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Giro Latch Flat Pedal Shoe

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Giro Latch Flat Pedal Shoe - Long Term Review

Giro’s latest all-mountain flat pedal shoe is lighter than their previous models and features a new outsole compound and tread design that provides exceptional grip and control.

Rating: Featured Member Review
Giro Latch Flat Pedal Shoe - Long Term Review
The Good:

Lightweight, comfortable fit with superb pedal control and connection.

The Bad:

The narrow profile and low-cut design provide limited ankle support.

Overall Review:

Before releasing their all-new Latch shoe last September, Giro’s flat pedal shoe line had remained unchanged since 2018. While all their models were riddled with technical features and praised for their excellent fit and comfort, they were all missing one key piece to the flat pedal shoe puzzle: grip.

Giro had previously partnered with Vibram to concoct their rubber compounds. Unfortunately, these compounds didn’t quite meet the gummy grip, and sticky connection riders expect from mountain bike-specific shoes. Looking to produce the best all-mountain flat pedal shoe on the market, Giro took the reins and developed their own midsole, rubber compound, tread design, and foot last. After months of stomping around in the Latch, these changes have produced a light yet durable shoe with an incredibly direct pedal connection.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Lightweight and comfortable fit
  • Lowered footbed provides exceptional pedal control and connection
  • Tack Rubber is sticky and allows pedal pins to sink into the outsole
  • Heel cup comfortably locks ankle in place and prevents rubbing
  • Slow rebounding Mute Foam midsole absorbs impacts and keeps the shoes from bouncing off the pedals in rough terrain
  • Low cut design doesn’t provide much ankle support
  • Narrow profile 
  • Durability of glue between the midsole and upper

Giro Latch Highlights

  • Tack Rubber outsole 
  • Gamma tread design features generously spaced apart lugs with chamfered edges 
  • Reengineered unisex foot last lowers rider’s foot to the pedal and gives outsole a flatter profile to match pedal profile
  • Injection-molded, slow-rebounding Mute Foam midsole reduces trail chatter and vibration 
  • Breathable and fast-drying microfiber upper construction
  • Wide internal toe box allows toes to spread out for better comfort
  • Rockprint reinforced toe box for abrasion resistance and durability 
  • Fast-drying hydrophobic structural inners 
  • Wide stretch laces with lace keeper
  • Men's sizes: 39-50 EU 
  • Women's sizes: 36-43 EU 
  • Weight: 334-grams (measured, size US 9.5 / EU 43)
  • MSRP: $150 USD 

Latch Overview

When Giro began developing the Latch, they started by creating a new fit and foot last that lowers the rider’s foot closer to the pedal and flattens the outsole profile. These changes improve rider control and increase the contact patch between the sole and pedal. The toe box was also widened to allow the forefoot and toes to spread out for added comfort.

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Like most bikes we ride these days, the Latch was designed to excel when climbing and descending. But instead of talking about geometry and anti-squat values to achieve these broad goals, Latch uses Giro’s brand new Mute Foam midsole and Tack Rubber outsole. Mute Foam is an injection molded foam that is slower rebounding than typical EVA foam. This enables the shoe to absorb more trail chatter and vibrations to ensure pedal contact when things get rough. 

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Giro’s highly elasticated and sticky Tack Rubber further aids pedal contact, allowing the sole to mold ever so slightly around the pedal to maintain grip on downstrokes. When ripping rowdy descents, the Tack Rubber works with Giro’s Gamma tread design to lock the shoes in place on the pedals. The tread features chamfered, pentagon-shaped lugs spaced generously apart so that pins can easily nestle into the outsole. The outsole is also much flatter towards the front of the shoe, with less upward curve from the ball of your foot to your toes. This increases the area of usable outsole and is especially beneficial for riders who ride more on their toes.

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Finally, Latch features a fast-drying and breathable one-piece microfiber upper with a Rockprint reinforced toe for abrasion resistance and durability. Wide stretch laces tighten up fitment, and a lace keeper can be found on the tongue.

Initial Impressions

Sleek Aesthetic 

Gone are the days of moon boot-inspired mountain bike shoes, and we could not be more thrilled! Before even slipping Latch over our eager feet, we were struck by the shoes’ slender profile, smooth texture, and minimalist aesthetics. The one-piece microfiber upper removes any seams or stitching, and the flat contour of the outsole places Latch low and parallel with the ground. We tested the black/dark shadow color way and enjoyed the modest color blocking that gave some depth without drawing unwanted attention.

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Gamma Tread Design

Analyzing Giro’s Gamma tread design before our first ride, we were mildly skeptical of how well the chamfered, pentagon-shaped lugs would engage with our pedal pins. The layout of the lugs is more sporadic than the traditional repeating, circular lug design and places the lugs around 5-7mm apart from one another. However, compared to a few other shoes we had lying around, the added negative space between lugs allows pins to catch and sink into the outsole while also making it easier to adjust foot placement on the pedals. Just placing a Latch shoe on a pedal with our hands, the design locked the shoe into multiple positions and allowed a small amount of float in all directions. 

Giro’s Gamma Tread design features pentagon-shaped lugs that vary from 6-12mm wide and are approximately 1.5-2mm deep.

Fit, Comfort, and Weight  

Lacing up the shoes for the first time and walking around the house, the most immediate takeaway was how close our feet felt to the ground. Often, flat pedal shoes are thicker than casual shoes and give the sensation of being on small platforms. Giro’s redesigned fit and last undeniably give Latch a thin and direct feel unlike any bike-specific shoe we have worn. The closest comparison we can draw is the connection and control offered by Vans skateboard shoes. We’ll touch more on this sensation and how it performed below. 

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The second most noticeable aspect of the Latch was the secure and comfortable fit. With such a sleek and narrow profile, we did worry the shoes might squeeze and constrict our feet. Luckily, the overall fit was snug but not too tight, with tension from the laces dispersed evenly across our whole foot. Giro says the Latch has a medium (D) width and volume, but our narrow (B) foot felt like it was pushing the limits of the shoe. We recommend riders with a wider foot visit their local Giro dealer and try on the Latch to confirm fitment. As for length, we found the size US 9.5 (EU 43) fit true to size.   

At the tip of the shoe, the toe box isn’t the tallest but offered enough width to wiggle our little piggies. The heel cut is relatively low and ended just below our ankle bones, providing little if any ankle support. However, the inside of the heel has a small foam lip that firmly cupped our ankles, locking our heels comfortably into the shoes.

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The final Latch characteristic that caught our attention before hitting the trails was the weight. The US 9.5 (EU 43) size we tested weighed 334-grams per shoe, which is 100-grams lighter than Giro’s Riddance flat pedal model. We also had FiveTen’s Freerider Pro and Specialized’s 2FO models on hand and both weighted more than the Latch. The overall low weight, matched with the thinner outsole and sturdy fit, made us ready to hit the trails with shoes that seamlessly molded to our feet.  

Giro Latch
Specialized 2FO Roost
FiveTen Freerider Pro

On The Trail

All Day Foot Comfort

After almost four months of testing, the Latch has been an incredibly comfortable flat pedal shoe across multiple types of riding and various flat pedal models. The lightweight construction allowed the shoes to bend and mold ever so slightly to the movement of our feet, minimizing cramping or fatigue. This made the shoes a thoughtless go-to option for both big days in the saddle or cruising around town, hitting our local bike parks and favorite breweries. When walking or hiking, the Latch offered the best heel lock of any flat pedal shoe we’ve tested and kept us from developing blisters or sores on our ankles. After wearing plenty of shoes in the past that have chewed up our heels, we owe Giro a high five for keeping our ankles pain-free. 

On top of heel comfort, we never experienced any hot spots or rubbing throughout the rest of our foot, thanks to the one-piece upper design and minimal internal seams or creases. At the front of the shoe, the wider toe box kept our toes from smashing into one another without being so spacious that our feet could slide within the shoes. We also loved the ability to stretch our toes mid-ride to ease any tension.

