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Giro Jacket II Review

A shoe with an attractive price tag that is most at home at the pump track or dirt jumps
Giro Jacket II
Photo: Giro
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Price:  $90 List | $89.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Affordable, lightweight, skate shoe style
Cons:  Lacks grip, flimsy sole, clumsy fit
Manufacturer:   Giro
By Pat Donahue ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 6, 2021
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Grip - 30% 5
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 7
  • Rigidity and Power Transfer - 20% 5
  • Breathability - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Weight - 5% 8

Our Verdict

The Giro Jacket II is a relatively basic but functional, wallet-friendly, shoe that is unique compared to the other models we tested. With skate shoe styling, this model can easily bridge the gap between laps around the pump track and hanging out in town. They offer a comfortable and spacious fit that should work for many riders, including those with higher-volume feet. The Vibram Ecostep soles provide a decent connection to the pedals, and repositioning the foot is quite easy. The less rigid sole make for easy walking and a good pedal feel, although power transfer is sorely lacking. That said, we feel these could be a viable and affordable option for riders who appreciate foot mobility and a less rigid sole.

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Giro Jacket II
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Giro Jacket II
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Price $89.95 at BackcountryCheck Price at REI
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$120 List
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$120.00 at Backcountry$75.00 at Amazon
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Pros Affordable, lightweight, skate shoe styleExcellent pedal grip, comfortable, true all-mountain performanceGrippy soles, casual looks, reasonable price, versatility, lightweightGreat pedal grip, sturdy construction, protective features, comfortableImpressive grip, protective, reasonable price
Cons Lacks grip, flimsy sole, clumsy fitOn the expensive side of the spectrum, Stealth rubber wears more quicklySomewhat loose fit in the forefootHeavier weight, sizing runs a little smallHeavier weight, limited breathability
Bottom Line A shoe with an attractive price tag that is most at home at the pump track or dirt jumpsThe benchmark for flat pedal shoes, a true all-arounder that looks as good as it performsA versatile new flat pedal shoe with great grip and a casual styleA comfortable, beefy shoe with loads of protection well suited to gravity ridingA reasonably priced, versatile flat pedal shoe that offers strong performance and even stronger value
Rating Categories Giro Jacket II Five Ten Freerider Pro Specialized 2FO Roo... Ride Concepts Power... Ride Concepts Livewire
Grip (30%)
5.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Fit And Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
10.0
9.0
Rigidity And Power Transfer (20%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Breathability (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Weight (5%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
4.0
5.0
Specs Giro Jacket II Five Ten Freerider Pro Specialized 2FO Roo... Ride Concepts Power... Ride Concepts Livewire
Rubber Type Vibram Ecostep Stealth S1 SlipNot ST DST 4.0 MAX GRIP Kinetics DST6.0 High Grip
Tread Pattern Triangles underfoot, dots toe and heel Full Dot Full Hexagon Dot Hexagon dot Full Dot
Weight per Shoe (ounces) 13.81 (size 45) 14.11 (size 11) 12.96 (size 43.5) 16.97 (size 11) 16.15 (size 11)
Weight per Shoe (grams) 392 (size 45) 399 (size 11) 367 (size 43.5) 467 (size 11) 458 (size 11)
Closure Laces Laces Laces Laces Laces
Lace Keeper Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Volume Medium-High Medium Medium Medium Medium
Upper Materials Microfiber Synthetic Leather Leather/textile Welded microfiber Synthetic/mesh
Midsole EVA EVA Cushioned EVA
Insole Die-cut EVA foam AM/MT insole Body Geometry

Our Analysis and Test Results

Giro bills the Jacket II as the "daily driver of our footwear line, at home on the pump track, the shop floor, and over doubles on the trail - or at the pub." After testing these shoes, we'd say that's a relatively accurate assessment. These affordable and casually-styled shoes seem to work well for just about every application except for those where you want a stiff and super grippy sole. That said, riders who don't need or want the stiffest or grippiest soles, dirt jumpers or those who really like to feel the pedal underfoot, may find these shoes to be exactly what they need. They wouldn't be our first choice for pedal heavy trail rides or long and rough descents, but that isn't necessarily what the Jacket II was designed for anyway.

