Product Review: GIANT LINE MTB GRAVITY SPD SHOES
Giant has been expanding its lineup of soft goods—from riding kits to shoes—over the last few years. Starting with road- and cross-country-oriented shoes, Giant has been pushing to offer riders the best footwear on the trail. The Line MTB shoes are Giant’s burlier shoe aimed at enduro and gravity riders. We tested these shoes on some of our more technical trails to see if they could hold up.
Tech features: The Line shoes have a flat sole, apart from the rounded and more flexible front section, that is meant to help with walking. This is common with gravity shoes that are supposed to be clipped to wider pedals. They often offer pins for more foot support.
The Line shoes offer a wide range of fore and aft cleat positions, and it’s true that the more aggressively you ride, the more rearward you mount your cleats on your soles, looking for better handling—even if it’s at the expense of pedaling efficiency. The soles offer full support on both sides of the cleats so that all of your effort applied to the pedals translates into forward momentum. Unfortunately, the cleat pockets were a bit too deep. This was confirmed by a quick measurement.
The upper is a one-piece synthetic leather featuring ventilation holes and varying thicknesses, depending on stress in different areas. The shoe does offer extra strength and protection in the toe box and in the heel, while the edge of the tongue is split in order to reduce pressure on the rider’s ankles.
Fit is adjusted with a buckle on the top of the foot along with a couple of Velcro straps opposing each other for a more balanced feel. The pedals only come in the famous Giant Blue color. Sizes start at 40 and end at 48 (European standard) with no mid-sizes. Our pair of Line shoes in size 45 weighed 1014 grams, and the shoes retail for $150.
Field test results: Opening the box, the Line shoes looked like they were worth what Giant asks for, if not more, and things just got better when we put them on and adjusted the fit. Moving around felt natural, and even walking around didn’t make our soles feel sore. Mounting cleats on the Line shoes, we had to use 1mm shims to make the depth a touch shallower for better engagement with the pedal. These shims were not included with the shoes, and that was one of our biggest issues.
Once clipped in, the Line shoes proved to have a soft sole that gripped the pins on our more aggressive gravity pedals confidently. The midsole stiffness was correctly tuned for larger platform pedals, and it also gave our riders a pleasant freedom of movement. No hot spots were felt during our test, confirming the quality of the overall fit and adjustment. The Line shoes are also cool enough in the warmest climates and very comfortable on the longest rides.
On the other hand, some of our testers would have liked a longer ratchet strap and shorter Velcro on the two front straps, because they remained exposed when adjusting the fit on not-too-slim feet.
Giant Line shoes offer great value when coupled with gravity pedals. Just don’t buy them if you want to keep the tiny XC pedals that came on your bike to save weight.
• Needs shims under the cleats
• Straps not the perfect length
• Only one color
4 out of 5 stars