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Giro Empire SLX Shoes

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Item # GIR005H Past Season Colors

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Item # GIR005H

Lightweight efficiency, simplified.

When the Empire shoes first debuted on the fashionable Phinney's feet, we admit that many of us were skeptical. Laces? On a cycling shoe? Surely Giro's gone too far. Now entering its third year, the Empire is proving to be more than a passing fad, and the new Empire SLX Shoes are sure to cement its place at the top of the industry's food chain. With a claimed weight of just 175 grams, the Empire SLX Shoes are around 100 grams lighter than most of their competitor's pro-level offerings, while still providing the power transfer and minimalist aesthetics demanded by pros like Phinney.

The Empire SLX's main upgrade from regular Empire models is Easton's EC90 SLX2 carbon outsole. The previous iteration of Empire soles has been plenty stiff enough for the kind of power output that guys like Phinney produce, and this one's no different. It's just lighter. And it includes titanium hardware to make it weigh even less. The lower the stack height, the closer the cleats, and thereby your feet, are to the pedals. This minimizes power loss that occurs with thicker cleat plates.

The SLXs are wrapped with the same, single piece of Evofiber microfiber used in the heavier Empire models. This fabric is exceptionally lightweight and highly breathable, featuring perforations for added cooling. This contributes not only to the sleek, minimalist profile, but it also reduces weight.

The big difference when comparing the Empires to any other pro-level shoes are the laces. It may seem regressive to put laces on cycling shoes of any level, but the logic actually bears out. Consider the typical pair of hook-and-loop straps with a ratcheting buckle, which contacts the uppers in three places. Now consider the Empire's old-school laces, which contact the uppers in seven places. Which do you think provides a more adjustable, molded-to-your-foot fit?

The Empire's inimitable fit is finished off with an adjustable SuperNatural Fit Kit. It allows you to fine-tune support to where your feet need it the most. Additionally, it was constructed with X-Static Antimicrobial fiber to keep odors and bacteria at bay.

  • Evofiber microfiber uppers
  • Easton EC90 SLX carbon fiber sole
  • Lace-up closure
  • Titanium cleat-mounting hardware
  • SuperNatural Fit Kit with X-Static treatment

Tech Specs

Upper Material:
one-piece Evofiber SL
Closure:
lace
Footbed:
SuperNatural Fit Kit
Sole:
Easton EC90 SLX2 high-modulus carbon, titanium hardware
Cleat Compatibility:
3-hole road
Claimed Weight:
[size 42.5] 175 g
Recommended Use:
road cycling
Manufacturer Warranty:
1 year

Size chart

Giro

Cycling Shoes
EUUS MENUS WOMENUKCM
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

Reviews & Community

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Empire Heaven

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 43.5

So far I have taken the Empire SLX's on one 30 mile ride with plenty of climbing and wow, these shoes are amazing! I wear a 42 in Fizik and had to size up to a 43.5 in these due to the toebox being significantly narrower than my previous shoes. This meant that I had to return the first pair but thanks to Competitive Cyclist's excellent customer service, they hooked me up with a new pair right away. The shoes are extremely light, stiff, and as comfortable as everyone says. It does indeed take a little longer to get the initial fit right with the laces (obviously) but I liked the process of getting them just right before setting off anyways it's a bit like shooting film as opposed to point and shoot digital photos. The material of the uppers were flexible enough to form to my feet right away but structured enough to keep my heels locked in during standing efforts.
I also utilized the Supernatural Fit Kit as my feet have a prolonged arch, and the small insert was perfect.

If you want to ride in high performance, high class cycling shoes, look no further, your glass slipper awaits.

Back To The Future

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 45

Having used lace up road shoes as my first experience with cycling specific shoes in 1985, I never fathomed that fastening systems would come full circle. The biggest advantage to a lace up system, other than lighter weight, virtually no wear, easily serviceable, is the adaptation to a variety of foot shapes. That, along with the incredibly light Evofiber microfiber upper material, which features a single, non-stitched and perforated upper. All this is attached to the new EC90 SLX2 carbon outsole that use titanium cleat mounting hardware, which is stiff and light enough for even World Tour level riders.
Given that I have ridden in an Italian brand for the past 7 seasons and have always taken a size 44, I moved up a full size and gained toe box volume without compromising the rest of the fit in terms of snugness.
One side note on the overall minimalist design is that shoe covers are much easier to step into and out of without any fastening devices on the side of the shoe to snag, especially oversock styles.
I haven't had issues in lacing the shoes on and off. It may take a few moments more, but it's not any more time consuming or annoying.
Overall I'm very pleased with the fit, style and lightweight minimalist design of the new Giro Empire SLX.

