Has the Chamber II managed to improve on an already impressive shoe?
We loved the original Giro Chamber, but does the Giro Chamber II address the little issues and improved an almost perfect pair of shoes?
The original Giro Chamber was without doubt one of the standout shoes for trail, enduro and DH riders wanting the performance of a clip-in shoe without sacrificing the casual look of a skate style flat pedal shoe.
Giro Chamber II review
The first thing you notice about the Chamber II is Giro has set about streamlining the whole look of the upper. It’s a touch less skate shoe like than the original, with far less panels and stitching. Whilst these panels gave the original it’s distinctive casual look, stitching creates weak points and also gives water more of a chance to get through to your foot. The front half of the Chamber II is now almost completely seamless, lending it not only better durability but also a sleeker look. A look that you’ll either love or hate, dependent on how you felt about the original.
The rear half looks like it’s still made of several pieces, but even here panelling has been kept to a minimum. It still retains the lace and Velcro strap combination but here the lacing has a more enclosed feel. Lacking the gap the original Chamber had at the lower lace point that used to hoover up mud and trail debris is another improvement. The toe also features a bonded protective rubber rand and the Vibram sole also follows suit by being glued/bonded to the upper, doing away with the extra stitching found on the original shoe. The tongue has been bulked up with more padding and the Chamber II loses the inner sleeve to hold it in place, relying on two strips of elastic. A feature found on all of Giro’s other ‘casual’ styled shoes.
Fits like a…
All of these changes has not only given the Chamber II a less clumpy look but has also had an impact on the fit. It’s a very small impact but the Chamber II is a touch narrower, especially across the toe box. I have a pretty medium width foot and it is still incredibly comfortable, if anything it holds my foot better. But if you have properly wide feet you’ll need to try it on first. Also regarding fit, the Velcro strap almost feels too short, leaving a big gap with Velcro exposed. But again, whilst this isn’t perfect, I would rather this than have an overly long strap that can get snagged in the undergrowth.
It’s all about the sole
Looking at the sole unit, Giro has radically altered the design and layout of the outsole to address the issues with the existing shoe.
First up it’s a much more open heaxagonal tread pattern repeated over the whole sole, much better for shedding mud providing grip. But much more radical is the repositioned cleat recess, allowing for a cleat position that replicates the foot position on a flat pedal.
This aids bike control and gives more of a connected feel. You can still run cleats in a standard position if you so wish, but for more extreme riding this new position is pretty damn perfect. The ends of the cleat recess are also much more ramped to help guide you to a quick engagement. The most noticeable benefit of all this redesign is an almost complete lack of fouling with pedals, making the Chamber II a better performing shoe.
Great for pedalling
From a comfort and pedalling efficiency standpoint, the Chamber II retains an excellent balance between sole stiffness and off-bike walking comfort. If anything Giro has upped the overall stiffness making it a better option for riders who like to get the miles in. Fortunately it still remains comfortable enough to spend the day in without feeling the need to rip them off after a few metres of walking.
Despite all these improvements the Chamber II is still a chunky shoe, it's dropped a few grams from the original but still weighs a shade more than it's rivals at 508 grams per shoe. It's also gone up in price to £129.99. However, like the original, the Chamber II is now well on its way to becoming my go to shoe.