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Giro mountain bike shoes: Get to know Giro's range of off-road kicks

Giro mountain bike shoes
(Image credit: Giro)

Giro mountain bike shoes sit alongside an extensive range of outdoor clothing that includes everything from bike helmets, jackets and gloves to skiing goggles and clothing.

Founded in 1985 by Jim Gentes, Giro started out with the Advantage helmet, which was designed to help triathletes cheat the wind, before releasing the Prolight, Aerohead and Air Attack helmets, which the bike industry got on with like a house on fire. Each of these models has been updated and re-released over the years. 

It wasn't until 2010 that the California-based brand took the step into riding footwear. Now, Giro Mountain Bike shoes extend to a full range of XC and trail shoes, some with ultralight Easton carbon soles, and others designed to keep your feet stuck to the pedals sans cleat.

We've split Giro's shoe range up into XC and trail shoes. The former is based around what we would consider as a more traditional cycling shoe, while the latter is closer to a skate-style shoe. 

XC shoes

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Sector

(Image credit: Giro)

Sector

Giro's latest light and airy do-everything shoe

Closure: BOA | Claimed weight: 342g (size 42) | Sizes: 39-50

Syncwire upper
Grippy lugs
L6 dials can't be backed off like the IP1 

The Sector is the latest addition to Giro's range of off-road shoes, and serves as its do-everything SPD kicks. Utilising a similar design to the Imperial road shoe, the upper is made from Synchwire, a matrix of burly individual fibres surrounded by a thermobonded exo-structure and large swaths of mesh for maximum ventilation. All this makes for a structure which is robust in the one direction, but still offers some flexibility where it's needed. The dual L6 BOA dials allow 1mm micro-adjustments, but also have a svelte profile and won't get hung up on rocks and grabby trail fauna. 

The sole is made from carbon composite and features 'dual-injected' Vibram lugs, meaning the rubber is actually part of the moulding process and is not just glued on after the fact. The Sector has mounts for toe spikes and is claimed to weigh 342g in a size 42. 

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Empire VR 90

(Image credit: Giro)

Empire VR 90

Lace-up, off-road kicks that offer unmatched adjustability and comfort as well as Giro's stiffest sole

Closure: Lace | Claimed weight: 315g (size 42.5) | Sizes: 39-50

Lightweight 
Uber stiff sole
Available in standard and high volume fit
No on the go adjustments
Slow to dry

Giro brought laces back to cycling shoes with its Empire road clogs. They were initially produced for the now-retired Taylor Finney to wear during the Tour de France; while many initially wrote the design off as 'just for hipsters,' almost every other shoe brand now has at least one lace-up shoe in its lineup. The Empire VR90 is a version adapted for off-road use, with heel and toe protection and Vibram rubber lugs added to the sole for grip and walkability. 

The sole is made from the brand's stiffest EC90 carbon for max power transfer. Inside is the Giro’s Supernatural footbed complete with adjustable arch support and the XT2 antimicrobial fibre top sheet. They are lightweight, comfortable and supremely stiff race shoes. 

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Code TechLace

(Image credit: Giro)

Code TechLace

Laces, velcro and BOA's all on the same shoe with a lightweight, yet stiff sole

Closure: BOA, Tech Lace | Claimed weight: 345g (size 42.5) | Sizes: 39-50

Vibram rubber on sole 
EC70 plate
TechLace closure must be adjusted with the proper technique for full benefit

The Code has been a part of Giro's shoe line up for some time, with the brand replacing the velcro straps with its lace/hook-and-loop mashup a few seasons ago. The TechLace closure sheds grams over a velcro strap, without sacrificing adjustability, although there is a technique to adjusting them. At the top, there is a BOA L6 closure to prevent your heel from lifting as you power up a techy rock garden. 

The lugs and armour are made from Vibram rubber which is supremely durable and the sole itself is Giro's EC70 carbon plate. It's marginally less stiff and heavier than the Giro's flagship EC90 carbon; however, most of us mere mortals aren't strong enough to make it flex, and it also provides a bit of extra vibration dampening. There is a midfoot scuff guard for when you slip a pedal and mounts for removable toe spikes, should you want to try your luck at a cross-country or cyclocross race. 

