Giro Solara II Women’s Road Shoe – review

I have to confess I like Giro shoes because they suit my low volume but quite long feet very well, and like all shoe reviews I can only tell you how they work on my particular feet.  You’ll know yourself that no two feet are alike, even your own two, and so all shoe reviews rely on you having feet like me to get to the same responses.  You may also not like the fit and feel that I look for, so although reviews can give you an idea you still need to try them for yourself to make a final judgement.

That said, these shoes are very comfortable, and I found the pedalling efficiency (coupled with Look Keo Classic pedals) was impressive.  My first ride out was a little nerve wracking as I am used to double sided SPDs but as far as the shoes went I felt positively connected to the bike and they weren’t too bad for the small amount of walking I did as well.

Road shoes are not designed for walking in, and whilst these have a Giro stiffness rating of 6, they are definitely going to produce a duck walk.  Putting rubber cleat covers on will help with grip, but not the duck walk of course.  There is no grip to the sole between the cleat and the heel so if you miss clipping in don’t rely on being able to push effectively on the unclipped pedal.  This did cause me a few issues around town but I feel that road shoes are not designed for ‘in-town’ use and none will work as well as a touring or MTB shoe, which is designed with having to put the foot down more often.

The compromise with many MTB shoes especially is they are not as stiff as even a touring shoe, and the stiffer the more efficient they are at transferring power.  The side effect of this is that they are less forgiving of slightly incorrect cleat placement, as well producing hot spots if you do try to walk in them too much.  Personally, I think you should get professional fitted with very stiff road shoes and cleats to prevent injury.

I have touring shoes and mountain bike shoes, both also from Giro which also have a rating of 6 in stiffness, so these road shoes, as road shoes go are stiff but not in the league of anything carbon fibre or meant for serious racing.

My feet felt cosseted and supported from all angles with no pressure points and no dead spots or hot spots, after I got the velcro right.  They are low volume which won’t suit everyone.  The heel cup is good, but not a patch on women’s Sidi shoes heel cups, for me, but then Sidi are twice the price.   I did have to adjust the velcro across the toes once around the 20mile mark in a 30mile ride.  The ratcheting top strap is very good at making fine adjustments and I found that doing the toe, then the ratchet, then the middle strap produced the best fit in combination.

Like all white road shoes, there is a question of how long they will stay white, and the mesh and velcro will mark up long before the glossy, almost patent, leatherette sections.  The grey fabric inside and around the heel is a bit of a blessing in this because marks won’t show quite so badly here.  These are road shoes, not for off-roading, so they will probably stay brighter for longer purely as they get a different use.  I never quite see the point of white MTB, or gravel shoes, for that reason but perhaps that’s just me.

All in all, I liked them very much.  My only complaint was that I had ordered them direct from Giro because their website stated (and still does even thought I’ve pointed this error out) they were 2-bolt and 3-bolt compatible, but when they arrived they were 3-bolt only.  I liked them so much I changed my pedals, and tried to get used to road shoes and road pedals but found them very difficult around town where I need to unclip and clip-in frequently.  As such, although there have been my best fitting pair of shoes this year, I have now sold them on.  This is not because they weren’t the right shoes, but because I wanted the convenience of double sided SPD (2-bolt) pedals and these could not provide that compatibility.

In summary: Great, close fitted low volume shoes for road use at a reasonable price point. RRP £109.99 but currently (17/08/2020) available for as low as £55.00 depending on source and stock/size availability.

Note for sizing: In street shoes I am a 5.5 or EU39 but in Giro (and Sidi) I need an EU40.

 

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