Best pair of shoes yet

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 47

I've owned a lot of road shoes over the years - Shimano, Diadora, Lake, Sidi, Northwave, Giro Prolight SLX and Empire - these are the best hands down. Super light but amazingly stiff, the upper material has been improved dramatically over the first version of the Empire, the soles are much stiffer than the Prolight, all in all a great shoe. Sure it takes a couple seconds more to tie laces than velcro or buckles but the fit is great and there are no parts to break in a crash.

Great Shoe - Very Pleased

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 48

Long time Sidi Ergo user. Wanted to try something a bit more comfortable but still with a stiff sole. Giro SLX delivers. Very light weight, very comfortable. Super stiff sole, super comfortable uppers. Little to no break in required. Zero hot spots, zero discomfort after 5 hours in the saddle. 400+ miles of riding since purchase, happier every time I ride them. Easy to get a good fit and a maintain/adjust on the road. Typically a quick re-tie on a regroup is all that is necessary if a loosening occurs during the ride. They do tend to run a bit small. I needed to size up a full size (47 to 48) to achieve the fit I found comfortable.

Very nice

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 46

I purchased these because I wanted something more comfortable. I have some Bontrager XXX's and the two ratchet straps were just to much localized pressure for my feet. Also, they never really fit my foot; I have a low volume foot and had to wear thick socks. I wore a 45 in Bontrager and the SLX are 46's. The SLX's fit my foot like a glove. The lacing system is extremely comfortable (to me). Another feature is that the bolt holes are a tad further back then some manufacturers, and I like that. Shoes are so subjective. They are very stiff, as most are in this price range. Have tried several shoes and these are by far the most comfortable. I don't care if they come a little bit loose after an hour or so. Does that really matter? I'm not a pro. Very satisfied.

Pleased overall

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've got around 300 miles on these now and they truly are VERY light and comfortable. The lacing system does a very nice job of distributing pressure evenly and providing a sound fit. My only complaint is that they do loosen up a bit as you ride and of course can't be adjusted on the fly (at least not by me). The loosening is minimal and I have stopped and re-tied them but if you're racing or just like to adjust the tightness of your shoes on the bike these may not be for you. Would have rated them 5 stars otherwise. I doubt I ever use them to race but for training and day to day riding I think they're fantastic. Regarding the comments about taking them on and off I actually enjoy lacing them up, and if you can unlace a regular pair of shoes I don't think you'll have too much trouble taking them off even after the hardest of rides. I have the white and for what its worth they look extremely sharp...

Too much fuss

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

This seemed like a good idea at the time, but in reality tying up a cycling shoe is just too much fuss. I tried one shoe on after receiving and knew in an instant this was not for me. I would imagine with practice one would be able to get the routine down, but I believe it would take a lot of time and practice. I returned these after slipping on a single shoe. BTW, the color is much more orange than red - it's not very striking.

Not a fan of laces

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I heard good reviews from the knowledgeable staff at my store as well as a friend I ride with. After riding on them 3x per week for about a month, I just can't get the laces to tighten in the same way that buckles do, they are mostly a little too loose. I like room to breathe in the lower section of the shoe and a snug fit up top, and it's hard to get that just right with laces compared to buckles. The end result is that I have to tie them a few times to get it right before riding, and with everything else I'm preparing (air in the tires, bottles, etc), it's not worth messing with.

The other side is that after a grueling ride or any ride, you just to get home and get undressed, and the extra few seconds of getting out is annoying.

The shoes are extremely light, it's a noticeable difference from anything else, and they are very high quality.

Great for what they are

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I wanted a light, comfortable shoe and that is what these are. The weight is unreal! So light! They basically give you free watts over any other shoe. I have narrow feet and the fit is great. I almost wish there was a little more room in the toe box though just for more room for your foot to spread under pressure. That being said, I haven't had any soreness issues even on 4+ hour rides with lots of climbing. The fit is very secure and holds your foot very well. The laces do make it take a little longer to get these on vs a buckle or wire, but that is a minor annoyance. For me, I have to tie them very tight to get them where I want them during the ride. The laces really do make them fit like a glove, all the way up and down your foot. If you like a little room in the toe box, these probably won't be your favorite. Also, if you're a big powerful sprinter, these probably aren't your best choice. I sometimes wish I could get the very top of the shoe a little more snug like I could with a ratcheting buckle, but still it's not like my foot is sloshing around. I think these would be awesome with a boa system personally, so we'll see where they go with them. I've seen many pros in the Tour riding them, so that tells you something too. Overall, they met my expectations. If you're a climber with narrow feet, I think these are perfect.

