Pearl Izumi Vaper MTB Shoes

3.63/5 (19 Reviews)
MSRP : $179.99


Product Description

• Carbon fiber I-Beam design for light weight and maxumum stiffness
• Patent Pending Tri-Composite outsole construction for durability
• Agressive tread with tacky gripping surface for incredible traction and durability in wet and dry conditions
• Seamless air mesh upper for lightweight comfort and breathibility
• 3 Velcro straps adjust for the perfect fit
• Molded Plastic heel cup grips the heel and reduces slippage
• Removable toe spikes for increased traction
• Clear toe bumper for protection
• Compatible with most clipless pedal systems


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Reviews 1 - 15 (19 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by timothy young a Weekend Warrior from Hamilton Ont. Canada

Date Reviewed: December 28, 2004

Strengths:    hasn't anybody tried the PI Viper mtb with the windup pully lace system ? Neoprene body is nice on cold days -Carbon fbr sole gives good foot deck -My friends say they look cool -they feel pretty good on road & trail.

Weaknesses:    The pulley lace up system lasted 16 rides or so & then broke inside a neoprene winter booty.One plastic lace to break & you're without shoes till they get around to fixin' em.

Bottom Line:   
I'm a sucker for the next techy gimmick & these viper side pully things were on sale & in summer we wear alot of neoprene suits etc. for watersports & wet/winter weather etc.So these things wern't much of a stretch. For cool fall riding the're OK . The shimano pedal plates are recessed into the sole & pretty hard to click into in a hurry compared to other makes I've worn out through the years. Since I like to wear same shoes for road & trails (sooner or later you'll Hikeabike a mile or 2)I do stess my equipment to the max. Anyway from Sept to Xmas they were hassle free then on my 2nd ride of xmas vacation early snow this year around southern Ont. The pully ratchet & single lace let go- cut through I think - & its back to the shop they go . Exactly as I had feared as I lay down my C.Card @ purchase time. These shoes aren't listed here yet but I had to vent since I'm riding my computer till my shoes get back. OH Ya Pearl Izumi in canada is closed till after next week for the holidays . I wonder who gets stuck with the shipping costs??.

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Favorite Trail:   dundas/waterdown

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Freewheel @ dundas

Similar Products Used:   Shimano lake etc. I'm on my 5th pair of shoes.

Bike Setup:   Ti Road bike -Steel Hard tail -Aluminum Soft tail all with shimano spd pedals so I don't have to think which shoes etc.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Anthony a Cross Country Rider from GTA, Canada

Date Reviewed: October 13, 2004

Strengths:    Carbon fiber last
Very comfy toe box
Original looking
Sticky grip tread
Stiff and powerfull
Nicely Breathable fabric


Weaknesses:    Delaminating toe bumper
Tongue bits deep into the top of my ankles (ouch!) (before modifying).
Had to cut away some tread to accomodated shimano 747 spd pedals.
Accessory toe luggs are cheap plastic.
Fabric does not clean well.


Bottom Line:   
These are great shoes. The switch to carbon soles certainly gives impressive results. I'm not sure I would ever go back to polyvinyls or polyurethane type materials for soles. No way. Ten thumbs up for the ultra stiff soles. For that 0.05% time I'm off the bike walking on soft terrain they work fine for that too. The dreaded ankle chaffing certainly was a problem, major pain, I mean major. I had to cut away and restitch some of the tongue to ease the chaffing. Seems fine now. To date I've noticed the toe bumper delaminating from the fabric right accross the toe box on either shoe. I'm hoping customer service will look after this with their lifetime warranty on the defective glue. We'll see.
For now...

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Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $89.00

Purchased At:   performance bike

Similar Products Used:   Northwave, Shimano

Bike Setup:   Why?

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by marco righetti a Cross Country Rider from bellshill,scotland,UK

Date Reviewed: July 28, 2004

Strengths:    looks

Weaknesses:    front rubber strip began to come away,internal metal plates for screwing cleats onto snapped at the threaded part.

