Frequent visitors to Competitive Cyclist will know that we tend to privilege the rule of three in our copy descriptions. It's just an effective model of communication. Giro takes a similar approach with its Factress Techlace Women's Shoes, which combine three of the most common fastening systems—Boa's IP1 dial, laces, and hook-and-loop straps—in a triumvirate of cycling shoe satisfaction. The result blends the minimalist profile and customizable fit of the lace-up Empire with the user-friendly convenience of the original Factress.
The Factress Techlace is the first Giro shoe to feature a Boa dial, and Giro uses it to anchor the shoe at the top, which is where the IP1's single millimeter adjustment will come the most in handy. The rest of the shoe is secured by hook-and-loop straps that are in turn anchored by laces. Fit-wise, they feel similar to the original Factress once the straps are tightened and the dial is dialed, but replacing the full straps with laces involves a reduction in material and a corresponding loss of weight.
Giro credits the Factress Techlace with a tidy 40g weight loss per shoe when compared to the plain ol' Factress. There will undoubtedly be a chorus of retro-grouches lamenting the combination as unnecessary ostentation, but we heard the same critique of laces when the Empire fist launched, and now it's impossible to imagine a group ride or race without at least one pair in the bunch.
The Easton EC90SLX2 sole is an upgrade over the Factress' ACC model, and its use of lighter carbon fiber also contributes to the weight loss. Despite shedding grams, the sole remains stiffly efficient and features a full complement of steel hardware for mounting cleats and replacing the heel pad. As with all of Giro's race shoes, stack height is kept to a minimum in order to eliminate as many barriers between your watts and the pedals as possible.
The sole is mated to a single-piece upper made of the same Teijin Evofiber SL Giro uses for its other top-tier race shoes, so the Factress Techlace is similar to shoes like the Empire SLX in that it breaks in over the course of a couple of weeks. Fit is further customizable with Giro's Super Natural Fit Kit, which allows three different levels of arch support to help alleviate hot spots and discomfort caused by metatarsal pressure. The insole itself is made of odor-resistant microfiber, and the shoes are packaged with a zippered bag for travel and storage.