Giro is aiming for the best of all worlds with its new Factor Techlace road shoe. This high end $350 lightweight number utilizes a single Boa dial at the top of the instep along with a pair of Techlaces over the forefoot. This new patent-pending closure system combines replaceable laces that are attached to Velcro straps. The shoes will be available starting in October.
The shoes combine the micro-adjustability of a Boa dial with the convenience of a strap and the seven points of contact offered by laces.
The idea is to retain the seven points of contact afforded by laces, while also giving users the ability to quickly adjust tension on the fly via straps and a Boa IP1 dial, which tightens or loosens in 1mm increments. This is the first time Giro has employed a Boa dial on any of its shoes road or mountain, which currently includes 48 total models.
The new design is also being offered in a women's high end version (Factress Techlace), as well as lower priced $250 offerings for men (Sentrie Techlace) and women (Raes Techlace). The two more budget friendly options use the Boa L6 dial, which only micro-adjusts tighter. To loosen you must pop release the dial and then re-tighten.
Other differences include claimed weight (210g size 42.5 and 195g size 39 for the higher priced men's and women's versions versus 245g and 235g for the step down models). And Factor Techlace and Factress Techlace get Easton's EC90 SLX carbon outsole, while the Sentrie and Raes models use EC70 carbon.
Despite moving away from the full lace set-up used in its popular Empire road shoe, Giro continues to be a believer in the "old school" closure system.
"Laces are lightweight, they are replaceable, and the spring tension they provide auto adjusts as the volume inside the shoe changes," explained Giro shoe guru Simon Fischer during a press event in Flims, Switzerland, ahead of this week's Eurobike trade show in Germany. "In this case they are also customizable. At the same time we needed a way for people to be able to quickly adjust tension on the fly and wanted the convenience of a strap. We also knew people were asking for a dial."
Inside the higher end shoes is an X-Static funk reducing insole with adjustable arch support; up top is Teijin Evofiber SL, a one piece upper that's designed to exhaust heat and moisture without the need for vents. Walking pads on all the shoes are replaceable and they come outfitted with stainless steel hardware.
Sizing options for the Giro Factor Techlace are 39-50, including half sizes from 39.5 to 46.5. There are no wide size options yet. The Factress runs 36-43 with half sizes from 37.5 to 42.5. The men's high-end shoe comes in red/black, white/black, and all black. Women have just white/black to choose from for now.
The laces on the new shoes can be swapped out via a simple five-step process that requires nothing more than a couple minutes and paper clip or similar sized instrument. This allows wearers to replace damaged laces or change lace lengths (12 options) in order to get the Velcro strap to lay perfectly centered on the shoe. Giro plans to publish a chart on its website that will tell the user which length lace they need based on where the strap lies on the shoe when secured. The plan, though, is for this to happen after the wearer has logged some time in the shoes, so they will ship with just one lace length. Replacement laces, if and when needed, will be available on-line for a nominal cost.
Women looking to spend a little less (or seeking more color options) can opt for the Raes Techlace ($250). Claimed weight is 235g size 39.
Giro will also offer six aftermarket lace color options, and four Boa dial color options, availing users the ability to personalize the look and/or match shoes to team kit. The Boa dials come with a lifetime warranty and are mirrored, meaning turning either of the dials away from you lessons tension even though you are actually turning them in different directions. Same goes for tightening.
Giro is also working on a mountain bike equipped Techlace shoe, and expects that to launch no later than Eurobike 2017. And they've launched a new helmet (Cinder MIPS, $150, pictured below), which we'll have more info on in an upcoming post. Finally, the company teased an ultra-light 150-gram Techlace road shoe, but wont unveil that until Eurobike next week. Stay tuned.
With one day of testing in the books, we found the shoes to be light and good looking with solid venting. Photo courtesy Giro
First Ride Impressions
One day of riding does not make a comprehensive test, but with about 65 miles of pedaling time in Giro's new shoes, thumbs are trending upward. They're light, they look good, breath reasonable well, and we've long been fans of the easy adjustability offered by Boa dials. I love to be able to quickly back off tension on long climbs or hot days, when my feet have a tendency to swell.
The patent-pending Techlace system allows the user to change out the laces be it to replace broken ones or change color and/or length.
And if nothing else the new Techlace system is unique. I could personally care less about custom color laces and multiple Boa dial options, but there are certainly riders that will relish the added choices. And the general benefits of laces are established. There's less chance of getting hot spots versus strap-and-buckle systems, they save weight, and they are easy to replace. The question is whether riders who gravitate to the classic laces look will be turned off by this more mechanical aesthetic.
We have a pair of test shoes in hand and will post a more complete review once we've logged sufficient test time. Until then check out the video below and head over to www.giro.com for more information.