A new flat pedal shoe from Giro that's laden with tech.
On face value, Giro’s new Latch flat-pedal shoe looks pretty basic, but it’s actually loaded with technology. Starting at the bottom it has a new sole, which is made from a tacky rubber compound called Tack that features a new Gamma tread design. Giro has also created a new last (mould), which is lower profile, so your foot is much closer to the axle for greater efficiency. Inside the shoe is a new midsole foam called Mute, which is specially engineered with a slow-rebound property that Giro claims helps dampen vibration and ensures your feet don’t get bounced off the pedals. The style of the shoe is pretty generic – it looks a lot like a Crankbrothers Stamp – but it does get a synthetic microfibre upper, Rockprint toe bumper, reinforced eyelets and a padded tongue.
Nowhere in the Giro literature does it mention the durometer of the Tack rubber, but it does say it’s highly elastic, which suggests it’s springy. I‘m not sure the reason for this, maybe it has good energy return, but the real question is, what’s the grip like compared to the benchmark Five Ten Freerider Pro?
I measured the rubber at around 70a with my durometer, which is on the hard side, and actually no different to the old Giro Jacket shoe. But at least that had a honeycomb tread that the pins could sit in; the new Gamma sole on the Latch just seems like a random assortment of shapes. The shoe has a nice feel and is pretty low-profile, but grip is underwhelming and the sole feels too hard. When you’re hammering through a load of chop with the Five Ten Freerider, it feels calm, but with the Latch there is too much feedback. If this sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve said this about so many flat shoes over the years.
I appreciate that durability is important, and you want a firm sole for pedalling, but the grip has to be good. For me only a few shoes currently make the grade – the Ride Concepts Hellion Elite, Specialized 2FO and pretty much any Five Ten – with a whole gaggle in second place. The Latch joins those lower ranks, because it’s cool looking, and has some great tech, but the rubber is just not soft enough.