GIRO EMPIRE SLX - OMG
Ask any woman about the happiness a great pair of shoes can bring. Or 54 great pairs of shoes, all with their own unique style, purpose and event attached to them. Women will lie, cheat, steal and fight over shoes (check out the post-Christmas sales to witness this phenomenon first hand) - but what is all the fuss about?
A good outfit needs good shoes. Same goes with cycling - it should be a crime to wear a fresh new kit paired with old ankle socks, that old helmet found in Nan's garage or a pair of old, off-white discount shoes you found online 3 years ago. As a range of stylish new cycling kit and accessories hits the market, the footwear manufacturers have also stepped up their game, with a range of awesome looking, vintage inspired cycling shoes that tick boxes for both form and function.
One shoe that has us excited is the Giro Empire SLX, a stunning retro looking shoe packed with technology.
Firstly, in proof of it's functional prowess, it was launched by riders in the 2014 Tour as is touted as the lightest shoe on the market, weighing in at a miniscule 175 grams. With no buckles, straps or D-rings, the one-piece upper is held in place by laces instead. At first, this was of slight concern (mainly because it's easy to be lazy at 6am in the morning when you are putting them on), but when it was explained that this meant a greater number of contact points (and therefore less hot-spot instances) and a greater level of adjustment, the 10 second trade off of actually having to do up the laces became quite acceptable.
Light, comfortable and with the stiff carbon sole and insole arch support we have come to expect, these shoes are pretty functional - but what sets them apart is all about form.
These shoes are sexy. They kind of have this mix of retro-modernness about them. Currently in white and a really cool red/orange number (with no doubt, more unique colours to come), a set of these babies would look pretty wicked paired with some Pedal Mafia kits and socks. They have a great level of detail about them, from the lack of stitching, to the ventilation panels, to the little notch that holds your laces in place. Coco Chanel said "a woman with good shoes is never ugly" - same applies here.
Currently road only, there are whispers of a MTB version soon.