Giro Latch Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, awesome grip, absorbs trail chatter
Cons: Minimal foot protection
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Giro Latch Women's
|Price||$149.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$119.99 at REI|
Compare at 4 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
$69.95 at Backcountry
|$54.97 at Backcountry|
Compare at 4 sellers
|Pros||Lightweight, awesome grip, absorbs trail chatter||Lightweight, fantastic grip, great power transfer, durable||Excellent grip, comfortable, lightweight, breathable, reasonable price||Protective, excellent grip, durable||Inexpensive, offers a lot of protection, balanced grip|
|Cons||Minimal foot protection||Breathability is not the best in hot conditions||Long laces, minimal foot protection||Warm on the feet, velcro strap is cumbersome||Not the grippiest, moderate weight|
|Bottom Line||A lightweight, well-balanced shoe with incredible grip, all-day comfort, and great trail absorption make this shoe stand out in the crowd||A great performing all-round shoe with great power transfer and the right mix of stiffness, flex, and comfort||An excellent performing shoe for all types of flat pedal riders that has outstanding grip, comfort, and value||This beefy shoe has a great grip, absorbs the trail, is highly durable, and has tons of protection making it a great choice for the gravity crowd||This is an exceptional flat pedal shoe for someone just starting their mountain bike adventures, especially for the price|
|Rating Categories||Giro Latch Women's||Five Ten Freerider Pro||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Ride Concepts Wildcat||Ride Concepts Livewire|
|Comfort and Protection (25%)|
|Rigidity and Power Transfer (20%)|
|Specs||Giro Latch Women's||Five Ten Freerider Pro||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Ride Concepts Wildcat||Ride Concepts Livewire|
|Outsole||Tack Rubber||Stealth S1||SlipNot™ ST||Max Grip||Rubber Kinetics DST6.0 High Grip|
|Tread Pattern||Gamma tread design||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Hexagon Dot|
|Measured Weight Grams (pair)||593g||616 g||669 g||715g||754 g|
|Upper Material||Microfiber synthetic||Synthetic||Leather, Suede||Microfiber synthetic||Synthetic, mesh|
|Footbed||3D molded||Ortholite||Body Geometry||Dual-density EVA||D30 High Impact Zone|
|Midsole||Mute Foam 3D||EVA||EVA||EVA||EVA|
|Size Tested||EU 40||8||EU 40||8.5||9|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Giro Latch women’s is the shoe that surprised our testers the most during this flat shoe review update. Previous iterations of Giro’s flat pedal shoes left us wanting, but the Latch is unlike shoes released by Giro in the past. It impressed us with its grip, comfort, and midsole absorption. It also happens to be the lightest flat pedal shoe we have tested. The Latch features a redesigned fit and flattened (think thinner) profile and comes in at only 593 grams for a women’s size EU40, making the Latch very light on the foot and easy to spin. The newly designed Tack Rubber grips a variety of pedals very, very well, and the Gamma tread design provides plenty of nooks for pedal pins to bite into.
Giro uses Mute Foam for the shoe’s midsole, which is designed to “…cut chatter and vibration and help keep you connected to the pedal…” We put this to the test on a variety of trails and were surprised at how well the Latch absorbed trail chatter, especially on chunky trails, and how well our feet remained glued to the pedals. The midsole is thinner than most, meaning you can slightly feel the pedal underfoot, but not so much that the shoe is compromised or that it feels like you are wearing running shoes. The only area where the Latch falls short is protection since it lacks designated impact protection areas. Overall, the Latch is a well-balanced shoe combining great grip, all-day comfort, and great trail absorption all in a lightweight package earning it high marks in most metrics and our Editor’s Choice award.
One of the unique characteristics of the Latch is the use of Mute Foam. Giro developed Mute Foam to reduce the bouncing you get between your shoes and your pedals on rocky terrain, similar to how suspension rebound works. Mute Foam uses a slow rebound to help your feet stay planted on the pedals with a foam injected midsole. It may sound like a gimmick, but it works, and it works quite well in combination with the Tack Rubber and Gamma tread sole.
Giro worked with a team of engineers to design the Tack Rubber found on the sole of the Latch shoe. This rubber is soft to the touch and provides great grip on the pedals. We tested the Latch with four different flat pedals and always had excellent grip. During our testing, we never experienced our feet slipping on the pedals whether going up or down, and it was easy to plant our feet and find our sweet spot on the pedal. These characteristics earn the Latch high marks in this metric.
Working in tandem with the Tack Rubber is what Giro calls their Gamma tread design, which is comprised of two different-sized squat pentagons extending from toe to heel. These “treads” are soft, well-spaced, and deep. The tread pattern helps the pedal pins bite into the sole and the Mute Foam helps your foot stay firmly in place, with no bouncing. However, the sole is not so sticky as to make repositioning your foot difficult. During testing, we found it easiest to reposition our foot on the fly with the Latch shoe and were never concerned about losing grip even on loose, chunky terrain.
