With so many brands of MTB shoes focused on sticky rubber, Giro took their latest shoe creation a step further: a new style of foam. The Giro Latch Flat Pedal Shoe represents the first foam in the MTB industry to focus on slow rebound in an injection mold, offering a new perspective on keeping the rider’s foot connected to the pedal.
“If you think about EVA foam and putting something in, the foam will always want to push it out,” says Peter Curran, Giro Footwear Product Manager. “With Mute Foam, the metal pins dig in but there isn’t that quickness to push them back. You feel like you have a good grip in the pins, they penetrate more, almost like memory foam. form.”
Launched in September, the Giro Latch launches Mute Foam for the Californian bike brand while introducing a new sticky rubber, a redesigned shape and a new clean design for flat pedal MTB shoes.
“They follow this path of a much thinner shoe, much closer to the pedal,” explains Curran. “Not only do they have the Mute Foam, but we have embarked on our own rubber development project.”
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And the rubber actually plays first. “There’s that holy grail about rubber grip,” Curran says. “Being competitive in the market means you have a really sticky rubber. We think we have a good formulation and this foam complements that. They work as a system.”
Giro switched to a butyl rubber, the same one used in inner tubes, for its elasticity and ability to produce tack. By formulating the compound with added durability, Curran believes he has found a good balance in his Tack Rubber compound.
When it came to foam time, he says most companies spent time cushioning rubber, but not foam. By working with a chemical company to make a slow rebound foam and being able to injection mold the foam, this helps keep the rider connected to the pedal without overloading the shoe. The result is to keep the rider’s foot connected to the pedal even in conditions of chattering roots and rocks where they might otherwise bounce off the pedal.
A new Gamma tread pattern opened up a space between the lugs to allow the metal pins of the pedal to settle in and added a “ramp to the edge of the lugs” so the pins can release when needed. “When you need to move your foot and change positions, you want an easier release,” Curran explains.
With a complete overhaul of foam, rubber and tread, the Giro Latch also offers a fresh perspective on the latest shape and superior microfiber designs. The latter offers a wider forefoot to let the foot extend over the pedal. A lower stack height keeps riders connected to the pedals.
Giro has gone from a durable board to a Strobel construction, eliminating an extra layer of construction in the shoe and reducing stack height. The design also included an HDPE upper to provide stiffness when descending so the shoe doesn’t collapse.
Curran says the old Giro flat pedal shoe collection came from an era of oversized designs, and the Latch means a new wave of streamlined, lightweight designs, averaging 100 grams lighter than previous models. All protections, such as toe and heel, are not sewn, but molded or heat sealed. “We use more advanced techniques to make sure that we don’t stick different panels and things,” he says. Fewer seams also help keep water out and improve durability. The materials of the shoes were chosen for their quick drying properties, so that a wet ride one day does not leave the shoes soggy the next morning.
The design team focused on the details, right down to the laces. Curran says two weeks before production they made a change to add an inch to the laces to make them easier to tie. They also did some research to find out how much stretch is needed on the laces, so they don’t come loose. The tongue features a lace loop so riders can store the laces.
Over two years of preparation, the Latch is launching a new franchise for Giro. Expect to see more price models and more models of electric and leisure bikes in the future. “We’re really proud (of the Latch),” Curran said. “I think there has been an arms race in the grip of the rubber, and we think we’re really happy to find something new to discuss with the Mute Foam, an innovative part. We don’t just go out. with another flat pedal shoe. “