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Giro Empire VR90 Shoe
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Item # GIR005MPast Season Colors

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Item # GIR005M

Description

Laces in.

By now, the resurgence of laces is mainstream cycling news, and if you've spent time at any cyclocross or XC race this season, you've no doubt seen more than a few pairs of the Giro Men's Empire VR90 Cycling Shoes carving corners and cleaning barriers in the pro showdowns and beginner fields alike. We've spent some time in these shoes too, and we're not shy about being adamant fans. You'll be drawn in by the bright, eye-catching colorways, and stoked to know that hidden under all the style is a top-tier, highly functional piece of footwear that's trail-ready and cyclocross approved.

Underfoot—and most importantly—Giro incorporates the same Easton EC90 carbon fiber sole featured on the Empire's road race version. It's got a low, 6.5mm stack height that reduces the amount of intervening material between engine and pedal for fast, efficient power transfer regardless of terrain.

Hardcore 'cross traditionalists may balk at that stiffness as it historically made running a difficult endeavor, but rest assured that Giro is on it. The Vibram Mont rubber lugged outsole is rockered to facilitate easy walkability and a natural running feel. This lets you harness the watts of that super stiff sole while punching off the line and out of corners without sacrificing speed or comfort when you're shouldering the bike. In our book, that makes the VR90 a little bit of a unicorn.

In addition to its rockering, the lugged sole provides grippy purchase for hard-packed dismounts, quad-searing run-ups, and rocky trail scrambles. If you do happen to miss a clip-in, Giro's added a Mid-Foot Scuff Guard with a grippy, rubber surface to rest against your pedal so you can keep moving forward and stay with your group. Each shoe also includes fittings for two toe spikes for extra traction when you really need to dig in.

In addition to the soles, these shoes pack all the features we've grown to love about Giro's laced offerings, including that standout lace-up closure system for seven points of adjustability and a comfy, near-custom fit. The VR90s also include Giro's SuperNatural Fit Kit, a series of three arch support options that lets you further fine tune the feel. In a small, yet important showing of Giro's attention to detail, an integrated lace keeper holds lace ends securely in place to assuage worries of an inopportune bottle cage grab or crankset encounter.

Giro finishes the shoes with a one-piece upper made from soft, breathable Evofiber with perforations for extra cooling ventilation when the mercury rises. This material is malleable enough to shape to your foot for an exceptionally comfortable fit while resisting excess stretch and loss of shape over time. In this regard, we might liken them to a favorite pair of well-worn slippers—if, that is, those slippers were high-tech, durable, and ridiculously low-weight.

Each pair of Giro Empire VR90 Cycling Shoes comes packaged with two sets of laces, four steel toe spikes, cleat mounting hardware, and a zippered Giro shoe bag for easy storage and transport.

  • An off-road cycling shoe for the fashionably fast
  • Same light, stiff carbon sole as found in the road race version
  • Equipped for trail duty with a grippy, lugged Vibram outsole
  • Lace-up enclosure customizes fit with 7 points of contact
  • Replaceable inserts let you tailor arch support
  • Anti-odor lining keeps funk to a minimum

Tech Specs

Upper Material:
Teijin microfiber
Closure:
lace
Footbed:
SuperNatural Fit Kit, X-Static antimicrobial fiber
Sole:
Easton EC90 ACC carbon fiber, high traction rubber
Cleat Compatibility:
2-bolt
Claimed Weight:
[size 42.5] 315 g
Recommended Use:
mountain bike, cyclocross
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

REVIEWS

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Comfortable, works fantastic, durable

    These were gifted to a friend, here's what he had to say about them!
    Great shoe, great fit, arguably better than the road version. There’s something almost sneaker-like about this MTB shoe, particularly since they added a Vibram sole that features soft, chunky rubber that makes walking around very easy. I have had the road version of the Empire, and as stated I would actually put Giro’s MTB offering a step above in that the outer material seems a bit more foot-friendly, also adding a capped toe helps. This is a great shoe, and the included modular footbed is a win.

