Empire SLX Cycling Shoe
At just 185 grams, the recently updated Empire SLX Cycling Shoe from Giro is breathing some pretty rarefied air. Not many shoes on the market come within 100 grams of the iconic Empire, but it's not giving up anything in terms of performance, either. The new uppers are constructed from Synchwire, the same lightweight, low stretch, and quick drying material used on the range-topping Imperial. In fact, the new Empire uses the same upper and outsole as the Imperial, however, it trades out the BOA dials for laces, saving some 60 grams in the process and offering an even more personalized fit and the option of some color customization.
The new version is highly breathable and receives some mesh windows for additional airflow. The lightweight upper doesn't suffer from lack of stiffness though, and it receives additional structural support from its thermal-welded Teijin TPU sections. It also provides pro-level performance and a comfy fit right out of the box. If you haven't used lace-up cycling shoes yet, you should know that Giro uses special tubular-woven laces that are specially designed to remain tied, and there's also a lace garage on the top of the tongue to ensure they don't get tangled in your drivetrain.
Those uppers are attached to a refined Easton EC90 SLX2 Carbon Sole that receives additional resin for improved durability. This sole is amazingly stiff, and thanks to its unique construction, has one of the lowest stack heights available at a paltry 6.5mm. A low stack height means smoother pedaling and more efficiency and of course less weight. It's finished with stainless steel hardware and replaceable heel pads which both improve durability.
Between the uppers and the sole sits Giro's much-lauded SuperNatural FitKit, a long name for its user-tunable footbed. These insoles have swappable arch support inserts so you can tune the fit of your shoes precisely to the shape of your feet.
- Giro's iconic Empire gets a makeover, proving lace-ups are here to stay
- New Synchwire upper design increases breathability and durability
- Thermal-welded Teijin TPU reinforcement boosts support
- Tubular-woven laces allow for a custom fit and stay tied
- Updated Easton EC90 SLX2 carbon sole receives more resin for more durability
- Replaceable heel pads and stainless steel hardware improve longevity
- SuperNatural Fit Kit insole with adjustable arch support dials in the fit
- XT2 anti-microbial fiber top sheet keeps odors at bay