LOCHAU, Austria (VN) — Giro made laces cool again with its Empire shoes, then it redefined what laces could do with the Factor Techlace. The company is out to make waves again in its fastest-growing product segment, this time with its new Xnetic Knit shoes. Yep, knit, like grandma’s sweaters.
OK, it’s a bit more complex than that: Xnetic goes well beyond a knit weave with a distinctive aesthetic. The shoe needs structure after all, so Giro integrates the weave with a TPU skeletal system that lives on the inside of the shoe (it’s on the outside for the mountain bike shoes). The knit material itself is coated with a DWR treatment to provide water-repellency and to allow for easy cleaning.
The knit is porous, with different-sized holes providing a significant amount of airflow for breathability. While the knit material has been around in running footwear for several years, this is the first cycling application for the material, and the Empire Xnetic Knit shoes are engineered specifically for cycling use. That means instead of simply attaching the knit material directly to the outsole and calling it a day, Giro engineered the knit along with the TPU to provide comfort and support for sprinting and climbing.
According to Giro, the knit material also causes far less waste during production than a Teijin upper. Teijin requires far more trimming, and the trimmed material generally isn’t usable for any other applications.
The Empire E70 Xnetic Knit shoes will be available for $200 this fall. Women’s versions will also be available, as will Empire VR70 mountain bike shoes ($250) and the Republic R Knit ($140).