    Unanswered Question
    Avg. ride time: 3h 43m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Has Giro considered making a "wide" for this model? Also, I have a number of bike shop owners who agree about the quality of the sole (both shops owners own these...) - has Giro made any improvements regarding the construction? Would love to make this my shoe of choice, however the above two are non-starters...

    Avg. ride time: 3h 58m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Great shoe, runs narrow

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: 43.5

    While I found these to be excellent shoes, they run narrow, meaning, the last itself is narrow from the toebox back to the ankle, so easing laces did not solve the problem. After two months of heavy use, the uppers did not stretch (nor should they have). For reference, my foot measures 8.5 between B and C width. I ordered a 43 and 43.5. The 43 was right length but far too narrow. The 43.5 is a touch long, but still too narrow. Like Sidi's the Giro is slightly narrow in the toebox, but unlike Sidi's the narrowness ( and thus the pressure) continues aft to the ankle. It resulted in cramping, pressure and pain for me. You can see the last by comparing soles of the various shoes. I have since tried Fizik and found its last to be wider and thus a better shape for my foot.

    Avg. ride time: 6h 27m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Lil bit smaller than Empire/ACC/SLX

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: 42

    I have a set of Empire SLXs in 42 so I figured these would fit the same in 42, but it turns out they're a lot smaller. I think a 43 would even fit me.

    FAST!

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

    I only wish I could peddle as fast as they shoes look. Extremely well made. Not cheap by any means, but they are top notch. Snug fit, run a 1/2 to full size smaller.

    Swanky

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

    Stiff, comfortable, excellent fit and they look good. And they are holding up quite well. Light, simple and well-constructed. Perfect.

    Swanky

    First time laces...long time convert

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: Runs large
    • Size Bought: 43

    I was skeptical about laces having never had a pair of cycling shoes with them before, but there was no need to be. I can get them just as tight as with BOA and the pressure is spread evenly over the top of my foot which makes them super comfy. I'm not sure that I'd go for laces on road shoes, but they are perfect on XC shoes.
    As for size, I've gone down half a size compared to Shimano or Mavic.

    Unfounded Skepticism - Laces, Soles, Fit

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

    * Sizing is pretty true, for my narrow 10.5 size foot. I comfortably wear the VR90 in a 44; in Sidi and Fizik I wear 44.5
    * Laces? Sure why not. I don't usually adjust my shoes for anything less than 250km anyway. But probably a PITA when caked with mud (maybe duct tape at start of really muddy rides?).
    * Narrow fit is +/- depending on what you're looking for. That said, the toe box is fairly square and roomy... allows a great platform for standing on climbs.
    * Heel hold down is excellent for my narrow feet and thin heel/ankle.
    * Good initial impression of the insole with adjustable arch support; I usually swap out the OEM insoles depending on volume of shoe, but am still on the fence with the VR90 since the fit is really good.
    * Walking is adequate: Vibram lugs are soft, Easton sole is stiff, but amount of rocker is OK. And I have no need to run in these. (Not using toe spikes.)
    * Debating whether to use a plate (e.g., Crank Bros.) between the sole and cleat.

    Thanks for the sweet deal, CC. Thought I might send them back but I've dialed-in cleat placement on the trainer and already had 'em outside.

    great quality, small sizing

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: 41.5

    I purchased a pair of 41.5s to replace my 41.5 s-works mtb shoes. The Giro's fit is a bit more snug - enough that I can't chalk it up only to my old shoes being stretched out. All's good though, I'm still breaking them in. In hindsight I should have gone with a 42.

    This is my first experience with lace-ups. So far, I have only good things to report. I don't miss boa cranks particularly, laces aren't flying everywhere, etc.

