complete without a power-transferring carbon sole to help ferry you to the front of the pack, which the Pro Leader III delivers. Its stiff, lightweight carbon fiber plate integrates smoothly with the rest of the shoe to save bulk and grams anywhere possible.

  • Pro-level shoe eliminates distracting discomfort in the saddle
  • Carbon fiber sole earns a perfect 13/13 stiffness rating
  • 3-layer seamless upper breathes consistently as you ride
  • Bi-directional closure establishes a contoured, wrap-like fit
  • Dual Boa dials allow for limitless fit customization
  • 1:1 insole customizes support for left and right arches
  • Low 5mm stack height maximizes pedaling efficiency
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

New Favorite Shoe

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small

Enthusiast 150-200 miles/week

Fit: runs slightly small, think half size more. I have a narrow heel with a medium box requirement up front. The half size keeps the toes free but not too loose. If the heel feels loose I use the boa to snug it in. Works for a good sprint. These shoes are amazingly comfortable, ventilate well for a desert rider, and presented no “hot spots” or foot numbness due to fit or construction.

At first, I thought the uppers would be a bit stiff, but I have to say they are so comfortable I hardly know they are there. At any rate the shoe is top notch quality for build and materials. The insole is fairly neutral but has “pockets” for provided inserts to adjust arch height and ball of foot for good foot fit and knee alignment. The upper easily wipes clean.

The soles are super stiff and the low stack profile a plus. Like the previous model, all of your energy will go to the pedal and not to flex. Unless you have supernatural leg strength.

The dual boas make me wonder why we didn’t have these 20 years ago. Beats the crap out of Velcro style straps. Much cleaner aesthetic. Much more precise adjustments. I love the simplicity of adjustments on the fly, turn one way to tighten, turn the other way to loosen. In the previous model you had to pull out on the knob then lift up your foot to loosen and retighten to meet your needs. Not exactly chewing gum and walking I know, but now I can adjust quickly even while decending. Not advocating, just saying.

I did opt for the high viz color to be seen. The human eye is drawn to movement and what better movement than a quick cadence and electric green?

I have ridden these hard for about 800 miles thus far and would say at this point these have become my all time favorites.

Surprised Me !

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 44.5

Prior to getting my first ride in these shoes this morning, the fit seemed on the verge of too small...but when used with normal summer riding socks like this morning's 25-mile ride, the fit was like a glove, with just enough room. VERY comfortable, great ventilation and HI-VIZ !!! Hence I was very surprised in a most positive way !!! BUT, if I move to a climate where cooler/cold weather is the norm, I'll need to order at least 1/2 size larger to accommodate thicker socks.

Surprised Me !

Sweet shoes

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 44.5

Great fit, love the micro adjustability. Easy to adjust fit on thr fly. The bright color grabs attention, stylish safety bonus.

Comfortable

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 46.5

I can't imagine a more comfortable upper. I have a very low volume foot and the dual Boa system and upper fit like a glove. The size definitely runs small on length. I wear a 45.5 Specialized and a 45 Fizik. This shoe is a 46.5 and certainly is not too large. The color in person is more pleasing than the photo. Think Cannonade-Drapac green.

Super Shoe

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 44

I wear a 43 in specialized shoes but needed a 44 in the pro leader. I originally order a 43.5 and had to return for a 44. Customer service personal gearhead was amazing as always. The 44 gave my toes a wiggle room

The sole is super stiff, yet the overall feel of the shoe is great. I have used them on 4 rides so far and have noticed an improvement on average and peak wattage. They just feel so stable under my feet. So far longest ride in them was 3 hrs and no foot numbness. Its my first time using a shoe with BOA. Keep in mind, You dont need to crank down on the BOA to get a great fit. I do love the anit-freeze green look.

Great shoe

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small

The only caveat with this shoe is that you need to order a half size larger than other Pearl Izumi shoes. These are a really nice shoe.

It is a very stiff sole with a low stack height. The dual BOA system allows you to dial in a precise fit to start and then adjust as needed without popping the BOA dials. Just turn them to tighten or turn the other way to loosen.

The insole is great - it allows you to insert different pieces to raise or lower the arch and to deal with varus tilt of your forefoot. The Varus tilt compensation can allow your knee to track a more vertical path and reduce side loading on the knee - that means less pain.

The heel cup could be a little tighter on my foot, but that is a minor complaint, since you can dial the BOAs to push your foot into the heel cup.

Ventilation is also not as good as it can be, but they are not a hit shoe.

No shoe is perfect, but this shoe is a great all around performer and an outstanding performer in many areas.

Pearl Izumi makes stuff that just works.

Nice

    Worth the money! My foot pain has disappeared since being able to adjust the arch!

    Awesome to hear Adam! Thanks for the review.

    Excellent shoe

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: 46.5

    Color is far better than the pictures will show you on the website. Sorry Competitive Cyclist. Seeing it in person is far better. Swapped to this shoe from a higher end Specialized after having issues with numbness in the feet and trying several different arch supports. First thing, Neither Pearl Izumi nor Competitive Cyclist do an accurate job of describing the "1:1 insole system" This is a fully customizable insole with different inserts to fit different arches and toe boxes. The ease and ability to find the desired comfort was easy and very user friendly.

    I usually wear a size 12 shoe and used the size chart and ordered a 46.5. I was a little concerned I'd get a shoe that was to big but it turned out perfect. Thanks CC and Pearl for offering this awesome Exclusive color.

    Limited Edition

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size

    I love this limited edition color. I have always been a fan of Pearl Izumi shoes and the fact I can have a limited edition color is even better.

    How are these shoes width-wise? I have wide feet (like D-E) and need a wide shoe with a high arch.

    hey Shane, as much as I like these shoes they won't be a good fit for you, they are not particularly wide. I would check out the SIDI GENIUS 7 CARBON MEGA SHOE.

    Do these shoes fit shimano pedals?

    yes those do fit Shimano SPD-L road pedals.

    SHOETASTIC!!!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: 43.5

    I absolutely adore these shoes! They are so so comfortable. Just brilliant! Thank Pearl Izumi and super duper special thank you Backcountry!!!
    FYI: Pearl's website says to go a half size up, but I wouldnt unless your already pushing close to the next size.. True to size, just super race ready fit. Feels soooo gooood...

    John, what size do you wear on the US scale?

    Pearl iZumi Does Shoes Right!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size

    The Pro Leader III shoes are unbelievable! This is now my 3rd pair of Pro Leader's and I love them all! The construction, size (true) and weight make this shoe a must have for all cyclists. The price point is a tad bit high, but you do get what you pay for - quality.