Giant’s Line shoe has been co-developed with the Giant Factory Off-Road Team of gravity racers and it’s an obviously solid and secure shoe. The short shank sole design and aggressive insole orthotics won’t suit everyone though.
While most shoes have a graduated change in stiffness along the sole shank, the Giant line shoes have a very dramatic change from the solid nylon/glass fibre MES ExoBeam midsole plate to a totally flexible and unsupported heel. This means a firm plate to pedal against with your forefoot, but the rear flop reduces ultimate power and can lead to arch cramp on longer rides. The flex heel does reduce lift and waddling feel when you’re walking, though, and there’s plenty of tread rubber so you won’t wear them out in a hurry.
While the toe and heel are acceptably well treaded, the area under the ball of the forefoot to midfoot is essentially slick so you’re just relying on the rubber compound for grip which doesn’t work in slippery mud. There’s a slight cleat slots extension backwards to mimic a flat shoe/platform pedal position too but it's not as dramatic as some designs.
The shoes come with an insole that features a very aggressive orthotic lump behind the cleat position. Some people may appreciate the bone-spreading benefits, and you can swap the insoles if you don't, but it was certainly an opinion splitter among our test team on an otherwise neutral - if snug for its size - fitting shoe.
The upper also gets a split look, but the actual performance difference isn’t as dramatic. The big rubber toe bumper stays low on the toes rather than wrapping over so there's still a chance of stubbing from flying rocks. The single-piece synthetic leather front half shrugs off weather and wind OK, but perforations mean instant wetness when paddling. Short opposing velcro straps make for a secure forefoot fit.
The rear of the shoe uses the same material but with a deeply padded collar and internal reinforcing cup backed up by side ‘straps’. The main fastening strap pulls over the top with a replaceable plastic rack section feeding into a plastic tabbed ratchet mechanism.
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Giant’s Line shoe is a solidly-secure trail/enduro shoe with a snug, secure fit and firm pedalling performance at its heart. The split sole feel will particularly suit those pushing their bike back up to the top, along with hike-a-bikers - as long as conditions aren't slippery. While the orthotic will be an issue for some (try before you buy if you can) but remember it's removable. Plus if the hefty weight and split sole sensation bothers you then Giant’s Transmit shoes have a full-length stiffening beam and come in at 300g lighter for a pair.
Tech spec: Giant Line mountain bike shoes
- Sizes: 40-47
- Weight: 1060g (EU44 with cleats)
- Price: £99.99