The Giro Empire ACC shoes are a vibrant, classy looking pair of shoes that are great once you master the narrow fit system
The Giro Empire ACC sits below the brand new Factor Techlace and the old faithful Empire SLX in Giro’s high-performance road shoe range.
They’re a tad heavier than their higher-end counterparts, and they lack the Boa dial and Velcro straps found on the Giro Factor Techlace as well as the slightly more sophisticated venting of the other premium models.
They don’t, however, lack any of the class of the other shoes, maintaining that chic look and exuberant colours that Giro shoes have become so well known for.
The use of laces are without a doubt what gives the Empires their classy look, and that retro blast from the past looks mega even if it’s not the most sophisticated way of tightening a shoe.
For the most part they’re great, and laces even allow a bit of wiggle room that can let you get a better fit for your feet. They don’t tend to be as precise as dials are, and don’t get the same fit every time; which, depending on the rider, you’ll either love or hate.
Watch: Buyer’s guide to road shoe
The slightly less sophisticated fit does have its drawbacks, and over the course of a ride sometimes there would be movement in the heel, with the foot pulling away from the shoe. Re-tightening the laces isn’t a big deal but it’s not an on-the-fly job like it would be with a dial.
Despite the movement, you’re never going to pull out of the shoe when riding so it’s not a big deal really, unless you ride like André Griepel.
It’s also definitely worth noting Giro’s sizing. These are skinny shoes for those with skinny feet. In fact, having tried larger sizes I’d recommend sizing up, but always try before you buy if you can.
The size 43s, my normal size, felt spot on for about 60km, but beyond that there was some pinching, especially where my little toe sticks out.
Get the sizing right and these are great shoes. They come with an Easton EC90 full carbon sole that’s superbly stiff but never harsh on long rides.
Similarly, even though the Empire ACC’s vents aren’t much to look at, I didn’t find my feet cooking on the long climbs of Gran Canaria, suggesting that the Evofiber actually is as breathable as Giro makes out.
Other nice touches include the heel studs that equal the height of your cleats, making walking through cafes a breeze. The shoe bag, spare laces and additional sole insert are all neat features, the latter especially, as they’ll really help get the fit right to your foot arch type.
Try not to fall foul of Giro's smaller sizing because these are great-looking, great-performing shoes if you have the right feet for them.