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  • Giro - Empire VR90 Cycling Shoe - Men's - Iceberg/Reflective
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  • Giro - Empire VR90 Cycling Shoe - Men's - Iceberg/Reflective
  • Giro - Empire VR90 Cycling Shoe - Men's - Black/Glowing Red
  • Giro - Empire VR90 Cycling Shoe - Men's - Black/Lime
  • Giro - Empire VR90 Cycling Shoe - Men's - Blue Jewel/Black

Giro Empire VR90 Cycling Shoe - Men's

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    • Iceberg/Reflective
    • Black/Glowing RedPast season color
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    4.5535

    35 Reviews

    Details

    Lace up, ride far.

    One look at the Giro Empire VR90 and you know something’s different. Giro’s use of laces on a top-end XC shoe sets them apart from the rest of the laces-wearing mountain bike clan by at least a couple inches of suspension travel. At the base of the Empires is an Easton carbon fiber EC90 sole — the stiffest and lightest in Easton’s impressive lineup of carbon fiber. Vibram’s sturdy and grippy Mont outsole is then layered over the carbon, both to give you a bit more walkability in the shoes, but also to protect the carbon.

    Bonded to the Vibram/Easton combo at the sole is a one piece microfiber upper that’s incredibly breathable and comfortable, but won’t stretch out over time, ensuring you get the same fit throughout the life of the shoe. Giro’s lauded SuperNatural Fit Kit insoles are also included. These insoles include three different inserts for low, medium, and high arches, and they’re among the best we’ve ridden without going full-custom.

    • An off-road cycling shoe for the fashionably fast
    • Same light, stiff carbon sole as found in the road race version
    • Equipped for trail duty with a grippy, lugged Vibram outsole
    • Lace-up enclosure customizes fit with 7 points of contact
    • Replaceable inserts let you tailor arch support
    • Anti-odor lining keeps funk to a minimum
    • Item #GIR005M

    Tech Specs

    Upper Material
    Teijin microfiber
    Closure
    lace
    Footbed
    SuperNatural Fit Kit, X-Static antimicrobial fiber
    Sole
    Easton EC90 ACC carbon fiber, high traction rubber
    Cleat Compatibility
    2-bolt
    Claimed Weight
    [size 42.5] 315 g
    Recommended Use
    mountain bike, cyclocross
    Manufacturer Warranty
    1 year

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Love these shoes!!!!

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: Runs small

    These shoes run very narrow, but for me that's a good thing. My feet are very narrow and it's difficult to find a shoe to hold tight to my feet. And the power transfer difference from my old shimano shoes was night and day. I actually laughed out loud for about 30 min during my test ride. They look amazing, and there are even different inserts for my arch support to make sure my feet fit perfect. I ride in the rain and soak them and just dry them off and they're good as new. I just have to wipe the mud off with my hands and they're clean again. I couldnt ask for more. I will be ordering more of these in the future. I have to make myself not use them for every single commute ride because I love then so much. But they are expensive so I dont want to ruin them in the first winter season. Will update when I introduce them to Michigan's salty winter roads. I should have ordered 43.5 or 44's. They run small but just how narrow they are.

    Great right out of the box

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: 42
    • Height: 5'8"
    • Weight: 180lbs

    Recent purchase, but I've used them a lot already. First, they are stiff. The carbon sole delivers all the power into the bike. Second, the outsole is grippy. Used them in sand, dirt and grass. Great traction. Finally, they are comfortable. The laces let you customize the fit. Can't really change them on the go, but that's the trade off. 80 km gravel/sand ride and no issues with hot spots, blisters or discomfort. The toe box is a little narrow but not an issue with the laces. The size fit is true. Highly recommend. And the bright blue is nice and showy!

    Finally retiring my VR90

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: 45

    Finally retiring mine after 3500 dirt miles from my home in Park City, Utah. PROs: custom fit feel and super light and stiff. Great XC climbing shoe, lace ups really worked well. CONs: could use more durable rubber as got some delaminatation from the sole Rather early on the sides. Pretty pricey. Definitely run narrow, I went a whole size up to a 45. Overall considering getting them again as my current pair is absolutely finished after this Whistler and BC trip.

    Looks like soccer

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: 46
    • Height: 6'1"
    • Weight: 175lbs

    I personally like the lace up look but different styles for different folks. These shoes fit narrow! Definitely keep that in mind when you are looking at your options. They have been a good shoe though - I've put some heavy miles on them including walking on lots of rock and they have held up well so far.

    Race-worthy shoe, not for me

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: Runs small

    I gave these a shot, and while they didn't end up being the shoe for me, they did impress me. Laces have some legit benefits. You'll never have hot spots from poorly distributed pressure, and they are light. The VR90s also have a durable, walkable Vibram sole, which is a nice touch! For me, the width was the deal-breaker. These run narrow, and about a size small (I wear a 43 Shimano/Sidi, and I had to go with a 44 in these.) Eventually, I decided to move on, and they ended up in the hands of my brother, who raced on them for a season. Ultimately, the sole delaminated, so the durability wasn't incredible either.

