Verdict from 15 experts and 93 user reviews

10 reasons to buy

  • Almost all of the reviews state that the Giro Empire ACC is a comfortable shoe on and off the bike.
  • Most wearers have praised this pair’s adequately stiff sole. They find that it has excellent power transfer while pedaling and flex when walking.
  • It is great looking, according to many purchasers.
  • Plenty of consumers rave about the reflective color options. They recognize its safety function and how it enhances the footwear’s overall style.
  • Numerous users have lauded the Empire ACC for its lightweight build.
  • The shoe’s interchangeable arch support system is perceived to be ingenious by several reviewers. They attest how helpful it is to get that comfortable fit.
  • A handful of commenters find the shoe’s superior material quality and its other good traits to be the logic for its excellent value for money.
  • It is fairly ventilated, according to some wearers.
  • A few cyclists love the retro lace closure as it prevents hotspots and distributes pressure evenly.
  • Replaceable heel pads are a plus as they allow longer lifespan, according to a number of riders.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Several cyclists who are used to on-the-fly adjustments find this pair’s lace closures as something to get used to.
  • A few buyers have claimed that their pair had some construction flaws such as glue showing and different shaped heel cups.

Bottom line

Spearheading the return of lace-up bike shoes, the Empire ACC is considered an iconic model. Apart from being a trail-blazer, its lightweight construct is decked out with essential features. Impeccable power transfer, optimal comfort, and reflective components are some of its main strengths.

Other than a few complaints due to the laces’ relatively fixed design, the majority find it as one of the better road shoes they’ve tried.

Tip: see the best cycling shoes.

Good to know

The Empire ACC by Giro was introduced in 2012. It catapulted the comeback of the lace-up cycling shoe into the consumer’s radar. Although the lace-up design never left the market, it was considered outdated once newer closure styles were introduced. However, this model’s classic style and excellent feedback caught the attention of cyclists and unexpectedly changed their perception.

Some of the features that have made this shoe famous are its stiff Easton EC90 ACC sole and the unique SuperNatural Fit Kit.

Optimum power transfer and pedal connection. This model employs the Easton EC90 ACC carbon fiber sole. It is reported to be stiffer than previous generations and, in turn, provides excellent energy transfer to the pedals. The sole is also designed to have a low stack height. It measures 6.5 mm, which provides a sensation of direct connection with the pedals.

Lightweight. With a thin carbon fiber design, the Empire ACC is lightweight and won’t take up more energy than necessary.

Replaceable heel pads. Rubber pads in the sole provide traction for times the wearer needs to walk or stand. However, for the same reason, it is also the first to wear out. Hence, the Empire ACC’s replaceable heel pads will lengthen the shoe’s overall durability.

Breathable. An additional ventilation detail is placed in the sole for enhanced breathability.

The Giro Empire ACC features a 3-bolt mounting system. It is suitable for these pedal designs: Garmin Vector 3 Power Meter, Look Keo Classic 3, Speedplay, and Shimano Ultegra PD-R8000 SPD-SL.

Breathable and lightweight one-piece upper design. Crafted from the brand’s Premium Evofiber technology, this material is breathable and very light. It also keeps its shape no matter how many times it gets soaked.

Time-tested and lightweight lace-up closure. Equipped with a traditional lacing system, this pair offers a lightweight, adjustable, and comfortable fit. Through varying lacing patterns, users can personalize the fit no matter the shape of their foot. It also prevents any irritation and hot spots.

The Giro Empire ACC is available in both men’s and women’s versions. The ladies’ model features a narrower shape last to fit the women’s naturally slimmer foot shape. Generally, the shoe’s upper does not fold when trying to put it on, making it easier to wear.

Interchangeable arch support. Employed with the SuperNatural Fit Kit technology, the Empire ACC cycling shoe offers arch support that can be adjusted for better comfort, especially during long rides. This footbed system allows owners to customize the insole depending on the level of the arch on their feet. The foam arch supports are offered in S, M, and L sizes and could be attached to the bottom of the footbed with Velcro.

Anti-microbial. This shoe is lined with a technology called X-Static Fibers. This technology is crafted with layers of silver that are permanently bonded to the surface of the fabric. Silver provides natural anti-microbial properties that help reduce odor.

  • A lace garage is placed on the tongue to keep laces from getting caught in the pedals.
  • The shoe comes with an extra pair of laces, a shoe bag, and a manual containing instructions.
  • Equipped with breathable premium Evofiber microfiber materials and a vent hole in the outsole, this model effectively keeps the foot dry and comfortable despite hot weather.
  • The collar and footbed are cushioned for enhanced comfort.
  • ACC stands for Advanced Carbon Composites.
  • Branding is placed on the footbed as well as on the lateral and rear part of the upper.
  • Other versions of the Empire include the SLX (a lightweight variation) and the E70 Knit (a new comfort-oriented version).


How Giro Empire ACC ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 21% road cycling shoes
All road cycling shoes
Top 21% Giro cycling shoes
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Top 21% reflective cycling shoes
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The current trend of Giro Empire ACC.
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