Flat Pedal Shoe Review
Giro Riddance Mid Shoe - Reviewed
After a couple of years without one in the catalogue, Giro released a new mid-top flat pedal riding shoe. The original Jacket flat pedal shoe had a mid-top option that was short-lived. At the time of purchasing my first pair of Jacket shoes, I really wanted the mid-top. Unfortunately, it was already discontinued, forcing me to settle for the regular shoe. That shoe turned out to be a favourite and I was excited when the new mid-top version was announced.
- Water-resistant breathable fabric
- Power strap at the ankle
- Rubber toe and heel reinforcements
- Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole
- EVA midsole optimized for vibration damping
- Molded DH EVA Footbed with arch support
- 445 grams (size 43)
- Colours: Dark Shadow and Dark Red/Black
- MSRP: 139.99 USD
While I really enjoyed the Jacket shoes, our time together was short-lived. Their sole broke in quickly and continued to break down just as fast. After little more than a month of wear I had to retire them. They’d broken down such that adequate support and protection wasn’t possible. They never offered the most tenacious grip but when at their best, the combination of rubber, tread pattern and the amount of feel offered through the sole provided solid traction.
Now a few years on we have what Giro claims is the “stickiest shoe compound (Vibram) have ever launched.” Based on my previous experience this could mean a more enjoyable shoe, if durability has improved. Also updated were the tread pattern and the mid-sole.
"So, we dug-in with the world’s most technical rubber experts at Vibram to create the stickiest shoe compound they have ever launched."
The Riddance shoes were comfortable from the first time I slid them on. Fit was true to size and the shoe offers a reasonable amount of padding. A downside is that they’re bulkier and the materials won’t dry as quickly as the Specialized 2F0 which is more streamlined. Something to consider for the wet weather riders. The sole felt thicker than the FiveTen Freerider Pro, Shimano GR9 and the old Giro Jacket. They also felt reasonably stiff but as experience with the Jacket and others has taught me, this can change quickly.
Early rides in the Giro Riddance shoe proved the stiffer mid-sole was too much for me.* Combined with extra thickness, I was never entirely sure where my feet were on the pedal. Lots of grip would compensate but I wasn't experiencing that with the Riddance. Aware that the Jacket shoes were such an enjoyable balance of grip and maneuverability I pushed on, hopeful these would break in and hit that sweet spot.
* For reference, the original Jacket, Freeride Pro, Michelin soled Shimano GR9 and latest Specialized 2F0 each have a mid-sole I enjoy. The 2F0 is the thicker of those but breaks in, creating a good balance. I can’t ride in something like a Vans skate shoe; their soles are quite thin.
After half dozen rides it seemed they weren't breaking in. To help expedite the process the shoes were subjected to a couple of smaller afternoon hikes and a day of trail work. In the past I’ve found this treatment works well. It gets the shoe to the final state without spending more time suffering on the bike. This process worked, but the changes were minimal. The sole of the new Riddance shoes maintain their support very well and if a thicker, stiffer flat pedal shoe is your preference, this is excellent news.
Riding flat pedal shoes that provide a great balance of traction and maneuverability is ideal for lots of riders. While I typically lean toward the most traction possible, the Jacket shoe provided the best balance of any shoe I’ve ridden yet. Enough grip to remain composed when it’s wild but with the ability to easily make micro-adjustments. Unfortunately, that didn’t transfer to the updated shoe. The rubber provides less grip than a pair of regular skates shoes, its firm surface refusing the advances of the pedal pins while the shallow tread pattern fails to add traction. A deeper groove would have allowed the pins to lock in more. They are very durable though and after loads of ride time, show little sign of pin wear.
Including the velcro strap across the ankle of the mid-top provides an excellent and secure feel in the shoe. With the correct fit, there's no chance of heel lift in the Riddance Mid. I’m also a big fan of the mid-foot elastic loop that has shown up on more recent riding shoes and the Riddance includes this. The loop provides a secure place for laces to be kept, keeping them clear of chainrings and other potential hazards as you whiz down the trail.
Ankle support and protection with the shoe is excellent. The additional padding here creates more material to hold water, but without it they could be less comfortable. Riders who clang their ankle on the crank will welcome the mid-top design. Those who don't will still appreciate the added stability, thanks to the support offered by the combination of the higher outer and strap.
Head to the Giro website for more details on the Riddance and Riddance Mid shoes.
Giro claims that the best flat pedal shoes provide confidence in any terrain or conditions, and I completely agree. For me, the Riddance Mid doesn’t meet this standard. It’s a shame because they are a great looking shoe that provides additional coverage with the mid-top design—something we don’t have many options for. Riders who like a stiffer, thicker flat pedal shoe could be happy with the Riddance Mid, especially if seeking one with plenty of maneuverability. They also seem to have nailed down durability, with the sole remaining relatively stiff and supportive despite my best efforts to break them down. Still, they fall short in terms of pedal grip. At 140 USD they’ll likely outlast similarly priced, grippier options, but at the cost of performance.