Giro has a history of producing great road cycling shoes, but – as with many brands – it’s still playing catch-up to the likes of Five Ten when it comes to creating flat-pedal specific footwear.
The new Latch shoes aren’t the raciest-looking option out there, but are far more functional than some similarly casual-styled offerings, which are only fit for the pub.
The Latch shoes are for riders who want functional, do-it-all footwear that doesn’t look like something worn by a Star Wars Stormtrooper.
Giro Latch performance
Sole stiffness on the best mountain bike shoes is a fine balance between compliance – which gives grip and feel – and having enough firmness to prevent excessive deformation around the pedal edges, leading to sore arches and loss of control. Giro has walked this tightrope perfectly with the Latch.
This means excellent arch support when sending hucks or G-ing out in berms, at the expense of a more communicative feel during relaxed riding or seated pedalling.
Grip-wise, Giro’s ‘Tack Rubber’ outsole adheres enough for most situations, but when hard pressed through braking bumps or on rocky tracks, I found my feet migrating forward on the pedals. It’s no match for Five Ten’s superior Stealth S1 rubber.
At 671g a pair, these are fairly svelte, with minimal padding, concentrated in the right places, that contributes to an airy feel without any squeezing or overheating when things get spirited on the trails.
However, the lack of ankle protection has resulted in the odd smack against the crank arm. Venting above the toes, around the arch and below the ankle lets out warm air.
While far from waterproof, the Giro shoes aren’t immediately inundated if you splash through a puddle, and once wet, they dry rapidly compared to more thickly padded rivals, such as Five Ten’s Impact Pros.
The toe box is stiff and shrugs off knocks that can leave you wincing and nursing stubbed toes in shoes such as the Freeriders. However, it’s more a ‘toe wall’ than a box, not extending over the top, steel-workboot style.
Presumably, this is to aid breathability and reduce weight, but it could make the Latches more vulnerable to rock strikes.
Flat laces run freely in the lace loops and make loosening and tightening easy – a godsend with cold fingers or when wearing gloves.
Build quality is good, with no loose threads, missed stitches or peeling coatings after some hard riding.
Giro Latch bottom line
The Giro Latch shoes strike an ideal middle ground between casual riding and full-on race footwear.
The taut sole straddles the requirements of stiffness and compliance, while the subtle styling and colours look great on or off the bike.
However, Giro’s ‘Tack Rubber’ isn’t as grippy as Five Ten’s market-leading Stealth alternative, and there’s no ankle or crank protection.
|Price||AUD $209.00EUR €144.00GBP £130.00USD $150.00|
|Weight||671g – for pair as tested|
Upper: Fast-drying textile and microfiber, Rockprint™ reinforced toe
Colours: Black Spark, Trail Green, Dark Shadow, Black/Dark Shadow
|Sole||Tack™ Rubber outsole|