    The quality is apparent and the vibram sole is much more sticky than my old shoes, or other shoes I have owned previously. This makes them great for Fall in the NE with our damp, leaf-covered rocks and roots.

    Looking at the comment "Ain't Got No Sole," I'd argue that if you abuse the hell out of any piece of bike equipment, its likely to fall apart. Look at how warn his metal cleat pieces are - I'm not sure you can point to a defective sole as the primary issue here. Props to the reviewer for getting after it assuming he isn't working construction in his bike shoes. In sum, the lugged up, sticky vibrate sole = traction on slippery surfaces.

    Most importantly though, they look sick. Don't lie, that's why you're looking at lace up shoes.

    Great shoes. Watch the sizing.

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

    I won't repeat what everyone has said about the shoes. I'm a lace convert and I won't go back if I can help it.

    On sizing, I ride the road version of this shoe (Empire) and love it so I ordered the same size in the VR90 expecting all to be well. My particular pair seemed about 1/4 - 1/2 size too short. "Narrowness" seemed to be about the same as what I'm used to, but I had to go a half size up to get these to work, otherwise running in these shoes would have had my toes banging into the tops, especially when wearing winter socks.

    Other than that, they're great shoes.

    Great shoes

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

    Runs 1/2 size small. Great shoe --well made and super light. All my riding is on road, no trail use.

    Sole failing as warranty expires

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

    I liked the fit of these a lot, and will continue to use them for commuting, but they are not holding up very well to trail rides. I've been using them in the foothills in Albuquerque and now in the trails around State College in PA. Both rocky places, but I ride XC, not downhill. I don't drag my soles in turns, but the soles are starting to crumble and fall apart just as Giro's 1 year warrantee expired (bought them last summer). I've strayed a bit in recent years (Shimano and Giro) but I have to admit that Sidis are the most durable shoes on the market. I just ordered some Sidi SRS Spiders, and these will be relegated to commuting. Sidi, sorry I strayed.

    Great Shoe

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
    • Fit: True to size

    I bought the VR90s after using the Giro Terraduro shoes for a year. I've got narrow feet for sure, so I just wanted to speak to sizing here, in case there are others considering the Terraduro vs. the VR90. With narrow feet, I found the Terraduro to be too wide and not very adjustable at all. Especially riding on the road (without the distractions of the trail), I realized my feet were just swimming in the Terraduros. Tried the VR90 in the same size (44) and the fit was far better, as was the adjustability with the laces (as you would expect). Length was the same across shoes. The VR90 is clearly top notch construction and design.
    After all that, though, the VR90s seemed pretty hot even just trying them on...and the cost factor led me to consider the Pearl Izumi X-Project 2.0....which I ended up purchasing here and absolutely love! So, if you find Terraduro too wide/loose, consider the VR90 in the same size.

    Would you say the VR90s are significantly narrower than the Terraduros? I find the Terraduros to be only a bit wide, and I'm trying to gauge if the VR90s are even an option.

    I bet you'd be fine in the VR90 if the Terraduro is just a bit wide. I found the Terraduro had almost no real adjustment apart from the ratchet. Laces on the VR90 really do give quite a bit of precision adjustment.

    Too narrow

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: 48

    Really wanted these to fit. I normally wear a Specialized 48. A 48 in the Giros felt really good at first, but I sat with it on for half an hour and then I felt like screaming. Too narrow. So sad.

    Great shoes if they fit you

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: 45

    I tried these and really wanted them. Unfortunately, they are slightly too narrow for my feet. First, they are clearly well made. They come with an shoe bag, cleats and cleat wrench as well as the Giro standard interchangeable arch supports.
    They look great and the laces feel great. I only wish they made this in an HV version like they do the code.
    If you're worried about what to do with the laces, each shoes has an elastic lace holder on the tounge.
    I can attest to how they ride but if they're anything like other Giro shoes, I'm sure they're great.

