Giro Alpineduro Review: Cold and shoulder…
A review of Giro’s Alpineduro SPD boots after a year of bikepacking and trail riding through both shoulder seasons and the dead of winter…
At its core, the Alpineduro is a rugged SPD boot built for mountain conditions. With a breathable microfiber and waterproof liner, a grippy Vibram rubber sole, and insulated construction, it’s built to stand up to harsh terrain and some pretty cold weather. The product itself is nothing new. It’s been around for a couple years and has remained a staple figure in Giro’s lineup. Credit is likely due to its simple adventurer style and rugged build quality. I’ve worn them both trail riding and bikepacking in temps over 75°F and under 12°F. After a little over a year of use, here are my thoughts…
My extremities are a bit delicate when it comes to the cold. In temps under 50°F — without proper garb — both my feet and hands often go icy numb. Not sure if this malady stems from being tall and skinny(ish) or having a bit of nerve damage in my feet from a past back injury. Either way, properly insulated footwear is key during the shoulder seasons, winter, or in chilly mountain weather any time of year. In the past I’ve made due by supplementing my everyday shoes with a pair of Giro Proof shoe covers. And those are fine, but I was eager to try the Giro Alpineduro to see how they performed — not to mention the fact that they are some pretty tough looking boots.
The first thing that stood out to me when I initially unwrapped these shoes was how light they are. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t dainty-light, like a carbon shanked XC shoe, but I expected them to be bricks based on their burly appearance. Not the case at all. They aren’t too bulky either. That’s with rubberized toe reinforcements and extra-thick heel armor to keep feet safe and sound — and protect the boots from getting beaten up in rocky terrain. And they have just enough Primaloft insulation to keep feet toasty through most of the winter. Yet these boots somehow remain relatively svelte. Yes, they are bigger and maybe slightly heavier than your typical clipless trail shoe, but they feel more like an ‘all-mountain’ shoe than they do a winter boot.
The Alpineduro is not a snow boot, however. It’s made for winter mountain bike conditions, wet and cold trails and temps ranging from sub-freezing to 60°F+. The upper is constructed out of a synthetic leather, with very few panels or seams, which means less points for water ingress. I had the opportunity to take them out for a spin during one rare southern snow event, and the weatherproof upper did it’s job keeping my toes dry. The boots have also kept my feet dry through plenty of shallow stream crossings, where they may have otherwise been soaked with splash.
Giro doesn’t provide a temperature rating for the Alpineduro, and it’s difficult to make generalizations related to other folks’ tolerance for the cold. But, I estimate that these boots, when paired with moderately thick wool socks, keep my feet comfortably un-numb in temperatures down to 20°F (-6.67 °C). Of course, they aren’t invincible. I wore them on one particular overnighter where temps dipped under 7°F. The following morning started off with a descent in ~12°F air temps. My toes went numb on that one. There were also moments when shuffling around on the frozen ground that I felt the chill. I am guessing that was a product of the brass cleats conducting the cold through the soles.
Oddly enough, I just switched back to my ‘in season shoes’. Even though temperatures have consistently been in the 70s for weeks, I just wasn’t ready to hang them up for the season. It turns out the Alpineduro isn’t just a great winter boot; it is equally suitable for rugged backcountry riding well into shoulder seasons, and, fitting its name, a reliable boot for alpine environs throughout the summer months.
The Alpineduro is a solidly constructed boot. In addition to the reinforced toe and heel, the Vibram sole is stiff enough to maintain solid pedaling efficiency, yet slightly more flexible toward the front of the shoe, making it comfortable for hiking, pushing up a rugged grade, and dare I say to wear all day off the bike. Honestly, this is one of the most comfortable clipless mountain bike boots I’ve worn. It feels equally at home pedaling technical trails as it does shuffling around at camp. The recessed cleat pocket is the perfect depth for grind-free walking, yet still not too deep for easy clip engagement. I never have issues with traction various surfaces. My only gripe is when it comes to steep hike-a-bikes; the low cut back causes a little heel slippage. I get why it’s cut low — so not to inhibit pedaling — but I’d like to see that cut just ever so higher. That said, I have particularly narrow feet, so this might not be as much of an issue for others. Unlike some shoes with which I’ve encountered the same problem, these don’t seem to cause blistering. The nice cushy insulation in the back solves that potential problem. Another thing to add is that the interior oil the boot is lined with X-Static fabric, which has both insulating and anti-microbial properties; I’ve noticed that even riding these boots in relatively balmy spring conditions, they haven’t developed a ripe odor and become ‘porch shoes’ like others I’ve owned.
The Alpineduro is offered in black with orange laces — each with a nice lace keeper to keep the unwieldy laces out of the way. It comes in sizes 37-48. Giro claims their weight is 440 grams for a 42.5. I tested a pair of size 43s, which registered 479g a piece on the scales (with a Crank Brothers brass cleat mounted).
- Vibram soles are rugged and grippy.
- X-Static and PrimaLoft Insulation do the job to ward off cold well below freezing.
- Relatively svelte and lite, especially considering its duties.
- Classic looks and beefy construction make it a very eye-pleasing boot.
- Heel cut seems a little low and caused a little slippage on steep hike-e-bikes. Not a deal breaker though, IMO. Might be worse for narrow feet (like mine).
- Laces are way too long. I have to double tie, then there is still excess in the lace-keepers. Easy fix though.
- Size tested: 43
- Weight (per shoe w/cleat): 479g (16.9 oz)
- Our temperature rating: 22°F
- Price: $200.00
- Contact: Giro.com
The Alpineduro seems like a seriously well-made and durable boot. Just to be clear, many of these photos were taken a couple months ago, but the boots still look about the same. They show hardly any signs of wear, save a few scuff marks, and some of the tread has lost its dappled texture. Other than that they still look and feel relatively new.
Overall, I am highly impressed with these boots. Given my propensity to frigid digits, they performed well above my expectations, and below the temperatures I thought the Alpineduro could handle. In addition to having a great classic mountaineering look, they might also have the perfect balance of insulation, design, and materials for “shoulder season” mountain biking. While they’re definitely too much shoe for the heat of summer in the south, I was a little bummed to put them away for the time being. But should I take a trip on the Colorado Trail or in some other alpine location this summer, they’re likely to go along for the ride.
New in gear
- Oct 10, 2017Tubolito… 1/3 of a Spare Tube.
- Oct 3, 2017Search and State: High Tech from NYC’s Garment District
- Sep 27, 2017Nemo Hornet Elite 2P Review: 28 Square Foot Bachelor Pad
- Sep 1, 2017Andrew the Maker Many Things Sack Review
- Aug 29, 2017The People’s Liberation Drivetrain