Giro Empire VR90 - first look

Production version of last year’s limited edition lace-up MTB shoe

Last fall, Giro released a small batch (400 pairs) of lace-up mountain bike shoes dubbed the Empire MTB. Feedback from riders was positive, so the company moved forward with the development of a full production model. The successor to this limited edition shoe is the Empire VR.

“Ever since the runaway success of our Empire MTB shoe, we’ve been working on developing the ultimate lightweight off-road shoe,” said Giro footwear product manager Simon Fisher.

 The Empire VR has a one-piece synthetic leather upper and uses the same lace closure and shoelace strap as other shoes in the Empire line. Its built on a lower constructed from a full EC90 carbon sole with Vibram rubber lugs. Inside the shoes are Giro’s SuperNatural footbeds, which allow riders to fine tune the fit though adjustable arch support inserts.

The claimed weight for a pair of Empire VRs (size 42.5) is 630g, 145g more than Giro’s ultra lightweight Empire SLX road shoes. Actual weight for a pair of size 43.5 shoes is just 653g.

The Empire VR will be available this fall and will retail for US$300 / €250. UK and AUS pricing is still to be announced, but we've got a test pair on hand (and have already started riding them!) so stay tuned for a full review soon.

Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA
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