Gravel Gear

Giro Sector mountain bike shoe review

The Sector is a cross-country and gravel shoe that offers maximum pedaling efficiency, and rubber that makes the rigid sole walkable.

Review Rating


Basics

Two Boa dial closure; toe spike compatible


Pros

super breathable; micro-adjustable lacing; best for riding XC/Gravel

Cons

the rigid sole is efficient but hard to walk in; pricey


Weight

12.8 oz (42.5)

Price

$225

Brand

Giro


A crossover gravel and MTB shoe, Giro’s Sector uses an upper that’s thermo-bonded to a super minimalist, stabilizing exo-structure, and dual Boa laces to keep your foot comfortably wrapped and connected to the pedals. If you keep it mellow on a mountain bike and want one shoe to do double duty as a gravel shoe too, this is a great choice. The front of the foot is super breathable but not armored, which can make the rider feel somewhat exposed in technical terrain.

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Giro Sector upper
The Giro Sector upper is reinforced at the toe and heel. Photo: Berne Broudy

The Sector’s upper

The Sector combines Giro’s Synchwire upper and a breezy mesh to a thermo-bonded exo-structure that’s reinforced in the toes and heels. The mesh fabric makes the upper light and delightfully breathable. Riding long miles on hot and humid days, my feet didn’t overheat. The shoes also didn’t get stinky, thanks to an antimicrobial treatment.

Sector upper
Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com

The upper has padding at the ankle for protection and comfort, and a super-stiff lower heel cup which locked my foot firmly into the shoe but didn’t rub on my Achilles tendon. The front of this shoe is super thin and flexy, and the Boa lacing combined with the exo-structure made it supportive enough for the kinds of riding these shoes are made for. Scuff guards at the heel and toe kept them from getting too banged up.

I also really appreciate the perforated split tongue that’s made to flex as one’s ankle pulls against it. I had no pressure points even the first time I wore these mountain bike shoes.

Giro Sector Sole
The Sector sole has siping and spike mounts in the toe for additional grip when walking. Photo: Berne Broudy

The sole

The Sector has a deep, injected rubber outsole with V-shaped siping in the outside edges which offers traction when walking. While these shoes don’t have hiking-boot-grip, they do offer a lot more grip than a typical carbon-sole, cross-country mountain bike race shoe.

The tip of the toe has a tread — and spike mounts — so when I did have to scramble up a steep, gravel forest road, or when I hit a section that was too muddy to ride, I had enough walking traction to get me where I was going without falling face-first. However, the Sector’s sole has little flex for its entire length. This made for super-efficient pedaling but was awkward when walking. It was a trade-off.

Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com

The fit

A 3D-molded footbed enhances comfort, and the fit is adjusted via dual Boa L6 dials, with 1mm adjustment increments, and pop-and-pull quick release. The upper is treated with an antimicrobial process, which kept these kicks from getting stinky. I have only had them for a couple of months, so I can’t verify that in the long-term they’ll stay sweet, but so-far, so-good.

While they look narrow, the Sector seems to magically morph to fit riders of varying foot widths. Boa lacing snugs them comfortably around my feet, even when I wear a slightly thicker sock to keep out cold temps. The Sector comes in sizes 36-43 in women’s whole sizes, and 37.5-42.5 half-sizes. Men’s sizing runs from 39 to 50 with varying full and half-size options.

Sector from the side
Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com

Sector Verdict

The line between gravel riding and cross-country mountain biking is a blurry one. And this shoe bridged the gap between the two sports. Whether sticking to dirt roads, or wandering onto roads and trails less traveled, the Sector was a shoe that covered a lot of adventures, with maximum pedaling efficiency, and rubber that made the rigid sole walkable.

The Boa L6 dial micro-adjusts for an accurate fit, but the micro-adjustment only works in one direction. You can’t loosen at 1mm increments, which is a bit of a bummer. To loosen, you have to pull up on the dial and release it completely, then readjust. It would be nice to see the Sectors offered with a Boa dial that adjusts in both directions, especially at this price.