Giro Alpineduro Review: Cold and shoulder…

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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…

Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots

  • Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots
  • Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots

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.

  • Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots
  • Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots
  • Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots
  • Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots
  • Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots

Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots

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 Alpineduro Review, Boots

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.

Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots

  • Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots
  • Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots

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.

Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots

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).

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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

Wrap Up

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.

Giro Alpineduro Review, Boots

  • http://kentfackenthall.com Kent Fackenthall

    Nice review. I can echo the love for these boots and their versatility. Love mine. I liked ’em so much that they partly influenced my decision to buy a pair of Terradurros for other times of year.

    I did warranty a pair when I sliced open the Vibram sole, but I think that was partly due to some particularly sharp rocks I was tumbling around on. Even then, they were still under warranty and I got a new pair through my LBS, no problems.

  • Idle Prentice

    Looks like a perfect boot for my needs, but I ride flat pedals, always have. I don’t know what the effect of those metal things are – can they be ignored and I just go on blissfully ingorant? Would I unscrew them and discard them? I see a lot of good shoes with those things and wind up sticking with the regular Merrells I always wear.

  • Dan Clements

    I love the idea of these boots, the fit, warmth, “hikeability” etc, but I am on my third pair with the soles delaminating around the cleats on all three pairs within a few hundred kilometers, the same has happened to my two friends that also purchased these boots. Giro has replaced each pair so far and I keep hoping they will last, but I cannot rely on them for any extended trip. Great idea poorly executed in my opinion.

  • Idle Prentice

    Interesting. I hate that everyone stopped sewing boots years ago and started gluing them. They still haven’t got it perfected.

  • Pat Hamaker

    Oh man pair these with Giro’s specially designed gater and these make a perfect wet winter mountain bike boot. I’ve been riding them for the last 6 months in the PNW, they have been clutch.

  • http://www.bikepacking.com Logan Watts

    Wow. I am surprised by this. I have a few hundred miles on these and they are showing no issues and not even much overall wear.

  • http://www.bikepacking.com Logan Watts

    Well, they come with a piece of rubber you have to remove, so they could be used with flats. I wouldn’t though. My favorite flat travel boots are the Five Ten Guide Tennies (high/mid) top. Far from weatherproof though…

  • http://www.bikepacking.com Logan Watts

    Good to hear. Thanks Kent!

  • http://www.offroute.ca Skyler

    I’ve witnessed total sole delamination on these boots too after their first big hike-a-bike. Impressive customer service though… Replaced them immediately.

  • http://www.offroute.ca Skyler
  • http://www.bikepacking.com Logan Watts

    Again, surprised. After doing some math in my head, this pair has at least 750 miles on them (I think more, but that’s bare minimum). 475 of them bikepacking with plenty of hikeabike interspersed. I wonder if there was a ‘bad batch’ at some point. Based on the pair I have I’d vouch for them any day.

  • recurrecur

    I’ve had these for 2 winter seasons so far. They’ve held up well, with none of the ungluing/separation issues that some have had. The only issue I’ve had is that the right shoe is remarkably waterproof, while the left shoe is anything but. I’ve spoken with Giro about this issue, and they’ve been very accommodating.
    I’ve ridden with these down to 20F and I’ve only been uncomfortable after the 2 to 3 hour mark with thick wool socks. These are remarkable shoes, though with a high price tag, I do hope Giro push to sort out these design issues. There are so few shoes of this sort.

  • Ryan

    Not sure if it’s the same issue, but I was working in a bike shop a couple years ago and we had issues with the Terraduro shoe from Giro. We were told they got the formula wrong on the glue for a certain batch of shoes.

  • Jason Liers

    Those look pretty good.

  • Ross

    Anyone used these with flat MTB peddles? Is there anything in the design which would make them unsuitable for flat peddles? I’m looking for some warm boots to ride the GMDBR but starting early fall so need them to be OKAY in cold weather. Any ideas? Cheers!

  • Ross

    Did you find a solution Idle? I’m in the same boat as you. Prefer flat peddles but need boots with similar spec to these…

  • Idle Prentice

    Gonna get the Shimano XM7. Highly rated and looks like a winner. For now I keep waiting for my Merrell trail running shoes to let me down but they refuse to.

  • Ross

    If anyone is interested – try:

    http://45nrth.com/products/footwear/japanther

    Not used them, but they look like they look pretty good for shoulder season stuff.

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