Are the off-road Empires as good as their road-going brothers?

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

Giro Empire VR90 shoes


  • Excellent power transfer
  • Grippy sole
  • Attractive looks
  • Very comfortable


  • Expensive


Giro Empire VR90 shoes


Price as reviewed:


If you’re serious about cyclocross, and want to add a bit of glamour to racing round a muddy field on a rainy Sunday morning, then the Giro Empire VR90 shoes are for you – especially in this eye catching silver colourscheme.

>>> Buyer’s guide to cycling shoes

These shoes are the off-road versions of the highly popular Giro Empire ACC shoes, and for the most part retain a similar design. From the top they certainly look identical, with the same Evofiber synthetic upper and signature laces.

giro empire vr90 shoes cross soles

The Vibran soles offer a decent level of grip

In fact, the Giro Empire VR90s also have the same Easton EC90 carbon fibre sole as used on their road-going cousins, which means excellent power transfer when you stamp on the pedals to get up a steep bank or accelerate away from the line.

>>> Are carbon soles necessary on cycling shoes?

Of course attached to this is a Vibram rubber tread for when you’re forced to resort to two legs rather than two wheels. The rubber offers good grip even on rocky terrain, and you also have the option to attach toe spikes (which are supplied) for when even more traction is needed.

Watch our complete guide to cyclocross bikes

It is on the bike though where the Giro Empire VR90 shoes really shine. The upper is incredibly comfortable, so much so that you will instantly put aside any misgivings you might have about those laces. Yes, you can’t adjust the shoes mid-ride, but frankly the fit is so good that you won’t need to, and I never experienced any hotspots while using these shoes.

>>> Cleats explained: how to set them up correctly (video)

Of course if you’re buying such flash shoes then you’re going to want to keep them clean – something that’s never going to be easy with cyclocross shoes. Thankfully the Giro Empire VR90s are easy enough to wipe clean, although the laces are a little more vulnerable to becoming dirty over time.

giro empire vr90 shoes laces

The laces are both comfortable and stylish

The only real downside is the price. At £219.99 you’re going to have to be pretty serious about your cross to invest in these shoes but if it’s performance you’re after then the Giro Empire VR90 shoes are hard to fault.

For more details visit the Zyro website.


The Giro Empire VR90 shoes are excellent options for the cyclocross rider who wants nothing but the best; stiff, comfortable, and good-looking, they're hard to fault for running around muddy fields


Sizes Available:40-48
Colours Available:Black, Blue, Silver (as tested)
Weight:320g (per shoe, size 43)