Ultimate fit for hammering singletrack.
The code is key. Get the code and you can unlock the secret of performance, a pursuit of many a cyclist. Is it a cipher or a shoe? In this case, the Code is the Giro shoe that Levi Leipheimer, sometimes known as a pro roadie who has finished on the podium of a few Grand Tours, literally took out of the box and on his first ride in them won the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, setting the course record and beating the reigning national mountain bike champ in the process. Pretty impressive performance.
And the Code is an impressive shoe, whether or not a Giro-sponsored rider fresh off the Tour de France can destroy a field of pro mountain bikers on his virgin ride with their mountain bike shoes. The first big thing about Giro shoes is that they fit great regardless of who wears them. Like their road shoes, Giro went through 16 iterations before they found the last, aka foot form, they wanted to use to design the shoe around. This last has to accommodate for a wide range of feet, accounting for variations in volume, heel width, arch height, toe length, and so on. Shoe makers pretty much have one shot at designing a good last, the first one is what they'll be stuck with pretty much forever, so it needs to be good.
Nailing the last is a great first, but any shoe also has to allow for the upper to be adjusted; the material and the straps have to account for differences small and large from foot to foot to foot. Here, too, Giro has done a stellar job. You can see it from the deep, but not too constructed, heel cup. You can see it in the shape of the top strap and two-position buckle. You can see it in the middle strap that goes across the mid-foot to keep it from moving, eliminating pressure on the metatarsal bones by pulling equally from a large swath of fabric on the inside of the foot; when you pull on the Velcro, the entire panel becomes the strap. The bottom strap takes up any loose space in the forefoot and the toe box design means that there is a wide range of adjustment and it's nearly impossible to get that aesthetically-displeasing pucker that some one-piece toes can get when at the far edges of their adjustment range.
A big thing to know about the upper shape is that it was designed with the idea that people can install their own after-market insoles. This means it has a good shape but minimal construction around the heel cup and a neutral, flat (as opposed to canted) sole that better accommodates wide feet or oversized insoles.
The upper, in addition to the shape, is a work of smart materials design. It's made of Teijin microfiber and reinforced with high-frequency welded polyurethane in areas where your foot is likely to bash rocks or get bashed. Take a look at the pictured shoe; it's the matte Black stuff. The polyurethane makes the upper feel a bit stiffer than it would if it were 100% Teijin microfiber, but as you ride, the poly will soften a bit and conform to your foot a lot.
The sole has been designed with the help of the carbon-fiber engineers at Easton. They call it the EC90, which means it is made of unidirectional carbon-fiber. It's thin, roughly 7.25mm over the cleat (a bit more or less, depending on cleat placement), and stiff, but not quite as stiff as the road version of the same sole. The mountain sole doesn't have the same exterior structure, lacking the bracing power of the I-beam construction found in the road shoe. The result is a shoe with a bit more give for those times you have to do some bike hiking.
Epoxied onto the sole is a dual-durometer tread. The harder durometer gives the tread structure and support and is between the shoe bottom and the tread you walk on. The walking tread is a much softer durometer, tackier if you will, that strikes a balance between stickiness and durability. The open design of the tread pattern makes it hard for dirt to stay packed between the lugs. In between the front treads and rear treads is a mid-foot scuff-guard. Cyclocrossers will particularly appreciate this feature, but really all cyclists should like having a little material covering the carbon-fiber sole mid-foot to make it easier to stand on the pedals unclipped and protect the sole from impacts with sharp objects.
Giro also includes their SuperNatural Fit Kit with the Code. This is their aftermarket insole solution. They made the insole as thin as possible at the heel and ball of the feet so you don't feel like you're foot is being lifted out of the shoe by the insole. The base material is EVA foam, so you'll crush the insole where your foot pushes against it, or "set" it if you want to get technical, over the course of several rides. The top is finished with a thin layer of X-Static material for its wicking and anti-microbial qualities. But what makes the SuperNatural Fit Kit a big deal is that the insoles come with three different height arch inserts to allow you to customize the insoles for everything from flat feet (no insert) to high arches (thick insert).
The Giro Code Shoes come in Magnesium/Black and White/Black. The buckle is replaceable and has two positions for further adjustability. The sole is drilled for two-bolt cleats. The toe area of the sole is threaded to accept spikes and the shoes come with both spikes and plugs for the times you want to go spike-free. The Code is available in whole sizes from 39-48 and half sizes from 39.5 to 46.5.
- Welded scuff guards boost the upper’s durability and structured feel
- Optimized Easton EC90 unidirectional carbon sole is ultra-stiff for increased efficiency and optimum power transfer
- Teijin lightweight microfiber shapes to your foot
- Offset midfoot D-ring alleviates pressure points
- X-Static antimicrobial fiber fights odor
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Share your thoughts
I rode with these shoes last season. They performed great, but were completely destroyed after the season. I expect shoes to wear out, but not in a single season. My last specialized shoes lasted 4.
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Picked these up because of my high arches and the supernatural fit kit included. My high arch eneded up meaning the volume was a bit low in this shoe with the proper insole so that was kind of a bust and I ended up riding the show very comfortable with the thinnest insole setting.
Aside from fit the shoe was very stiff and didn't create any awkward pressure points like other race worthy soles.
My only practical complaint would be the toe protection lacks in durability. The fabric wore and started looking chewed up after a couple hike-a-bike sections.
Been looking at different shoes for months, decided on either the Sidi Dominator 5 or theses Codes. I was hesitant on the Sidi's because sounds like they just aren't made like they use to be. Could be happier with the code's after my first ride. Traction is pretty code, inserts for archs nice, and extremely light. I wear a 10.5 in asics running shoes and got a 44.5 for a perfect fit. I thought I had wide fit so I was concerned about these, but I also like a little snug shoes.
Nice shoes but after 50 miles extremely painful on the "6th toe." Never needed a wide shoe with any other brand.
Out of the box awesome. I tried these shoes on and they felt great. I bought them and took them straight to a cyclocross race. Put the cleats on and my first ride in them was a race (I know bad idea). To my delight they felt amazing. Stiff soles aid in power transfer and the straps did not have one hot spot. The heel straps kept my heel anchored in the shoe where it needs to be. The foot beds come with three different inserts to adjust arch support. Although, I kept the factory installed orange or medium arch support in them. Great shoes that rival any other big names.