The Giro Ventana Fastlace is a clipless offroad shoe that works excellently whether you're a gravel rider or a light trail smasher. While it makes for a comfortable, cool summer choice that’s easy to get on and off, the tread isn’t grippy enough for the mixed conditions of the equally mixed UK weather.
The one-piece 'Synchwire' upper gets rubber-reinforced heel and toe sections, and a PU bonded mesh for cooling. And as you'd expect, there’s a single, high-friction Fastlace enclosure with a cord lock, plus a helpful elastic hoop to stop it flapping.
The outsole gets an EVA-cushioned midsole, a tread that uses Giro's Sensor rubber compound, and stainless steel hardware.
The Fastlace system really does make getting these on and off easy. There's no faff: pull the lock to give some slack, open up the shoe, and do the opposite to close the boot up. The strap for extra security is Velcro.
They're just as easy to undo, and massively easier post-ride than mud-encrusted laces.
The Ventana Fastlace is without a doubt an incredibly comfortable shoe. The fit offers useful wriggle room in the toe box, while staying perfectly snug enough everywhere else. Even on longer rides, no problems arose.
It’s an impressively airy shoe as well, thanks to the bonded mesh panels. The airflow is noticeable and refreshing, even at lower speeds, though that will obviously be less welcome in winter.
Regrets? I have a few. Firstly, I wasn’t able to get quite enough rotation on the cleats. The cleat boxes are fairly narrow and the edges of the sole stopped me achieving my perfect cleat position. While that won't affect everyone, if the cleat box was a little wider, the Ventana could be one of the most comfortable shoes out there.
Also, the laces are a bit too long. I have to wrap the excess around the elastic retaining band and put up with a bit of tapping from the loose end – a small issue, but a problem nonetheless.
Most problematic of all, the tread just isn’t very grippy. It’s not deep and aggressive enough for the loose, wet and storm-tossed terrain of a British summer... I mean, winter. Kind of. Unless it’s bone dry underfoot, you’ll be slipping about the place – this, and the good ventilation, mean this really is a summer-only shoe.
There's a lot of competition at the £130 mark, but if you’re covering serious (dry) miles with hours in the saddle, the Giro Ventana Fastlace is a top performer. They may not suit if you run cleats far from straight, or like to ride in all weathers, but otherwise they're well-made, easy to get on with and very impressively comfortable.
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