When my new kicks showed up at the house I thought I made a huge mistake.
These Giro Prolight Techlace are flippin’ red.
Sure, I ordered them in red.
And thus theoretically I should have known what I was getting myself into.
The thing is I am a black or gray kind of guy. It was a pretty radical move for me a couple of years ago when I started wearing white cycling shoes. But as sweet looking as a pair of clean white cycling shoes may be, it is a losing battle from the very second you step out the door.
So I decided maybe it’s time to change it up a bit. Hence the fiery red Giro Prolight Techlace.
They’re as red as the Louboutin bottoms that seem to be roaming all over San Francisco these days. I don’t know how comfortable Louboutins are, nor will I ever have the aspiration to give them a shot. What I do know is that after riding with the Prolight Techlaces since July, they are a pretty unique pair of shoes and I now embrace the color red.
Coming off a pair of the Empire SLX which I’ve grown to love, the transition into the flagship Prolight Techlace was an easy one. The shoe shape and the adjustable SuperNatural insoles felt pretty much identical.
What was immediately noticeable was how light they were. My pair touched the scale at 311 grams for a size 43. The weight reduction was noticeable whenever I switched shoes, thanks in part to the new Textreme carbon outsoles with non-adjustable titanium cleat mounts which amount to being 22% lighter than the already feathery Easton EC90SLX2 plate.
The upper material, a monofilament mesh with welded Tejin TPU exoskeleton, is an interesting one. It sounds like a really badass engineering exercise reserve but it’s very breathable – perfect for those hot summer days. You might want to add thicker socks or shoe covers for fall/winter riding though.
Further, the upper is also more pliable than any other cycling shoes that I’ve tried. While I enjoyed the way they hug my feet, I sort of miss having that extra structural support from uppers made with other thicker material. As fragile as those mesh uppers may seem, they held up surprisingly well. The heel cup, while not as rigid as some, was slip-free and comfortable.
And then there is the Techlace closure system. I was skeptical about the hook-and-loop that just seemed a little too thin and slip-prone, but they never budged during the past four months. I love being able to adjust them on the fly and also have the benefit of shoelaces. That said, shoes with traditional laces and Boas will give a tighter, locked down feeling that some prefer.
So is being the lightest and most ventilated worth the $399.99 price tag? I love wearing mine and the fit happened to work out for me. That said, the Prolight Techlaces are definitely not your typical kicks. They felt like specialist racing shoes targeting a specific audience like the Mavic Ultimate Tri for triathlons or the Bont Crono for time trials. As a flagship above the Empire SLX, the Prolight felt a tad like how the iPhone X is nice to have while the iPhone 8 will do just about everything in the same capacity with a lower price tag.
If you’re looking for the absolute lightest and most ventilated shoes for those hot days on the mountain, though, the Prolight Techlaces may just be the kicks for you.
By the way, the Prolight Techlaces are still cheaper than those Louboutins.