Giro Jackets Shoes – Review
Within the mountain biking community you could be forgiven for thinking that a certain brand of flat pedal shoes constituted a uniform of sorts. Five Ten have had something of a monopoly in recent years but there are a number of challengers out there if you’re willing to step outside the mainstream. I got my hands (or feet!) on some Giro Jackets recently, and I’ve put my thoughts down here. Once you’ve got past the strange name, who names footwear “Jackets”, there’s a lot going with these shoes.
Firstly, and obviously most importantly, the shoes look fabulous. They add some welcome colour to my otherwise fairly black (it makes you go faster) clothing. The shoes are well profiled, well thought out with a great colour choices available. It feels like you could easily wear these shoes to the pub after a ride, unlike the Shimano AM7 shoes for example. The Jackets come in a variety of colour choices and honestly they are all decent. You can choose from black/gum, army/glowing red/gum, dress blue/gum but I went for the mint/black shoe as it looked great and matched my helmet, crucially. The price point for shoes is as you would expect for a premium flat pedal shoe and you can expect to pay around £80-90 with most retailers, though there will be end of season bargains to be had.
In my experience the shoe sizing is spot on, my size 6 ½ (UK size) fitted just right, and there was little in the way of rubbing or bedding in. The shoes aren’t too tight, but don’t expect the wider, perhaps almost spacious, feel of most Five Tens. The Jackets give good arch support, the finish and laces are good quality. The shoes might be a bit narrower than the competition, but as a fairly wide footed woman I found them perfectly fine. Similarly, they definitely left me feeling supported and secure. The heel of the shoe incorporates a Poron XRD sole (whatever that is) which is designed to take around 90% of the impact out of any nasty landings, though I haven’t had the chance to test this feature out yet, thankfully.
Whilst the Jackets aren’t waterproof, they don’t seem to soak up water like my Five Tens do, and believe me I have had chance to test this particular aspect alot over the last winter. A theme that has emerged from testing these shoes is that they were clearly designed with drier, dustier conditions than we are ever likely to enjoy in the UK. The shoes will let in water eventually, particularly via the tongue/laces, and they won’t particularly cope well with shifting thick mud after a wintery session.
Despite the Vibram MegaGrip sole there is no getting around the fact that these shoes are not as grippy as the equivalent Five Tens, but I would say that they aren’t all that far off and I haven’t notice much difference when paired with my normal Hope F20 pedals. In fact, if you like to be able to move around a bit on your pedals then the Jackets give you that option, I was enjoying the possibility to re-adjust my pedals with a bit more ease. That said, the gaps in the underside are fairly tight, so actually getting your pins slotted in is a bit less intuitive than it is with the Five Tens, it feels a bit more like the sole of a Shimano AM7 or similar. The Vibram sole might seem a bit stiff for some , and so far after a few months it hasn’t showed any signs of softening, but I found it great for planted riding but if you want that “sticky, almost clipped in” feeling that something like a Five Ten Freerider offers, these probably aren’t the shoes for you.
If you are looking to get a new pair of shoes and you don’t ride in mud week in week out then I would definitely recommend adding the giro jacket shoes to your shoe shopping shortlist. Just be ready for a bit less grip, countered by great style and comfort mixed in. Before you go out and buy them, I would always recommend trying them on, as they might be on a slimmer side and you might want to check if the stiffness of the Vibram sole is for you.
May 20, 2018