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GiroEmpire SLX Cycling Shoe - Men's

Sale 56% Off$154.96 - $174.96

Item # GIR005H

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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.

  • Racing shoes that privilege style and stiffness
  • The same top-tier carbon sole ridden in the peloton
  • Microfiber uppers conform but don't stretch
  • Laces provide twice the contact points for better fit
  • Titanium cleat mounting hardware discreetly sheds grams
  • Customizable fit inserts feature anti-odor treatment
Tech SpecsSize
Tech Specs
Upper Material
one-piece Evofiber SL
SuperNatural Fit Kit
Easton EC90 SLX2 high-modulus carbon, titanium hardware
Cleat Compatibility
3-hole road
Recommended Use
road cycling
Manufacturer Warranty
1 year


Cycling Footwear
36   5 3 23
36.5   5.5 3.5 23
37   6 4 23.5
37.5   6.5 4.5 24
38   6.5 4.5 24
38.5   7 5 24.5
39 6.5 7.5 5.5 25
39.5 7 8 6 25
40 7.5 8.5 6.5 25.5
40.5 7.5 8.5 6.5 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   9 28
44 10.5   9.5 28
44.5 11   10 28.5
45 11   10 29
45.5 11.5   10.5 29
46 12   11 29.5
46.5 12.5   11.5 30
47 13   12 30
47.5 13   12 30.5
48 13.5   12.5 31

Reviews & Community


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  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 43

First the sizing stuff. I have a pair of Giro Factors in 43, bought these in a 43. The last is exactly the same size (and also the same size as my Specialized size 43 foot beds). However, Empire SLX's have slightly less volume, especially around the ankle. This is perfect for someone like me that has a low arch, but normal width feet. With my Factors, I always had the straps tightened as far as they would go. With the Empires, i still have about 1" of space at the ankle.

The last is dead flat. Again, perfect for people with flat feet. If you need arch support, it can be added via the foot bed (included, or aftermarket).

While laces seem "old school," they work pretty well. Very adjustable (pre-ride...), with the added benefit of no hard plastic bits on the upper to dig into your ankle.

I don't race, but I do ride a few times a week, ranging from 15 to 50 miles per ride. And I do a few gran fondo's a year. I'm intrigued by the light weight and comfort described for the Giro Empire SLX road shoe and all the positive user/customer reviews here. Can anyone share their opinion about using these shoes for 15-50 mile training rides and gran fondos vs racing?

Hey Bryan,

I think that these would be a great option for what you're trying to do. You shouldn't have a problem using them for training rides or your occasional Gran Fondo.

If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to me directly at mconn@competitivecyclist.com


Light & bit elastic

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

Bought SLX in 44. I am usually 10.5. Was nervous about laces moving from a pair of well worn Sidi’s (44). Slight adjustments required during break in period but then no issues. Material is light and shoes possess just a bit of give that is wonderful. Snug but just a bit of welcome stretch. Heel cup grips well. Bottom plenty stiff. Did I mention these are LIGHT?! Oh and smashing aesthetic! I’m thinking GiRO laces for my ‘Cross shoes!

Departure from other Giro shoes

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 42.5

I own a LOT of Giro shoes for road and mtb including the Code Techlace, VR70's and Empire ACC's. All fit fantastic in 42.5. I got a great deal in these Empire SLX shoes and as mentioned they are crazy light, stiff and sharp looking but they are also CRAZY RIDICULOUSLY TIGHT!!! I would need to size up a full size and as it stands, they put my foot to sleep and smash my toes. Would HIGHLY recommend sizing up.

Light and comfortable

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 41.5

I read other reviews and ordered half a size up. A full size up would have been perfect but these still fit well. They're very light and lacing them up hold my feet securely. Despite being a little smug they're still super comfortable.

The bright color attracts a lot of attention and compliments!

Destined to be a classic

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

Ultra-lightweight and fit like a custom cobbler made them
The material is noticeably thinner and more comfortable than the ACC.

Interesting concept, but...

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 39.5

I really wanted to like these shoes (the colors are cool, retro) but concluded at the end that they're just not for me. Three issues : 1) they run narrow and just wouldn't adapt to my foot shape. 2) the cleat holes are too far forward. Other manufacturers of high end shoes are beginning to get the memo to move the holes back and have provided a degree of back and forth movement. These are fixed and I just couldn't get them to work for me. 3) The laces are a great idea but are, honestly, a pain. Giro provides an elastic strap to tuck them in but they still bounce around on the top of your shoes. After using them a few times, you start getting nostalgic for BOAs and velcro. So -- if you have wide feet, like your cleats back, and appreciate the convenience of modern fastening systems, move on.

Thanks for taking time to put together an intelligent write up with honest perspective. I have a purple bike and have been in love with the purple color and retro styling. Judging by the other reviews, I'm certain they must be light and very stiff (yeah, I'm a weight weenie).

But your callouts on fit, cleat position, and the reality of laces shot me right between the eyes. Any one of these would be a show stopper for me. Taken together they're a non-starter. Your review saved me from going down the wrong path. This is exactly why customer reviews are so valuable and reminds me to write more reviews of my own.

Comfortable for the long haul

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Out of the box, these shoes are weirdly light - like, what's missing to make them this light - light. Not being overly supplied in the intelligence department, I purchased these shoes (In Prince-Would-Be-Proud Purple) just before a century race and opted to use them. Fortunately, they fit PERFECTLY and were comfortable throughout a long day in the saddle. My only issue was the Speedplay cleats coming loose halfway through the event (my fault - I didn't use locktite!), which was remedied by an aid station tightening. These shoes are amazing, light, and amazingly light, and comfortable enough for long event use, out of the box.

