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Giro Empire ACC Reflective road shoes review

3 Jan 2018
Verdict:

A shoe that can be commuted in as well as raced. The perfect shoes for all occasions

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£249.99
For 
Giro has turned its high performance, highly stylish shoe into a product for every occasion

Buy the Giro Empire ACC Reflective road shoes from Wiggle here

Thankfully, it appears that the days in which a compromise between your kit being designed to be seen and looking good are behind us. More and more, kit manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon of producing kit that can be seen in the dark, keep you safe while also keeping you looking stylish and cool.

Springing immediately to mind are the Metier Beacon jacket and the Rapha Brevet gloves that have proven that hi-vis can be high fashion.

Joining that list, without doubt, are the Giro Empire ACC reflective road shoes. 

These were first launched in 2015 but failed to really hit the headlines then, however, now available in three colour ways, I firmly believe Giro has produced a shoe that is truly designed for any occasion.

Performance and style

The obvious starting point when talking about these shoes would be their reflective nature but let's put that on the back burner for now and firstly address their performance and style.

Nothing has changed for the Empire shoe except these updated reflective patterns, performing exactly the same as their regular siblings.

I found the shoes comfortable from the get-go with no need to wear them around the house to avoid blisters.

The upper material, fancily named 'Evofiber' allowed my feet to breath while keeping them warm and dry. This technical fibre allows for the upper to consist of one fabric, doing away with seams, meaning there are simply no nooks or crannies for water and wind to enter through.

Over the Christmas period, I made the mistake of leaving the house for a bike ride without overshoes. An hour or so in the heavens opened and I quickly resembled a drowned rat.

Luckily the Empire shoes managed to keep my feet fairly warm and dry which impressed me although I did have to spend some time wiping mud splatter from the laces.

The Easton EC90 sole is very stiff, hence the use of these shoes by pros such as Sir Bradley Wiggins who wore a special gold pair to set the Hour Record in 2015. 

My transfer of power never seems wasted with these shoes and the low stack height lets you feel at one with the pedal constantly.

Plus, the lightness of the sole took away any laboured feeling.

Laces are cool

A laced cycling shoe has its pros and cons. If you are one for adjusting on-the-go, these will miss the mark but if you want to imitate the likes of Fausto Coppi or Rudi Altig, when cyclists were just cool, then these are spot on.

Fundamentally, a laced cycling shoe is cool. It looks clean and classic, doing away with the bulk and clutter BOA dials or buckles often bring. In my opinion, you will be hard-pressed to find a crisper pair of cycling shoes. 

Getting on to the only real difference between these Giro Empire shoes and its predecessors, the reflective stripes.

It is pretty common for cyclists to have two pairs of shoes. Those for Sunday best, nice warm weather sportives and the like and then a pair for commuting and rainy days.

These do away with that need. As soon as light hits these shoes, it bounces straight back to the source, creating a constantly moving indicator of where you are on the road, making these perfect for commuting.

At times, I even found the reflective shoes more of an ally in keeping me seen than my usual rear light thanks to being a moving target of sorts.

Then in daylight, any form of artificial light produced a reflection which kept me confident that I was visible.

These shoes are light, stiff, fairly waterproof and warm, keep you seen in the dark and look cool. They honestly do the lot.

When I tell you the price for these shoes is £250, you may shudder. But take a step back and consider that these shoes can be commuted in equally as effectively as they can be raced in, so really you are getting two shoes for the price of one.

Honestly, I think these could be the best do-all road shoes on the market currently. 

If you can show me a road shoe that looks as cool, performs as well and can be seen in the dark then I will be all ears. But, for now, I'm going to stick to these Giro Empire reflective road shoes for all my road riding needs.

Buy the Giro Empire ACC Reflective road shoes from Wiggle here

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