Bottom Line:   
i waited 2 months to have them warranty replaced due to the rubber bumper coming away...i'm greatfull that pearl izumi gave me new ones but today the internal plates snapped at the threads where the cleat bolts screw into!
these shoes look great but the build quality sucks big time.
so my advice to you would be .....if you dont have these shoes and you are having a desire for them....do yourself a BIG favour when this desire comes over you...ask your best friend to give you a stiff kick in the nuts! and ask him to shout in your ear at the same time "pearl izumi vapor shoes! NO WAY!)

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   glentress,peebles,scotland

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $130.00

Purchased At:   alpine bikes glasgow,scotland

Similar Products Used:   shimano,nike

Bike Setup:   irrelevant to these shoes

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Matt from Greeley, CO

Date Reviewed: May 27, 2004

Strengths:    Good fit, great energy transfer

Weaknesses:    Wicked expensive, durability issues

Bottom Line:   
Luckilly, I got these really cheap at a closeout because the sole had de-laminated, so I sent them back to PI, and they sent me a new pair. The fit and feel is great, and the energy transfer seems to be really strong with a nice stiff sole.

But don't get off the bike! A good afternoon with a bunch of walks on Slickrock in Moab, and these look like I owned them for a year. Also, I took a walking spill down a particularly steep piece of rock, and really tore up the shoes. I know these are supposed to be lightweight racing shoes, but they really could be tougher.

If I paid list, I'd think these shoes suck, but for what I paid, they're great!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   20

Similar Products Used:   Lots and lots of shoes

Bike Setup:   Does it matter for a shoe review?

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by ColeMTB from Kansas City, KS

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2004

Strengths:    Nice show at first, Carbon I-beam felt great for transfer of power.

Weaknesses:    Bottom seperated from shoe, velcro wore out and no longer works. HALF SIZES MAN! I wear a dead on size 12, not 12.5, not 11.5!

Bottom Line:   
The shoes feel apart, at least I got a new pair of VIPERS! Not sure how they will hold up, considering selling them since I really wear a size 12 and these feel a little lose.

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Favorite Trail:   Landahl

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $180.00

Purchased At:   Supergo

Similar Products Used:   Sidi Dominator 4

Bike Setup:   Karate Monkey Single Speed

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by marco righetti a Cross Country Rider from uddingston,scotland, UK

Date Reviewed: May 10, 2004

Strengths:    the i beam is very stiff which is good for pedalling
i have the 04 version in black and white but i think they look great in any colour!


Weaknesses:    the front rubber strip is coming away from the shoe.
i have had to cut away alot of the tread/sole around the cleat area to accomodate my eggs.
mud sticks real good to the shoe surface due to the shoe material and it takes more than a damp cloth to take the mud away.


Bottom Line:   
i was really looking forward to these shoes and was very dissapointed

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   glentress forest peebles scotland

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   alpinebikes glasgow UK

Similar Products Used:   shimano (so far the best)

Bike Setup:   trek fuel

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by jaco a Cross Country Rider from colombia

Date Reviewed: January 7, 2004

Strengths:    stiff sole

Weaknesses:    quality, soles came off pretty early on but ik have kept super-glueing them back together..half dozen times already. not the best fit since these dont come in half sizes

Bottom Line:   
i was an ass to review these without proper testing, specially now when these are ripped to shreds. not worth the money. i did get the chance to have them replaced by PI but being in south america made this quite difficult. im gonna try shimano now. i still think the best shoe for the money is specialized but their somewhat recent body geometry is painful.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   orotina

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $130.00

Purchased At:   biketech miami

Similar Products Used:   specialized

Bike Setup:   tires? what tires?

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Cory from St. Louis, MO, USA

Date Reviewed: October 23, 2003

Strengths:    Great Looks. Super Stiff. 3 strap Velcro. Great Fit. Ultra comfortable - now.

Weaknesses:    Old model: tongue cut into fron tof ankle. carbon sole serparated from front half. cleats on bottom too narrow for ATAC pedals.
New Model: cleats too narrow for ATAC pedals, requires a little cutting.


