Pearl Izumi Review – The Most Popular Cycling Gear Options

Cyclist wearing Pearl Izumi set

Founded in Tokyo, Japan, in 1950 by a man who initially produced racing apparel for his son, Pearl Izumi makes cycling gear, including shorts, jerseys, footwear, outerwear, and other essentials. The company got its start with cycling jerseys and today, makes products for road cyclists, mountain bikers, and triathletes. In this article, we review the most common items needed for cycling from the Pearl Izumi brand. We offer a sampling of the best this brand has to offer for the beginner all the way to the expert cyclist.

You can use this review to get started doing your research on which products to buy. Smart consumers today do this before making their ultimate purchases and are more likely to be satisfied with their shopping experiences and purchases than those who didn’t conduct any advance research. Besides offering product information, we also present general shopping advice on cycling gear.

Product FAQs

1. What is the purpose of a cycling jersey?

Some people feel that wearing a T-shirt is sufficient for cycling. However, it is not as breathable as a jersey, which is usually made from a moisture-wicking technical fabric. Jerseys also have pockets, usually in the back, that act as storage. Jerseys are form-fitting and have a zipper so you can adjust how covered you wish to be, depending on the weather. Jerseys are also cut longer in the back to cover your rear as it’s bent over while cycling.

2. Why do I need cycling shorts or tights?

Bike shorts are functional and comfortable. They are usually made from Lycra and spandex for flexibility and a tight fit. The seams are strategically placed, as is the padding. The shorts allow for wind block, breathability, and a full range of motion. Extra padding in the shorts makes riding more comfortable and helps reduce chafing. Racers should opt for tight-fitting shorts for aerodynamic purposes. Tights are worn for mostly the same reasons as shorts, but provide more warmth and coverage for cycling in colder weather. For riders who commute or tour on a bicycle, need pockets, or would simply rather not wear skintight shorts, there are baggy bike shorts with an inner liner.

3. What do I look for in cycling shoes?

While you can ride a bike wearing most shoes, you should wear ones designed for bicycling. They have stiffer soles so that there is more efficient energy transfer as you pedal. To maximize the energy used, the shoes should be paired with compatible pedals to secure your feet on the bike. This allows you to have control without using unnecessary energy. Bike shoes for road cycling should have smooth outsoles, very stiff soles, cleats that protrude from the sole, and a three-hole pedal style. In contrast, riders who mountain or city bike should seek out shoes with lugged outsoles, stiff soles, cleats recessed into the sole, and a two-hole pedal style.

4. Where can I buy cycling gear?

You can buy cycling gear from individual companies that sell their own brand of gear, retailers specializing in bicycles and cycling gear, department stores, online retailers, and chain sporting goods stores.

How We Reviewed

We’ve presented the most popular cycling gear options, which are jerseys, bottoms, and shoes from Pearl Izumi, for review. We considered numerous features, consumer reviews from popular shopping sites, and articles citing Pearl Izumi products as being amongst the best to help determine our overall recommendation of the products.

Overall Price Ranges

For cycling shoes, the professional high-end version runs $350 while the starter versions cost around $100 to $110. Jerseys range anywhere from $50 to $200. Shorts run between $50 and $300 while bib tights cost between $80 and $195.

Top Pearl Izumi Products


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4.6 out of 5 stars

Key Features

This shoe can be worn while on the bike, at the gym, or running around town. Made with a rubber sole, it has pedaling performance and allows you to easily walk while not on your bike.

Pros

  • Bonded, seamless upper for all-day riding comfort
  • Mesh/synthetic upper dries quickly and is highly breathable
  • Built-in lace garage prevents drivetrain interference
  • Lugged outsole provides traction and durability
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    SPD compatible
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    Flexible forefoot and beveled heel for running
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    Low-cut construction makes for a light feel and quick fit

Cons

  • Sizes run small

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4 out of 5 stars

Key Features

This nylon cycling shoe combines the look of a road shoe with the construction and materials needed for indoor cycling. It is engineered to perform in hot and humid conditions.

Pros

  • Anti-microbial upper mesh to resist odors from bacteria and fungi
  • PE sockliner with Silvadur anti-microbial top sheet material adds durability and bacterial resistance
  • Ventilation holes in the lasting board for breathability
  • Closed cell foam padding and synthetic leather collar lining to shed water and sweat
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    SPD and SPD-SL compatible

Cons

  • Toe box area could use more protection

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4.5 out of 5 stars

Key Features

This cycling shoe, which is the brand’s high-performance professional-level shoe, has a 1:1 integrated carbon power plate sole. It is light, breathable, and stiff, with a seamless upper, a joined sole and upper for a unibody construction, electroplating, and asymmetric dual IP-1 Boa dials. The 1:1 Zero Distraction Upper Fit lessens foot discomfort by not touching soft tissue at the top of the foot.

Pros

  • Seamless composite upper adapts to your foot shape and eliminates hot spots
  • Reduced foot discomfort
  • Maximized pedaling efficiency
  • Replaceable heel bumper
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    SPD-SL compatible

Cons

  • Narrow toe box
  • Not true to size
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    Uncomfortable seam in the upper

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4 out of 5 stars

Key Features

This cycling jersey provides ventilation and lightweight wind protection. Jersey panels in the back and the underarms let heat escape to keep you cool. There are three back pockets for storage and elastic at the back waist helps keep the jersey in place.

Pros

  • Breathable, stretchable fabric provides wind and water protection
  • Full-length zipper allows for venting
  • Top storm flap provides protection
  • Reflective elements help for low-light visibility

Cons

  • Runs small and short

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4.5 out of 5 stars

Key Features

This cycling jersey is ideal for riding in cool weather. It has a semi-form fit that allows for layering, has back pockets for storage, and is made from thermal fleece that provides warmth and moisture transfer.

