Over the past couple of weeks, the cycling press has been full of eager initial reviews of the latest additions to Giro's road cycling shoe range: the Giro Techlace Factor men's road cycling shoes and the Giro Techlace Factress women's road cycling shoes. As we are big fans of Giro shoes and just dying to get our hands on these beauties (which should be available from October), we thought we'd take a look at what the initial feedback on these innovative new shoes has been.
But first things first, what makes the Techlace shoes so exciting?
The Techlace system is a new shoe closure design which combines the comfort and customised fit of laces with the convenience and adjustability of straps - revolutionary indeed! The shoes are laced across the main part of the upper, but rather than using a single continuous lace, two separate sets of laces which are connected to adjustment straps are used. The benefits of this are multifold: you get the custom fit and supple feel of laces but then the straps allow you to easily make mid-ride adjustments (something which is not possible with full-on laced shoes) and quickly get the shoes off at the end of the ride.
The following slightly cheesy but very informative video introduces the system in more detail.
Why develop the Techlace system?
With the release of the very popular Empire shoe by Giro a few years ago, the use of laces on road cycling shoes has seen something of a revival (with Sir Bradley Wiggins a notable fan). One of Giro's motivations in developing the Techlace range of shoes has been to take everything that is good about a lace based closure system (namely their lighter weight, supple feel and replaceability) and overcome everything that isn't (namely the length of time it takes to fasten or unfasten them and their lack of easy on the go adjustability).
Even without the innovative new Techlace system, the Factor and Factress would be incredibly well specced shoes: a Boa dial adjuster completes the shoes' closure system, allowing for precise 1mm adjustments, quick on the go adjustment and a secure feel at the top of the shoe. The sole used is the Easton EC90 SLX2 which is one of the best, thinnest, lightest and stiffest soles available, the shoes use Giro's SuperNatural Fit footbed which allows you to customise the arch supports and the upper is made from a breathable microfibre which is also very durable and so will maintain its shape over time. The shoes are also very lightweight: 210g for size 42.5 of the Factor and 195g for size 39 of the Factress.
So what do the reviewers think?
To launch the Factor and Factress, Giro invited reviewers to come and try out the new shoes on rides in Flims, Switzerland - a perfect test ground for the Techlace system we think. We've gathered together some of these initial views - we have to say, it seems that the Factor and Factress have gone down a storm... roll on October! Below are some of the key thoughts on the shoe from the reviewers.
My initial impressions are very good, and the Factors miss perfection only by small measures. While I can’t yet speak to durability, I can say Giro achieved its goal of an exceptional fit and on-the-fly adjustability... Giro has made a lace-up that’s easy to reach for on daily rides, especially for a guy like me who tends to fidget with fit frequently.
Dan Cavallari, Velonews
As you’d expect, adjusting the fit while you ride could hardly be easier. It’s a one-handed operation that you can perform without taking your eyes off the road.
Mat Brett, Road CC
The first thing I noticed about the new shoe was the supple feel of the upper and the cushioned tongue, which made it feel immediately comfortable compared to other road race shoes I’ve tried. I could pull the Techlace system down quite tight on the Velcro closures so that the shoe felt very secure without the sensation of being squeezed. Once on, there was no perceptible give or wiggling around in the shoe—I got a second-skin, secure fit that stayed that way through our six-hour climbing fest without any need for adjustment.
Gloria Liu, Bicycling
In its design, the Factor Techlace looks really nice, with perforated material for breathability and clean lines.
Nick Busca, Cycling Weekly
The Techlace system has also been reported on at Bike Radar, Bike Rumor, and Road Cycling UK.
Giro are also incorporating the Techlace technology into two other shoe models which come in at a slightly lower price point, the Raes women's road shoe and the Sentrie men's road shoe, both of which will retail at £199.99. The Factor and Factress will retail at £229.99.
Shop Giro Techlace Shoes