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The best-looking shoe to hit the road in recent memory takes another aesthetic step forward with the new hi-vis finish. Actually, it’s more than hi-vis, these Empires are dazzlingly reflective. So much so that looking down on a sunny day can be startling.
Everything we’ve always loved about the Empire — the infinitely adjustable laces, the stiff sole, and the slipper-like upper — remain.
Laces aren’t for everyone. They can’t be adjusted while riding, and require a few rides to learn the proper tension. But we love them. The eyelet-free holes in the Empire’s upper allow the laces to dig in just slightly, effectively changing the volume of the shoe as your foot expands or contracts with heat or effort. They allow for a careful tensioning across the entire top of the foot, too, which is great for people with high insteps. Boas and buckles require a firm section of upper to sit on, which can press into the foot uncomfortably. Shoes with laces are soft all the way around.
The Empire is as good as ever, now in a super visible, and surprisingly durable, package.