We’ve been big fans of Giro’s Chamber aggro SPD shoe for a while but its Riddance flat pedal shoe has never made the grade in terms of grip, weight or feel. Thankfully if you get the fit right, the new Giro Latch is much better, but is it good enough to stick it to the best MTB flat pedal shoes?
Design and aesthetic
One of the biggest complaints about the Riddance was high weight, so it was good to feel that Giro has slimmed the Latch down by almost 200g (20%) for a pair of 44s. The broad, flat, closely spaced six-hole lacing still creates a very secure but easily adjusted panel of pressure over the forefoot. The broad laces are slightly stretchy too, so they stay done up noticeably better and avoid the creeping crush you often get from overtightened shoes as your feet swell further into a ride. That’s not to say there aren’t sizing issues though, as while the Latch is broader than the Riddance the toe box is still low and relatively cramped, compared to other brands. I had to stick with thin socks to be comfortable in my normal shoe size and even then my little pigs felt factory farmed, not free range. They can also get hammered into the front of the shoe if your heels get bounced up and you slide forward under braking. The rear cuff of the shoe also feels quite open and exposed, although it grabs fine once you’ve heaved the laces a bit tighter. There are men’s and women’s fits and multiple colors in both too.
Performance and fit
If you can find a comfortable fit the low profile of the shoe gives a confidently planted feel straight away and the sole is flatter too so we got good connection off a range of pedal shapes. Giro worked with a compounding specialist to create ‘Tack Rubber’ which is moulded into a new ‘Gamma’ tread design the result is right up there with benchmark soles like Five Ten Stealth Rubber and Specialized SlipNot in terms of stiction even in wet and dirty. Giro has also added a slow rebound midsole layer it calls ‘Mute Foam’ that helps to suck up big hits and stutter bumps and stop your feet getting blown off when things get seismic. Unlike Ride Concept’s D30 layer it’s built into the shoe not the insole though so there’s no way of removing it if you don’t like the damped feel. There’s enough flex in the sole to keep it engaged rather then being ejected if you have to ride light over roots or rock spreads but it doesn’t droop badly if you need to pedal back up or put some power in out of corners.
The microfiber upper helps keep weight low and dries fast when wet while toe, flank and heel perforations add some air con on hotter days. The holes let water in though and there’s no spare space to keep warm blood flowing when the temperature drops. While a moulded ‘Rockprint’ reinforced bumper protects toes the broadest part of the upper overhangs the sole so there’s nothing protecting the fat part of your foot from trail side sniper rocks. The sole is already starting to look more worn and torn in a month than some much older shoes.
The Giro Latch flat pedal shoe finally gets a sticky enough sole to compete with the best for pedal adhesion and it’s damped enough to stay put when things get lairy. It’s light with a good balance between tactile wrap and pedalling push but toe fit is tight, protection is limited and it’s more expensive than established benchmarks.
Tech Specs: Giro Latch flat pedal shoe
- Price: $150 / £129.99 / €139.95
- Weight: 720g (pair size 44 dry but dirty)
- Sizing: Women’s: 36 - 42, Men’s: 40-48
- Colors: Black, Dark Shadow / Sandstone, Harbour Blue / Sandstone (women's). Black Spark (tested) Trail Green, Dark Shadow, Black / Dark Shadow (men's)