Sign up for our newsletter


Giro Cadet shoes review

12 Nov 2021

Good quality budget shoes with some nice trickle-down features

Cyclist Rating: 
Comfortable fit • Non-stretch uppers • Plenty of volume
Soles not the stiffest • Thin footbeds

Giro has slimmed down its shoe range a bit recently, but there are still quite a few options in the sub-£150 range. For the same price as the Giro Cadet you can buy the Republic R Knit lace-up shoe, arguably a sexier-looking option. But the Giro Cadet has a lot of features to recommend it and includes plenty of trickle-down from Giro's higher priced shoes.

As tends to be the case with lower priced shoes, the Cadet's fit is pretty generous. My feet are a bit larger than size 42 and in some Italian brands a 43 is a better bet if there are no half sizes.

But there was ample volume and length to the Cadet for a comfortable fit without pinch points, even when wearing heavier weight socks with wool content. The Cadet comes in full sizes only, so if you're between sizes you're going to have to opt to size up or down – I’d recommend the latter.

The standard closure for mid-range shoes is now a single dial plus a front velcro strap and the Cadet follows this, with a Boa L6 dial and double-crossed laces that run through wide cloth guides and distribute pressure well.

There were no hot spots when dialed down for a tight fit, despite a fairly firmly padded tongue, and the L6 lets you tighten the wire in 1mm increments, although as is often the case with less expensive shoes, you can't loosen the lace without releasing it entirely by lifting the dial.


The Cadet's upper's diamond pattern comes from its Synchwire upper fabric, which incorporates non-stretch fibres with thinner sections between, so there's plenty of airflow with just the small laser-perforated venting holes.

It works well and looks neater than large punched holes. It's a feature seen on many of Giro's pricier shoes, including the range-topping £375 Imperial.

The upper is also thermo-bonded, rather than being sewn, with just one sewn seam up the rear of the heel cup. Again, this is a feature seen on Giro's premium offerings. There's a reflective band at the heel to up your low light visibility.

The Cadet's insoles aren’t flashy though – they're pretty flat and thin, non-adjustable and not very compressible.

Giro Cadet road shoe stiffness

The Giro Cadet's sole unit is made of carbon fibre reinforced nylon. As you'd expect, it's not as stiff as Giro's flashier shoes.

How stiff is it? Shoe stiffness indexes seem to be a sliding scale. Once they seemed to stop at 10, but over the last few years there seems to have been a lot of stiffness index inflation. The highest number I've seen is for Specialized's stiffest shoes, which now boast stiffness 15 – out of what total?

So Giro must be applauded for putting an actual physical measurement to the Cadet's sole's stiffness. It’s printed on the bottom in black and white (or rather white and black): 80N/mm. What does that mean? About a 6.

Manipulate the shoe in your hands and there's significant longitudinal flex, particularly in the toe region. You can also twist the sole around its longitudinal axis.

Neither flexion is something I noticed when riding though and a bit of flex does help with comfort on longer rides. The section under the cleats is more substantial too, which helps with pedalling efficiency.

As with many lower priced shoes, there’s the option to fit two bolt cleats rather than three bolt, if you prefer SPD-style pedals. There are moulded in heel and toe bumpers with a grippy pattern, but unlike on Giro's more pricey shoes, they're non-replaceable.

At 532g a pair for size 42s, the Giro Cadet shoes are pretty good weight-wise and with their premium features they've got a lot going for them. I do hanker after those Empire Knits though.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Read more about: