First-look review: Giant Conduit shoes
There are over a dozen shoes in Giant’s current catalogue, with more than half devoted to road use. The Conduit is Giant’s second tier road shoe that promises sprint efficiency and all-day comfort.
A carbon composite outsole dubbed “ForceDrive” stiffens the Conduit from the bottom up while a pair of Boa’s IP1 closures work from the top down. The latter have become widespread, offering micrometer-like accuracy for tensioning the shoes with the convenience of an effective quick-release for the feet.
The uppers are constructed from a lightweight synthetic material with a minimum of padding lining the cuff. There are five wire vents positioned in the outsole and multiple perforations in the uppers for keeping the feet cool. The heel studs are replaceable while Giant’s inner soles promise anti-bacterial protection with mild arch support and metatarsal buttons.
The Conduit is available in 10 sizes (39-48, no half-sizes) and two colours (white and black). For more information, visit Giant.
Out of the box, the Conduit was light (255g/shoe, size 44) with an unyielding outsole. In contrast, the uppers were airy and flexible, and as it turned out, ready to conform to the shape of my feet. I didn’t have any trouble getting my feet into the shoes, nor did I have any trouble keeping them in the shoes.
The Conduit has a reasonably generous toe box but it’s not enough to accommodate wide feet. I experienced some crowding of the toes and a little restriction in movement, but I never suffered any hotspots or numbness. The flexible uppers may have helped in this regard, because I never had any sense that my feet were trapped in the shoes.
While the shoes provided a secure fit, I wasn’t aware of any support per se. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, more a measure of the kind of feedback I experienced while wearing the shoes. Racers looking for the security of a firm, supportive fit may find the Conduit lacking; by contrast, all-day riders are more likely enjoy the extra flexibility of the uppers.
I don’t expect many riders will be troubled by the neutral last, which features only a minor amount of heel lift. The outsole was stiff under load and afforded plenty of efficient leverage, but as I’ve noted above, the flexibility of the uppers may unsettle some riders. I was completely satisfied with the way the shoes performed under high loads but would have liked a more detailed grid to help with orienting the cleats.
Boa’s IP1 reels have featured on all of the shoes I’ve reviewed this year and I’m a firm fan. They are robust, reliable, and very simple to use—just ratchet back and forth to adjust the tension on the uppers, or pull on the knob to release the cord altogether. I don’t believe they add much to the quality of the Conduit’s fit, but they certainly make them much easier to put on and remove.
Bargain shoppers won’t find much appeal in the pricing of the Conduit but these shoes are targeted at more experienced and performance-oriented riders. As such, I think Giant has come up with a good product. The one-piece uppers should be hard wearing (because there are no seams that can split over time) so I’d expect a few years of trouble-free wear from these shoes.