    If you have a relatively narrow foot, and want a light, stiff, and comfortable race shoe, these are the way to go!

    Best she’s ever.

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: 46
    • Height: 6'1"
    • Weight: 234lbs

    Great arch support adjustment. The laces allow the ultimate in adjustability and comfort. And a super stiff soul.

    Great fit, durability will be tested

      Pretty excited about these shoes. The fit is great and found the arch inserts to really help dial in my high arches. Stepped on the heel when putting these on and spend a good few minutes digging it out of itself. After a few rides they are holding up well. The fit was hard to dial in on the first ride being new to laces, but now they are great.

      Empire Reliability

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: 45 to life.
      • Height: 6'3"
      • Weight: 173lbs

      These were purchased after riding their road equivalent for the last year. I wanted the same long distance comfort in a mountain shoe and totes got it. Highly recommended af.

      Comfortable, works fantastic, durable

        These were gifted to a friend, here's what he had to say about them!
        Great shoe, great fit, arguably better than the road version. There’s something almost sneaker-like about this MTB shoe, particularly since they added a Vibram sole that features soft, chunky rubber that makes walking around very easy. I have had the road version of the Empire, and as stated I would actually put Giro’s MTB offering a step above in that the outer material seems a bit more foot-friendly, also adding a capped toe helps. This is a great shoe, and the included modular footbed is a win.

        Great shoe, runs narrow

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
        • Fit: Runs small
        • Size Bought: 43.5
        • Height: 5'10"
        • Weight: 155lbs

        While I found these to be excellent shoes, they run narrow, meaning, the last itself is narrow from the toebox back to the ankle, so easing laces did not solve the problem. After two months of heavy use, the uppers did not stretch (nor should they have). For reference, my foot measures 8.5 between B and C width. I ordered a 43 and 43.5. The 43 was right length but far too narrow. The 43.5 is a touch long, but still too narrow. Like Sidi's the Giro is slightly narrow in the toebox, but unlike Sidi's the narrowness ( and thus the pressure) continues aft to the ankle. It resulted in cramping, pressure and pain for me. You can see the last by comparing soles of the various shoes. I have since tried Fizik and found its last to be wider and thus a better shape for my foot.

        Lil bit smaller than Empire/ACC/SLX

        • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
        • Fit: Runs small
        • Size Bought: 42
        • Height: 5'6"
        • Weight: 127lbs

        I have a set of Empire SLXs in 42 so I figured these would fit the same in 42, but it turns out they're a lot smaller. I think a 43 would even fit me.

        FAST!

        • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
        • Fit: Runs small
        • Size Bought: 43.5
        • Height: 5'9"
        • Weight: 180lbs

        I only wish I could peddle as fast as they shoes look. Extremely well made. Not cheap by any means, but they are top notch. Snug fit, run a 1/2 to full size smaller.

        Swanky

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: 47
        • Height: 6'3"
        • Weight: 200lbs

        Stiff, comfortable, excellent fit and they look good. And they are holding up quite well. Light, simple and well-constructed. Perfect.

        Swanky

        First time laces...long time convert

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
        • Fit: Runs large
        • Size Bought: 43
        • Height: 5'11"
        • Weight: 150lbs

        I was skeptical about laces having never had a pair of cycling shoes with them before, but there was no need to be. I can get them just as tight as with BOA and the pressure is spread evenly over the top of my foot which makes them super comfy. I'm not sure that I'd go for laces on road shoes, but they are perfect on XC shoes.
        As for size, I've gone down half a size compared to Shimano or Mavic.

        Unfounded Skepticism - Laces, Soles, Fit

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times
        • Fit: True to size

        * Sizing is pretty true, for my narrow 10.5 size foot. I comfortably wear the VR90 in a 44; in Sidi and Fizik I wear 44.5
        * Laces? Sure why not. I don't usually adjust my shoes for anything less than 250km anyway. But probably a PITA when caked with mud (maybe duct tape at start of really muddy rides?).
        * Narrow fit is +/- depending on what you're looking for. That said, the toe box is fairly square and roomy... allows a great platform for standing on climbs.
        * Heel hold down is excellent for my narrow feet and thin heel/ankle.
        * Good initial impression of the insole with adjustable arch support; I usually swap out the OEM insoles depending on volume of shoe, but am still on the fence with the VR90 since the fit is really good.
        * Walking is adequate: Vibram lugs are soft, Easton sole is stiff, but amount of rocker is OK. And I have no need to run in these. (Not using toe spikes.)
        * Debating whether to use a plate (e.g., Crank Bros.) between the sole and cleat.

