Reviewed: 4 months and lots of racing in Giro Terraduro Shoes

//Zealous Bike co. designer Paul Mackie talks Californian shoes. Grab a coffee, this one goes into a bit of detail!

“While most trail shoes are still based on XC racing, the new Terraduro™ was created to navigate the demands of all-mountain riding, balancing on-and off-the-bike performance in a low-profile design. This durable shoe is built around a stout nylon shank that pedals like a pro XC shoe, combined with a grippy Vibram® rubber outsole that inspires confidence when scrambling over rocks and logs. The fit is secure and supportive thanks to a slim, micro-adjustable buckle and two-strap closure system, while a reinforced toe box offers protection from impacts.”

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Have you ever noticed how Jeremy Clarkson gives the same type of review for every car he tests? It’s either:

1) Start with the good points of the car like its big engine, sporting pedigree and leather interior before concluding that it’s not very good at all and the flappy paddle gearbox is annoying; or

2) Start with the bad points of the car like its poor fuel consumption, poor rear visibility and lack of luggage space before concluding that it’s an absolute hoot to drive around the track like a hooligan whilst claiming earnestly, “I really love this car”.

[quote align=”right”]They’ve done several enduro races, the Megavalanche and lots of general trail riding in between.[/quote]

With this reviewing style in mind, I’m going to give you my take on the Giro Terraduro shoes using Jeremy
Clarkson option No.2…

I’ve been using these Giro Terraduro shoes for about 4 months now. They’ve done several enduro races, the Megavalanche and lots of general trail riding in between. I was looking for a replacement for my excellent Mavic Alpine XL shoes which I had been using for about three years, but they finally lost all their stiffness and pedalled like slippers in the end. I wanted a trail shoe that was:

– Lightweight (Terraduro is 420g quoted, 429g actual, size 42)
– Good grip on the sole for walking and traction
– Stiff sole for enduro racing
– Good composure on the pedal when not clipped in
– Lightweight material that cleaned well and didn’t soak up mud and water and become heavy
– Low stack height
– Looked good

I initially discounted the Terraduro’s because the black version looks awful and clumpy. Call me vain, but they reminded me of those shoes that used to have rods in the side running up either side of the calf to form a brace. Then I found out they did a Dyno-rod red version, but only in the USA. I managed to get a set imported and immediately started riding like Jared Graves…in my head.

[quote align=”right”]the devil is in the detail…[/quote]

They aren’t the cheapest shoe, retailing for £129.99. Out of the box they don’t really wow with technical features or materials and the three strap closure (two Velcro, one ratchet) is nothing radical. The glowing red is very glowing though. But the devil is in the detail: titanium fastener hoops, rounded Vibran sole for walking, nylon shank insert for pedalling efficiency, flexible forefoot zone for walking, breathable microfiber uppers. This shoe seems well made and durable – but hold that thought.

The fit of these shoes is very snug and the toe box doesn’t have any spare space in it, in fact I have found my toes a little cramped at times and thicker socks are out of the question. But, a snug fit is aimed at the enduro racer, right?

As I have found with other Giro shoes, the ratchet closure system works great when tightening up, but it prone to being knocked open during a ride. A simple graze against a tree or rock will cause the strap to come loose mid ride. This has happened a few times and is a design flaw that is a little annoying.

[quote align=”right”]This is where the Terraduro really comes into its own[/quote]

The power transfer in these shoes is surprisingly good for a sole that is not carbon. Compared to the Giro Code MTB shoe with an Easton EA90 carbon sole, the Terraduros aren’t as stiff, but you’d expect this. The trade-off is that these shoes make you feel more connected with the bike and are easier to walk in. This is where the Terraduro really comes into its own: walking off the bike, but still being a stiff pedalling shoe. Giro has got this just right.

Looking for a POV camera to capture your riding? Read our first look of the new Drift Stealth 2 here.

The shoes have a rounded profile to the sole which makes walking surprisingly comfy. Grip is excellent too. Walking in these shoes to explore a new section of trail or scramble up a slope is confidence inspiring. The stack height is also noticeably low which helps with walking and feeling of connection to the bike.

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The upper material of this shoe is a breathable microfiber similar to synthetic leather. In practical terms I have found this to be a good material that doesn’t swell with water and offers just the right amount of weather protection and breathability. Furthermore, riding the Mega this year I needed a shoe that dried quickly overnight after washing out the mud (a lot of mud) and didn’t become clumpy when wet with snow melt and these shoes did just that.

[quote align=”right”]I noticed the rubber sole around the cleat area started to peel away [/quote]

So, the Terraduros are lightweight, have the right balance of stiffness and walking performance, look good but there are several flaws including the price tag, basic features, clumpy looks (in black) and the biggest problem of all: the build quality. After only a few weeks of use, I noticed the rubber sole around the cleat area started to peel away. Scrambling up a few slopes, I noticed this got worse as the rubber literally started folding under my foot. I looked at this in more detail to notice that the entire nylon insert had de-bonded from the rubber sole outer of the shoe! Maybe Giro should have thought more carefully about the name of this shoe as they are likely to be nicknamed the ‘Terrible Durability’?

Distraught I attempted to fix these shoes myself, initially with a trip to Timpsons for some industrial strength glue, but this only served as a temporarily fix, so I resorted to screws. This has so far done the trick, but looks very wrong. Initially, I thought this was bad luck or that I had used the wrong detergent on the shoes which had inadvertently caused the adhesives to melt – but no! Looking on the internet, this is a known problem with these shoes and is something that Giro has acknowledged. The early batches of shoes didn’t have the correct adhesives, but later ones (with a date marking visible on the nylon sole under the footbed have the correct adhesive apparently. Check the Giro website for details here.

[quote align=”right”]Giro have got really close to producing the best riding shoe out there[/quote]

So, these shoes are bad, right? Well, no…(here comes the Clarkson switch). Despite all the obvious flaws of the Terraduro and one really big one with the delaminating of the sole, Giro have got really close to producing the best enduro (and thus trail?) riding shoe out there. It’s lightweight, has a low stack height, feels great on the bike, has excellent power transfer and are superb to walk in. You’d have thought the sensible person would not go back to a shoe that quite literally falls apart, but I have! I want another pair of the Terraduros, they are that good.

So, if you can get a set of the newer batch shoes with a date stamp (and I assume proper adhesives), or you are willing to put screws in the bottom of lesser (and no doubt soon to be cheaper) versions of the shoes, and if you can live with the clumpy looks of the black version, then you have the best trail/ enduro shoes out there.

As Jeremy Clarkson might say, “I really love these shoes”.

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