Choices for clip-in shoes used to be limited to minimal XC race-style shoes or heavier, DH skate shoes. Fortunately times have changed, and there are now plenty of options in between to choose from for what most of us spend time doing: trail riding. One of our current faves is the Terraduro from Giro.
Featuring a design that incorporates elements from XC as well as DH shoes, the Terraduro is the first true hybrid we’ve worn, pairing the best features of both.
This isn’t an XC race shoe built for weight weenies; it’s a shoe built for all day adventures. The kind of rides where you bring knee pads, because when the trail starts pointing down, it’s time to get it on.
As opposed to creating an additional, lighter weight version of a skate shoe, the team at Giro started from the other side of the spectrum. The heart of the Terraduro lies in the lugged sole and pedal platform, using a nylon shank similar to the one used in their XC shoes. Light and stiff, it is paired with a grippy Vibram rubber outsole. (the same Vibram rubber found in popular hiking boots) The Vibram rubber is durable, and offers traction while off the bike, not unlike the soft durometer rubber used by Five Ten.
The microfiber upper and ratcheting buckles have a resemblance to Giro’s XC shoes, but the addition of a reinforced toe box puts the emphasis is on durability and protection as opposed to minimal weight.
The nylon shank at the heart of the shoe makes the shoe extremely stiff and responsive when stomping on the pedals but its the Vibram rubber and construction that makes this shoe shine. Not only is the shoe much more walkable, but clipping in is more intuitive when you’re not slipping around. For riders with a foot-out, flat out approach to riding, the shoe behaves somewhat similar to your favorite DH shoe, but with a much lighter heft, and a noticeable lack of bulkiness.
I’m running the shoe in black. It’s a clean basic looking shoe with a no-frills, technical look that screams function over fashion. I’m a fan of the black stealth look since it goes with anything, whether its your riding kit or jeans around town. The toe box is reinforced and offers some impact protection. If you’ve ever kicked a stick or had a rock come up and bruise your toe, this is a much appreciated feature.
One improvement from the Chamber DH shoe is the cleat drilling. You have the option of running the cleat further back. Those that experience issues with hot foot/ numbness will appreciate this one.
Easy on, Easy off
The micro-adjustable buckle and two-strap closure system is similar to the XC model we tested prior to the Terraduro, the Privateer. Being able to put them on and pull them off quickly is a feature I didn’t realize how much I appreciated until going back to my (other trail shoes that are) lace ups. They take about 2-3 seconds to peel off post ride, and just slightly longer to put on. It also makes them pretty awesome for commuting to the office.
On the Trail
One of the best parts of XC shoes is how they literally feel like a glove on your foot. The drawback is trying to walk around in them. The Terraduro has that fitted feel of the XC shoe, but they’re actually pretty good to walk in, but they are pretty stiff initially. Fortunately they do break in a bit if you walk around a lot, and shooting trail riding photos helped speed the process. Traction while walking is excellent, and is reassuring on sketchy hike-a-bike sections. It also makes them nice for commuting if you carrying your bike down stairs a lot.
Where it mattered most to me though was when it came to clipping back in at speed. The rubber outsole makes it easy to snap back into place, especially compared to shoes with hard plastic lugs. I’ve been pairing the Terraduro with the Shimano Trail Pedals and it’s a solid combination. In fact, unless I’m riding my XC bike on mellow terrain, I don’t want to ride a shoe with plastic lugs again. The Terraduro sets the bar here, and has worked so well that Giro has been carrying the Vibram rubber outsole to more of the XC specific shoes in the line.
In comparison to the other Giro shoes in our stable, it’s clear the Terraduro represents a break through of sorts. The cleat placement and mounts offer a wide range of adjustment, and I’m able to run the clear significantly further back than the Chamber DH shoe we tested before. Moving the cleat further back feels more natural for riders that switch back and forth between platform pedals, and because of it, I’m riding clipped in more often on trails I normally would swap pedals out for.
I’ve been riding the crap out of mine, on all types of rides —trail rides, commuting, aggressive all mountain treks, even riding DH at the Northstar Bike Park, and have been very happy with them. Giro really hit the nail on the head with this one, and I’ve been having a hard time wanting to put on anything else when heading out to ride.
My time with the Terraduro did have a downside though. I’m on my second pair, as I had to warranty my first set. Apparently early production runs had issues with the glue used to secure the shank, and like others mine separated. We’ve been assured the issue has been resolved and we’ve got months on our replacement pair with no durability issues.