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Giro's Trans Boa shoes update the excellent Velcro-secured original design to create stiff, comfortable and thoroughly modern shoes. They'll please everyone from keen amateurs to sportive riders and occasional racers with their stiff carbon soles and easily tweaked comfort, though they're not the lightest available.
These Trans are broadly similar to the version that scored an impressive 4.5 stars back in 2016, meaning an Easton EC70 carbon sole, a very breathable microfibre and mesh upper, and an attractive mix of matt and gloss panels. Two of the three Velcro straps are now gone, replaced by a quick-release Boa L6 dial that tightens in 1mm increments.
The Boa laces tighten over a broad tongue that's relatively thickly padded along the centre line and well shaped as it thins towards the ankle, meaning comfort is excellent. The pressure is well spread across the top of your foot, even if you like them tight.
The deep and well-padded heel cup means they don't need overtightening to stay secure, no matter how hard you crank at the pedals. These are the kind of shoes that make it fun to stand up and sprint – those EC70 soles are pleasingly stiff and efficient, though not so stiff that they buzz or feel harsh for the rest of the ride. In fact, the only time I found myself thinking about them was when out of the saddle, which, quite frankly, is ideal. I suffered no hotspots or pinching at all, straight out of the box. Fit and sizing is spot on.
Toebox width is adjusted with the single Velcro strap, and I found the Trans Boas roomy without being sloppy. In fact, once I'd set the Velcro I never touched it again, as even switching between thin socks and thick, thermal ones didn't require adjustment beyond what the dial offers. If you have wide feet and tend to struggle generally, Giro also offers a high volume (HV) version.
Though I normally use arch-supporting inserts, for the sake of the test I used the standard footbeds at first, and was surprised to find I never needed to change them. Giro rates the supplied support as 'medium', which seems about right, and that stiff sole very effectively stops it collapsing during the ride.
You're unlikely to struggle excessively with heat buildup given the large, very open mesh panels and perforated uppers, but given that temperatures never topped 10°C during the test I can't really comment (they're certainly too breezy for winter without covers). There's also a small vent beneath the toes, though none in the midsole. For UK use, the closed midsole is probably a benefit for 360+ days a year.
Fitting your three-bolt cleats is easy thanks to broad, clear alignment marks, while the nylon heel protectors are retained by two heavily recessed bolts – meaning the hex heads won't be mangled when the time comes to replace the heels. These remain almost completely unmarked after a month (unlike my new cleats), though I really don't walk far in them.
If stealth black's not your thing there are black/white and black/crimson options. One of the matt panels on this test pair is slowly polishing up shiny where it rubs the crank, but otherwise these shoes still look basically new despite plenty of rain and filth. The white versions may not be so easy to care for...
At 579g for the pair (EU45) the Trans Boas aren't the lightest you can get despite the carbon sole, but you couldn't call them heavy either – plenty of similarly specced shoes at this price are around this weight. There are exceptions though, such as the Bontrager Velocis, which are almost 100g lighter, if a little less rigid. However, even avowedly lightweight choices such as FLR's F-XX II Strawweight Road Race shoes are 540g in size 45, while Specialized's more expensive (£200) Torch 3.0s are 556g.
The Giro Trans remain great performers and very much worth the £180 asking price, then, while the new Boa dials only make them easier and more compelling still.
A great update of a great mid-range shoe: stiff yet comfy, the Trans Boas will please all but the raciest of riders
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Trans Boa
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for
Giro avoids the obvious 'they're for putting on your feet' and says, "Crafted with a Boa L6 closure dial to offer customised fittings with a simple twist, this stylish Giro creation also allows you to loosen and tighten the shoe efficiently to increase levels of comfort."
Essentially they're a light reworking of the original Velcro-secured Trans shoe.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-Breathable microfibre and mesh upper
-Boa L6 (1mm + with macro release) retention with premium cover
-Offset low-profile straps and offset D-ring
-Easton EC70 carbon composite outer sole
-Replaceable walking pad
-Moulded EVA footbed with medium arch support
Well put together from impressive materials.
Comfortable over many miles, but stiff enough to keep all but the most demanding sprinters happy.
Have coped very well with wet, cold and dirty conditions.
No hotspots, well-judged arch support and an even pressure from the Boa dial.
Around what you'd expect for the price, if not quite the lightest.
Roomy yet secure – the ideal combination.
£180 is a fair investment, but they perform really well and should last, so you're getting your money's worth.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Dry from sodden quite quickly, and need little more than a wipe to look shiny again.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. Great for 90 per cent of riders 90 per cent of the time (so long as you have winter covers or live somewhere hot).
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Stiff yet comfy carbon soles.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Shoe prices are what's technically known as 'all over the place'... While we've tested a few around the £80 mark lately, and more around £100-£150, there's no shortage of options running from £250-£350 (and even some Mavics at £900). This puts the Giro Trans Boas firmly mid-market.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I simply had no issues with these: they fit well, are comfortable out of the box, easy to set up, perform impressively for the price and still look good even after a pretty harsh test period. A 9 out of 10 was an easy choice.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking