It was five years ago that Giro launched the Empire. We first saw them on Taylor Phinney. Wiggo was a fan as well at some point. Honestly, who would’ve thought then that the lace up thing would still be a thing? They are, clearly, and the divisively designed shoe now looks better than ever.
Those two riders are pretty style conscious, aren’t they? These new versions, featuring Giro’s Xnetic upper has raised its fashion stakes again. They look like Nike Flyknit running shoes, but the similarity is only cosmetic.
They’re reinforced with something Giro call a “internal TPU skeletal support” and water resistant and pretty much feel like any other cycling shoe with a synthetic upper when you put them on. But they look so different!
As the E70 name suggests, the Empire has an Easton Carbon EC70 sole, which makes them pretty light at 250g (size 42.5). It’s not as svelte as the brands top of the line versions with Easton’s equally top of the line EC90 soles, but does it really matter? This is going to sound like a contradiction, but bear with us.
As well as Phinney and Wiggins, there are countless other riders in the pro ranks donning them. But they’re lace ups! It’s really difficult to adjust the shoes on the fly!
Bothered? Not really. What we’re getting at is the shoe is for a particular type of cyclist. Aesthetic more than athletic. Giro, you’ve nailed it. And if you’re that worried about retying your laces when you’re riding, you’ll have to wait until you get to the café.