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.