Giant Bicycles Line Shoes: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted
The niche of gravel cycling has brought out an interesting mash-up of cycling genres. This maybe is no more evident than in choices of footwear by the cyclists I have seen plying the back roads of the U.S. Some of us use the road shoe and pedal. Some others use recreational cycling footwear, like sandals. Others use flat pedals and (gasp!) street shoes. But the vast majority seem to prefer a mountain bike type shoe. Here we have one such type of cycling shoe from Giant Bicycles called the “Line”. Let’s take a closer look……
What It Is: The Line model from Giant is actually a development in conjunction with the Giant racing team and aimed at enduro mountain bikers. These types of shoes typically have more foot protection and a nod to walk-ability and with that, traction off the bike. Giant felt as though these might also be traits a gravel road rider might be interested in. Here are the features of the Line model as seen on Giant’s website;
- Seamless hydrophobic material upper provides protection and ventilation
- Fully integrated nylon/glass fiber MES ExoBeam midsole plate combines pedaling stiffness with flexibility for increased comfort, and stability on rough terrain
- QuickFit upper with updated one buckle and two hook-and-loop straps for on-the-fly adjustments
- ExoWrap design and construction for enhanced fit
- Aggressive full-coverage rubber tread for maximum traction
- Trail-specific outsole design improves traction and stability; 103mm (forefoot) 72mm (heel)
- Rubber toe box area provides optimal protection
- ExoFlex zone optimizes the natural flex of the toes
- Removable single-density ErgoComfort™ Insoles
- Wider range fore and aft cleat position adjustment
- All new stealthy grey and black colorway option
The Line model comes in European sizing from 40-48 and retail pricing is set at $150.00. These shoes should be available soon, according to Giant.
First Impressions: The color we received is quite the bright blue! Consumers can expect a Stealth Black/Grey combo though. Otherwise the shoes we received are identical to stock. The other thing I noted was how much rubber the soles actually have. Typically shoes for cycling are not wrapped in this material like the Line is, but thinking about how an enduro rider needs to have their feet protected from rocks and trail debris, this makes sense. Rocks on gravel roads are not quite so potentially damaging, but I can see where this feature would pretty much negate any concerns about foot protection on a gravel ride.
The cleat mounting area has a generous amount of fore-aft adjustment for the mounting of two bolt cleats. This area is backed by a stiffer material using a technology Giant calls “MES Exo-Beam” which stiffens only the area where power is applied while Giant’s other technology dubbed “ExoFlex” allows the toe box area to be a bit more forgiving. The forefoot area of the sole is wide, by the way, and traction off the bike shouldn’t be an issue in most cases. That width also translates to the interior, by the way, and wide footed riders should find the Line to be accommodating.
The interior of the Line shoe is also interesting. Giant uses their ExoWrap design which, in part, includes the stretchy straps on each side of the shoe’s tongue. This kind of pulls down on top of your foot while the ratchet strap pulls up and the sensation I get is an even- more or less- grip all the way around the foot. This differs greatly from most shoes which, in my opinion, simply clamp downward on your foot. Interesting. The inner sole support is removable, by the way, which is nice for drying/cleaning purposes.
The closure system consists of one buckle and two Velcro straps which allow for a wide range of adjustment and secure foot retention. I found the buckle easy to operate and release when the shoe was on my foot. Getting out and back in again was a breeze. Cleats mounted with no problems too, so now all there is left to do is ride. That will be getting done as you read this. Stay tuned for a “Checkpoint” post with a special addition from Grannygear on a little bit nicer shoe in Giant’s line.
Note: Giant sent over the Line model cycling shoes at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We are not being bribed nor paid for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.