Bottom Line:   
I originally had the gray version that first came out last year. I liked how they felt on my feet, overall, how they looked and they were SUPER stiff. My only real complaint on these were the sharp edge on the tongue that would dig into the front of my ankle, especially when climbing. For about the first 10-12 rides, it would kill me. I was almost going to sell them until they got borken in. After my last race, i noticed that the front of the sole has separated from the upper fabric.
I called PI customer service and they told me to send them into warranty. Within a week, a BRAND NEW pair of shoes arrived at my house and these things are SWEET!!!!

Black and white coloring rocks. The tongue part that hurt has been modified with some neoprene. These new babies were PERFECT from the second i put them on my feet. Super comfortable on my feet and the eyes. Fit like a glove. And with Pearl's customer service, i am sticking with these shoes for a LONG, LONG time.
No questions asked despite the obvious abuse i had put the shoes through.

I would give the Grey shoes only 2 or 3 flaming piles of poo, but PI customer service along with the new shoes means i have to go with about 8 piles!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   whichever one i am on.

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $95.00

Purchased At:   E-Bay

Similar Products Used:   Specialized, Sidi

Bike Setup:   Giant XTC SE1 - SID Team

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by dan K a Cross Country Rider from gem state

Date Reviewed: July 27, 2003

Strengths:    My wide feet love them, carbon sole, 3 velcro straps, lightweight.

Weaknesses:    Haven't used them long enough. But if any arise, PI has great customer service

Bottom Line:   
I used to ride for Duegi and their shoes lasted about 10 years! My wife feet loved them and I rode them into the dirt. Finally had to get some new shoes and the Vapers fit the bill. Speaking of fit, that's a personal thing, but I like everything about the shoes, especially the deal I got on ebay. If I was buying retail, maybe I'd look at the Shimano M221 if they fit my feet.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $75.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Duegi, Sidi, Shimano

Bike Setup:   what?

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by James Matthews a Racer from San Antonio,Tx,USA

Date Reviewed: April 13, 2003

Strengths:    Stiff sole for power transfer
Light weight


Weaknesses:    The sole pulled loose from the shoe at the heel
The body of the shoes cannot be cleaned very well, as the nylon material hangs on to dirt.
There is no tongue on the shoe and it took several weeks and very sore ankle tendons to break in the shoes around the ankle


Bottom Line:   
The soles were great to ride in as they were stiff, but not great to walk or run in if you couldn't clear a section. Maybe the sole pulled away from the body of the shoe because the soles were too stiff.
I elected not to get another pair of PI's, but to go to Sidi Dominator 4's as I have worn Sidi's on the road for years.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $90.00

Similar Products Used:   Northwave comp act
Specialized team


Bike Setup:   Time ATAC

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by bob from mel bch fla

Date Reviewed: February 17, 2003

Strengths:    super stiff & light

Weaknesses:    velcro straps

Bottom Line:   
On the bike they are very comfortable kinda like a running shoe. The carbon I-beam has outstanding power transfer from your foot to the pedal. at first when I put them on I did not like them at all! They are very uncomfortable for walking but after I went out on the bike, I changed my mind about just how good they feel when I am riding. The only thing that I would change is the velcro straps, very good shoe. Value is not that great.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andy from Tacoma, WA

Date Reviewed: February 8, 2003

Strengths:    Stiff
Light
Good Looking
Great fit if you have wide feet


Weaknesses:    Tongue cuts into foot
Spawns jealousy in other riders


Bottom Line:   
Before I tell you about the shoe I figure you ought to know what my feet are like, if you're into that kinda thing... Anyways, my feet are fat and flat so I've traditionally had a hard time buying shoes that tend to be made on European (that is, narrow) lasts. Lower end shoes tend to fit but they simply aren't stiff enough.

When I saw these shoes I thought they looked great. A little expensive, but if they fit, I figured that they'd be worth it. When they went on sale at Excel Sports, it was if I didn't have a choice. I ran to the LBS and tried on a similar pair of PI shoes, the Vagabonds. They fit great so I ordered a pair of Vapors.

Upon delivery I immediatly put them on and found the tongue to be retardedly uncomfortable. These would be some of the most comfortable shoes, bike or otherwise, I own, expect for the tongue issue. I hope that PI fixes the problem for next year. As it stands I'll probably wait to see if the fabric beings to break in a little-otherwise I'll just have to modify it myself.

On the bike the rubbing isn't as bad unless you're standing up. In either position it isn't as bad as walking around on them, but they are still a bit uncomfortable. In all honesty, I haven't worn them too much so maybe that section is intended to get a bit better.

In all other aspects the shoe is amazing! When I went from my MTB to a road bike I was amazed at how efficient that was. The change between my old school Shimano M-110's and the PI's is just as great. They are so stiff. If you have issues with toe numbness due to shoe flex you can kiss that problem goodbye. I highly recommend these shoes with the warning that the tongue can be a bit annoying.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $99.00

Purchased At:   excelsports.com

Similar Products Used:   Shimano M-110


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dan a Racer from Spfd, MO USA

Date Reviewed: November 25, 2002

Strengths:    Very stiff sole. Incredibly comfortable-hardly notice them on my feet! Also light. Fit me well even though i have wider feet.

Weaknesses:    Not much- except mud doesn't wash out of the nylonlike top of the shoevery easily

Bottom Line:   
A must buy for the serious MTBer. They work excellent and i don't have a single gripe. I look forward to riding just so i can wear these shoes! And yes they may be a little on the high side ($ wise) but I have wider feet and they fit and preform excellent for me.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   Nike, SIDI

Bike Setup:   Fast and Light!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Merlin Man a Weekend Warrior from Long Beach

Date Reviewed: October 10, 2002

Strengths:    Stiffness, Comfort

Bottom Line:   
I had always been a Sidi fan until I tried the Vapor’s. I have a wide foot and I find these shoes incredibly comfortable. The triple closure secures very well and the carbon sole is extremely stiff. If anything they are too stiff for MTB’n in the event you need to hike a bit (but only weenies ever walk, right?). I was worried how the texturized sole would hold up but after about 2K miles they seemed to be faring well. As other riders mentioned you do have to trim them down a bit for egg beaters. The look of the shoe has something to be desired as they definitely look different from the standard shoes and a few people have told me they wouldn’t buy anything that look the Vapor’s. I have found that the material does breathe very well and the side and toe guards do provide protection when brushing up against rocks. 5 flamers!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Porcupine Trail

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $120.00

Purchased At:   Supergo

Similar Products Used:   Sidi


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mikey Likes It a Cross Country Rider from Boulder, CO

Date Reviewed: August 12, 2002

Strengths:    Strong, light, carbon fiber lower, removable cleats, and super-wide for very wide-footed chaps like me.

Weaknesses:    Butt ugly. Okay, maybe that isn't a weakness, but these are the ugliest shoes I have seen yet.

Bottom Line:   
I had to post a review, even though I have had these for less than 1 month, due to the review below regarding a low rating because they are wide. Why on earth did you buy a shoe that didn't fit? Is that a fault of the shoe? Nice thing about PI shoes is they are built on an american shoe lath, meaning they are apt to fit our feet better than those ultra-narrow italian laths. But if your feet are narrow, there are great options out there for the money. You can even spend less. Sounds like the fault was yours, not the shoes.

ONWARD:

I had a hard time finding shoes that fit, the Mega 4 came close but wasn't very comfy either. The Pearl Izumi Vaper went on easy, rides easy, fits perfectly, and is strong and secure. The ventilation is great, although it might be an issue in the winter. If so, hey I have those little PI bootie thingys too. Having shoes that fit right is paramount - having them be comfortable and strong is a bonus. To be honest, I totally forget about them when they are on, but I ride longer and harder than ever.

I think they are a Class A shoe all the way - the best I have owned (or due to fitting reasons, tried on). I think they are overpriced (minus 1 chili), and deserve an extra chili for fitting my wide feet (to counteract the minus chili from the guy who bought shoes that don't fit).

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Rocky, dirty, and steep.

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $180.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Comp, Rockhopper, and Shmino M055

Bike Setup:   Klein Mantra with built in ejection seat action (URT).

Reviews 1 - 15 (19 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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