Super stiff, lightweight and so very eye-catching, the bold purple Liv Macha shoe ticks all the boxes for a performance shoe. The supreme stiffness and locked-in feel may not work for everyone, though.
Excellent power transfer
Boa Li2 work great, easy to use
Tunable arch support
Whole sizes only
Supreme stiffness may not be for everyone
Heel and toe pads not replaceable
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Launched alongside Giant’s Surge Pro shoe this spring, the Liv Macha Pro is a top-end race shoe as seen on the WorldTour worn by members of the Liv Racing Xstra or BikeExchange-Jayco teams.
Promising some big changes, and improvements, over its previous models, the brand’s flagship shoe is its lightest and ‘best-performing’ yet.
The Surge Pro and Macha Pro share the same new technologies but the Macha Pro women’s shoe does have a narrower heel cup and comes in its own color options including the bold and eye-catching purple as reviewed here.
Previous models of both, the Giant Surge Pro and the Liv Macha Pro, wound up on the Editor’s Choice list and with the 2022 model, Giant has done it again as this shoe was my favorite for the year and is certainly one of the best cycling shoes currently on the market.
Liv Macha Pro: construction
The latest edition of the Liv Macha Pro shoe sports a fully carbon sole with an all-new dual-beam design — doubling the ExoBeams from previous models for wider coverage, ultimate stiffness and power transfer.
The distinct groove-like design is meant to boost power transfer while still allowing enough flex for natural foot movement. It’s also said to minimize knee and ankle strain.
For a custom snug yet pinch-free fit, the redesigned ExoWrap provides a 360-degree, wrap-around fit system, which can be mirco-adjusted using two Boa Li2 reels.
Rather than pressing the foot down into the sole, Giant claims that the ExoWrap closure surrounds the foot to create a comfortable, customizabe fit.
Additionally, the shoe’s uppers feature welded seams instead of sewn seams to not only minimize weight, but to keep them supple as well.
The ergonomically shaped heel cup is aided in keeping your feet in place by a liner Giant class SharkSkin — a fabric that’s smooth in the downward movement but rough and grippy on the upward movement.
For a customizable fit, the shoes feature a removable sock liner with tunable arch support.
To keep your feet from getting too sweaty, the shoes feature a new polyurethane coated mesh upper with laser cut micro-perforations for ventilation, an antimicrobial layer inside the shoes as well as a large, mesh-covered vent in the carbon sole.
The Macho Pro is sold in two colorways, white and purple, and, it being the flagship shoe, comes with a top-end price of $399 / £299 /€350.
The Macha Pro is available in whole sizes only and my pair of size 39s weighed in at just 406 grams.
Liv Macha Pro: the ride
I fell in love with these shoes the moment I unboxed them. The purple “Chromaflair” color is just stunning. Even after hundreds of miles in them, I still can’t stop looking down at my feet, and neither can those I ride with.
I realize that purple is a very bold colorway choice and one that’s hard to match with anything but a black, white or purple kit. Purple is also a ‘loaded’ color for many women, who for entirely too many years were served up products that had been given the ol’ ‘pink it and shrink it’ treatment. But this is not that kind of purple. It’s dark, bold and has an almost oil-slick quality to it. It’s pure attitude.
The shoes are also noticeably light. My size 39 test pair weighs in at just 406 grams on my kitchen scale, making them lighter than, say, the Specialized S-Works Torch, and definitely the lightest pair of shoes in my closet. With that said, the shoes have a good amount of sturdiness to them, which promises longevity.
There’s a sleek and narrow profile about the shoes that is aesthetically quite pleasing to me but could be alarming to those with wider feet. Many companies have made a shift toward much wider toe boxes and Giant has not, which suits me well. I prefer performance shoes to have a snug, locked-in feeling and these fit me like a glove.
For those looking for a slightly wider heelcup and fit, the Giant Surge Pro was designed to fit somewhat wider than the Macha Pro but features all the same technology. It does not, to many of my male friends’ disappointment, come in the Chromaflair colorway.
The dual ExoBeam design makes for one of the stiffest shoes I’ve ever worn. As such, it provides excellent power-transfer and responsiveness but there was a bit of a worn-in period, if you will. This wasn’t to break in the shoes so much as allowing my feet to get used to stiffness.
Once adjusted though, I reached for these shoes time and again, especially on days where I knew the roads would turn up or there were city limit sprints to be won.
Despite the relatively thick polyurethane coating, I found these shoes to be amply ventilated. Plus, thanks to the coating, the shoes still look great. The uppers remain remarkably scuff-free, even the toes.
The sole does bear some cosmetic scratches, and the toe pad is rather minimal. It’s not replaceable either but like the uppers, does look to be lasting.
The Boa Li2 closures do a good job keeping everything cinched down and are very easy to use. They even make a satisfying ‘pop’ upon pulling them up to undo the closure.
Aside from helping the shoe keep its shape down the middle, the velcro strap doesn’t add much function, but doesn’t detract from the shoe either. It’s kind of just there.
Liv Macha Pro: value and verdict
The Liv Macha Pro is an excellent high-performance shoe. Light, super stiff and well-ventilated. Yet also durable for heavy use. It’s also, hands-down, one of the best looking shoes I’ve worn in a while with a sleek, narrow profile and bold colorway.
It is, however, on the narrower side so if you’re looking for a wide toe box, this isn’t it. As a purebred performance shoe, it’s also supremely stiff, which is great for power transfer but not the most comfy shoe on the market.
It's hard to find a shoe that's this lightweight and stiff at the $399 / £299 /€350 pricetag. The Shimano S-Phyres are comparable in stiffness and wrap-around fit but are at least 100grams heavier and $25 more expensive. The outgoing Specialized S-Works 7s (being replaced by the much wider Torch shoe) is also a very comparable shoe in terms of stiffness, weight and fit. It retailed at $425 new, but seeing as the model is outgoing, you could pick them up at a significant discount. if you're luckily.
That's all to say that the Liv Macha Pro is fairly priced for a performance-oriented shoe of this caliber.
So if you're looking for a stylish yet performance shoe to get the most out of your next interval session, put the hammer down on group rides and get that locked-in feel, the Liv Macha Pro is well-worth the consideration.
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