Giro Code VR70 MTB Shoe
Evofiber Microfiber, Ratcheting Buckle (Replaceable), Offset Strap “D-Ring” at Mid-Foot Rubber Toe Cap
Easton EC70 Carbon Fiber, Vibram Mont Molded Rubber High Traction Lugged Outsole, Mid-Foot Scuff Guard, Accommodates Steel Toe Spikes
SuperNatural Fit Kit with Adjustable Arch Support, Aegis Anti-Microbial Fiber
Blister’s Measured Weight: 760 grams per pair
Pedals: Time pedals – MX6
Reviewer: 5’9” 150 lbs
Days Tested: ~20
Test Location: western Montana
As Giro has expanded their apparel lineup, they’ve been adding some shoes, too, including the Terraduro, as well as the Code VR70 which is an evolution of a previous Giro shoe, known simply as the Code.
The Code VR70 is positioned as a slight step down from Giro’s top of the line Empire VR90, but it still has a carbon sole. Unlike the Empire (which has laces), the Code uses a ratchet and strap closure system that’s similar to those seen on a number of other Giro shoes.
The Code has an EC70 carbon sole plate made by Easton, with a Vibram sole bonded to it. It accommodates toe spikes, but it doesn’t come with them in the box.
The shoe is secured via a ratcheting buckle at the top and two Velcro straps further down the foot. The upper portion of the shoe is constructed of a material called “Evofiber.” The Evofiber material is a sort of synthetic leather that, out of the box, is fairly stiff. As I’ve spent more time in the shoes, it’s become a bit more supple.
Unboxing the Code, I was pleased to find that it comes with three different arch supports that can be swapped out easily – Giro calls this their “Supernatural Fit System.” The arch supports are velcroed onto the bottom of the footbed, and make a noticeable difference in the fit of the shoe. I have a pretty high arch, so I went with the tallest insert – this offered more arch support than I’ve ever gotten out of a stock bike shoe, which is a good thing both for comfort and knee alignment.
Starting out, the shoes were a bit stiff – they weren’t uncomfortable, but they didn’t have the death grip on my foot that I was hoping for. Length-wise they felt a little snug initially, but after a few hours of riding to help break them in, they felt true to size. The width on these felt slightly narrower than “average,” which would probably make them roughly a C width.
They seem to slim down a bit in the toe box, so people looking for a bunch of toe room might not like these. Personally, I dislike large toe boxes, so these felt about right. It’s also worth noting that the toe box is relatively stiff – maybe not the best if you’re pushing the limits of width up front, but it’s great when you catch a trailside rock with the outside of your foot.
And if you have a higher-volume foot, Giro also offers an “HV” version of the Code.
It took more than 10 rides in the shoes before they really started to be comfortable for me. The initial stiffness was slow to break in, and there was a period where I was really struggling to get the shoe snug on my foot without cutting off circulation. The somewhat poor fit meant that my heel wasn’t really sucked back into the shoe, and I didn’t feel like I was getting as much as I should have on the upstroke while pedaling.
Slowly, the shoe began to take form and the fit got better. Now, every time I ride in them, I feel like they’re getting closer and closer to what I’d expect a high end shoe to fit like.
Of course, everyone’s foot shape is unique, so everyone’s experience is likely to be a bit different. But if you try the Code and aren’t instantly satisfied, I’d recommend giving it a little more time before you throw in the towel.
To Giro’s credit, they offer a 60 day fit guarantee. It’s tough to really figure out if a shoe is going to fit you well until you’ve ridden in it for a while, so if you’re going to throw a bunch of money at a nice pair of shoes, Giro offers you some reassurance that you’ll end up with something that works well for you.
NEXT: Performance, Comfort, Durability, etc.