The problem with shoes is that everything needs to be right or it's all wrong. If one little thing is wrong it can screw up your whole ride. The new Pearl Izumi women's road shoe gets the big stuff right. The power transference is amazing. Every ounce of energy coming out of my legs felt like it was going directly to the bike. Very nice thing to wake up to. The fit is great - snug and seamless. The ratcheting system and one velcro strap make for a very easy in and out (which was why I was asked to try these shoes for tri transitions) that could take a second or two off transition times. The shoe is also very lightweight with great stability.
Ahhhh... If only I could stop writing there I would be so happy, but... the shoe doesn't breathe... Despite huge amounts of mesh (more on that later) my feet were soaked before I hit the 10 mile point. Not just moist - swampy, Mississippi in the summertime, under the sea soaked. I sweat as much as the next person but other than rubber rain shoes, I have never had this happen to my feet and especially not on a 75 degree morning. I had to cut my ride short because blisters were already looming on the horizon. There is a very thick funky lining made of something I can't identify which I'm assuming is the problem.
The other major problem I had, and this is an individual fit thing but as far as I know I have very "normal" feet so it's worth mentioning, is that the top strap was just a hair too high up the top of my foot. Just a hair - but enough that it was pushing into the top of my ankle with every stroke. No problem when I was up on my feet cranking with little to no ankle movement, but for spinning or just cruising along it was annoying and uncomfortable - borderline painful. By the end of the ride the tops of my feet were numb and there was a fairly deep indentation in the top of my ankle. Again - it's a fit thing so it might not be a problem for everyone.
What makes it sad is, I really wanted to love these shoes. Like the shaggy mutt surrounded by purebreds I really wanted these shoes to be something special because (in my opinion) they are quite honestly the most ass ugly pair of cycling shoes in the universe. If Don Ho designed a golf shoe that then mistakenly got produced with bike cleats instead of golf cleats they would be these shoes. Platinum white mesh and lots of it. With black men's dress socks they could be mistaken for your grandfathers' cycling shoes. Just add the seersucker suit. But, cycling clothes are kind of known for being ugly so I was up for some totally ugly shoes that people could laugh at as I smoked them. "Sure, laugh at my shoes. See ya'!" But these are not those shoes. Which is too bad because the power conversion was wicked!