At this price, Giro's Espadas outstrip the majority of road shoes available designed specifically for women. Sadly though that doesn't addd up to very many shoes - because there simply aren't enough high end women's road shoes on the market but that's certainly no reflection on the quality of the Espadas themselves. However you judge them - these are good shoes.
Aimed at the more serious female rider, these Giro shoes compete with a scant handful of shoes from other specialists such as Sidi, Shimano, Pearl Izumi and Lake rather than the large number of men's models available at an equivalent standard.
The Espadas are an undeniably attractive looking shoe, available in a black or white option, each with sporty silver flashes and are impressively light when you first pick them up, thanks to the Easton EC70 composite outsole and lightweight upper. Suitable for use with road pedals only (not mtb style SPDs or egg beaters), they feel light on even with cleats mounted. The fastening is two Velcro straps and a ratcheted strap for fine tuning on the fly.
In wear, they were amazingly comfortable right from the word go. There was just the right amount of room for my medium width feet to stay happy, without too much toe box volume to allow foot movement when riding. Even on a long ride, they stayed snug and secure, but without any loss of circulation to the toes. The footbed also performed well, supporting my foot with none of the hotspots that some road shoes can produce. There was also little in the way of road buzz. The straps kept the feet secure enough, and the outsole was rigid enough for pedaling to feel efficient and productive, with good power transfer, yet they retained that feeling of lightness on my feet even when riding.
One tiny niggle, and not anything out of the ordinary really, was that there was little protection for the carbon outsole at the heel edge, meaning that care needed to be taken when unclipping and putting my foot down at traffic lights and junctions etc. The heel quite quickly showed signs of damage when I planted the foot heel first, but as soon as I realized this was happening, it was easy to adapt to a cleat first foot down position. In common with many lightweight race shoes, the soles aren't going to last that well the more time you spend off the bike in them, but then, they're meant for riding!
£159.99 isn't a trivial amount of money for a pair of road shoes, but it's not out of line with the few other pairs of female performance shoes on the market. For the levels of comfort and performance offered by the Espadas, particularly the comfort and light weight, these mark a good investment, provided you're intending to ride considerably more than you walk!
Pricy but super light and extremely comfortable performance road shoes for women
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Make and model: Giro Espada Women's Road Shoes
Size tested: White/Silver - Size 5 (39)
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?
Aimed at sportier female road riders, looking for a lightweight high performance road specific shoe.
Does the job admirably.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Two velcro straps and micro ratcheting buckle fastening
Easton EC70 composite outsole
EVA women's specific footbed with anti-microbial treatment
Available in sizes EU36-43
Very well made with good quality materials and components
Light, comfortable and transferred power efficiently.
Not bad, but some care needed to protect fragile heels at junctions.
Extremely comfortable, particularly for a performance shoe. No soreness of sole or compression of toes.
About par for the course.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed extremely well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit, comfort, pedalling efficiency, style, weight
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Slightly fragile heel area. Not insurmountable though.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Well designed and effective performance road shoes for women.
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.