For gravel and hardtail riding I wear the Giro Privateer “mountain bike shoe.” The current version is a lace up model. I’ve been riding mine, which are Velcro-and-boa, for about 7 seasons, and as I said, they do equal duty on my gravel bike and hardtail.
At $140 they’re not quite entry-level and not quite the premium offering, which suits my riding pretty well. I’m intrigued by the lace-ups, because, while I worry about laces getting caught in chainrings (there is actually a lace retainer on these bad boys), I think the fit and lockdown on lace up shoes is often better than Velcro closure shoes.
Mine are comfortable on and off the bike. They walk really well. I don’t mind running errands in them. They have good tread for those steep, technical climbs you didn’t quite clear. Moreover, they’ve been durable as all hell for me. I’ve kicked the ever-loving tar out of mine.
And I think they look good. I have the black with the gum soul, which is classic.
As I spend more and more time riding flat pedals, I’m thinking about the pedal/foot interface in ways I didn’t before. I’m noticing things about how I ride when I’m clipped in and when I’m not, and it’s helped me appreciate the Privateers more, because they really are supple and manoeuverable in a way that clipless shoes often aren’t.
Currently they come in four colors, all of which I like, and the sizing is Euro, which I think, frankly, is better than the US sizing. It’s more granular, consistent, and accurate. Giro often makes a high-volume version of their shoes. I don’t think there’s an HV Privateer right now, but if you’ve got big feet, then keep an eye out for those. They’re worth it.
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