The Giro Factor TechLace Cycling Shoes Review
First thoughts on the Giro Factor TechLace
I received the Giro Factor TechLace in part because the month of May is recognized as Bike to Work month. Apparently, someone somewhere is keeping track of all these national daily, weekly, and monthly honors. This one does hit home for me. I don’t actually commute to work on a daily basis, but if I did, I don’t think I’d be crushing my Giro Factor TechLace on the daily grind. Great admiration goes out to the daily 365ers that have made the choice to eliminate a car, save money, spare the environment, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I, however, would find a very suitable and durable shoe perfect for dodging city buses and bunny hopping pot holes.
That said, these bad boys are meant for showing off some serious speed, vying for sprint finishes, and crushing long grinding mountain climbs. Upon receiving my Giro Factor TechLace, I exclaimed my excitement, and likened these to the Lamborghini’s of cycling shoes. Look at ‘em!!! They’re a work of art first and foremost. Secondly, they have space age technical features that will make you tap out a cadence that Chris Froome would be jealous of.
The Carbon Sole
Ok, I get carried away a bit. Seriously though, these Giro’s are a really fine shoe for many reasons. They have the capability to transfer maximum power to the pedals for better performance. The outsole is an Easton ® EC90 SLX2 high-modulus carbon. A mouth full, but rest assured it is lightweight and quite strong. The replaceable heel pads are nice if over time, you want to put a new set on. I tend to wear them down pretty quickly with all my post ride coffee stops.
Boa Closure System
Boa is a patented Closure System that is truly reinventing how shoes close and perform. It’s definitely not new anymore, but I have seen subtle and significant improvements over the years. Boa is a proprietary system that works with a mechanical reel, nylon guides, and the best part of all, a steel lace. All designed and created to address a long list of deficiencies in traditional closures. And in my world for all intents and purposes, we will call those traditional closures: laces, buckles, and ratchets that have all probably graced our cycling shoes. What Boa strives to do is create a perfect fit with the simple turn of a knob without any stretch, additional weight, and hassles. Quick adjustments to this system are also quite easy, and its gotten a favorable durability review.
In the case of these cycling shoes, the Boa Bi-directional Closure system delivers a semi-custom fit by tightening uniquely to your foot with a uniform cinching system. This provides a super comfortable fit, but also allows the entire foot/shoe system to place maximum power down through the soles and onto the pedals. I know the slight little advantage may seem insignificant, but over the course of a hundred mile ride and/or thousands of feet of climbing it may make a big difference.
The Laces and Straps of The Giro Factor TechLace
The combo is interesting with the lacing and strap being one and the same. The laces are actually really short, and allow for the top of the foot to literally stretch with the laces. Depending on the day, effort, and temperature my feet do tend to swell a bit, and this allows for a small window of automatic adjustment. The main advantage is comfort. There are no excess buckles, ratchets, rings, etc. to add weight or discomfort. The supple feel from the get-go is quite obvious, and the snugness combined with the flex is really pretty ideal.
Opening and closing while coasting is simple as well. If you start out too loose, a quick Velcro adjustement is accomplished without much effort.
Overall Performance Of The Giro Factor TechLace
I was eager to show these off, so I did not want to throw my wind and cold resistant shoe covers on. Low 40’s usually means having to do just that. I’m not going to say my toes were toasty, but I really wasn’t bothered by the cooler temps over a 2 hour bike ride. Any longer, I’m sure I would not have been happy.
Since this is a “race-bred” cycling shoe, I really have taken this shoe to task. My focus this spring was training for an Ironman. I know these shoes aren’t “tri” shoes, but over the course of 112 mile bike ride, the benefits of the Giro Factor TechLace are well worth it. My training group rides 2-3x per week involve some serious chit chatting for the first 10-15 miles, but once we reach the open roads, it’s “game-on”. These aren’t officially races, but many treat them that way and you have to be on your toes to react or stay in contact. It was a perfect outlet for pushing myself and the Giro Factor TechLace.
