Laces or Boa? Why compromise? Giro put both on the Factor Techlace shoes, and it would have been easy to call this overkill, but it’s not. The Techlaces fit better than any other shoe I’ve ridden this year, laying to rest my distaste for tying my shoes before a ride. The fit of laces makes sense on the forefoot, and the Boa is perfect for the ankle. These shoes are a home-run.
The real advantage of the new lace system coupled with the Boa is on-the-fly adjustability, which the Empires sorely lacked. Repositioning the laces is a matter of pulling on a Velcro strap, and the Boa allows for micro-adjustment at the top of the foot. But you still get that supple, wraparound feeling usually only possible with laces. And if the stock laces are too loose or too tight for your foot, Giro offers different lengths that you can replace quickly and easily.
The Techlaces are based off Giro’s Empire last. If you’ve got a narrow foot you’ll feel right at home here, but there’s also some forgiveness in the upper for wider feet. There seems to be more room in the Techlace toe box than the Empires offer. Still, don’t expect a lot of real estate here if you’ve got wide feet.
Easton’s EC90 SLX2 carbon outsoles felt like a solid link between foot and pedal. Giro touts these outsoles as exceptionally light and thin, which lend themselves to a low stack height. There didn’t seem to be much flex at the interface between shoe and pedal, so we can’t argue there.
We needed a few rides to get the uppers to break in, especially around the ankles. But by the second or third ride, they seemed to have relaxed enough to lend that wraparound fit we love, and our ankle discomfort disappeared. The Evofiber SL Teijin microfiber upper is designed to remain fairly rigid so you don’t lose pedaling power to foot movement, though.
While we in the VeloNews office think these shoes look pretty cool, we’ve also heard the complaints that they too closely resemble golf shoes. Perhaps that’s true, but if you’re really that concerned about the country club look, try the Vermillion/Black color combo. No one will mistake you for Tiger Woods.
The Techlaces offer everything we expect from a race shoe and it’s easy to reach for these before a race or a long day in the saddle.