You may remember we took a first look at the new Giro Shoe’s back in February. Since then we’ve been lucky enough to have a pair of the Prolight SLX’s and the Factor’s for testing, here’s how we are getting on so far:
Chris and the Prolight SLX.
Life as a tester can be tough at times, just the other night I had to decide what shoes to tackle my 90 minute ‘Friday night blast’ route in. Would I take my trusty and in my view 99% perfect Ergo II’s or give the new Giro Prolight’s a go?
My Sidi’s fit well, have worn in to fit my feet brilliantly and despite the scuffed toes still look white and PRO enough to the glancing passer by, but then the Giro’s are white and brand new, have the cleats in just about the right position and weigh far, far less than the Ergo II’s.
Knowing that I could quite easily power round the route at a respectable speed/no one was going to overtake me I opted to give the Giro’s their first proper test. On putting them on the new Velcro stuck just where I left it and the soles are stiff enough to make me waddle down the path. They are fitted with heel tabs for grip which have a touch of softness to them and the toes have a similar but lower profile piece on them.
On the bike they really fit like a glove, I know we’re bound to say this about free shoes but honestly they do. The tongue has some inner padding so that the buckle don’t pinch and you’ll notice that the upper has only a couple of seams near the front so as not to create any pressure points. I thought I may miss having buckles to alter/relieve pressure points with while riding but as long as I give them a good ‘push’ before securing the straps I haven’t needed to bother with anything mid-ride.
Easton make the sole from their EC90 carbon which is both light and stiff. At 6.5mm thick it places your foot right on the pedal although the cleat markers seem very oddly placed, on first try I had my cleats far too forward which gave me some lovely foot cramps for an hour on a previous ride (I really have to admit to myself that stopping to tinker mid-ride doesn’t make me weak!). Once that was sorted though I have no qualms with them.
Other features which make these worth the £250 are the Ti buckles and custom insoles (more on these in a moment). An obligatory shoe bag is included for transport and you can be sure that someone will ask you about them at a race or group ride.
Now the insoles, these shoes have the Supernatural Fit Kit which has three levels of adjustable arch support (provided) to fine tune your fit. My arches are very high indeed so I was looking forward to this part and seeing the difference between a shoe without support and one with. Having only had chance to try the shoes with the biggest support fitted from the off I can report that I’ve had no problems at all with comfort – I can’t really bring myself to take the support out and go for a ride to see the difference, it is bound to be painful!
After three weeks of (almost) daily use they still look new and any marks from catching pedals and crank arms have easily wiped off the outer material. As yet the mesh hasn’t got wet and discoloured but I think this is unavoidable with any shoe.
Their lack of weight makes them feel more race like than my Sidi’s, although like a lot of things cycling related it can be hard to change from a product you love and would recommend to anyone. If I had a crit to race tonight I’d be picking the Giro’s up, however just now I’ll be wearing my Sidis to the cafe on Saturday. But with more time spent with them that could very easily change. If you need some new shoes give them a go! Especially if you need the insole support or want something new and which most people haven’t got!
Anthony and the Factor.
Much like Chris, I’ve been slumming it with a lovely pair of the new Giro Factor shoes to ride for the past few months. Pitched fractionally below the Prolight in terms of performance and price, the Factor is more of an ‘all occasions’ shoe, thanks to the addition of a ratchet strap. It also comes with standard hardware (unlike the titanium found on the Prolight) and ‘just’ with the Supernatural fit kit insole (the Prolight comes with an additional lightweight insole). It does however have the wafer thin EC90 sole and also the same seamless design and build as the Prolight. For the record I’m not going to comment on the insole, I’ll leave Chris to do that, because I use custom insoles in all of my shoes. These, incidentally, fitted without any drama, the deliberately neutral footbed (which I mentioned in this blog) did exactly what it said on the tin.
Straight out of the box they were extremely comfy and they’ve continued to impress. The upper has softened and moulded to my feet nicely, they have always been exceptionally comfortable and without hotspots. When I first started wearing them I thought the offset middle D-ring felt peculiar, but once I got on the bike and started riding I really didn’t notice it at all, I suspect it was more the look which surprised me.
Cleat set up was relatively straightforward, they have nice markers on the sole which make setting the position a little easier. I too found the holes were relatively far forward, when I lined up the ball of my foot with the Keo 2 pedal axle the cleats sit fairly well back in the range of adjustment. This is worth noting if you run your cleats a long way back. The soles have a Look memory screw as well, which will make replacing the cleats easier. One lovely thing about these soles is the stiffness, whether wheezing up a climb or desperately trying to stay in the big ring on the flat they’re lovely and stiff giving effortless power transfer. Impressive for a pair of shoes this light. Mine have marked easily, but I’d put this partly down to my gratuitous cafe stops and the fact that I’m afraid I’m not particularly careful whilst walking around in my cycling shoes.
Unlike Chris I’m not particularly Euro (read not fast enough), so I went with a nice black pair to compliment my stealthy Madone, Euro rules be damned! The Teijin microfibre is still looking fresh and new with a surprising lack of scuff marks from riding/transporting. I’m interested to see how long they will look new for, despite my complete disregard for their cleanliness.
So to sum up, these phenomenally light shoes could well be that one shoe to rule them all. Whether racing, training or just out for a ride with your friends I’d happily wear them everytime. They’re not cheap, but to date the quality, fit and performance justify the price tag. If you’re after a shoe which you can put on everytime you get on the bike and know they’ll perform, I’d take a very serious look at the Factor, despite the price tag.