Most days, I would strap these shoes on, and got them dialed in right away. If not, a slight adjustment of the BOA dial was easily made while coasting along. Usually, I would have to tighten them slightly as I got settled in. There were a handful of times where about 25-35 miles in, I would notice a bit of tightness towards the front of my foot. I would simply readjust the strap for some release of pressure. I think the body/foot goes through phases of swelling based on effort, but also the weather plays a factor. Hence, the ability to adjust on the fly is a key component to the Giro Factor TechLace.
I have a slightly wider than average foot, and the TechLace provides a really supple and comfortable feel. The leather is smooth and conforms to my foot, the carbon sole provides a solid base, but is not uncomfortable by any means. I have stuck with the sole insert that came with the shoe, and it has been fine.
My maximum distance and time was 112 miles and about five and half hours at my Ironman Race. Again, these aren’t specifically “tri” shoes, but I made quick work of my transition, and got my shoes on and off in no time. Slide in, pull up the tongue, and quickly tighten the top strap. The ‘longest’ part was me cranking away at the dials for all of 2-3 seconds. Well worth it for the benefits it provided for the entire race. I never gave my shoes a second thought my entire day. Staying aero and pushing the pace was the focus. As the day got progressively warmer, I did notice a little discomfort, but that was quickly alleviated with a strap adjustment.
These shoes provide adequate venting for warmer temperatures with air flow to prevent sweaty feet. I would probably rate these for 45 degrees and up, but you can play around with that temperature range.
I’m a bit nervous about the virgin white and shiny exterior. It’s kind of like that fancy new bike. That first scratch or scuff is going to hurt, but you might as well get it over with. For now, these Giro Factor TechLace will be babied until they are nicely broken in. ***edit*** I took a slide, and I’ve not only put that first scratch on, but quite the serious blemish. Very unfortunate as my body also took a beating. In either case, the shoes still work fine. They just don’t look as nice and shiny as they used to. Very unfortunate, but so be it!
The Fit Of The Giro Factor TechLace
Out with the old, in with the new! I have 4-5 years of consistent use on my “old” GIRO’s. They are a bit beat up, but are kind of like my work horse shoes. They can handle the elements and a decent range of temperatures. The main reason I have liked them is the comfortable fit. I do wear a couple of GIRO’s competitors shoes, and both tend to run a bit narrow. As mentioned above, I have an average to slightly wider foot, and the GIRO’s just seem to fit perfectly. Hence, I was pretty stoked to get an upgrade to some elegant and stylish racing shoes. The comfort of the GIRO Factor Techlace was immediately evident, and I didn’t hesitate to start taking them out on my longer rides. I honestly never experienced any pinching, tightness, numbness, or discomfort. They really felt like an old pair of shoes.
I have enjoyed getting these to fit properly. The laces allow for a perfect wrap of the upper forward part of the foot with the Velcro strap fastening to the correct tension. The Boa Technology has been getting fine tuned over time and starts to really dial in a ‘glove-like’ fit.
And at the minimal weight of 210 grams, these are super lightweight.
Technical Features and Details
Upper: One-piece upper design, Premium Evofiber™ SL breathable Teijin® microfiber, Techlace™ + Boa IP 1 dial (1mm +/- with macro release)
Outsole: Easton ® EC90 SLX2 high-modulus carbon, Steel hardware, Replaceable heel pads
Footbed: Super Natural Fit Kit with adjustable arch support, X- Static ® anti-microbial fiber, Travel bag included
Weight: 210 grams (size 42.5)
Final Thoughts On The Giro Factor TechLace
These are easily the nicest pair of cycling shoes that have graced my feet. Comfortable, and I feel like I am really tapping out a hard cadence when pushed to my limits. The simple design makes them quite elegant, but the overall performance puts them in a league of their own. Very lightweight, a soft and comfortable upper, and a solid carbon sole provide for a topnotch shoe. You really do need to check them out for yourself.
For more details and purchase, please visit www.giro.com