Performance Comparison


The Jacket II delivers enough grip to get the job done, but it is...
The Jacket II delivers enough grip to get the job done, but it is far from impressive.
Photo: Laura Casner

Grip


For the sole of the Jacket II, Giro uses a Vibram EcoStep rubber compound which is made with 30% recycled rubber. It has a look and feel similar to that of a classic Vans skate shoe, although the tread design has been optimized to work with flat pedals. The rubber feels reasonably soft to the touch and is easily compressed with a thumbnail. It seems like it should grab onto pedal pins as well as other compounds. While they do provide a decent connection to the pedals, we didn't find them to inspire confidence or the "locked-in" feel of some other models we tested. That said, they might be perfect for those who prefer a bit of foot mobility.

The Jacket II utilizes multiple shapes within the tread pattern. The toe and heel have a hexagon-like design, and underfoot, the shoe uses a pattern of small opposing triangles. Throughout the whole sole of the shoe, the tread is raised approximately 2-millimeters. In between all of the tread knobs is a small channel that is a couple of millimeters wide. This tread looks like it would interface with pedals pins quite effectively and hold them in those channels, but that wasn't really the case.

The Vibram rubber sole feels quite hard and doesn't allow the pedal...
The Vibram rubber sole feels quite hard and doesn't allow the pedal pins to really sink in and engage.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Both the rubber and the tread design seem like they should provide confidence-inspiring grip, but it is average at best. When fully weighted, the grip feels okay, though it doesn't come close to that of our top-rated models. On rocky and chattery trails, our feet were bounced around far more easily than the competition. One positive is it is quite easy to reposition the foot on the pedal. Since the pins aren't truly connecting with the sole, it's easy to do a slight rotation of the ankle to change foot position. While the grip isn't super impressive, perhaps that's also the point. Not all riding styles or riders require your feet to be glued to the pedals. Those who frequent the dirt jumps or the pump track may appreciate this reduced grip more than most.

Off the bike, the Jacket II works quite well. Whether you are strolling around town or pushing your bike to the top of a sketchy line, they offer solid amounts of grip on most surfaces. In addition, the softer, more flexible, sole allows for a very natural walking motion.

This shoe will work for virtually any foot. It is quite wide through...
This shoe will work for virtually any foot. It is quite wide through the entire mid section and toe box.
Photo: Laura Casner

Comfort


We found the Jacket II to be a comfortable pair of shoes. We can see this shoe working quite well for a lot of different foot shapes. The fit runs true to size for length, with a roomy medium volume. Riders who require a slightly higher-volume fit may have more success with these shoes than most of the others we tested. On the flip side, those with a low-volume foot might find them a bit too spacious.

Once slipping your foot into the Jacket II, it fits a bit like a skate shoe and the roominess is quite apparent. Often, a shoe is spacious in one particular region, such as a wide toe box. This is not the case with the Jacket, it is a relatively wide and roomy shoe from heel to toe. One might go as far as to say the fit was a little sloppy. Riders with narrow to average feet might find their feet moving within the shoe a little more than they would like. That said, the laces run down quite far, and it is possible to tighten the shoe over the upper toe box.

The microfiber upper is quite pleasant against the foot. This skate-inspired shoe avoids being overly cushioned or puffy. Instead, we found it used a sensible amount of padding and foam. The EVA foam footbed was quite pleasant, although relatively basic with little support for the arch. The underside of the tongue was soft and adequately padded. The tongue is smooth and flat and is absent of any ridges or textures that irritated the foot. Additionally, they have a little reinforcement for the toes and the heel to ward off rock strikes and impacts.

