Tech Podcast: Do I really need the stiffest shoes?

The pursuit of the stiffest shoes may need to take a back seat to other more important considerations when you're ready to buy.

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It is common bicycle wisdom: Stiffer shoes are better, since they transfer power to the pedals more efficiently. Racers at the highest levels of our sport of course need the best equipment, and that stiffness counts for them more than anyone else. Which, of course, begs the question: What about the rest of us? Do we really need the stiffest shoes, or is there something more important than stiffness we should all be focused on?

On this week’s Tech Podcast, tech editor Dan Cavallari welcomes Eric Richter and Peter Curran from Giro to answer the question. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to learn that both Richter and Curran believe that the stiffest shoes are certainly important, but there’s something that matters a whole lot more than that.


What, exactly? Well, you may not need to compromise your pursuit of the stiffest shoes at all, but you will need to consider the rest of the shoe’s construction – specifically the insole and the uppers — to ensure that power transfer doesn’t go to waste. But even more importantly than that, the upper and the insoles, among other features, will often dictate your comfort, which is key to any pair of shoes. The stiffest shoes don’t mean much if you find yourself not wanting to wear them.

Richter and Curran walk us through the anatomy of a shoe, and clue us in to some of the ways Giro makes its stiffest shoes as comfortable as possible so the rider gets efficient power transfer and a comfortable pair you won’t mind wearing all day.

New materials have helped riders pursue the stiffest shoes without sacrificing comfort; Giro uses a Synchwire upper, which combines a unique material with a one-piece construction to enhance strength, structure, comfort, and breathability. All that gets mated to a carbon outsole plate that won’t yield to your hardest efforts.

To hear more about shoe construction, and to find out whether you should seek out the stiffest shoes or perhaps give a glance at those less expensive nylon composite shoes on the shelf — or if you’re in the market for MTB and Gravel shoes, where some give in the sole actually makes a lot of sense — give a listen to this week’s episode.

And as always, if you have questions about this episode of the VeloNews Tech Podcast, or if you have suggestions for topics you would like us to cover on a future episode, feel free to reach out to tech editor Dan Cavallari via email, Twitter, or Instagram.


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