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Giro’s Mute Foam midsole added another level of foot comfort, performing better than anticipated at dissipated trail vibrations and impacts. Any doubt we had about the lowered footbed in the Latch creating a harsh ride quality was erased thanks to the damping properties of the Mute Foam. We noticed less energy was transferred to our feet when riding over choppy, high-frequency bumps. The feeling was similar to riding a well-tuned fork that is supple off the top and keeps your hands from rattling off the bars. On really harsh compression, such as hitting a drop to flat or casing a jump at the pump track, the Latch did an impressive job absorbing a portion of the impact. 

Flex vs Stiffness

The lowered footbed, thinner outsole, and minimalistic one-piece upper made the Latch a moderately flexible flat pedal shoe. Like many mountain bike shoes, the Latch offers some concave flex, allowing the shoe to bend at the toes for comfort walking. When riding, the shoe provides more support and stiffness to keep the sole from bending drastically around the pedal. We still found the shoes conformed to our pedal more than other shoes we’ve tested but did not find this caused any foot fatigue, discomfort, or instability. More often than not, the added flex allowed the Latch to wrap around our pedals for added traction.  

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Pedal Feel and Grip

Comfort, flex, and stability aside, the success of a flat pedal shoe comes down to how well the outsole can keep your feet glued to your pedals. We are happy to report that Giro’s Latch shoe provides next-level pedal feel and control matched with traction that crushes their previous models and rivals other brands’ compound and tread designs.

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With the footbed lowered closer to the bottom of the outsole, we felt highly connected to our pedals and had no problem finding our preferred foot position. This direct connection reminded us of our days riding in Vans skate shoes, except that the Latch offers proper toe protection and foot support. We noticed the benefits of this control when dabbing a foot in corners or technical sections as it took little focus to precisely place our foot back on the pedals right where we desired. We did have some concern that being so close to our pedals might cause some discomfort, but throughout testing, we never felt any individual pedal pins jabbing us from below. 

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Thanks to Giro’s Tack Rubber compound, the Latch locked onto our pedals exceptionally well. The gummy rubber proved to be soft yet durable, allowing pedal pins to burrow deep into the outsole. We tested with multiple pedals using varying diameter and length pins and found that the Latch had no problem finding grip regardless of pin layout. We chalk this up to Giro’s Gamma tread design with more channels or negative space between each lug. When looking at the bottom of our shoes, most pins landed between lugs, allowing more of the outsole to engage with our pedals. Thanks to this solid connection, we rarely lost grip on rough descents. 

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Another benefit to having more space between each lug was the ability to adjust our foot placement without completely disconnecting from our pedals. For example, after putting a foot out in a corner, we could place our foot back on the pedal and slightly adjust its placement without slowing down or removing it from the pedal. While it might seem like some foot float would be a bad thing, we never slipped a pedal while wearing the Latch as our weight would keep the shoes engaged with our pedal pins.   

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The final characteristic that allowed the Latch to maintain consistent grip through the ugliest and roughest sections was the outstanding damping qualities of the Mute Foam midsole. The midsole not only absorbed impacts and kept our feet and ankles from getting beat up, but it kept our feet from bouncing off the pedals. To relate the feeling again to suspension, the Latch felt like a fork with a rebounding setting that holds the front wheel glued to the ground through repetitive compressions without packing up. We loved how effortlessly we could keep our feet pressed into our pedals when flowing down trails. 

Warmth and Waterproofing

We tested Latch during winter and were pleasantly surprised by how warm the shoes kept our feet. It was 20 to 40-degrees (-6 to 4 Celsius) during most of our rides, and when worn with wool socks, our feet remained comfortable and warm more often than not. We haven’t had the chance to test the shoes in temperatures warmer than 60-degrees, but we don’t expect the Latch will overheat our feet. After all, they are low-top shoes and feature venting above the toes and on the side panels. 

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When it came to stomping through puddles and riding in rainstorms, the Latch did a fantastic job keeping our feet dry without absorbing too much water. Giro didn’t mention much about the waterproofing abilities of the Latch in their press release other than stating the shoe features a hydrophobic structural inner. Regardless, we completed multiple rainy rides that featured countless creek crossings with only damp shoes to show. We wouldn’t recommend riders swap out their dedicated, waterproof winter shoes for the Latch, but they are an excellent option for shoulder-season rides. The microfibre upper is also smooth and seamless, making it quick and easy to clean.  