    Far from perfect

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

    I really want to love these shoes, initially I was super impressed with the fit and stiffness. But I have run into a couple of issues, one is that these shoes run narrow. I sized down from an other pair of giro shoes that were too long and now my toes have the perfect amount of room but the sides of my feet get squeezed and fatigue on long descents. And secondly after my first long rainy ride in these shoes I realized that the cleat was slipping on the bottom of one of the shoes, this problem has repeated a couple of times even though I keep on realigning and tightening my cleats after every slip.

    Purple Power

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: 41.5

    I got these to replace a pair of Sidi Dominator 5 Women's shoes, a little bit because I wanted a stiffer sole and a bit of rubber under the midfoot, and (let's be honest here), 99.5% because purple. The awesome thing about the VR90's though, is that with amazing form also comes badass functionality and comfort.

    The sole is super stiff, which isn't always great for cross, but Giro did a fantastic job of rockering the lugs just enough that running in the VR90's feels surprisingly natural and comfortable. And the power transfer is ridiculous. I didn't think I'd be able to feel that much of a difference from the Sidis, but it was massively apparent, especially for short out-of-the-saddle climbs and sprints.

    The Vibram rubber grips well, which is a huge plus compared to the plastic Sidi lugs. No more worrying about slipping out when dismounting/running/remounting on pavement or other hard packed surfaces. The rubber surfacing also spans under the midfoot, adding much needed grip for coasting before a dismount and minimizing losses if you miss a clip in after a remount.

    The overall fit on these is just so, so comfy. These puppies were soft and comfortable from the first wear and continue to be the comfiest cycling shoes I've ever worn. The upper stretched a tiny bit during the first couple of rides - just enough to form to my foot and be even comfier, and has held its shape perfectly ever since.

    Specific to sizing, I sized down from a 42 in Sidi to a 41.5 in Giro. They do fit narrow for a men's shoe (which is awesome for me), but the laces are so adjustable that these shoes should accommodate a pretty massive range of foot widths.

    Purple Power

    Do these stretch at all? I don't have a narrow foot, and I'm concerned about the width of the shoes. Also, I wear a 42 in Garneau mtn shoes. Is the size comparable?

    NICKG, The shoes will stretch, but only marginally so, over the life of the shoe. A 42 in LG does equate to a 42 in Giro however. I don't have a particularly narrow foot either but I fit quite well in my Empires. The have a nice square toe box. I love mine. Call me direct with any other questions. 801-204-4557.

    NICKG - To echo Ben, they do stretch just a little bit, over the first few wears in particular. More of a shaping to the contours of the foot than an overall loosening though. On width, I have narrow feet, but also have to crank on the laces to lock in the fit on these shoes - so they should easily fit feet much wider than mine.

    Avg. ride time: 1h 15m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Very slim fit; sizing 2 stars. Quality 5

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: 42

    I presently have the giro privateer shoes (not the HV). They fit like a glove the minute I put them on. I wanted something to replace my 3 yo shoes and thought these would fit well as it stayed in the giro family. Wrong. Very slim fit. I have 42 in all giro shoes (mult road shoes also in 42). The privateer were 42 also. These went on and felt wrong the moment I put them on. Too slim overall. I sat with them on while watching tv to see if I needed to just get use to them. No go. Never worked and have been sent back. I thought about moving up to 42.5 or 43 but I think it will be too long and still too narrow. I really wanted to like them as they are much nicer shoe than the privateer and much much lighter! Oh well, back to the privateer (I just hope they didn't change the sizing on that shoe with the new model). Just FYI; I rode sidi for 15 yrs and tried other brands from time to time but it was Giro that made me move from Heavy sidi's to Giro.

    I have the same comment. My Giro Privateers in 45.5 were great, perhaps too roomy in the wide version, but the VR90 in 45.5 was too short, although the width seemed ok. Had to send them back. Was considering switching up a half a size, but based on the comments about the tread wear, I might just stick with my Lake shoes.