Super light, retro style

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got the Empire SLX's to replace my very well-loved Sidi Genius 6.6's. I've been riding in Sidi's women's shoes for over 12 years, so I'll admit to being a little biased that they are pretty much the best-fitting and comfiest shoes on the planet. At least for my super narrow feet. However, Sidi dropped the Genius 6.6 out of its line this year, leaving the option to hop up an extra hundred dollars to the Wire Push and lose the ratchet/strap combo if I wanted the heel lock and vent carbon sole. So I decided to save 150 bucks and try out the Giros.

My thoughts so far...

Sizing: I sized down from a 42 in Sidi to a 41.5 in Giro.

Cleat Placement: The Giro cleat mounting is set farther back towards the heel than on Sidis. My cleats are set about in the middle of the Sidi grid, and had to be set all the way forward on the Giros to get the same cleat position. Not really a positive or negative, just something to keep in mind if you're switching brands.

Style: Rockin'. As a former track nerd (running, not cycling), the laces are retro cool and remind me of strapping down my spikes before a meet. Good stuff.

Sole stiffness: Super solid. Awesome power transfer to the pedals.

Weight: Feather. So ridiculously light.

Construction: TBD. So far, they're holding up well and are easy to clean, so we'll see how that pans out.

Fit: The Giros feel wider and boxier than the women's Sidis, and I have to really crank on the laces to get the shoes to feel secure. It seems like they aren't cut to angle with your foot, so there's just a lot of unnecessary fabric on the sides. (see picture for comparison). This could be extra noticeable since my previous shoes were so narrow. Also, the original laces were too stretchy and hard to cinch down, but a quick stop at the Nike outlet and $2.99 solved that problem.

Ride impressions: To be honest, I hated these shoes for the first hour I rode in them. The toe box felt weird, and they were just downright uncomfortable. They stretched/broke in pretty quickly though, didn't kill my feet on a few 3-4 hour rides, and I didn't notice them at all in the one race I've worn them for. It's still a bit of a challenge to get them tight enough, but they're getting closer to being as comfy as my Sidis and are super light on the pedals.

At this point, I think the weight and option for fun lace colors more than balances out the difference in comfort. The perforations on the upper are also surprisingly good at venting - you can feel the airflow, and my feet have stayed cool even on a couple of 100+ degree days. For now, I'm going to go with a with a "yay" on these shoes. Lots of riding ahead this summer, so I'll check back with another review if my thoughts on these change.

Super light, retro style

Bad Hardware

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
  • Fit: Runs small

This was to be my fourth pair of Giro shoes (two road, one dirt). It will be my last. Top of the Giro's road line shoe shipped with defective cleat hardware. Unusable. Looking for a new go-to bike shoe brand. Faen!
Update 08/03/15: done pouting. Still bummed about this shoe, but back to my dear Giro thanks to a Rapha+Giro shoe. Herregud?!

The best!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

I have a narrow foot, not extremely narrow but more narrow than wide :-) I have tried many shoes for cycling include Sidis Pro Wire which set me back $500 or the Pearl Izumi Pro Carbons. I was looking for a shoe that was light, comfy, fitting, not too over the top expensive, and cool looking. I absolutely have found the best shoes ever which are the Empire SLX. They are hands down the most comfortable shoe and best fitting with the lace system vs. velcro, boa, etc. Go for the SLXs and you will not be disappointed.

Are these compatible with speed play cleats? Or do I need to buy a separate plate or kit?

I currently own a pair of old sidi ergo 3 size 45 and are a great fit. What size would you recommend on the slx?

You need the adapter. These are for a Look/SPD-Sl cleat.

Fantastic Fit and Comfort

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I hope writing a review after one ride is not premature, but they fit and feel fantastic. It ain't all hype. The support is just right with the medium insoles and they gently wrap your foot in luxury. Sprinting was a pleasure and yes, I felt faster, (probably because they are the red ones). The laces are the key to the perfect fit and comfort of this shoe. Boa's and velcro cannot compare. Snug the laces all the way up and it's like you are wearing a second skin. Too bad I crashed 20mi into my first ride. The left shoe took a hard hit and scraped pavement at about 16mph. I can also tell you the material is tough. Just minor scuffing compared to my bloody knee and ankle. Had a similar crash two years ago on another brand of shoe and it came part like tissue paper. These are a sweet shoes with a fit like your feet are in heaven plus they are tough enough to take some abuse. Did I mention how light they are?

Would you have any guidance on how they fit in relation to, say, SIDI? I have the SIDI Ergo 2 in 39 and they fit perfectly. Some years ago I got the Fizik Donna R3 (which need to be replaced now) and I had to go down to 38, same with the BONT Vaypor, I am a 38. Thanks!

I wear 45 in SIDI and 44.5 in Giro.

I bought a pair of the empires a week ago and I'm a 45 in sidi and a 45 in the Giro for what it's worth.

43.5 in Shimano, had to go to 44 in Giro