Verdict from 5 experts and 100+ user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • A great number of Giro Empire reviewers consider it an impeccable shoe for cycling.
  • The majority of wearers find this shoe to be uber comfortable.
  • This road cycling shoe is very stylish and sleek, according to most of the purchasers’ opinions.
  • Several cyclists say that long rides are made more pleasant thanks to its lightweight feel.
  • The Giro Empire’s build and materials have an impeccable quality, mention some users.
  • A number of riders say the carbon soles are plenty stiff, ideal for technical rides.
  • A few purchasers appreciate how easy it is to clean this pair.

1 reason not to buy

  • An authority in gear testing gripes about the lace-up’s increased fiddle time when putting on and taking off as well as the inability to adjust the fit while on the go.

Bottom line

The Empire by Giro combines retro styling with the latest bike shoe technologies. The lace-up provides the old school vibe while Easton soles and innovative upper materials provide the performance of premium road race shoes.

The only downside doesn’t pose any risk in the shoe’s performance. Overall, the Empire is recommended to riders who prefer lightweight footwear with traditional laces and stiff carbon soles.

Tip: see the best cycling shoes.

Good to know

What makes it different? The Giro Empire was one of the firsts to bring back shoelaces in modern bike shoes. It was a hit as top-performing racers opted for it in important race events.

  • Apart from its sleek and clean aesthetic, the ultra-efficient Easton soles were a favorite due to its excellent power transfer.
  • Up top, a one-piece upper material prevents chafing and rubbing that causes blisters and discomfort.
  • The material is crafted from premium Teijin Samo Microfiber, which is durable and breathable.
  • Lastly, the brand’s highly acclaimed SuperNatural Fit Kit governs arch support and comfort.

Excellent rigidity and direct connection. Equipped with Easton EC90 SLX Full Carbon Fiber soles, the Giro Empire yields optimal power transfer to the bike. All of Easton outsoles are designed to provide stiffness in three essential zones: the toe, arch, and heel areas. 

Moreover, it is also lightweight and maintains a low measure of stack height for optimal pedal feel and connection.

Breathable. Ventilation pockets allow excellent airflow throughout the foot. The pockets are secured with stainless steel hardware for a lightweight feel and durability.

Longevity. Heel pads that provide traction can be renewed once they get worn out. This feature offers the wearer excellent value for their money as they could use it for an extended period of time.

The soles of the Giro Empire are drilled for three-bolt pedal systems. Pedal types that could go well with this footwear are Shimano Ultegra SPD-SL R8000, Time Xpresso 15, and Look Keo 2 Max Blade 12.

Markings are provided in the cleat area to aid in precise cleat positioning.

Breathable, durable, and comfortable. This pair’s upper material is crafted from a Japan company’s proprietary textile called Premium Teijin Samo Microfiber. It yields a supportive fit with abundance in airflow.

The upper has a one-piece design to prevent any chafing and rubbing due to seams.

Time-tested fit. The lockdown of the Giro Empire is governed by the traditional lace-up closure. It offers seven points of fit adjustment for comfort and precise fit. To keep the laces from getting caught in the bike, the brand provided a lace garter to tuck in the loose ends and keep it safe.

This shoe’s lace-up system features metal reinforced eyelets for its two top-most ones. This, along with the Microfiber upper’s non-stretch construct, contributes to a fit that stays the same from its first use to the last, no matter how often the shoe gets wet.

The Giro Empire employs the brand’s SuperNatural Fit Kit footbeds. It comes with three foams that can be attached and detached for different levels of arch supports. 

Anti-microbial. This shoe’s insoles are treated with X-Static technology. This fiber is crafted from a layer of pure silver, which naturally helps in reducing odor and regulate heat.

Giro also offers the Empire in several other versions. Some of them are the Giro Empire ACC, Giro Empire SLX, and Giro Empire VR90. The main differences can be seen in the materials used in the upper and outsole.

Giro entered the realm of cycling footwear in 2010 with the Factor shoe range. The release was considered to be good enough, but nothing special. For their next models, the brand wanted a shoe that could set them apart from the rest of the market during that time. This goal was ultimately achieved with the help of a pro racer named Taylor Phinney via the Giro Empire.

Phinney came into the meeting saying that he needed a shoe he could wear when he wins a then-upcoming Giro d’Italia race. The brand had already been on the works for a laced prototype called the Republic, a mountain bike shoe. Phinney said he wanted a similar design as the Republic but fine-tuned for the road.

To achieve what Phinney wanted, Giro got in touch with Teijin, a Japanese company that is known for its Teijin textile. Ultimately, the Empire was born. Its aesthetics was inspired by Nike’s Mercurial Vapor shoe.

Phinney won the 2012 race wearing the Empires in a highlighter-like colorway, which got the interest of the onlookers. From just being Phinney’s time-trial “art project” shoe, the Giro Empire went on to be one of the most popular models from the brand.


How Giro Empire ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 25% road cycling shoes
All road cycling shoes
Top 35% Giro cycling shoes
All Giro cycling shoes
Top 32% replaceable sole guards cycling shoes
All replaceable sole guards cycling shoes


The current trend of Giro Empire.
Compare to another shoe: