I can't say I know much about Pearl Izumi shoes, other than they have been making them for a while and Lopes wears them. After my Vans died a horrible sole failure death, I thought I would give the X-Alp Launch II a go.
The X-Alp Launch II pack a bunch of features: BOA laces with a velcro tab on the toes, Carbon Fibre composite shank, EVA out/mid sole and Carbon Rubber lugged outsole for durability.
The BOA pulls equally from both sides, giving an even feel across the foot. I can't say enough about B OA, i love how they work, how simple it is, and how you can micro adjust the fit to get it just the way you want. The only thing that bothers me is that left foot turns counter clockwise, while the right foot turns clockwise. I had to double check my kids snowboard boots, but those all turn in the same direction, so i'm not sure if it was done deliberately.
The toe box is well protected with extra rubber adhered to the material that wraps around the outside of the toes. The heal is made from the same base material, but without the extra rubber covering. The sole is very grippy with lugs like tire treads, they are well spaced and clear easily.
The width of the shoe was bang on, which doesn't happen with many shoes, but I found the overall length to be a bit shorter than what I was use to. I sized up 44.5, which should have been the 10.5 equivalent but i think going up to 45 would have been a better choice. I ended up wearing them with some super thin socks and that seemed to work well. The shank in the footbed is only 3/4 size, so this gives the front of the shoe more flex than other shoes I have worn. I found it most noticeable when I would climbing up hill, but when on the pedals it felt just like normal cleats.
MSRP: $160 usd / $188 Cdn