The Giro Factor Techlace shoes are lightweight and comfortable, and the novel closure system – a hybrid lace and Velcro strap, plus a Boa dial – makes it easy to adjust the fit on the fly.
First, let's talk about the closure system because that's the really new feature. Crikey, there's a lot going on here! The upper strap is controlled by a Boa IP1 dial that allows you to adjust the fit in both directions in 1mm increments (a typical ratchet type buckle will give you jumps of 3mm in tension). Below the Boa dials you get the hybrid lace/Velcro strap Techlace system.
Laced shoes have enjoyed a renaissance over the past few years, not least in the shape of Giro's own Empire models. Laces can be light, they're likely to survive a crash, and the styling often looks good. On the flip side, adjusting the tightness of the closure while riding is tricky.
The Techlace system solves that problem by allowing you to alter the lace tension via Velcro straps. You move the Velcro strap outboard to pull the laces tighter. Simple.
I set the lower strap to suit my foot volume before my first ride and I've never touched it since. The upper Velcro strap and the Boa dial are the ones you need to open and close, and these are both simple to fine-tune.
The Boa dial adjusts a super-strong steel lace (seven strands of steel are wrapped together in a nylon cover, then seven of those groups are wound together to form a complete lace).
The Techlace system works equally well. The Velcro adjustment performs exactly like any other Velcro strap but you get more anchor points. Adjusting the fit while you ride could hardly be easier. It's a one-handed operation that you can perform without taking your eyes off the road.
The Techlace system has a lot of adjustability but if there's too much or too little lace for the width of your foot, you can swap to a lace of a different length. The plastic ends of the lace – they're called aglets, if that sort of thing interests you – snap into place inside a little plastic coupler at the end of the Velcro strap. You can buy the laces – which are slightly springy – in 12 different lengths. You can also get the laces in six different colours and the Boa IP1 dials in four different colours, so there's plenty of customisation on offer here. (The shoes themselves come in black, black/red, and black/white.)
I could have done with slightly shorter laces on my shoes. Sending off for (and paying for) new laces is a bit of a fag. I'd have thought Giro could have devised a system where you just cut the laces shorter and tie the ends together, the knot being hidden inside the plastic coupler... but what do I know?
Anyway, that small gripe apart, the system works well and all of the different elements are quickly and easily replaceable if they get damaged or wear out.
Putting the closure system to one side, these are already very good shoes. You get an Easton EC90 SLX2 carbon fibre outsole that I couldn't bend or twist despite my best efforts, and a heel pad that's replaceable if you ever wear it out.
The upper is made from Premium Evofiber SL breathable Teijin microfibre. It's one piece – so there are no seams to annoy you – and very supple. It's also simple to clean with a damp cloth. Bish bash bosh and it's as good as new.
The heel and the area surrounding the foot opening are lightly padded and I didn't feel any particular pressure there, and the same is true of the tongue.
The X-Static Supernatural insole comes with adjustable arch support. You just select the pad that best suits your foot shape. This has a big effect on comfort.
All in all, these are excellent shoes. I guess some people aren't going to like the busy looks of the multi-system closure while other people are going to love them. That'll just come down to taste.
In terms of function, I've found them to be superb. For me the only real sticking point is the price. You can't get around the fact that £290 is a lot to spend on a pair of cycling shoes, although many other brands price their top-end shoes similarly. If you don't want to spend that much, Giro is also offering the Sentrie and its female counterpart the Raes at £199.99. A snip! These use the same Techlace closure system but they're made with lower level materials and parts.
Excellent road shoes that are lightweight, comfortable and easy to adjust on the fly
road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Factor Techlace
Size tested: 46
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Giro says, "The Factor Techlace is a race-bred cycling shoe that couples the benefits of our Techlace system with the easy adjustment of a Boa dial, plus the performance you expect from Giro - all at an impressively low weight of 210 grams (size 42.5). The Techlace system replaces D-rings and other hardware with laces, providing a more supple feel across the forefoot, and the laces can be easily replaced if damaged. The Boa IP1 dial offers fast, intuitive adjustment in 1mm increments when tightening or loosening. The Factor Techlace upper is constructed with Evofiber SL, which is durable yet highly breathable. Inside the shoe, our SuperNatural Fit footbed features adjustable arch supports to personalise fit, comfort and pedalling efficiency. Power transfer is bolstered by the Easton EC90 SLX2 carbon fibre outsole, which is among the lightest, thinnest and stiffest pedalling platforms on the road, giving you a direct connection to the pedals."
Giro lists these features:
Upper: One-piece upper design, Premium Evofiber SL breathable Teijin microfiber, Techlace + Boa IP 1 dial (1mm +/- with macro release)
Outsole: Easton EC90 SLX2 high-modulus carbon, Steel hardware, Replaceable heel pads
Footbed: Super Natural Fit Kit with adjustable arch support, X-Static anti-microbial fibre, travel bag included
Weight: 210 grams (size 42.5)
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Giro says: "This extraordinary design is driven by our patent-pending Techlace system, which couples the benefits of laces with the convenience of a strap for superb fit and easy adjustment on-the-fly. By replacing D-rings and other hardware with laces, the Techlace system provides a more supple feel across the forefoot. Plus, the laces can be easily replaced if damaged. In addition to the adjustability of two straps, we've utilised the Boa Closure System to achieve precise adjustment and a secure feel at the top of the instep with their premium IP1 dial. Boa's dial interface offers fast, intuitive adjustment in 1mm increments when tightening or loosening."
The super-shiny finish to the uppers does show any little scratches you might pick up, but the material itself is very tough stuff. All of the elements of the closure system are replaceable.
Well, this is the tricky one. It often is. You are getting a high-end product here and the price is in line with that of high-end shoes from other brands. You can, though, get a performance that's almost as good from shoes that are considerably cheaper.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Cleaning consists of a quick wipe with a damp cloth. That's the sort of cleaning I like!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lightweight, stiff-soled and easy to adjust, these shoes put in an excellent performance out on the road.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I really like the closure system and the stiff soles.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The laces were a little long for me. You can't shorten them, you have to buy shorter laces. That's a bit of a pain.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? They're too pricey for the likes of me!
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Factor Techlace shoes are made from superb materials/parts and they put in an excellent performance. They're expensive, but the price is in line with that of high-end shoes from other brands, like it or not.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.