Field Tested: Giro Alpineduro winter SPD boots

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Giro may have made the perfect “shoulder season” footwear with the Alpineduro. Seriously. These are amazing boots.

Looking more like a pair of Italian hiking boots than the typical tech-y bike shoes, the Alpineduro fits in perfectly with Giro‘s New Road ascetic of performance riding wear without the typical racer influenced design cues. At $200 they slot in below Lake’s winter boots, and right around the same price as Shimano and Specialized winter boots.

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The upper is synthetic leather, with very few seams or panels, meaning less entry points for water. A seam-taped waterproof bootie inside the shoe keeps out any water that might find a way past the outer materials. Insulation is provided by Primaloft, and Vibram contributes the sole. The toe and heel have minimalist rubberized protectors to protect these high wear zones.

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Between the rockered sole and not-too-stiff nylon shank, these boots are very walkable, and the cleat pocket is just the right depth for grind-free walking and easy clipping in. I never have issues with traction on any surface, and are they comfortable enough to wear all day off the bike. I wouldn’t recommend taking a really long hike , but for rambling about, climbing over rocks, or just hanging out at the bar or campsite, there are few cycling footwear choices that are better for all around use.

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My feet stay warm down until about freezing, and after that they start to get cold, but that mostly seems to come from the cleat. A thicker pair of socks might help, but between the typical narrowness of Giro’s uppers and the general snug fit—even after going a half size up from my normal 43.5—I could only fit a mid-weight hiking sock without cutting of my circulation. In the 20s and teens I prefer the Lake MX303’s, below that I usually just switch to standard winter boots and platform pedals. You mileage may vary, as my feet seem to get cold easily.

I like the lace closure, but the little elastic lace keeper pulled out of its stitching after a few weeks. Giro caught an early production run issue having to do with a newly trained employee. It is a minor issue that should be corrected now, and seemed to affect only a few pairs. I just tucked the loose ends of the knot under the crossing laces. When I think about it, I’ll just resew the end of the elastic myself, should be a 5 minute job.

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While most of my riders this time of year are pretty short, I did spend about 22 hours straight in some awful weather during a 175-mile trip in early December, including a good bit of wet rail-trail, getting lost, and a lot of riding around in rural Pennsylvania in the middle of the night. The weather ranged from high 50s at the start, to high 20s. There were at least eight hours of rain in there as well, and a pretty serious sleet storm. All in all, a real test of a pair of shoes.

I didn’t bring rain pants on this trip, so eventually the water stared running down my legs and into the boots, but up until that point, my feet remained dry and comfortable. The low back on the boots prevents achilles tendon rubbing issues, but it is so low it may cause some issue with rain dripping of rain pants and into the boots. Giro is working on a pair of gaiters to go with this boots for riders looking for more coverage. I look forward to trying a pair out.

After my feet got wet, my wool socks and the insulation did a fine job keeping everything warm even as the temps dropped. I changed socks once, and expected to shove my now dry foot back into a swampy mess of a boot, but after only a few hours of rain free riding it was only slightly damp inside. Impressive, considering how waterproof they are.

Other than adding some arch support, I’ve been comfortable in these shoes, but I do wish for more toe box space. Some wiggle room for my toes is always appreciated. If there was some way to allow for some volume adjust to compensate for thick or thin socks, I’d be ecstatic. Maybe if the laces ran down further towards the toe? That seems to work on my non-cycling winter work boots.

If I was planning to do a lot more mountain biking in these, I’d want more aggressive lugs at the front of the boot, or maybe even a couple of screw in lugs. But really, there are already plenty of winter shoes like that on the market. I’m digging these for all around mixed surface use.

And finally, I am glad to see the synthetic leather outer. As much as I love leather, riding around these parts in the winter exposes footwear to a lot of road salt. Without regular care, that road salt will mess up a pair of expensive leather boots in a hurry. The outer material shows no sign of being affected by the salt, and clean up quickly with quick wipe with a paper towel.

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I’ll admit I’m a big fan of how these shoes look. Simple, understated, classic. But theAlpineduros aren’t just all show. With the type of riding I like to do, and the amount of cool and damp weather I see, these boot may get worn more often than anything else I own.

 

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