Durability 

Our Latch shoes may not look brand new, but they have held up pretty darn well to our abuse. The microfiber upper has not ripped or torn while the reinforced toe cap has managed multiple impacts with only cosmetic scuffs to show. Unlike some riders, we don’t shift our feet on the pedals very much, and our outsoles tell that tale. Small divots and some rubber is missing from where our pins spent the most time engaging the outsole. Compared to how our shoes typically look after a few months of consistent riding, the Latch is fairing better than average. On the outside edge of both shoes, the midsole has been chewed up from the outer pins of our pedals. We rode the most with DEITY’s Deftrap pedals that are 103mm wide, and the Latch is only 78mm wide under the arch. We ride with our feet tight to the crank arms, which allowed the outer pins to nestle against the side of the midsole. We honestly haven’t had this happen before, and the wear has not led to any loss in performance but is worth mentioning.

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The only concern we have with the Latch is the durability of the adhesive connecting the upper to the midsole. On the inside of our left shoe, the midsole has begun to separate from the upper. The separation is only 45mm long, but with no stitching holding the outsole and midsole to the upper of the shoe, we are concerned that the glue may continue to fail and cause further separation over time.  

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What's The Bottom Line?

Giro’s Latch flat pedal shoe is the answer you’ve been waiting for if you started mountain biking in casual shoes and have chased that close, direct pedal feel ever since. Except with the Latch, you receive exceptional pedal control matched with bike-specific support and toe protection wrapped into a comfortable and lightweight package. Giro had the most room for improvement with their outsole performance, and the Latch hits the ball out of the park. The gummy Tack Rubber and pin-locking Gamma tread design combined with the damping capabilities of the Mute Foam midsole provide a secure, glued-to-the-pedal connection in the roughest situations. Whether you are going on an all-day adventure, hitting the pump track after work, or commuting around town, the Latch is a perfect option to maximize comfort and grip in any situation.

For more information, please visit www.giro.com


About The Tester

Jason Schroeder - Age: 27 // Years Riding MTB: 16 // Height: 6-feet (182cm) // Weight: 168-pounds (76.2kg)

A once-upon-a-time World Cup downhill racer turned desk jockey, Jason has spent years within the bicycle industry from both sides of the tape. A fan of all day adventures in the saddle or flowing around a bowl at the skatepark, he doesn't discriminate from any form of two wheeled riding. Originally a SoCal native now residing in Boise, Idaho, you can find Jason camped out in his van most weekends at any given trailhead in the greater Pacific Northwest.

Specifications

Product Giro Latch Flat Pedal Shoe
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Rider Unisex
Construction
  • Fast drying, one-piece microfiber upper
  • Rockprint reinforcement along the toe and heel for abrasion resistance and durability
  • 3D molded footbed
  • Mute Foam 3D midsole
  • HD polyethylene internal power plate
  • Wide stretch laces with lace keeper
  • Rubber Type Giro Tack Rubber with Gamma tread design
    Sizes 38 - 50
    Colors Black Spark, Black/Dark Shadow, Dark Shadow, Trail Green
    Weight 0 lb 11.8 oz (334 g)
    Miscellaneous

    2021 product year release

    Fit to bring the foot closer to the pedal and flattens the sole profile, optimizing the contact patch between sole and pedal.

    The Mute Foam midsole is a specially engineered nanofoam with slow-rebound characteristics that cut chatter and vibration to help keep you connected to the pedal, regardless of ruts, roots, and rocks.

    Tack Rubber delivers a sticky, yet durable outsole grip needed to hold onto the pedals in the roughest of terrain.

    Giro’s Gamma tread pattern increased negative space between the tread lugs, allowing pedal pins to nestle in while the chamfered and sloped edges of the lugs prevent the pins from getting hooked up.

    Also available in a women's version.

    Price $150
    More Info

    Giro Latch Flat Pedal Shoe Reviewed in the Vital MTB Gear Show

    Giro Launches New Latch MTB Flat Pedal Shoe (press release)

    Giro.com

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