Pros

  • Full-length zipper for venting
  • Internal welted zipper protects against wind
  • Sleeve hem keeps in warmth
  • Gripper elastic with silicone print keeps jersey in place
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    Reflective elements get attention during low-light visibility

Cons

  • Too delicate and not durable enough
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    Not true to size
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    Could use more windproofing

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4.2 out of 5 stars

Key Features

This cycling jersey uses Escape Transfer textured fabric with Coolplus for breathability and performance. For hot weather relief, In-R-Cool yarn with Coolplus provide comfort and temperature regulation. Three back pockets with external pockets provide ample storage.

Pros

  • Full-length semi-autolock zipper can be pulled open and flipped up with one hand for venting
  • Reflective elements and Screaming BioViz color option helps with visibility

Cons

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    Not true to size

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4.8 out of 5 stars

Key Features

This jersey is made to be aerodynamic and high performing. It has a patented Speed Sleeve construction that gives a close-to-body fit through the shoulders. Without wrinkles, airflow is smoothed to reduce drag while you’re in cycling position. Longer sleeves with raw edges wrap the upper arm in textured aerodynamic fabric for aggressive riding. Three solid fabric pockets on the back of the jersey provide storage space.

Pros

  • Lightweight feel
  • Optimal airflow
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    Full-length semi-autolock zipper can be flipped up and pulled open with one hand for venting

Cons

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    Not true to size

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4.4 out of 5 stars

Key Features

This is a short-sleeve jersey with a five-pocket design for extra storage. P.R.O. Transfer In-R-Cool fabric is powered by Coolplus for dry time moisture transfer, and temperature moderation. The shoulder panels and sleeves use stretch fabric for fit and comfort, while mesh panels provide ventilation, allowing for airflow and cooling.

Pros

  • Full-length semi-autolock zipper allows for flipping up and pulling open the jersey easily with one hand for venting
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    Screaming BioViz color option and reflective elements help with low-light visibility

Cons

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    Not true to size
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    Difficult to clean

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4.7 out of 5 stars

Key Features

This is a long-sleeve jersey that uses thermal fabric to retain warmth and is soft to the touch. There are also ventilation panels, a hem gripper for layering, and lightweight Softshell Lite pockets that protect the contents from splashes. The elastic on the back holds the jersey in position.

Pros

  • Full-length vislon zipper allows for easy ventilation while riding
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    Reflective elements maximize visibility

Cons

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    Sleeves tend to be too long
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    Could use more storage compartments

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4.7 out of 5 stars

Key Features

These shorts have reflective logo graphics on the side. It includes a Pursuit 1:1 Chamois, which has a brushed, smooth top sheet, a wicking backing fabric, and medium-density suspension foam for cushioning and chafe-free comfort. The fabric helps with moisture transfer, and turned fabric at the leg’s opening holds the leg of the short in position.

Pros

  • Six-panel anatomic design
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    Stylish and comfortable
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    Low-light visibility

Cons

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    Length of legs too long

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4.6 out of 5 stars

Key Features

These shorts were made so that you don’t have to readjust your waistband. The mesh bib upper provides support and stability and keeps the shorts in place. The fabric helps with moisture transfer and the SELECT Escape 1:1 Chamois provides chafe-free comfort.

Pros

  • Comfortable and supportive
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    Color splice on the thighs for design and visibility
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    BioViz reflective elements for low-light visibility and Screaming color option for daylight visibility
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    Six-panel anatomic design

Cons

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    Not true to size

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4.8 out of 5 stars

Key Features

These bib tights keep you warm during cold weather rides. The water-resistant AmFIB Softshell fabric and PI Dry technology on the back of the legs provide strategic wind and maximum splash protection while allowing you to continue to move freely on your adventures. An external flat pocket on the right thigh lets you easily access items.

Pros

  • Ankle zippers
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    BioViz Screaming color option for daylight visibility and reflective elements for low-light visibility
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    Six-panel anatomic design
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    ELITE Escape 1:1 Chamois with floating top sheet design for friction reduction

Cons

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    Not true to size
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    Fabric could use more stretch

Other Cycling Considerations

If your choice of shorts is between bib versus drawstring, you might want to opt for bib. They are the choice of serious cyclists and ensure that your rear is covered. Drawstring shorts make it harder for you to breathe while you’re on the bike because they restrict your abdomen when you’re in cycling position.

You are not supposed to wear underwear underneath your cycling shorts or bottoms. The chamois in the shorts is meant to keep your skin dry and decrease friction between your skin and the saddle. Do use a chamois cream to protect your backside, especially if you have a long-distance ride. In fact, use a generous amount if you are riding or racing in the rain. Road grit coming from asphalt could end up anywhere, and protecting your rear end with chamois cream becomes highly important.

Some riders and racers prefer riding without sleeves, but for most races, sleeves are required. If you do race or ride without sleeves, you run the risk of damaging your skin, at minimum, if you crash and have your arms exposed.

The Verdict

If you are a high-level and/or professional road cyclist, the P.R.O. Leader v4 Cycling Shoes is the best option for you. Otherwise, the X-Road Fuel v5 Cycling Shoes are comfortable and versatile enough for you to get on and off the bike without having to change shoes. For a thermal jersey to wear on cold days, the P.R.O. Escape Thermal Jersey is the best-rated option while the Pursuit Speed Mesh Jersey is the highest-rated option for warm weather riding. Each of the shorts and tights listed above reflect what we feel are the best in their categories.

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