Verdict from 9 experts and 52 user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • Almost all buyers declare that the Giro Imperial feels comfortable right out of the box.
  • The shoe’s feather-like weight is spectacular, several reviewers claim.
  • A good number of testers say that its double BOA retention system is precise and easy to use.
  • Most users say that the Giro road cycling shoe is crafted with top-quality materials.
  • Some cyclists state that it has an excellent and efficient power transfer.
  • It is breathable, making it an excellent road shoe for the summer, according to experts.
  • A couple of buyers love the Imperial’s aesthetic and find it appealing.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Many riders mention the footwear’s steep price.
  • The pair’s coated BOA cables tend to get stuck in the tongue, causing resistance when tightening the shoe, say some users.
  • According to a few wearers, the upper material provides too much give.

Bottom line

The Imperial by Giro is best known for being one of the lightest dual BOA road shoes in the market. It is designed to provide a balance between professional performance and all-day comfort. 

Apart from its feather-like weight, the shoe is also supportive and excellently stiff. Despite a few gripes, it ticks off all the essential features of race-ready bike footwear. It is recommended for weight-conscious riders who want a light shoe that delivers.

Tip: see the best cycling shoes.

Good to know

Many have compared the Giro Imperial to one of the brand’s other road shoes, the Empire SLX. The two Giro road bike models closely resemble each other. From the breathable uppers to the sole construction and feather-like weight, both shoes are almost identical.

But what sets the Imperial apart is its retention system. This model employs a two-piece BOA dial setup, which means it is also more expensive than its mentioned counterpart.

As a rundown, the Imperial employs the brand’s Synchwire upper design with Teijin welded mesh, which works together for a lightweight and breathable fit. Beneath, top-of-the-line Easton EC90 SLX2 soles provide optimal power transfer.

Efficient power transfer. Crafted from the brand’s first-rate carbon fiber plate offering called Easton EC90 SLX2, the Imperial ensures that there is no energy wasted. This type of sole has the Giro’s best stiffness-to-weight ratio.

Breathable even from underneath. A vent pocket is strategically placed on the toe area to allow airflow while on the saddle. The pocket is protected by a screen made from stainless steel hardware.

Replaceable heel pads. Known to be one of the firsts to lose their function, replaceable sole pads add longevity and value to a particular model. They offer renewable traction for a comfortable off-bike experience.

The Giro Imperial employs the traditional 3-bolt road cleat system. Try it with the following pedal types: Garmin Vector 3 Power Meter, Time XPro 15, and Issi Carbon Road. Cleat markings are also provided to aid in precise positioning.

Breathable and lightweight yet sturdy. This shoe’s Synchwire upper is Giro’s proprietary design known to provide support and stability for pedaling efficiency. In the Imperial, the Synchwire is combined with welded mesh inserts called Teijin for ventilation.

Highly adjustable and precise fine-tuning. The fit is governed by two BOA dials with cables invisibly wrapped throughout the upper. The dials can be tightened and loosened in 1 mm increments and releases instantly too. The BOA aims to provide a secure fit without pressure points.

Being the brand’s premium road model, the Imperial features almost all of Giro’s best features. An example is its SuperNatural Fit insole equipped with anti-microbial fiber top sheets. Apart from keeping odor and bacteria at bay, it also comes with interchangeable arch supports.

This insole utilizes three foams with different levels of arch supports that attach and detach via Velcro. It allows the wearer to customize arch support for optimal comfort and pedaling efficiency.

  • Since their first release of shoes in 2010, Giro has only used laces, straps, Techlace, ratchet buckle, or a single BOA in its models until the introduction of the Imperial. The Giro Imperial is the brand’s first shoe to feature two BOA dials.


How Giro Imperial ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 3% road cycling shoes
All road cycling shoes
Top 3% Giro cycling shoes
All Giro cycling shoes
Top 3% breathable cycling shoes
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The current trend of Giro Imperial.
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