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Empire VR70 Knit

(Image credit: Giro)

Empire VR70 Knit

Supple yet stout-knitted MTB kicks

Closure: Lace | Claimed weight: 380g (size 42) | Sizes: 39-50

Knitted upper breathes well 
Supple
Tough to keep clean

Knit shoes are all the rage at the moment and Giro was one of the earliest to employ the technology to cycling footwear. With an Xnetic knit upper and TPU exoskeleton and heel cup, the VR70 Knit is remarkably well vented and form-fitting but don’t feel like you’re pedalling in a sock with a carbon plate stuck on the bottom. The knit material is DWR treated so water will roll off the exterior rather than soaking in, and the extended stretch-knit ankle cuff helps to keep trail crud on the outside of the shoe. 

Speaking of the sole, it's an EC70 plate which offers pro-level stiffness and, like the brand's other high-end kicks, the sole, heel and toe armour along with the midsole scuff guard are made with Vibram rubber.

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Cylinder

(Image credit: Giro)

Cylinder

Mid-range MTB kicks with a nylon sole

Closure: BOA, Velcro | Claimed weight: 315g (size 42) | Sizes: 35-50

BOA closure 
Mounts for toe spikes
Narrow last

Giro's Cylinder is a mid-range, off-road shoe that is comfortable pushing pedals with a number plate on the front of your bike or coming along for an all-day adventure. They feature a single BOA L6 dial to cinch the upper two-thirds of the shoe and a velcro strap that keeps the toe box under control. The upper itself is made of synthetic leather and has sizable mesh panels to allow for a breeze on a hot day.

On the bottom is a co-moulded nylon plate with high traction rubber lugs, it's not the Gucci Vibram rubber but still provides purchase on wet rocks and logs and has a decent lifespan. 

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Privateer

(Image credit: Giro)

Privateer

The best looking MTB shoes in Giro's range

Closure: Lace | Claimed weight: 355g (size 42) | Sizes: 39-50

Looks 
Laced closure 
Comfort
Lack of armour makes them better suited to gravel riding

Giro's Privateer lace shoe is designed to feel like they are completely broken-in from the first moment you slip them onto your trotters. The upper is made from a super supple, microfiber material that breathes exceptionally well and the laces offer seven points of adjustment. 

The Privateer features Giro's RockPrint Toe and Heel for abrasion resistance and a reinforced toe and heel cap — though for trail bike use we'd like to see a little more protection. The sole is made from nylon, which provides efficient power transfer, but still has enough give when it comes time for a hike. Plus, we think they are some of the best looking off-road kicks money can buy.

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Carbide R II

(Image credit: Giro)

Carbide R II

Lightweight, entry-level XC shoes that don't sacrifice on performance

Closure: Velcro | Claimed weight: 310g (size 42) | Sizes: 39-50

310g weight 
Big mesh panels
No Vibram rubber

The Carbide R II is Giro's entry-level XC shoe with an injection moulded nylon sole, and co-moulded rubber lugs which offer durability and grip over rocks and in the muckiest of mud bogs. The upper is made from synthetic leather and features sizable mesh panels to allow your feet to breathe.

There's no BOA, ratchets or laces here, just a simple three-strap, hook-and-loop closure system, which provides plenty of adjustability and security, without the price tag. Even being on the lower end of Giro's product tree, the Carbide R II are still some of the brand’s lighter shoes, claimed to weigh 310g in size 42. 

Trail shoes

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Terraduro Mid

(Image credit: Giro)

Terraduro Mid

Well protected, water-resistant enduro kicks

Closure: Lace | Claimed weight: 435g (size 42.5) | Sizes: 39-50

Vibram rubber 
Ankle screen 
Mid-height support
They've been hit with the ugly stick

If your riding style is more like a bobsled than a slalom skier, the Terraduro Mid might just be the Giro shoe for you. Starting from the top, asymmetric ankle covers prevent the dreaded ankle knock and the 'Airaprene' ankle screen keeps trail crud out, while also offering additional ankle support. Hidden beneath the protective flap is a laced closure, and the Evofiber Microfiber upper is highly water-resistant and backed by a sealed cleat opening to keep the elements out. 

