Giro Ventana Shoe Review
Based on my time using the Ventana so far, I think Giro has a winner in the “all day” trail shoe category.
- Very comfortable and durable “all-day” riding shoe with a roomy toe box.
- Choice of two different closure mechanisms.
- Great balance between pedaling efficiency and walkability.
- Very breathable upper that also dries out quickly.
- Understated and casual design that doesn’t scream “cycling shoes!”
- Doesn’t come in half sizes. Those between sizes may struggle to find the perfect fit.
- The offset cleat position might not work well for everyone especially riders coming from a road or XC background (it essentially widens the Q-factor).
- The sole tread pattern works very well in dry conditions, but may lack traction on wet rocks.
User Review( votes)
I am a self-professed cycling shoe junkie. I won’t admit the exact number of riding kicks I own, but let’s say that I am a connoisseur of fine cycling footwear.
A recent inventory of my cycling shoes revealed that most of my mountain biking shoes are the lightweight, stiff, carbon-soled type, which prioritize efficiency over comfort.
Therefore I was on the hunt for a new pair to add to my collection with more forgiving characteristics. The Giro Ventana seemed to be the shoe that met most, if not all, my criteria. I’ve been using a pair for six months now, and feel like I have put enough riding time in them to give them a proper review.
Who is it for?
The Ventana is Giro’s attempt to make a shoe that straddles the line between trail and gravity-oriented shoes, and overall I’d say it’s a pretty successful attempt.
The basic idea is a shoe that meets the demands of rough all-mountain riding, while still offering a decent level of pedaling efficiency and all-day comfort.
The Ventana combines elements from Giro’s DH shoe, the Chamber, with a new one-piece upper that Giro calls “Synchwire” and a durable and sticky outsole. Like the Chamber, the Ventana has a cleat position placed further back and with an inboard offset.
The benefits of this cleat position are to have your foot in a more neutral position on the pedals and minimize heel rub on wide chainstays typical on modern long-travel bikes. SPD pedal traditionalists, however, might need an adjustment period to get used to this unusual cleat position.
Features and styling
Giro offers the Ventana in two colorways: black/olive with a gum sole or all black. There is also a choice of two closure systems: either a BOA L6 dial system or Giro’s “Fastlace” which uses an elastic cord and a Velcro strap. The design of the Ventana is rather inconspicuous and aside from the BOA dials, many people wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from your everyday pair of casual shoes.
I opted for the all black with BOA closure version. It should be noted that the Fastlace version is cheaper and very slightly lighter, and there is no protruding BOA dial that might be susceptible to damage from impacts on the trail.
That said, I am a staunch convert to the convenience of BOA-style closure, and the ability to fine tune the fit on-the-fly is always good to have. The LP6 dial is a single-direction ratchet which tightens in 1mm increments.
If I have to nitpick, I would say that having a dual-direction adjustment dial, like the BOA IP1, would have been nice but it is not a deal breaker and it would probably raise the price of the Ventana.
Coming from an XC background, the first thing I noticed when putting on the Ventana is the weight. At 997g for my size 45 pair, you certainly feel the difference compared to lightweight XC shoes (e.g. my Shimano XC7 in the same size weighing in at a much more svelte 776g).
Similarly, the Nylon shank Giro uses in the Ventana’s sole makes for satisfactory pedaling efficiency, but on rides longer than 40 miles with a lot of pedalling I started to miss my carbon-soled shoes. Here, we must remember the purpose for which the Ventana was developed: an “in-between” shoe merging features of XC and gravity riding shoes.
The Ventana is not offering any pretense to be a XC shoe on steroids. It is a trail shoe with enhanced comfort, walkability and protection features that still manages to offer acceptable pedaling efficiency.
With this in mind, the Ventana manages to be a true all-day shoe without huge compromises.
Fit and sizing
The Ventana is indeed a very comfortable shoe. The toe box is generously large, and there is room to fit thick winter socks without being too constrictive. One thing to note about sizing is that the Ventana runs large compared to previous similar shoes from Giro like the Terraduro.
My regular size in Giro, Shimano and Sidi shoes is 44.5-45, and the Ventana feels at the roomier end of the spectrum compared to all the shoes I own.
I have relatively thin feet, and off the bike there was a hint of heel slip when walking, but nothing too annoying. There is also an additional Velcro strap that makes it possible to dial in the fit even further, and I’ve found it very useful to cinch up the front of the shoe a touch more.
Keep in mind that the Ventana is not offered in half sizes, so it would be good if you can try before you buy.
On the trail with the Giro Ventana
Much of my mountain bike riding is done in warm weather conditions, and breathability is usually among the first things I notice with new shoes. The Ventana’s PU bonded mesh upper has excellent breathability that belies the shoe’s stout look.
My home trails are strewn with sharp rocks, loose gravel and often involve some hike-a-bike on abrasive terrain. After about six months of having the Ventana as my go-to trail riding shoe, no significant wear can be observed aside from some scuffs, which is a testament of the Ventana’s improved durability over its predecessor, the Terraduro (the early versions of which were known to rip at the sole).
Something I’ve also come to appreciate is the reinforced toe and heel sections, where my foot has on many occasions come into contact with the terrain on a particularly rocky technical riding sections.
Having been caught in some rain on a couple of rides while wearing the Ventana, I also noted that the upper material seems to dry out fairly quickly.
Final thoughts: the (nearly) perfect all day trail shoe
Based on my time using the Ventana so far, I think Giro has a winner in the “all day” trail shoe category. It ticks all the right boxes when it comes to comfort, durability, pedaling efficiency, choice of closure methods and a styling that appeals to a wide spectrum of riders.
The Ventana offers a set of features making it the Goldilocks shoe for many styles of riding. From rowdy gravity-oriented trails to enduro racing to off-road backpacking excursions and even gravel loops where some time on foot is to be expected.
In the crowded market of mountain biking footwear, the Giro Ventana manages to offer an well-rounded package the combines comfort and versatility.
Hani Morsi is a seasoned multi-discipline cyclist with a particular liking for mountain and gravel bikes. Hani is also a mountain bike coach, trail builder and experienced bike mechanic.