        Thanks for the sweet deal, CC. Thought I might send them back but I've dialed-in cleat placement on the trainer and already had 'em outside.

        great quality, small sizing

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times
        • Fit: Runs small
        • Size Bought: 41.5
        • Height: 5'11"
        • Weight: 160lbs

        I purchased a pair of 41.5s to replace my 41.5 s-works mtb shoes. The Giro's fit is a bit more snug - enough that I can't chalk it up only to my old shoes being stretched out. All's good though, I'm still breaking them in. In hindsight I should have gone with a 42.

        This is my first experience with lace-ups. So far, I have only good things to report. I don't miss boa cranks particularly, laces aren't flying everywhere, etc.

        The quality is apparent and the vibram sole is much more sticky than my old shoes, or other shoes I have owned previously. This makes them great for Fall in the NE with our damp, leaf-covered rocks and roots.

        Looking at the comment "Ain't Got No Sole," I'd argue that if you abuse the hell out of any piece of bike equipment, its likely to fall apart. Look at how warn his metal cleat pieces are - I'm not sure you can point to a defective sole as the primary issue here. Props to the reviewer for getting after it assuming he isn't working construction in his bike shoes. In sum, the lugged up, sticky vibrate sole = traction on slippery surfaces.

        Most importantly though, they look sick. Don't lie, that's why you're looking at lace up shoes.

        Ain't Got No Sole

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
        • Fit: True to size

        Ah my purple slippers, you've let me down.

        On a chilly February morning I ordered a pair of VR90s in the plum color way of the Grinduro. Over the next eight months, I'd use them for racing over dirt roads, single track, barriers, mud and tears. I suppose the fit is fine, they ain't my first pair of Giros, but the durability and cushioning leave a bit to be desired.

        Now for the cushioning part of this, it could be my own childish tendency to bunny hop everything in combination with the tiny contact point of ATACs. As a result, the flimsy insoles don't really have enough cushioning and after twenty miles of singletrack my forefoot feels like someone went at it with a ball peen hammer. I swapped em for some blue Specialized BG insoles, which helps, but don't do too much to battle the shoe gremlins. If you're courtin' the VR90 that may or may not be your issue.

        The ultimate betrayal, however, is the sole. You've probably heard the line "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." (It's from a Lebanese-American poet named Khalil Gibran.) and if you were to saddle up to a bar, you could get quite a story from the VR90s after a round of Wild Turkey. However, what's good for the soul ain't good for the sole and the Vibram bits just don't seem to be faithful.

        Every creak of my pedals seems to warn the shoe "he ain't no good for you!" Maybe I beat 'em too hard, but as you can see the rubber has hit the road. Too many metaphors.

        In all seriousness, I've owned more shoes than I can count and I've never had shoes, including other Giros, fall apart this fast. No word from Giro on warranty or repair (I don't think that's possible). If you only use them on occasion, they might work fine (barring the cushioning issue I mentioned). But if you use them on the regular (FWIW, I clock over 10k miles a year across disciplines) they might be more of a one night stand than true love.

        They sure do look purty.

        Ain't Got No Sole

        They ain't hiking boots, in spite of the Vibram sole. But from the looks of your cleats, you do more than a little bike-hiking. Some people love the soft rubber, others say it disintegrates. Guess it depends on intended use. Thanks for the heads-up!

        Great shoes. Watch the sizing.

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times
        • Fit: Runs small

        I won't repeat what everyone has said about the shoes. I'm a lace convert and I won't go back if I can help it.

        On sizing, I ride the road version of this shoe (Empire) and love it so I ordered the same size in the VR90 expecting all to be well. My particular pair seemed about 1/4 - 1/2 size too short. "Narrowness" seemed to be about the same as what I'm used to, but I had to go a half size up to get these to work, otherwise running in these shoes would have had my toes banging into the tops, especially when wearing winter socks.

        Other than that, they're great shoes.

        Unanswered Question

        I have Giro Codes and Empire SLX road shoes-the Empires had to be a full size smaller. Would these fit the same as the Empires?

        Unanswered Question

        Has Giro considered making a "wide" for this model? Also, I have a number of bike shop owners who agree about the quality of the sole (both shops owners own these...) - has Giro made any improvements regarding the construction? Would love to make this my shoe of choice, however the above two are non-starters...

        Unanswered Question

        Is the sizing the same as the normal Empire's? I'd love an SPD pair--

        How does fit on the Empires compare to say, Specialized? I've got the S-Works mtb shoes in a 46...would I be the same in these? Are the empires narrow, wide or in between?

        I've worn both SIDI and Specialized shoes in a 44.5, and wear these in a 44. I'd characterize them a s medium fit, similar to the Specialized S-works shoe, but with a bit more ability to customize the fit with the interchangeable arches on the Supernatural footbed.