Giro Jacket II
Giro's Jacket II shoe maintains a very similar silhouette and design to their original Jacket, but now utilizes a breathable, water-resistant microfiber upper instead of the synthetic leather from the older design. The shoe still boasts a Vibram sole, but got an update to Vibram Ecostep, which features recycled rubber. The II retails for $30 cheaper than the original, now only setting you back $90. Compare the Jacket II (left) to the Jacket we tested (right).
We are now linking to the $90 Jacket II, but bear in mind that the following text refers to our experience with the previous version.
Hands-On Review of the Jacket
Giro outfits the Jacket with a Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsole that stuck to our pedals just as we'd expected for a skate-style shoe. The rubber is a harder compound than Five Ten utilizes in their Stealth rubber and it showed while riding. Where Stealth rubber really lets pedal pins bite into it, the Vibram rubber didn't allow such a positive connection. Pedals with smaller diameter pins seemed to mesh with the soles better than larger pin sizes. For casual XC, park, dirt jump or moderate downhill, the Vibram MegaGrip is adequate, but for similar skate style, the Five Ten Freerider may be a better choice.
Soles provide good grip for lighter downhill use
This contender scored higher marks in this category at a 6 out of 10 over the other skate-inspired shoes in our test. Our feet felt like they sank into the shoes, wrapped with Giro's Internal Bootie Retention System. The support was excellent, most notably the arch support. The Five Ten Freerider didn't quite provide the same degree of comfort and arch support that we received from the Jacket. Cushioning was decent via the use of a shock-absorbing EVA midsole. When bailing from the bike, Giro also included a Poron XRD heel pad to help dissipate energy with impact.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
In this category, the Jacket holds its own against the other skate-style shoes, with a similar amount of rigidity as the Five Ten Freerider. While we wouldn't necessarily choose this shoe for long XC rides or trails with a ton of climbing, the Jacket provides a good power connection to your pedals when mixed use riding.
Enough rigidity and power transfer for XC riding
Of the three skate-inspired shoes we tested, this contender is the lightest, at 14 oz per shoe in a men's size 9, where the Five Ten Freerider weighs in at 14.75 oz.
These were moderately breathable. For light XC, park riding, dirt jumping, and lift-served riding the breathability should be adequate.
The Jacket possess a full synthetic leather upper. For their intended use, the Jackets held up relatively well, especially the Vibram rubber soles.
This contender made by Giro is a shoe that is suited for park sessions, light downhill and enduro, some light XC riding, the skatepark, and even your favorite pub. While maybe not excelling in any one aspect, this shoe is a jacket of all trades.
Tread pattern and rubber compound combined allow for easier pedal release when a high speed bail is necessary
A shoe that bridges the gap from the skatepark to downhill riding and everything in between. In functionality, the Jacket is similar to other skate-inspired shoes like the Five Ten Freerider. This contender also look good and are available in several color combinations for individual tastes, even a bright turquoise, and black combo. This pair of flat shoes just may be the Swiss Army knife of mountain bike shoes.