Great Bike Shoes: Empire SLX and SH-RC9 Phyre
Well, now is not a bad time to get bike shoes, its the end of the season and a good time to take advantage of model changes.
Giro Empire SLX. This is a specialty shoes, they are old school tied, but they are super light and aero. You can outfit them with special laces so they are easier to tie and are even more aero (don’t let those laces flap around). These things weigh just 186 grams and are super stiff. I just love them. The mai issue is that they are not super durable, so a little bit of electrical tape at key points key them looking swell. They cost a fortune at $390 ($340 at Competitive Cyclist), but I got a set on close out, so look for that.
The most surprising thing about them is that they are very aerodynamic, compared to ordinary shoes with all those belts and buckles like the Pearl Izumi Octane, they were 4W less resistance head on and 12 watts with wind at 10 degrees off axis (yaw).
The sizing means that it runs a bit small, so you probably want to go 0.5 to 1.0 size up, so if you are a 41.5 (8 ½ US shoe size), then a 42 would work. You want to make sure it fits so your toes are just touching but no more. And, when you tie them up, you just want to push the laces into the center tie holder.
If you do get these, then try the Xpand Laces, these are little laces with a rubber tabs, so you can adjust each section and not have an overall lace.
Shimano SH-RC9 S-Phyre. These are low weight (but not as low as the Giro Empire SLX) and have a neat system for getting the right tension. These are super rigid race shoes and they are on close out at $280 (Amazon) or so right now so great as a more conventional shoe. Or $320 if you want a fluorescent shoe 🙂
These are sized about average so you can get it about the right size.
Other good ones that I ended up not doing were the Pearl Izumi Pro Air which are even lighter at 150 grams each (vs 180 or so for the Empire SLX) mainly because there were no discounts. It lists for $400. There are some limited sizes on Amazon for $300 as well.
The Specialized Torch 3.0 for $400 for the same reason