- Detail Images
You've been eyeing Giro's VR90 shoes for a while and trying to settle on just one color option, or maybe you already have a pair or two and are looking to cap off that rad new kit design with the perfect extended #kitfit. Either way, we've collaborated with Giro to bring you the Empire VR90 Limited Edition Shoes in a colorway that you won't find anywhere else. Pairing a flash of silver bling with subtle hits of Competitive Cyclist red, these shoes will stand out as they stand up to all manner of muddy switchbacks, rocky descents, gravel rollers, and myriad epic adventuring.
These shoes are packing all the features we love about the standard VR90s, including a lace-up closure system for seven points of adjustability and a comfy, near-custom fit. The shoes also include Giro's SuperNatural Fit Kit, which is a series of three arch support options that lets you further fine tune the feel. In a small yet important demonstration of Giro's attention to detail, an integrated lace keeper holds lace ends securely in place to assuage worries of an inopportune chain grab or crankset encounter.
Giro uses a one-piece upper made from soft, breathable Evofiber with perforations for extra cooling ventilation when the mercury rises. This material is malleable enough to shape to your foot for an exceptionally comfortable fit while resisting stretch and loss of shape over time. In this regard, we might liken them to a favorite pair of well-worn slippers—if, that is, the slippers were high-tech, durable, and ridiculously low-weight. The polished finish accentuates the color with the added bonus of quick and easy cleaning after a muddy day in the saddle.
Underfoot, Giro incorporates an ultralight and ultra-stiff Easton EC90 carbon fiber sole with a low 6.5mm stack height for efficient power transfer regardless of terrain. To manage hike-a-bike or barrier-running situations, Giro finishes the VR90 with a Vibram Mont rubber lugged outsole and a Mid-Foot Scuff Guard. The two conspire for solid grip whether you're scrambling up a rocky face or pounding through a mid-race run-up, and they help provide interim purchase on the pedal if you miss a clip-in while remounting. Each shoe also includes fittings for two toe spikes for extra traction when you really need to dig in.
Each pair of Giro Empire VR90 Limited Edition Shoes comes packaged with two sets of laces, four steel toe spikes, cleat mounting hardware, and a zippered Giro shoe bag for easy storage and transport.
- A cycling shoe that spans trail, gravel, and 'cross duties
- Stiff carbon sole from Easton
- External lugs provide traction on run-ups and cafe floors
- Toe spike mounts for the sloppiest slop
- Synthetic upper breaks in rather than breaking down
- Lace-up closure proves cycling's future is it's past
- A limited collaboration between Giro and Competitive Cyclist
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I originally got the Grinduro purple VR90's to replace a pair of Sidi Dominator 5 Women's shoes, and love them so much that I couldn't resist getting a second pair when this colorway went live on the site. The combo of matte silver and CC red looks fantastic in person, and the reflective logos add a pop of bright on dark cloudy days and evening races. They're a rare blend of ridiculously comfortable, highly functional, and durable enough to handle all the running and general mayhem that is cyclocross.
The sole is super stiff, which isn't always ideal for 'cross, but Giro rockered the lugs just enough that running in the VR90's feels surprisingly natural and comfortable. And the power transfer is amazing. I didn't think I'd be able to feel that much of a difference from the Sidis, but it it's massively apparent, especially for short, punchy climbs and sprints.
The Vibram rubber grips well, which is a huge plus compared to the plastic lugs found on Sidis and a few other brands. The grippiness means no more worries about losing your footing when dismounting/running/remounting on pavement or other hard packed surfaces. The rubber surfacing also spans under the midfoot, adding much needed grip for coasting before a dismount and minimizing losses if you miss a clip in off the start or after a remount.
The overall fit on these is just so, so comfy. Both pairs I have were soft and comfortable from the first wear and continue to be the comfiest cycling shoes I've ever worn. The upper stretched a tiny bit during the first couple of rides - just enough to form to my foot and be even comfier, and has held its shape perfectly ever since.
Specific to sizing, I sized down from a 42 in Sidi to a 41.5 in Giro. They do fit a bit on the narrow side for a men's shoe (which is awesome for me), but the laces are so adjustable that these shoes should accommodate a wide range of foot widths.
To lace or not to lace
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
- Fit: Runs small
- Size Bought: 47
I've put this shoe through the ringer and in all, it's a great shoe... worth $300??? I guess that's up to the buyer. If they last 4-5 seasons, it's worth it to me. They do run slim and it takes some getting used to on how tight to lace them. The one downside is on the fly adjustments... I've had to stop, get off the bike and relace them a few times.