The Giro Gauge offers a great mix of comfort, pedalling efficiency and off-bike grip, making it an excellent commuting shoe. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast, though – when conditions turn cold and wet, you might want something else on your feet.
Although designed and promoted as mountain biking shoes, in terms of style the Gauges look like quite a classy commuting option. The almost-all-black colourway is subtly smart with just the Giro branding and matching bold red laces hinting at a bit of extroverted fun – a slightly less irritating way to jazz up your feet without resorting to wacky socks.
Build-wise, it treads quite a nice line between reinforced sections at toe and heel – as you'd expect for off-roading shoes – with otherwise quite lightweight construction and a synthetic fibre breathable upper. Giro says it benefits from 'Thermo-Bonded Armor', but that all sounds a bit extreme. In the hand, these have the look and feel of a relatively light walking or trail running shoe.
Underneath, it's a slightly different matter, with a chunky treaded sole interrupted in its central section by mounting points for clipless pedal cleats. Giro does supply a couple of plastic covers that you can bolt in to cover the cleat mounts should you want, though. This means the Gauge could be a great first dedicated commuting shoe for somebody currently using flat pedals but considering moving to clip-in pedals down the line.
Finally, rounding out the build, those red tubular laces hold a knot very nicely, and there's an elasticated lace holder on the top of the tongue to retain said knot.
I tested Giro's flat Jacket II shoes not so long ago and marvelled at the slipper-like experience they offered. These Gauges can't quite match those prodigious levels of plushness, but they're a darn site more comfy than the Fizik Terra Ergolaces X2s I've also worn recently. Walking around in Gauges is easy, although the injected nylon shank in the sole means you don't tend to forget you're wearing cycling shoes.
What that reinforced shank does do, however, is provide a secure pedalling platform. On simple flat pedals the Gauges do a good job, but they do an even better job when fitted with cleats and clipped in. Support around the ankle is well judged when pedalling, there are no rubbing or pressure points, and the EVA footbed is soft enough without feeling like you're wallowing in foam. While the Gauges might not be as effective at power conversion as carbon-soled road shoes, they certainly feel like they're doing their job sufficiently well.
Pedalling comfort in almost all respects is excellent, but the Gauges had the misfortune to be tested in bitterly wintery conditions, which threw up one problem. While the synthetic breathable upper does keep toes sweat-free, it also has difficulty keeping little piggies cosy when the heavens open or temperatures drop. Wet or frozen toes are not fun, so on very cold or rainy days you're going to need to layer up with socks and/or overshoes.
When it comes to value, at £84.99 the Gauge puts up a pretty strong argument for itself. Although it's a different type of shoe to its £89.99 Jacket II sibling, what it loses out in cosseting comfort it more than makes up for with clipless compatibility and pedalling performance. Comparisons with the more similar Fizik Terra Ergolace X2 puts it in an even better light – it's a good deal cheaper, yet, in my opinion, better made and more comfortable.
Certainly as a three-season commuting shoe, the Gauge is among the very best. Its pedalling comfort and efficiency leave no complaints, while its practical on and off-bike performance is just about the perfect compromise. Only the issue of inclement weather lets it down – find a way round that, and you've got a fine shoe that will get you to work and back, hassle-free.
Excellent shoe whose comfort, pedalling performance and style make for a commuting fave – just watch out for bad weather
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Gauge MTB Cycling Shoes
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for
Officially, it's a lightweight mountain bike shoe designed for spirited trail riding. Personally, I think it would make for a great commuting shoe.
Giro says: "The Gauge is an athletic approach to mountain bike footwear, made to inspire confidence for everything from spirited trail riding to soulful bikepacking adventures. It combines cycling-specific features like clipless pedal compatibility and supportive fit with the reliable grip of an aggressively lugged rubber outsole and the feel of a trail running shoe. With an upper made from supple synthetic fiber and breathable mesh, and a stout injected nylon inner shank to help transfer your power to the pedals, it's a capable cycling shoe that gives you the confidence to take on any trail."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Thermo-Bonded Armor upper is durable and lightweight
Rockprint reinforced toe for abrasion resistance and durability
Synthetic heel overlay resists abrasion
Lace closure with lace holder
Tubular laces are durable and hold a knot
Two-tone rubber outsole
Aggressive tread pattern
Die-cut EVA footbed
Faultless construction – I've looked and can't find anything to criticise.
Very decent pedalling efficiency and good off-the-bike practicality, too. Neither is perfect in its own right, but together they offer a very sensible compromise.
Early days, but with a selection of reinforced and abrasion-resistant areas, the Gauges should stand up to a fair bit of use.
Nice secure fit – no pressure or rubbing points.
Perfect – sizing is just what I expected.
They're on the chunky/substantial side, but don't actually feel that heavy when worn.
Really, really good. I'd happily wear them all day on the bike, and even off the bike they're not bad.
Compared to rivals, they seem to offer a lot of performance and quality for a lower price. Not necessarily an all-out bargain, but a very sensible purchase.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a commuting shoe, they're excellent.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The whole package – performance, comfort and even style has been combined very well.
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?
The Giro Jacket II is an £89.99 flat shoe that offers marginally better comfort but doesn't have clipless compatibility or quite the same pedalling performance. The Fizik Terra Ergolace X2 is a more similar product but costs a lot more at £119.99 and isn't as well made or as comfortable.
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
The Giro Gauge is a fabulous commuting and all-round cycling shoe that offers good comfort, practical clipless pedal compatibility, excellent pedalling efficiency and will even cope with off-bike excursions quite happily. If it just had some weatherproofing it would be exceptional.
About the tester
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
I've been riding for: Over 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, mtb, Leisure