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Item # GIR002D

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Item # GIR002D


We understand that it's easy to get caught up in the hype of "limited edition" products. However, while most limited offerings are mainly limited in quality and consumer-desire, Giro's Empire MTB Shoes are something that we've all been waiting for. And not surprisingly, Giro has exceeded all of our expectations. First, there's the Backcountry Bike Team's exclusive Electric Blue colorway, then there's the adaptation of the already-classic Empire design to the mountain, and lastly, there's only a few hundred of them floating around in the world — all of which breeds want and desire.

The rationale behind the Empire is simple — utilizing the versatile fit adjustment and low weight of laces provides the ultimate balance of comfort and power. When you think about it, no hook-and-loop or ratcheting buckle closure system can match the mathematical possibilities for a lace's volume customization. Through varying lacing patterns or tensions, you can customize the medial or lateral pull, or the tightness at the forefoot or instep, all at the same time. But, if you're anything like us, your first nagging thought concerns the laces getting caught in the drivetrain — you're not alone. However, Giro's one step ahead of us, and accordingly, it incorporated a retaining lace garage on the tongue of the shoes. So, the retention system provides a positive conformity with the foot at a fraction of the typical weight.

And while the Empire's laces are an obvious differentiator, so are its other design features. Starting at the uppers themselves, Giro wrapped the Empire with one-piece of Tejin microfiber. This contributes to the shoes' sleek profile, but it also reduces weight while the fabric selection increases breathability. That's right, the Japanese Tejin fabric is extremely lightweight and highly breathable. Furthermore, Giro placed focused points of perforation along the Empire's sides and tongue in order to increase airflow throughout the shoe. And in case it gets a little sweaty inside, the Empire also features an X-Static footbed that's anti-microbial, anti-stink, and anti-static. The latter attribute also minimizes, if not eliminates, the ever-irritating hot spot.

Furthermore, the X-Static composition is only one part of Giro's SuperNatural Fit Footbed — a critical component of the Empire's fit and function. This footbed takes into account the fundamental differences between a cycling footbed and a footbed for impact-sport shoes. Unlike walking, where the foot moves like a leaf spring, cycling requires the foot to act as a lever. As a result, the arch is under a high amount of stress. And to alleviate this, Giro included three different arch heights that're easily interchangeable along the undercarriage of the footbed. To additionally support the foot's lever action, the footbed features a low heel for optimal retention and a tapering density towards the toe for extra wiggle room.

Rounding out the Empire is an Easton-Giro-developed EC90 carbon fiber outsole. This outsole features a unidirectional carbon construction that boasts one of the highest stiffness-to-weight ratios on the market. Additionally, the outsole has a remarkably low stack height. This means that the distance from the foot to the pedal has been minimized. So, working together, these characteristics not only guarantee an efficient power transfer, but also a high level of comfort. Key to the outsole's design is the allowance of what Giro calls spillover. Basically, while most shoemakers wrap the carbon high over the ball of the foot, the EC90 outsole allows the ball to spill over the side. Accordingly, the Empire becomes more accommodating to your foot as it inevitably swells, or when the foot expands while you're dancing on the pedals.

Making this limited iteration of the Empire "mountain-specific" is the incorporation of thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU. You'll find that this material has been used at the toe box, heel cup, and lugs. Why TPU? Well, this thermoplastic possesses a high level of elasticity, abrasion-resistance, and most importantly, strength. So, your feet will remain protected through rock gardens, and your footing will remain sure.

The Giro Empire MTB Shoes are available in the color Limited Edition Matte Electric Blue and in odd and even sizes from 41.0 to 46.0.

Tech Specs

Upper Material:
Recommended Use:
all-mountain and cross country mountain biking
SuperNatural Fit Kit
EC90 carbon fiber
Manufacturer Warranty:
1 year
Cleat Compatibility:
2-hole MTB

Size chart


Cycling Shoes
36 4 5 3 22.5
37 5 6 4 23.5
37.5 5.5 6.5 4.5 24
38 6 7 5 24
38.5 6 7 5 24.5
39 6.5 7.5 5.5 25
39.5 7 8 6 25.5
40 7.5 8.5 6.5 25.5
40.5 8 9 7 26
41 8 9 7 26
41.5 8.5 9.5 7.5 26.5
42 9 10 8 27
42.5 9.5 10.5 8.5 27
43 9.5 10.5 8.5 27.5
43.5 10 11 9 28
44 10.5 11.5 9.5 28.5
44.5 11 12 10 28.5
45 11 12 10 29
45.5 11.5 12.5 10.5 29
46 12 13 11 29.5
46.5 12.5 13.5 11.5 30
47 13 14 12 30
48 13.5 14.5 12.5 31

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Here's what others have to say...

