There really is nothing more annoying than being out in the wilderness and climbing a particular steep ascent on your mountain bike only to run out of steam and have to walk the rest of the way to the top. On top of that, climbing in a shoe with hard plastic cleats and stepping on that shale or rock worn by the rain and slipping off. More times than I can I’ve sprained my ankle from walking more than from ripping on my bike.
These problems (maybe I’m the only one with some walking problems) have been addressed in the Giro Terraduro mountain bike shoe. This shoe basically is a clipless mountain bike shoe crossed with a hiking boot. Giro took their popular Privateer shoe and married it with a grippy Vibram sole resulting in a very rugged outdoor shoe. Finally! Gearing a shoe toward the all day bikepacking crowd and not just the XC folks!
Out of the box and on the feet the first thing I noticed was why is my size 12 on the Terraduro much smaller than the size 12 on my Privateer? You’d think I could buy two different shoes from the same company and have them be the same fit but I had to send them back and get a size up. They also have a Terraduro HV version which is for the man or woman with freakishly wide feet but the size up definitely fit much better when they arrived but they took some riding to break them in. While they are on the heavy side, weighing in at 420 grams (size 42.5, more for my 47’s), they don’t feel too bad when on the bike. Off the bike I found that walking was much easier than previous mountain bike shoes.
The Terraduro has a flexible fore-foot to allow for some bend in the toes when scrambling up rocks and over logs. I wore these straight for over 300 miles brand new out of the box and while during some of my extended days on the trail of over 12 hours I was relatively comfortable, only taking a few breaks when my feet felt numb. The double velcro strap and ratchet closure ensured that they stayed securely on my feet when trudging through rivers and swamps. They also sport a rugged, hard toe cap to prevent some stubbed feet when climbing or riding. There were some times when a rock would fly up and hit directly on the front of my big toe but thanks to the toe cap I just felt it and didn’t FEEL it.
On to the negative side of things with this shoe. First off, Giro did have a recall on the first run of these where the outsole came apart from the shank due to poor bonding, they since have rectified this issue. I did not have this problem though and they held together just fine and there is no outer wearing that I have seen. What I did notice was that after some abuse, the inside lining on the heel wore open and frayed causing exposure of my heel to the inside of the shoe where there was no padding. This is probably due to the abuse but it was unfortunate to see at the end of a trip. The other is that even though Giro says that it is made using breathable micro fiber my feet did tend to start heating up and sweat. It was a hot week out on the trail but I definitely felt confined in these hotboxes at times wanting to shed them off.
Overall, if you are looking for a shoe that you can hike a bike yet remain a clipless rider then this shoe is definitely worth a look at. They retail for $180 dollars but there are shops where you can snag a deal on them.