We put Giro’s latest flat pedal shoe to the test…
Words: Toni Walbridge
Photos: Misti Walbridge
The Giro Riddance Mid
Call me crazy, but if I’m not forced to ride clipless these days for product testing or whatever, I just don’t have a whole lot of interest. After getting swept up in the craze of clipping in that has swept the “enduro” crowd the past few years, I’m back on flats 99% of the time. I’m not here to tell you it’s faster or better, just that I have more fun on flats and that’s reason enough for me. One down side to riding flats is there are few legit choices in footwear beyond FiveTen. When Giro launched an updated line of flat pedal shoes this year, you better believe I was hounding them for a test pair of the new Riddance straight away. The Riddance is fairly feature packed for a flat pedal shoe including notable details such as water resistant and breathable uppers, a power strap/lace holder, and a fair amount of rubber protection at each end. The Riddance is available in both a low and a mid version (tested here) with the mid providing a bit of extra protection at a slight weight penalty. My set rang in at 1025g for the size 10.5’s I tested which is about 250g heavier (for the pair) than the low tops I normally ride in.
The sole of the matter
While the shoe should be judged as a whole, we all know, the only question on everyone’s mind is, are they sticky? Giro teamed up with Vibram to create what they claim to be their stickiest rubber to date along with a vibration absorbing mid-sole. One detail that stood out to me right out of the box is that the tread pattern is much shallower on the outsole right inline with the ball of your foot. The idea here is to get more of the rubber in contact with the pedal and to avoid that vague feeling when pins a resting on the top of tall tread. If you’ve ever ridden a shoe with a deep waffle pattern you’re probably familiar with that annoying phenomenon. Personally, that feeling really bugs me and I am pretty stoked that Giro and Vibram included this detail.
Fit and finish
The Riddance runs true to size with the 10.5’s being a little big on my feet as I usually wear a 10 and have fairly wide / high volume feet. I was able to pull the laces up snug enough for the test but my advice is to buy your normal size if you want a precision fit. First impressions of the shoe were that they were immediately comfy although a bit boot-like. They are well cushioned and feel like they have enough padding under the heels to help keep bruising to a minimum. I’m not usually the biggest fan of mid-tops or any extra bulk in my shoes but despite looking a bit massive in the box, the Riddance fits nice and tidy and I didn’t really notice them except for a little extra warmth while pedaling. The rubber toe cap protection seems to lean towards minimalist but I’ve never been a fan of shoes with massively over-built toe-boxes, they just feel clunky and heavy and my toes still get smashed because rocks > rubber.
Alright, alright, but do they stick!?!? Let me first say, that I’m in the camp of flat pedal riders that runs the grippiest pedals with the longest pins and likes to be very much stuck to my pedals. The exception to this would be for pump track or dirt jump sessions where I want to be able to pull my feet off quickly. If you’re someone that likes pedals where you can shift and reset your feet with ease, you will probably like these shoes in conjunction with a super grippy pedal, for instance the Chromag Scarab with the pin spacers removed for max grip or OneUp’s flat pedal. The aforementioned pedals are two of my current favorites and having tried the Riddance with both, they provided a little less grip than I like for aggressive enduro or bike park riding but are just fine for trail / XC. That said, there are grippier pedals out there and I bet if I pulled out an old set of Twenty6 Predators with the stainless steel pins, I’d probably be fine to ride these anywhere. The Riddance is also right in the sweet spot for me for pump track and dirt jumping although, I’d go with the low top version. Compared to the other flat pedal shoes I’ve ridden recently, they have less grip than my go-to FiveTen Freerider Pro’s but more grip and a better feel than the Afton Keegan. In summary, quality shoes, lots of features and a good option for those that value unrestricted foot repositioning over absolute pedal grip. With street prices hovering around $130 USD, they’re not a bargain but that’s about $20 less than the street price FiveTen Freerider Pros which might be enough to influence some buyers.
On the web at Giro.com
MSRP: $140 USD
Water-resistant breathable microfiber
Laced closure with power strap at the ankle
Rubber toe and heel reinforcements
Vibram® Megagrip™ ISR rubber outsole engineered for grip
EVA midsole optimized for vibration damping
Molded DH EVA Footbed with arch support
1025g / pair – size US 10.5