Also, I have found the same as you about the heel of the Empires. I just got mine yesterday, mounted cleats and rode around a bit last night but already could tell how solid they held my foot. The were actually hard to get off my feet even with them untied! They really held well throughout the heel. I will say however that I have been doing the "Phinney wrap around" style thing where I run the laces under the sole, makes them hold super secure
FYI, Giro Prolight and Empire in 42 feel good in the toes, toes are touching the edges but not pushing against them or "overflowing"
Ordered a pair of Empire' s today in size 42. I already have a pair of S-works in that size. I'll post my impressions and a comparison when I get the Empire' s.
I have pretty narrow feet, so I don't think that the Empire' s will be to narrow or to tight.
The laces were a recommendation from my physiotherapist and she was right. The old-school laces can be adjusted at each crossover to suit each foot just right. I had to shim the heel of one shoe because of my difference in lengths, but the lacing has reduced pressure points for me, as has the Empire's one piece upper construction. The shoe is ever so slightly wider than the Sidi standard width, but I would still consider them narrow. The volume above the toe box is higher than Sidi though.
I have not had to adjust my laces during riding once and have not had a heel slip either. I do not feel a difference in warmth, but then again I was coming from a set of patent Ergos. The weight difference is remarkable however. I had the expectation that the Empires were fragile due to the weight loss over Sidi, but they have held up well, albeit scratches show up more visibly on shiny shoes like these. The tongue stays in place for the most part (this could be improved with a few stitches by Giro and sock choice seems to play a role in tongue movement). The laces say tucked away under the stretch band when tied properly. Any concerns about laces in the drivetrain are laughable... I have also found that lacing them slighly looser does not result in heel slip and in fact the shoe performs better when the foot has some natural leeway, even when trying a standing interval. A notable time penalty in putting these shoes on compared to ratchet and wire designs is not evident. The shoes do take longer to dry naturally after a long sweaty ride from my experience, so take this into consideration when putting them away for the day.
The shoes do have an odd click to them when walking off the bike caused by a two bolt cleat mount insert that lies loose in the sole, but this can be removed, I assume, by prying up the floorboard slot from the inside of the shoe and pulling the cleat mount out - also removing more weight! Not a big issue, but thought I would mention it in case any Empire users are trying to identify the source of the click.
For what it is worth, I have mounted Keywin cleats on them as well as Speedplay Zero cleats and both worked well and had enough adjustment space. If you run Keywin cleats with a very far forward position, you may need to do some minor cleat grinding.
One other item to consider: I have not been able to confirm this, but it seems as if there is a built in cant to the sole. I used Wedges on the Sidi Ergo2's - 3 left and 2 right. With the Giro Empires I have ended up with 1 shim left and none right and my knees are tracking in the same position.
The Empires stood up to mashing up mountains in Austria and Italy this year (not a climber by any sense of the word) to longer rides in the heat of summer. My feet are thankful that laces have not been completely abandoned. I was sad to dump Sidi after 20 years of faithful service, but my feet just like these shoes.
The silver Empires were such a good fit for me that I hunted down a set in blue as well. #395 of 400. Yatzee! (Embarrasingly perfect with the DeRosa.)
And I assume Giro ran 400 blue pairs in each size right?
I took a quick shot with my iPhone..... After being heavily used, guess which pair I've been using and which pair are brand new. Color difference is an artifact of the camera and the light and not a difference in person. (I was lucky and found another pair at BikeTiresDirect, so of course I had to buy them as a spare pair! )
I just picked up a pair of empires on Ebay. Couldn't really resist trying them out getting a good deal.
Just wondering if any of you guys have got anymore in depth reviews ready to share now the shoes have been around for a while?
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But from what I gather in this and other threads, if you've got one you are also a bit keen on being stylish.
In which case, I'll just leave this here:
Have some fun.
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