The base of the shoes is built around a nylon shank that's surrounded by Vibram rubber, to keep you right side up as you scramble up slippery rocks and roots. The sole features a flexible forefoot zone to help make walking a bit less awkward, while maintaining plenty of pedalling efficiency on liaison climbs. 

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Ventana

(Image credit: Giro)

Ventana

Airy, well vented, quick-drying and lightweight trail shoes

Closure: BOA, Velcro | Claimed weight: 417g (size 42.5) | Sizes: 39-48

Syncwire upper
EVA cushioning 
417g claimed weight (size 42.5)
Less protection than many other MTB shoes

Taking a step down in overall protection and weight, the Ventana are trail shoes ideal for dry climates. The nylon plate and Sensor rubber outsole hit a good balance of weight, grip and walkability to pedalling efficiency. 

The one-piece upper is made from Giro's Syncwire constriction, with TPU bonded mesh, and features rubber toe and heel protection. Between the upper and the nylon plate is a layer of EVA foam designed to soften the impact on your joints from walking. The Ventana is available with two types of closures, a Boa L6 dial and velcro strap or slightly cheaper speedlace-style closure.

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Chamber II

(Image credit: Giro)

Chamber II

DH shoes with a setback cleat to help you keep your heels down

Closure: Lace, Velcro | Claimed weight: 510g | Sizes: 35-50

Setback cleat
Nylon shank with variable flex
Heavy

Now in its second evolution, the Chamber II is an SPD-friendly gravity shoe with a 10mm cleat setback and a beefy Vibram MegaGrip outsole. The additional cleat setback allows you to get the pedals more towards the arch of your foot, reducing fatigue and helping you keep your heels down when the terrain gets spicy. A tri-mould internal shank allows for varied flex throughout the length of the shoe, this means it's stiff enough to pedal efficiently but your toe will bend in front of the cleat plate to help you push up to the top of that epic descent. 

Made from microfiber, the upper is water-resistant and sees plenty of protection on the toe and heel. Like a skate shoe, the closure is laced and the laces themselves are tubular so they will stay tied. A velcro strap offers additional ankle support and prevents the loops from finding their way into your chainrings. 

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Riddance

(Image credit: Giro)

Riddance

The stickiest shoes Giro makes

Closure: Lace | Claimed weight: 430g | Sizes: 35-50

Vibram Megagrip ISR outsole 
EVA mid sole
Heavy

All the cool kids are riding flat pedals these days and if you have abandoned cleats once and for all, you will know the pain that comes with slipping a pedal. Thankfully, the Riddance is designed to put an end to shinnings once and for all. Using Vibram's latest Megagrip ISR rubber compound, it claims to offer unmatched vibration dampening and pedal purchase. Giro has also added a full-length EVA midsole for max comfort. 

Giro offers the Riddance in a standard cut and a mid-top, with a slightly higher cuff for added support. Both feature the same microfiber upper, which is water-resistant and sees rubber toe and heel armour. A laced closure allows you to cinch the shoe down, but leaves room in certain areas for oddly shaped feet while the tubular laces mean you only have to tie them at the beginning of the day.

Giro mountain bike shoes: Giro Jacket II

(Image credit: Giro)

Jacket II

One pair of shoes for the pump track and the pub

Closure: Lace | Claimed weight: 415g | Sizes: 37-48

Vibram sole 
Looks
No internal shank

Giro calls the Jacket II a ‘daily driver,’ meaning it's just as comfortable on the pump track, working the shop floor, or wearing around the house or an afternoon at the pub. They feature a Vibram Ecostep rubber sole and a reinforced water-resistant microfiber upper.

There is no internal shank, but the Jacket II does feature well-camouflaged reinforcements around the toe and heel.