We all know how easy it is to jump on the bandwagon when certain trends emerge, and within the realm of cycling shoes, this is certainly true for many riders on the hunt for the next best thing. While the stiffer is better approach has long been the mantra of many a manufacturer, Pearl Izumi decided to take a step back and reassess what truly makes a sound mountain shoe platform in relation to stiffness and material makeup. Enter the X Project 1. 0 Shoes, which rely on a flexible composition and lightweight, versatile design to strike the ultimate balance between efficiency and comfort. Seeing as the outsole is the foundation of the new X Project 1. 0 shoes, let's take a look at exactly what Pearl Izumi had up its sleeves when creating the new trail specific kicks. Running the length of the sole is a tuned carbon plate that tapers in both stiffness and shape. Flaring out from a narrow strip at the heel, this plate gets both thicker and wider near the cleat zone, before getting narrow and thin again at the toe. According to Pearl Izumi, this carbon plate measures 4mm at its thickest section, but it's not a solid carbon construction. Layers of TPU thermoplastic polyurethane were sandwiched between the carbon in a way that enabled Izumi's engineers to tune the overall flex and shave weight were necessary. The sole itself is made in three main steps. The first involves injection molding the carbon plate with TPU. This plate is then moved to the molds where rubber traction tips are inserted at the base. The final step involves injecting the malleable, gripp'y, and translucent outer layer of TPU into the mold. After this final molding step, an EVA foam heel bumper similar in both appearance and purpose of what's found in a running shoe is mated to the sole. This component is added to absorb shock when hopping off the bike and while walking in the shoes. After all, the objective of the X Project was to create a high end shoe that was as efficient as possible wh...