MBA Product Test: Giant Charge Pro Shoes
In addition to bikes, Giant produces a full line of cycling gear. The company offers everything from bells, bags, fenders and lights to base layers, shorts and even footwear for a full range of uses.
At the top of Giant’s 12-shoe lineup is the Charge Pro model. Redesigned for 2020, this shoe is engineered for the rigors of off-road racing to transfer maximum power to the pedals. Made to be lightweight and energy efficient while maintaining a comfortable fit, the Charge Pro is offered in EU 40–48 sizes, with half sizes between 41.5 and 45.5.
Tech info: Built on Giant’s Motion Efficiency System, the shoe features an all-carbon ExoBeam sole. The idea behind the dual-beam structure is to utilize composite material that can be stiff in the forefoot, where most of a rider’s power is applied, yet strategically flex to reduce tension and strain in the lower leg. Using what Giant calls its ExoWrap, the shoe’s upper design provides a 360-degree foot enclosure that works to pull up on the arch and deliver stable foot support. The goal is to enhance efficiency while maintaining comfort.
On the trail: The Charge Pro shoe provides a secure fit thanks to the award-winning, patented Boa LP1 closure system. There are two twist knobs that allow you to smoothly and evenly dial in the perfect fit with a Velcro strap. The system is lightweight, durable and hassle-free. During our testing, the Charge Pro performed well, consistent with Boa’s reputation. Removing the shoe can require taking a moment to create slack, but it never tried our patience.
The futuristic look of the shoe’s material comes from the reinforced, high-density, polyurethane leather. It screams, “I’m here to race,” and is a real advantage in repelling the elements. The smooth, waterproof finish beads mud and muck well and is also resistant to penetration from any debris, sticks or foxtail weeds that might get stuck in more porous materials. The upper material is also pliable enough to conform to the shape of your feet.
The shoe’s durable materials don’t hinder ventilation. The forefoot’s breathability provided a favorable internal temperature thanks to the hardworking, laser-cut, micro perforations in the uppers and the anti-bacterial, dual-density and removable EVA insole.
Unlike most high-end race shoes, the Giant Charge Pros have rubber heel to toe, even in the mid-section of the foot, that really aids traction when you’re unclipped. This was greatly appreciated when we unclipped and needed more than one attempt to clip back in. The Charge Pro’s rubber sole was able to grip on top of the pedal until the cleat properly engaged again.
Hiking can be downright sketchy in some clipless shoes, but the Charge Pro was solid off the bike. The injection-molded toe guard protected the front of the shoe well when we were scurrying around the trail on foot. As with its competitors in this category, two optional toe spikes are offered with plastic knobs that come standard. The only upgrade we recommend would be to provide solid rubber knobs that could screw in as a traction option for extremely rocky terrain.
Versatile in all applications, the $385 Giant Charge Pro shoes remained snug thanks to thoughtful details like the grippy SharkSkin heel liner that encouraged a slip-free fit and remained comfortable, even on the longest days.