Product Test: Giro Gauge Shoe
Giro has eight mountain bike shoe options, ranging from $80 entry-level models to $290 cross-country racing shoes. The $225 Gauge is Giro’s second-tier offering aimed at cross-country and trail riders alike.
Tech features: Giro partnered with Easton, a company that knows a thing or two about carbon construction and is a sister company to Giro. The Gauge features an EC70 sole that is a blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass. It features dual-compound lugs for traction when walking, and the upper is constructed of microfiber with reinforced scuff guards in high-contact areas, such as the toe and around the front edges of the shoe. Shoe closure is taken care of by two hook-and-loop straps, with one offset at mid-foot and an upper strap with a ratchet-style buckle.
The Gauge comes with three interchangeable arch supports to fine-tune the fit of the shoe. Our size 44 shoes weighed 14.5 ounces per shoe with Shimano SPD cleats installed.
Field test results: One of our go-to shoes for 2012 was Giro’s top-of-the-line Code, so we were interested to see how the second-tier Gauge would compare. With the Gauge on our foot, the first thing we noticed was that the upper felt a bit stiffer than the Code’s Teijin fabric. While the shoe is less supple, the shape is just as comfortable. There were no pressure points, and the fit felt very secure without any heel lift during hard pedaling efforts. The shoes were a bit warmer than some of our other shoes.
The SuperNatural Fit kit (the interchangeable arch supports) is an added bonus for riders with high arches or flat feet.
The Gauge’s EC70 outsole contributes to a slight weight increase over Giro’s top-tier offering, but the shoe is still well within the weight range of what we would expect for a cross-country or lightweight trail shoe. Pedaling stiffness is very good. When off the bike, we were pleased to find the walking tread lasted longer than what we experienced with our Codes, though the grip isn’t anything out of the ordinary. The shoes’ uppers are also very tough, and after numerous run-ins with rocks, roots and tough shrubs, they still look to be in tip-top shape.
The mid-foot scuff guard gives you just enough traction to stay on the ped- als if you miss clipping in or need to clip out to dab a foot.
Overall, Giro’s second-tier offering proved to be a solid shoe. With a high-quality carbon sole, tough construction and a competitive weight, the Gauge is a great mid-priced option.