Move over laces, Giro has a new flagship road shoe. Taking much of what they’ve learned from the Prolight Techlace, Giro is now offering their first ever twin-Boa dial shoe in the form of the Giro Imperial.
Like the Prolight Techlace, the design of the Imperial relies on a composite layered upper construction which creates a super light shoe that is still supportive and breathable. That composite material is called Synchwire – a three layer construction that includes monofilament mesh, reinforced and thermally welded Teijin TPU, and synthetic fiber mashed up into a sheet so that there is zero stretch. When combined into a single preformed upper with heat and pressure, the construction can be better tuned by zone so the shoe is able to provide support where you need it and massive ventilation where you don’t.
That ventilation on the upper is important – it turns out in Giro’s testing that vents on the sole of the shoe don’t actually help all that much in cooling down your feet (not to mention they let water into the shoe when wet). So while the Imperials only have one small vent at the toe on the sole, almost half of the upper is a vent. Our first rides on these shoes confirm that this is a shoe that breathe exceptionally well.
One of the most obvious changes to the Imperial is the addition of two Boa IP1 dials (which adjust in either direction). That’s a first for Giro. They’ve had shoes in the past with a single dial, but never two. In order to get the dials to feel more like Giro’s beloved laces, the Imperial uses a double lacing pattern with soft lace guides rather than hard plastic. This is said to eliminate hot spots and potential fit issues with other lace guides, but it’s also lighter.
The Imperial was not designed to be the lightest shoe that Giro could produce. In fact, Giro had produced prototypes in the 130-135g range but said that at that point they “verge on art project rather than a commercial, repeatable process.” To get them that light they claimed it required sacrifices that weren’t worth the cost, and left them with a lot of waste. They also wanted to make a shoe that was real world durable, one with replaceable heel pads and non-titanium inserts. With that said, the Imperial is still quite light for a dual boa shoe coming in at 219g per shoe for a size 42.
Underneath, the Easton EC90 SLX2 carbon sole guarantees efficient power transfer and uses the traditional 3 bolt cleat pattern with plenty of hash marks for cleat alignment. As mentioned, the ample heel pad is replaceable with two bolts.
Inside, you’ll find Giro’s Super Natural Fit footbed system with customizeable arch support.
Sold in three colors for $425 a pair, the shoes are available now. Sizing is offered in a men’s performance fit with EU 39-48 in whole sizes, but only 42.5-45.5 in half sizes. That’s a bit of a bummer if you have small or large feet and typically wear half sizes like me. I’m usually exactly a 41.5 so I received a 42 as a tester which was a little big. I’m waiting on a 41 to see if that fits better, and will report back with first impressions then.