Giro Riddance Review
Cons: Less grip, expensive
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Riddance is an all-mountain contender that has all of the features you'd expect in a top-quality shoe: Sticky rubber sole, sturdy construction, synthetic uppers, heel and toe reinforcements, lace keeper, and a rigid EVA midsole.
We expected the shoes to perform well no matter where we took them, and that's what we experienced, although with the shoe's stiffness, we found other contenders in our test may be a better choice for riders on rough trails. With a stiff sole, the Riddance really shined on the climb overall, pedaled efficiently on rolling terrain, and descended well in most terrain.
The Riddance is equipped with a sticky dot Vibram ISR rubber sole that provides a relatively secure connection between rider and pedals. The individual lugs of the sole are hexagonal, which seems to do a great job at locking on to the pins of your pedals. We were initially impressed with the shoe's grip once we started riding up to a local climb and noticed little play even when we intentionally twisted and turned our feet on the pedals. The soles also grip well when climbing, allowing a natural cadence with good security in the pulling back phase of the pedal stroke. Once we topped out on the climb, we were excited to see how the soles interfaced with our pedals and overall, the Riddance performed well enough. For straightforward flowy trails and the occasionally large feature, the Vibram soles kept us securely stuck to our pedals. We did find that when we descended more washboard types of trails, like the rapid-fire rooty trails that we rode in the Canadian Rockies, it took a lot more effort to maintain a solid connection. It seems like the rubber provides a nice sticky connection, but the midsole's stiffness decreases the overall grip of the Riddance.
Off the bike grip and traction was good overall, although shoes with more flexible soles make walking easier.
A shoe's comfort is pretty subjective, and our test riders found the Riddance was comfortable overall. The insole is a relatively soft EVA footbed with some arch support that provides a comfortable foundation for riders. Other shoes in our lineup include a higher quality insole that performed better, but the Riddance insole was adequate. The synthetic microfiber upper is fairly stiff out of the box and we assumed it would soften with use but found the material really didn't change much over time and remains pretty stiff. The upper makes your foot feel secure but has a tendency to pinch around the ball of your foot, especially when walking up steep slopes. The heel cup is very supportive and locks your heel in but did put excess pressure on some of our testers Achilles tendons.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
This metric is where the Riddance really shines. The full-length optimized EVA midsole is the stiffest in our test shoe lineup. This stiffness makes the shoe a great choice for flat riders who like to climb and hammer on the flats and rolling trails. Even though the Riddance weighs more than other shoes in our test stable, they still performed on par with clipless shoes. The rigidity of the shoe provides great efficiency in the solid riding platform, although that stiffness also made these shoes feel slightly less glued to the pedals on especially rough descents.
The Riddance came in as the heaviest shoe in our test, at 16 ounces per shoe for a men's size 9. For weight-conscious riders, there are lighter options. That extra weight didn't really affect our climbing though and even though heavier, the Riddance was one of the best climbing shoes in our test due to its power transfer.
Depending on where and when your ride, breathability can be an important consideration. The Riddance has a synthetic microfiber upper with generous ventilation perforation holes. We found the Riddance has excellent breathability until things heat up. For short rides, the breathability of the water-resistant upper was adequate, but when the miles started piling up, especially on warmer days, the Riddance didn't breathe as well as shoes with more mesh in their construction. For most climates on all but the hottest days, the Riddance should keep your feet relatively cool and dry, especially when worn with lightweight socks.
When it comes to durability, the Riddance doesn't disappoint. The durable Vibram sole showed almost no signs of wear even after being abused all over the Western US and Canada. Although the upper is stiff and may be an issue for comfort, that beefiness translates into excellent durability and foot protection. We intentionally scuffed our test shoes over logs, rocks, and roots, and found the uppers and their heel and toe reinforcements were up to the test, coming out none the worse for wear. If your riding takes you into harsh terrain and durability is a concern, definitely take a look at the Riddance.
The Riddance is in the middle of the pack in terms of value. While the price is relatively affordable, there are options out there that perform similarly and at a lower price.
If you're hard on your shoes and your riding takes you into harsh and abrasive places, the sturdy Riddance may be the shoe for you, especially if you like the up as much or even more than the down.
— Jason Cronk