Shoes are, undeniably, one of the top 5 items that determine your comfort and power on a bike. It’s important to note that shoes are like gloves because there are lots of shapes, sizes and colours and everyone’s preference is slightly different. It sounds obvious but for reviewing purposes but it’s also important to point out that you don’t really know something until you lived with it for a while, as the materials break in and fit differently over time.
And with that said, back in Jan I got my hands on a pair of the 2018 Pro Sunweb / Surge Team Giant shoes. These are a high-end road shoe designed to provide maximum energy to the pedal while also being supportive and light in weight. After six months of testing, I have a good handle on them, which I get to after the new photos.
A smooth style with minimal visual details, the uppers are pure looking with perforation and contrast red BOA wire makes a statement. White with a perforated synthetic upper for breathability, two boa buckles and an adjustable lower toe loop to control tension. The shoe has one simple giant logo and red boa wire.
Made with Giant’s exo-beam technology, the carbon sole has a ridge beam that this prominent under the arch of the foot but actually runs front to back providing stiffness and is most exposed around the arch area.
The width of sole slims here compared to other shoe soles to allow heal cup twisting while keeping front off the shoe stiffness, which has been proven to be more comfortable as the shoe flexes in a natural way through the power cycle.
BOA IP1 Dials make for easy tension adjustment and a quick pop click to remove the shoe from the foot. The middle BOA pulls material directly up from the inside arch, where the exo beam has narrowed out – Giant call this Exo Wrap, normally shoes press the foot down, this method claims to wrap and pull over to lock the foot in.
Note the single air vent at the front of the sole and single screw holes with a wide range of fore and aft adjustment (Shimano use two screw holes per location for adjustability)
The Exo Beam is pretty substantial measuring 9mm x 7mm in the center arch section. This large section provides stiffness in one plane (vertical) and flex on the other.(lateral)
The rubber heel counter is nicely integrated with the design. Is this an aerodynamic advantage?
Perforation patterns to the side of the ankle and round the toebox for ventilation. The uppers are completely synthetic with a very smooth finish.
On the inside, the insole is very light and has an expanded foam feel, vs a more dense urethane on the left from Shimano. This might be at the expense of having to change out your insoles more frequently.
My first impressions related to the minimal perforations, the overall smooth style and lack of fussiness / flash. Compared to a lot of designs on the market there are much less visual bells and whistles with the surge which makes for a refreshing look. The unique design of the carbon shape on the sole and the upper wrap around arch make this shoe stand out. As far as fit impressions, I started off with a normal shoe (width fitting ) and quickly found out I needed the high volume version. I would describe my feet as normal width, in Sidi I always used Mega and Shinano’s footbed is pretty wide in the toebox. I switched to a high volume version after about a week in the normals.
Surge Six Months after…
Initially, the shoes took a good 15 rides (40hrs) for the uppers to break in a little. The heel cup is not as moulded and fitting as some pro-level shoes but that did not cause a problem. The back of the heel cup is lined with materials that stop upward heal slip, cats thread, sharks tooth – whatever you wish to call it – shown in the images as a grey material – this is a pretty common feature on shoes at this price point. The BOA’s provide a nice upper feel with a snug fit without the pressure on top of your foot.
These photos below are after 6 months use, with some use on the indoor trainer and some outside. They have quite few miles on them now, I would approximate 4000 and a lot of hours.
As you can see they are in pretty good nick. The white uppers are easy to clean and scuff marks wipe off with little force. The white stayed white and the only discolouration was on the tounges, they yellowed slightly more than the rest, but only a slight shade.
Overall the BOA’s did a great job of keeping the foot secure without any top of foot pressure. The lowest loop can be doubled up if needed to give more pressure near the toes, I did not find this necessary.
As you can see in the photo above you can see how the upper material has changed shape around the outside of my foot, particularly where my little toe is.
Considering I take a fair amount of pictures off the bike when riding and also climb through and onto outdoor objects, the sole held up better than expected. The high gloss finish out of the box had me worried at first for fear of brittleness, but they proved to be durable and there were no big chunks taken out of the carbon. Just scratches and rock scuffs.
When changing cleats on shoes a good tip is to use the Ergon cleat tool. it allows you to easily measure, fit and position cleats. This allows you to transfer cleats or get them in the right place the first time.
- Stiff and efficient – with great power transfer, they feel efficient and fun to ride.
- A snug feel that holds your foot well.
- Easy to slip on and off. – Boa’s open quick, and the smooth inner surface of the tongue helps you get your foot in and out fast.
- Easy to adjust wire tension via BOA’s and no cramping on the top of foot.
- The Surges run slimmer width in general.
- Not really a con, but they also run 1/2 US size off, so a usa 10 is a 10.5
- No enough venting (this is a personal subject, but I do like high vented road Shoes, ie a Shimano RC7 or 320). I found the shoes to be very warm for indoor use.
I would like to see the Surges with bigger venting holes. Having only ridden a few 80 degree days so far, I suspect that this shoe might be a little warm for those who like a greater vented feel. No other issues were had.
Price : Unreleased but think $300-$350
Weight: 512grams (Specialized S Works 7 = 448g, shimano S-phyre = 486g)
Cleat type : 3 bolt road style
Uppers : Synthetic leather
Sole : Giant Carbon