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As a fan of their prior Alpenduro winter MTB shoes, I’m happy to report that the new (and completely different) Giro Blaze winter mountain biking shoes are excellent. With a lighter, thinner upper that doesn’t give up warmth to a cleaner, smoother exterior, there’s a lot to like about this shoe…so much so that I really wish they made a road-going version, too!
Thus far, I’ve ridden the Blaze on both gravel and mountain bike rides, from all-day epics to 3-hour trail adventures. Temps have ranged from low 40ºs into mid- to upper- 50ºs (Fahrenheit). I suspect they could handle into the upper 30ºs, too, especially with slightly thicker socks.
Speaking of, I’ve worn them with thinner wool socks on every occasion, and it’s been a killer combo of wicking and warmth, without ever overheating.
Definitely, when temps get into the upper 50ºs, you don’t need a shoe like this, but when the forecast led me astray and the sun came down harder than anticipated, I never felt like my feet got too hot. In fact, I never really noticed them at all, despite a 15º swing on a single ride.
I suspect thicker socks would make them a bit snug, so I’m glad they insulate and protect well with a standard (thin) cycling sock. The padded, insulated tongue sits taller than the rest of the upper, helping buffer against cold air as you’re pedaling through it.
The outer is a stretch-woven fabric that’s highly waterproof. Gentle misting rain and a shallow stream crossing were no match. They’re also easy to wipe clean.
One trick I found necessary was to ensure the zipper was zipped all the way to the top, otherwise it had a tendency to slip over time. But it seemed to lock into place if pulled all the way up, so just don’t be lazy about getting them on and out the door.
That outer wraps around a more traditional-looking shoe upper, all of which is covered in high-loft fleece & Primaloft insulation. Padded ankle protection is a nice touch, too.
A long heel strap makes them easier to pull on, and a cinch-tight speed lace worked great at keeping my foot secure.
The footbed has a heat-reflective foil laminate layer combined with fleece to prevent cold spots underneath.
On the bottom is a soft rubber tread they say works well on ice, but I didn’t get to test that.
The only niggle I have is that they’re only available in full sizes, no half sizes. If you’re in between, definitely size up as it’ll allow for thicker socks should temps plunge. But, I found the sizing to be spot on for what I’m used to, which means as a 47 I’d have to jump a full size to 48 (monstrous) if I wanted to make room for really thick winter socks.
Giro rates them down to 14ºF (-10ºC), though, so you may not need to over sock. (That’s the rating on the website; the shoes have different numbers on them. Believe whichever you want, they’re both extremely cold.)
Reflective striping and logo on the sides and back improve visibility.
Claimed weight is 385g per shoe for size 42. My size 47 weighed in at 460g and 462g per shoe.
Where many winter MTB shoes have a bulky, padded upper cuff, I like that Giro’s Blaze is streamlined and thinner. Because it forms a snug cuff around the ankle, it won’t let cold air in, and is thinner and smoother than a neoprene cuff…and it wipes clean easier, too.
When I first put them on, that cuff can feel a little stiff just standing, but once riding it’s unnoticeable. The rest of the shoe feels and looks equally sleek. Highly recommend them if you’re looking for a fast, comfortable winter shoe that looks as good as it rides.
MSRP is $250, available now in sizes 40 to 50.