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While there's always going to be a time and a place for super-stiff lightweight road shoes, sometimes that's not always what's required, or desired. The Giro Petra VR Shoes are designed for those times when there's going to be a fair bit of walking as well as riding, and when a more low-key looking shoe may be the thing. But they're still technical.
Officially in Giro's 'dirt' section of the company's website, the Petra VR is more a touring or casual shoe in my opinion, rather than a technical mountain bike shoe. They lace up, have a Vibram sole, and feature a removable plate under which lurks SPD attachment points, but they are styled much more casually.
Made from a lightweight mesh paired up with a synthetic suede type fabric, the Petras don't weigh much at all even with the sturdy walking-shoe sole, and they look like a sturdy pair of trainers.
On the bike they are surprisingly stiff, giving a decent amount of power transfer even on flat pedals. With the SPDs in use, they are obviously better still. Giro has achieved an excellent balance of stiffness with wearability and walking comfort.
These are one of very few pairs of cycling shoes of this ilk that I've tried that genuinely don't feel like cycling shoes when you're walking, such is the fine-tuning of the flexibility of the sole. The soles are also grippy enough to be genuinely useful to walk in. The cleats do still emerge slightly from the recess in the sole, but it's virtually impossible to make that not the case and still be able to clip in.
The tongue is padded and comfortable, and the insole also gives extra walking comfort. They look pretty good and work well with either technical cycling clothing or more casual touring orientated gear. Only the black is available in the UK this year, which is a shame in my opinion as it gets dusty pretty quickly, whereas the grey alternative wouldn't show the dirt as obviously. Nonetheless, they look good.
As a shoe for touring and casual riding, with or without clipless pedals, these are certainly worth considering, and aren't a bad price for the amount of wear they will get. Shoes for riding to the pub anyone?
Spot on for casual riding, with or without cleats and perfect for touring! Comfortable and stylish
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Make and model: Giro Petra VR Shoes
Size tested: 39, Black/Wild Lime
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Giro says: "A versatile shoe that combines performance riding features like clipless pedal compatibility with the walkability and comfort of a light hiking shoe"
Definitely an accurate description.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Microfibre and mesh upper
Lace-up closure with lace retainer
Vibram rubber outsole
Removable cleat cover for SPD compatible shank zone
Molded EVA footbed with medium arch support
Very well made from good quality materials and components.
Perform very well as a good balance between comfort, walking and cycling performance.
Seem very durable but won't look as smart for long since the black micro fibre does attract dust and dirt.
Very light for this style of shoe.
Very comfortable both for walking and for riding.
Cost per wear is excellent for these as they will get worn a LOT.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well. A great shoe for casual riding and touring, and for any riding where there's going to be a good bit of walking.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, fit, comfort, balance of stiffness for riding and flexibility for walking, outsole.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Black colour micro fibre got dusty and grubby very quickly.
Did you enjoy using the product? Very much.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A low-key shoe with good levels of comfort and performance for both riding and walking.
Age: 43 Height: 1.65m Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.