If the Pearl Izumi X-Project is the Subaru XV Crosstrek of crossover mountain bike shoes, the Giro Terraduro is one of those flashy new Landrovers. Yes, both shoes are built for riding that involves some time off the bike. But where the X-Project leans toward the cross-country side of the equation, the Terraduro, as the name suggests, is built for more downhill-oriented terrain.
Giro has concocted a shoe that’s stiff enough for pedaling, grippy enough for walking, tough enough for rugged descents, and trim enough to race (at least downhill).
The shoe last is wider than most racing cleats, including a roomy toe box, but the exterior profile is still slimmer than most skate-style downhill shoes. A nylon shank in the sole adds stiffness, but not as much as carbon, and it’s shaped up front to flex when walking. The outsole is wrapped in a meaty Vibram rubber, which is sticky enough for clambering over trees and rocks and makes the Pearl outsole feel plasticky.
The upper is built from a sturdy synthetic microfiber, with a closure constructed around a replaceable strap and a buckle and two Velcro straps below it. Best of all, the nose of the shoe is reinforced with a burly rubberized patch that’s so far shrugged off numerous run-ins with rocks and branches.
Whereas the X-Project bridges the gap between race shoes and adventure-style hikers, the Terraduro fills the niche between stiff-soled cross-country shoes and soft, rubbery kicks for flat pedals. The cleats are recessed enough so that you can still ride flats in a pinch and you won’t find yourself skating around for purchase if you come off the bike.
But the shoe also adds tons of efficiency that skate-style shoes lack. It’s the best of both worlds, with few compromises on either end of the spectrum. The only slight drawback is the Terraduro’s weight, which is just fine for all-mountain and, dare we say it, enduro-style riding, but probably a little portly for anything involving much fast climbing.
We like the bold traffic-cone orange and black color palette, but Giro also offers a more sedate all-black model for those who can’t stomach the bright hues.
There’s more than one new crossover mountain bike shoe on the market this year, and the Giro Terraduro is a very different beast than the Pearl Izumi X-Project.
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