For the past few months, my go to flat pedal shoes have been a new model from Giro – the Latch. Available in a low top, they are aimed mainly at the trail to lighter duty enduro section of the market. Giro’s overarching goal with this shoe was to arrive at a place where traction and pedaling efficiency are both ideal. Let’s see how they did…
- 38-50 EU sizing in whole sizes only
- “Rockprint” abrasion resistant toe caps
- “Tack” rubber outsole
- Lace tabs
- $150 USD
Starting up front, the toe area sees generous perforation for keeping the air moving and letting moisture out. There is also a full wrap of a material Giro calls “Rockprint” to improve durability, prevent de-lamination and further protect the toes from impacts.
The insole is fairly nicely padded, but more importantly it is very well contoured – offering excellent support on and off the bike.
Some additional venting at the sides of the shoes as well as a look at the grey EVA padding in the midsole.
The ankle cuff and tongue are nicely padded. Not too much, and not too little…just right.
The Latch shoes feature flat lace style lacing, which don’t get all twisted and stay nice and tidy thanks to the lace tabs on the tongues. Also props are due to Giro for getting the lace length right. It might sound trivial, but all too often I get shoes with laces that are way too long.
A close up of the pattern on the outsole…
On the trail
Starting with fit, I tested a 44 and would typically opt for a 44.5 in European sizing. Interestingly they fit perfectly. For what it’s worth I typically wear a 10.5 in most brands and that’s what Giro’s size guide lists the 44 as converting to. Anyhow, the heel cup was snug and supportive so as to prevent ankle roll, while the toe box was just about right – roomy enough that my toes could move, but not sloppy. All in all the fit is accurate and with no quirks in proportionality. If there is one area that I would wish to change in terms of dimensions, it would be that I’d like to see a slightly taller ankle cuff. This is due to a mix of wanting more support and more safety. It’s not a huge deal, but the Latch shoes do err on the slightly low side of things and I tend to prefer a little more coverage – likely because of my bony ankles.
In terms of on trail manners, I found that these shoes do have a slightly stiffer shank that most of the flat pedal offerings in the MTB world. For just about all riders, that is undoubtedly a good thing as it translates to better support and improved power transfer. Flimsy flat pedal shoes will waste your energy and make your feet sore on long rides. Now with that in mind, there is a trade off in the sense that the shoe doesn’t flex around and conform to the pedal quite like a softer offering would. I found that with concave shaped pedals this was no problem, but with one pair of more convex pedals I have been testing, traction was slightly less abundant. Speaking of traction, as far as the outsole was concerned, the Latch shoes lean more toward the harder/more durable end of the spectrum. They don’t have super gushy outsoles with rock climbing rubber. This meant that they did take a little bit longer to break in, soften up and become grabbier. It also meant that I didn’t find myself having a hard time shifting my foot to the right spot whenever it returned to the pedal in an awkward position – something that can be annoying about overly sticky outsoles.
All things told, I’ve been really happy with these shoes. I’d love to see a 3/4 top version that takes the same approach but is geared toward rowdier riding and who knows – they may well be in the works. In any case, above all I appreciated having a highly comfortable flat pedal shoe that takes a more serious approach to pedaling efficiency than many of its competitors. The slightly longer break in is well worth it and I think this is likely an excellent choice for flat pedal riders who want to put in big days in the saddle without wasting energy. Overall, a great set of shoes if you aren’t looking for ultra sticky rubber or a sole that flexibly conforms around the pedal.