Magic slippers!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have finally found my shoe! The Giro Empire is awesome. After years of buckles and wires, I now know that good old laces offer the comfort I was missing.

The purple color? Well, it’s bright. If Backcountry/Competitive Cyclist ever has a contest for the least color coordinated customer, I win. But I don’t care. These shoes are exceptionally comfortable. By far the best I have worn in almost 40 years of cycling. I can look past the crazy color.

These shoes are super light! They make my old trusty and crusty Lake 331’s feel like boat anchors.

The carbon soles are very stiff and give you a very low stack height. The drilling on the soles allows you to move the cleat way back, if you want to go Steve Hogg style.

The adjustable insoles are a nice touch. They work great and eliminate the costly mistake of buying an expensive pair of insoles that feel great when you first try them on but ruin your feet 20 miles into a ride.

Overall, highly recommended!

Also- A shout out to Gearhead Sarah S. for her help!!

More lightness!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These things are so light! I've never owned a carbon road shoe so I don't have anything to base it on but it's like you're just wearing wearing socks and nothing else. The build quality is great and they breath really well.

My one complaint is that the carbon on the sole is not protected in anyway. I live on the 3rd floor of my building so when I go for a ride I have to walk down stairs with them on. As a result the carbon on the arch of the shoe has become scuffed up. I've put a piece of tape on the arch of each shoe to avoid any further scuffing.

I wear a 10/10.5 street shoe and a 45 fits perfectly.

Light and stiff

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 44

A great option if you are looking for a light shoes with a thing upper, not the most comfortable, but work well if you want something light with minimal flex. My only complaint is that the shoes laces are so long that i have to double knot them which makes it ake that much longer to get on and take off. Most shoes I wear are 43.5, these I needed a 44. so they are slightly small

Great shoes

    These are very light and comfortable. Takes a little longer to get the shoes on and laced, but worth the effort. Great fit!


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

    They run small so be sure to try on but they are comfortable!

    Top Notch Road Shoes

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

    Bought these as a alternative to the 2015 Specialized S-Works I've been using. Like them so much that I haven't worn the S-Works since. I'm a size 9.5 shoe, wore 43.5 for the S-Works and 43.0 for the Giros. The fit is perfect, especially after using the included inserts, resulting in fantastic power transfer. Soles are slim and stiff. Yes, laces are less convenient than dials but it's a small price to pay for their excellent performance.

    Great Shoe! Give it time to break in!

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

    As many have mentioned the shoe does run small depending on your foot. I had to go up an entire size. Also the shoe is narrow but it does stretch a little bit. The glowing red is more of an orange color in the sun but it still looks great!! I haven't had any issues with the laces, overall a great shoe!

    Awesome & SO LIGHT

    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: 39.5

    SO surprised when I opened the box. I've been wearing the same tri shoes since forever......these are amazingly light.....HOWEVER THEY DO RUN SMALL !!!! My current tri shoes are Carnacs size 39 (I am a female who normally wears a 7/1/2 to 8 ladies). On hearing that these might run small I DID order up a half a size and got the 39.5, and even these are very tight. I'm sure I could have gotten the 40s and would have been ok (actually sitting here debating about whether or not I SHOULD send these back for the 40s)

    Only gave 4 stars because of the ridiculous small sizing, otherwise I can't wait to wear them !


    I DID send them back for the size 40s. SO MUCH BETTER !!!!! IN LOVE with them. Backcountry was great about the exchange <3
    Also I wasn't a fan of the bright yellow/orange so I took a permanent sharpie & made them ALL black ! Took out the laces & put lock laces in them too since I do triathlons. PERFECT !!

    Awesome  & SO LIGHT

    Great road shoe

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

    This shoes is great and I purchased it after getting the mountain version about a year ago. It is ultra light and the finish is great. I found that the size runs a little small and needed to size up by one full size from 43 to 44. Other than that they were great and I would buy them again without question.

    How is the room in the toe box narrow or wide? I have Sidi Ergo 2 and my toes get numb after 4 hours on the bike. Are these narrow like the Sidis?

    They are a bit narrow, But I wouldn't say that they are ass narrow in the toe box. These are a bit shallower from the top of the inside of the shoe to the insole though. If you have questions or need suggestions, you can reach out to me at gcelentano@backcountry.com

    Get them. You won't be sorry.

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I used to have the Northwave Extreme Tech shoe, but in a crash I damaged the ratchet and strap. I looked around to see where I could get a replacement for those small parts...and could only find a online shop in Europe. Similar situation with my shoes before that, except the boa mechanism wore out and the part was obsolete and hard to find a replacement for. To heck with that!

    I saw these SLXs on deep discount, read up on them, and swooped in before Competitive Cyclist could come to its senses. These really are fine shoes. If there was one gripe I had with the Northwaves was that on very long rides my feet would tire. These Empires come with arch supporting insoles. That, combined with the comfortable upper, made a huge difference.

    Because of the laces, you can't tighten them while riding. But warm up for a few minutes, retighten, and it should be good. The laces themselves can be tucked under an elastic band to keep them from going where they shouldn't. Unlike expensive closure systems, with these shoes you need only replace laces. So something lost, something gained. But the benefits to me outweigh the drawbacks.

    Something else interesting. The shoes are really smooth and narrow. A triathlete did wind tunnel testing with them and found the Empires to be 4 watts faster (12 watts at yaw) than another shoe with straps and ratchets. This also means that you can put on Velotoes shoe covers and not worry about straps poking through the rubber.