These shoes lack rigidity and you can really feel the sole folding...
These shoes lack rigidity and you can really feel the sole folding over the pedal when you are climbing.
Photo: Laura Casner

Rigidity and Power Transfer


If there is one area where the Jacket II really stands out from the competition, it is the lack of rigidity. The soles are considerably less stiff than any other model we tested. Upon removing these shoes from the box, the old hand flex test was revealing and it was very easy to bend the soles in half.

On the trail, a softer sole delivers excellent pedal feel. If you're the type of rider who likes their shoe to conform to or flex around the pedal, these could be a great option. When standing up on the bike, they communicate the pins and edges of the pedal extremely well. While this may be great for some riders and riding styles, it can cause discomfort and foot/calf fatigue on trail rides or over the course of a long climb or descent.

Due to the sole's relative lack of stiffness, power transfer is subpar in the Jacket II. When you are hammering on the pedals, you can feel your power flex into the sole of the shoe if your foot isn't positioned well, putting more strain on the foot, ankle, and calf. If your foot is hanging off the back, or side, of the pedal it feels like it is folding over the edge when you are putting the power down. A stiffer and more rigid sole transfers power more effectively.

These shoes breathe surprisingly well. The light weight and loose...
These shoes breathe surprisingly well. The light weight and loose fit definitely help air to circulate.
Photo: Laura Casner

Breathability


The Jacket II delivers above-average levels of breathability. The microfiber upper construction has perforations on both sides of the foot and above the toe box to allow heat and moisture to escape. In addition, the looser fit seems to play a role in helping things stay cool and ventilated. A shoe, like the Jacket, with more air circulating through looser areas will promote better airflow than a super snug shoe. The low weight paired with the relatively low amounts of padding and armor also play a role in keeping things cool.

The Jacket II appear to be well made, we expect them to have at...
The Jacket II appear to be well made, we expect them to have at least an average lifespan.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Durability


Throughout testing, we observed no serious signs of premature wear or breakdown of the materials. The synthetic upper material is in good shape and isn't heavily scuffed. There is a lot of exposed stitching in the construction of the Jacket II, although it appears to be in good shape with no fraying or damage to speak of.

The Jacket II are lighter than they look, in fact they are one of...
The Jacket II are lighter than they look, in fact they are one of the lightest shoes we tested.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Weight


Our size 11 test shoes hit the scale at an average of 392-grams, or 13.8-ounces, per shoe. That is respectively light and puts it among the lightest shoes in the test.

Normally, we praise lighter shoes as being better options for longer rides. Unfortunately for the Jacket II, the lack of rigidity really detracts from our desire to ride 30-miles with these shoes. We would happily add a couple of dozen grams for better pedaling performance. Still, kudos to Giro for making an attractive and functional shoe that delivers a low weight, comfortable fit, and attractive price.

Value


The Jacket II are the least expensive shoes we tested, and we feel they are a good value to the right consumer. Riders who appreciate foot mobility and a softer sole, looking at you dirt jumpers and pump track riders, are the most likely candidates for this shoe that can easily go from the bike park to bar without missing a beat.

If you're looking for a shoe for trail or gravity riding, you'll be better off spending slightly more money for a shoe with better grip and power transfer. That little bit of extra cash secures a far more performance-oriented shoe that will deliver a much better on-trail experience.

The Giro Jacket is an effective shoe and can work if your on a super...
The Giro Jacket is an effective shoe and can work if your on a super tight budget. That said, we suggest spending a little bit of extra money for something better.
Photo: Laura Casner

Conclusion


The Giro Jacket II is a functional and stylish shoe that works on the mountain bike trail or out on the town. This skate-inspired shoe delivers high levels of comfort, a low weight, and decent breathability. While we feel its grip and power transfer are lacking, it may be perfect for riders who value foot mobility and pedal feel.

Pat Donahue