Overall, we’re very impressed with this new combination Giro has designed and find ourselves reaching for the Latch again and again for our daily rides.
Comfort and Protection
Unlike many shoes in our review, the Giro Latch has an initial break-in period, and those considering it should be aware of this as the shoe may feel awkward at first. Initially, the shoe creased oddly just in front of the most forward lace, putting pressure on the top of the foot when walking. However, after two hours of wear, this went away and we have not since experienced any pressure points on the top of the foot.
The area surrounding the ankle and the tongue is nicely padded without being bulky and helps to provide a comfortable fit. The shoe has a wider fit than many of Giro’s past models which were fairly narrow. The Latch features a new fit by Giro, runs true to size with a medium-width toe box, and has a medium volume. The fit reminds us of a slightly wider version of the Five Ten Freerider Pro or Ride Concepts Hellion. There is enough space to comfortably wiggle your toes, but not so much that the fit is sloppy. The 3D molded footbed remains comfortable for hours and we never experienced any pressure points or hot spots during our testing. The Latch is one of the lightest in our line-up adding to its comfort both on and off the bike.
The Mute Foam midsole reduces vibrations going into the soles of the feet, but the Latch lacks impact protection for the top and sides of the feet. Giro wraps the sides of the toe box and heel in Rockprint reinforcement to help prevent abrasion and increase durability. This extra layer adds a smidgen of rigidity to both areas and is more noticeable at the very front of the toebox, however it should not be seen as an impact protection layer. If you’re prone to hitting the crank arm or chainstay with the inside of your shoe, it is worth noting that there is no impact protection along the midfoot, only the layer of microfiber upper. Because of the lack of protection, the Latch ranks a little lower in this metric.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
One of the first things we noticed was how thin the midsole of the Latch is in comparison to other shoes. In the past, thin midsoles have typically meant a soft shoe that does not dissipate much trail chatter and is uncomfortable. Giro designed the Latch so that your foot is closer to the pedal and flattened the sole profile to increase contact between the shoe and pedal.
The thinner midsole and sole allow you to feel the pedal underfoot, but not in a negative way. Unlike shoes that are so stiff you can’t feel anything underfoot, we can always tell exactly where our foot is in relation to our pedal helping us to make adjustments on the fly. When riding chunky terrain, trail forces are quickly dissipated before they reach our feet.
Inside the outsole is an HD Polyethylene Power Plate that helps transfer power from your foot to the pedal. The Latch flexes easily just in front of the first lace underhand and then quickly stiffens through the midfoot, right where the sole contacts the pedal. During our testing, we were able to easily power up a variety of climbs and never felt like we were losing power. Overall, the Latch strikes a great balance when it comes to rigidity, being neither too soft nor too stiff and allows the rider to easily put power into the pedals earning high marks for this metric.
The Latch may not be the most breathable shoe in our review but we found them to be breathable and comfortable in temps in the low 80’s, even in full sun at elevation.
The uppers of the Latch are made up of a fast-drying microfiber with very small ventilation holes above the toebox, at the back of the midfoot, and at the front of the heel, creating above-average breathability. Even though our test shoes are black in color, which can typically feel warmer than a lighter color, our feet did not feel excessively hot while wearing them in the sun.
Giro uses a layer of Rockprint reinforcement around the toebox and heel as an added layer of abrasion resistance and durability. These areas have fared well during our testing and the only noticeable wear is a few scratches from an unknown object on the inside of the upper of the left shoe. Aside from being dirty, the soles of the shoe show no signs of scarring from the pedal pins or wear. The uppers are perfectly bonded and overall the Latch seems to be a quite durable shoe scoring well in this metric.
Something that often gets overlooked in shoes is lace length, and having the proper length laces for your shoe size helps keep them out of your crank or pedals. The laces on our women’s size EU40 Latch shoes are perfectly sized with no need for double knots to tuck excess length out of the way. Hidden under the laces on the tongue is an elastic lace retainer with a small pull tab that helps ensure your laces stay on top of your foot and out of your chain.
The Latch is the lightest shoe in our review, weighing just 593-grams for a women’s size EU40. While weight is typically not the most important factor for most wearers of flat pedal shoes, we can say that the lightweight nature of these shoes can be felt on the bike. They are light on the foot while walking, hiking, and spinning the cranks earning top marks in this metric.
The Latch falls into the upper price point of the shoes in our review, however, we feel the shoe's weight and overall performance, especially in terms of grip and trail absorption, warrant the price tag.
The Latch strikes the balance between absorption, rigidity, comfort, and grip. The Latch lacks the impact protection typically desired for park or enduro riding but is a solid choice for riders looking for a cross-country or trail shoe. The trail absorption provided by the Latch is unlike any shoe we have tested and its sole is one of the better we have ridden, balancing grip and the ability to reposition your foot. We’re excited about this new offering by Giro and feel it is deserving of our Editor’s Choice award.
— Tara Reddinger-Adams
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