Giro and the shoelace 2.0: After rocking the cycling world with the Giro Empire SLX, the Santa Cruz based company presents their new footwear lineup for 2017 at EUROBIKE. We had thus the chance to test the Factor Techlace exclusively for you in the Swiss Alps. There wasn’t just Bircher muesli on offer, but also the brand new Cinder MIPS-helmet.

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More than just a helmet company

After several years of development, Giro released their first cycling shoe in 2010. Since then, comfort and fit have been top priority for the American company. After the release of the popular Empire shoe at the Tour de France in 2014 it became obvious: Giro can make more than just helmets – “Head to Toe” being the motto. With the renaissance of the shoelace, Giro manifested their position among the scene’s style guides.

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What makes the new Factor Techlace special?

The idea behind the Factor Techlace unites the simplicity, fit and dynamics of the Empire, with the option of adjusting the shoe whilst cycling. Giro equip the Factor shoe with the Boa IP1 ratchet system and their own Techlace. Techlace is a specially developed system which allows adjustment of lace tension on the fly, this is achieved with two pairs of laces fixed respectively to Velcro straps. Giros objective is to combine the comfort of a laced shoe with the simplicity of the Boa dial and the Velcro strap systems. The Boa ratchet system allows very precise adjustment. With the micro adjust function, the shoe can not only be closed but also opened in one millimeter steps. If the Boa-dial is pulled upwards, the shoe opens completely.

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„Giro believes in choice“

True to this motto, Giro Senior Product Marketing Manager Simon Fischer presented the many different combination possibilities. The shoe comes in three basic colors (Black, White/Black and Vermillion/Black), it can be customised with the Boa system being available in four, the Velcro straps in six and laces in two different colors. The laces are available in 12 different lengths, and thanks to the innovative “Couplers”, swapping them out promises to be a simple and fast task. In typical American manner, Simon Fischer celebrates the possibilties: “Your shoe, your choice!”

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On the road

Thanks to the Techlace system and the Boa dial release, the shoe is open in seconds, so getting your foot in is a breeze, a quick tensioning/setting of the Techlaces and a couple of turns on the Boa dial and you’re off. The nylon coated steel cable glides freely through the dial, and leaves absolutely no nasty pressure points on your foot, and a lifelong guarantee on the Boa system means you can concentrate on the important things. Riding; the first turn of the cranks makes it clear that the carbon sole from Easton is not made for a Sunday walk in the park, it does not give a millimeter. Paired with the relatively flat profile of the shoe it gives you a maximum of power transfer, chain on the big ring!

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The sole has only one small vent, yet thanks to the perforated uppers we experienced no excessive sweating during these hot summer temperatures. The combination of Techlace and Boa-systems is solid and did not give throughout the day and yet should your feet swell during a long four hour ride, a quick one handed adjustment has your feet relieved instantly.

The foot is held firmly by an extra padded achilles tendon protector which holds even the flattest feet with the least volume perfectly and allows no slippage. The middle of the insole is adjustable for different foot arch heights by switching the pad under the middle of the insole, held in place by very fine Velcro strips. At present Giro is working on a HV-Version (High Volume), which will accommodate riders with extra wide or high feet. We will have more exclusive information on the HV-Version here in early 2017.

Hard Facts

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Factor (Mens)

  • Three colours (Black, White/Black and Vermillion/Black)
  • Sizes 39 to 50 in half size steps
  • 210 g per shoe in size 42.5
  • RRP 350 €
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Factress (Womens)

  • One colour (White/Black)
  • Sizes 36 to 43 in half size steps
  • 195 g per shoe in size 39
  • RRP 350 €

Release date October 2016

The Bottom Line

The combination of Giro’s Techlace-system with the Boa-ratchet sets a precedent in bike shoe comfort. The freedom to intuitively adjust the tension in different sectors of the foot whilst riding, and the perfect form allow the shoe to fit like a second skin. The Giro Factor Techlace is light, stiff and oozing with style – it is however not a bargain.

For more information head to the official Giro website!

Further News from Giro

Cinder MIPS Helmet

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No, that’s not a printing mistake! A helmet based on the design of the Synthe with MIPS, retailing for only 150 €! Giro are offering the highest protection at a fair price. The Cinder can be adjusted to fit your head perfectly using their Roc Loc-System, and it comes in six colour variations for women and for men, so there should be something there for everyone.

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Sentrie and Raes Road Shoes

The Sentrie (Mens) and the Raes (Womens) offer many features of the Factor model. A slightly cheaper Boa-System (L-6 without the Micro Adjust) and a couple of grams of extra weight allow Giro to reduce the price to 250 €.

Giro at the EUROBIKE

At the Giro stand you can check out the newest shoe and helmet models and meet the friendly relaxed team led by Dain Zaffke, Giros marketing manager. You can also have your feet measured in the Fit-Studio. Rumor has it that the Californians have some rather light products behind the counter that haven’t yet seen the light of day!

Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Dain Zaffke, Benjamin Topf