Giro has added a brand new £375 shoe to its range called the Imperial, which aims to deliver very low weight but not at the expense of support and durability. We’ve just had a pair arrive in the office for review so before we do that, here’s a real quick unboxing video.
Making a cycling shoe very lightweight is easy, but making a light shoe that also meets our demands for support, durability and comfort is tricky. Giro didn’t strive to make these the lightest shoes - it has the ProLight Techlace for the weight weenies - but hitting a nice sweet spot of low weight, durability and support.
Let’s start with the weight. They weigh a claimed 430g a pair for a size 42.5. The size 45 pair weigh 520g on our scales. For comparison, the Giro Prolight Techlace shoes are 386g and the Specialized S-Works Exos shoes are 340g. For reference, a pair of size 45 Sidi Wire 2 Carbons come in at 646g.
Not the lightest then, but still very light. This lack of weight is down to a Synchwire non-stretch mesh material combined with a TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), the former keeps the weight low and provides ventilation and the latter provides the support, shape and durability. It’s a one-piece upper with just a single seam down the back of the heel.
A pair of Boa IP1 dials perform the duty of cinching the upper down onto your foot and providing the necessary foot retention when you’re dishing out some serious watts. They're easy to use with micro adjustment in both directions.
Underneath is a full carbon Easton EC90 SLX2 sole with a replaceable heel pad and three-hole cleat drillings with decent markings to line up said cleats. Inside is the company’s own SuperNatural Fit Kit insoles which have the neat feature of swappable arch pads to provide the fit you need, whether a high, medium or low arch.
This high-tech does not come cheap, however, and with a list price of £375 these are certainly a pricey investment. They're not the most expensive, that award goes to Mavic’s £900 Comete Ultimate closely followed by Specialized’s S-Works Exos 99 shoes costing a cool £600.
How do they perform? Watch this space, I’ll bang out some miles in the next few weeks and see if they ride as nicely as they look.
The Imperials come in Giro's Men’s Performance Fit and cover European sizes 39-48 (UK sizes 5.5-12.5), including half-sizes from 42.5-45.5 (UK sizes 8-10.5). More info at www.giro.co.uk
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.