Avg. ride time: 5h 34m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.


    Size 46 with spd cleats come in at 330g each shoe! !!! !!! Thats real! My giro gauge's are 440!


    great shoes

    • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit:True to size

    I've ridden around 1000 miles in these and they continue to be very comfortable, durable and the lacing system provides an amazing fit. I had a pair of SiDis before that were great shoes but the ball of my big toe hurt after 1.5 hours. I can ride 4 hours in these shoes with minimal pain.



    • Gender:Male
    • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    Size 48 is long like a Shimano 315 but a lil more snug in the heel and forefoot. I was looking for better walkabilty....awesome. Lightness, fit, stiffness with comfort.... awesome. Shoelaces? What am I, 3 1/2? They work awesomely! They are electric blue and shiny, though. Electricblueshiny awesomeness!


    Great Shoes

    • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    Purchased to replace an old pair of Specialized shoes I was forced to cut off at my last race.

    These shoes rock. The lace up was something I was really looking forward to and it did not disappoint. great fit and good toe box room. Stiff soles yet easy enough to walk in should you get stuck on a hill (I ride single speed CX, so it happens).

    I look forward to testing durability and how the exterior holds up to wear and (hopefully not) tear.

    Avg. ride time: 1h 53m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    A note about sizing

    • Gender:Male
    • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
    • Fit:Runs small

    I haven't had a chance to use these just yet (full review will follow in a couple weeks), but just wanted to make a note about sizing. I wear a size 42 Specialized S-Works Road Shoe and had to size up to a 43 in the Empire MTB. I mistakenly ordered a 42 which I could barely squeeze into, then returned those are tried both the 42.5 (hardly a difference) and a 43.


    So stoked!

    • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

    These are amazing! I had to get a second pair! For the long run, knowing that they are only limited supply and they match our team's colors!

    I have had 3 pair of Giro Gauge's over the years since they came out like 2012/13. Such a good shoe I knew that these would be no less quality!

    Thanks competitive cyclist!


    Electric blue, what was I thinking?

    • Familiarity:I've used it several times

    So I bought these to replace an older pair of Pearl Izumi Attack's (size 42.5). I originally ordered the Giro's in a 42.0 based on that I wear a first generation Factor road shoe in that size--my mistake the 42.0 was way to small in the forefoot but a simple swap to a 42.5 fixed that issue. Interesting to note is that when mounting up my SPD cleats the 4 bolt plate wouldn't slide fore and aft, not sure why this is, but for me the cleat placement was ok even without the adjustment.

    I've worn the shoe several times on my cyclocross bike and like it very much. For one it's very light and my heal is pretty tight which helps the dismounts. Also, I've always had a problem with my instep as it's fairly high and nearly every other shoe I've owned (Time, SIDI, Pearl, Northwave, Garneau & Giro) has always caused me some discomfort but these (so far) haven't been an issue. Obviously the laces help in this regard but we'll see what happens on a longer ride of 2 or 3 hours before I'm completely sold.

    Finally, the electric blue is a bit obnoxious but is growing on me and all in all I'm pretty happy with these shoes. I will certainly consider the Empire SLX to replace my Factor road shoes when they're released, of course I'll have to get the glowing red ones!

    BTW if you can't live with the electric blue it looks like Giro is releasing a 2015 version in a silver/yellow and black/red.

    Unanswered Question

    How does these fit in comparison to the Giro Gauge? Similar fit meaning 42 gauge is a 42 empire? thanks

    Avg. ride time: 4h 45m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Great fitting shoes

    • Familiarity:I've used it several times

    The giro empire shoes fit even better that the giro code. The laces makes the adjustability of fit very easy. Made with good quality and very light. Great choice

    How much smaller do you recommend these...

    How much smaller do you recommend these shoes be relative to your actual foot size?

    Thisrun a little large to the point of maybe a half size to a size bigger then normal. This is my experienc when compared to the shimano shoe line. If you are unsure you can always order them try them and exchange them for a different size if need be.

    If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to email me at

    Ohh you guys do make the MTB version my...

    Ohh you guys do make the MTB version my bad.

    Best Answer


    Give our trusty bike folk a call if you need any help picking out shoes - these guys know their stuff and would be happy to assist you in your quest for shoes : )


    Avg. ride time: 1h 16m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Game changer

    • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

    I first thought lace up cycling shoes were a gimmick. And then I tried them, first on the road with the Giro Empire. The fit is far better than anything I've ever had with buckles. Buckles tend to leave a hot spot, even if you don't realize it until after you've tried something else. Full velcro will wear out over time and come loose. Laces are king. No, the laces do not come loose and no they will not get caught in your chain. There is an elastic loop for them on the tongue.

    Game changer