The nylon-soled Solara sits at the cheaper end of Giro’s women’s road shoe range but offers good performance for the money.
Giro have employed their DuPont Zytel nylon technology for the outsole, which they claim should provide the comfort and style of their premium shoes for just under £100 (US$150).
Fit is certainly good, with a padded heel cup and medium arch support keeping our narrow feet comfortable. Two Velcro straps and a micro-adjust ratchet buckle make it easy to tweak snugness to within a fairly fine range, and the toe box is roomy enough to accommodate wider shapes than our Egyptian feet.
The ‘D ring’ around the middle strap is offset, sitting more over the centre of your foot than the one for the toe-end strap. The idea is that this minimises the build-up of pressure points, and we haven’t experienced any pain or numbness even on half-day rides.
Breathability is decent, with the mesh areas meaning you’ll feel the cold on chillier days. On ‘hot’ UK rides (a laughably cool 30 degrees to those who haven’t experienced a British summer) our socks did get a little sweaty, though.
The claimed weight for the Solara is 270g (for the size 39 we tested) and ours came in at 296g with cleat attached. While not that light, the shoes perform well in terms of power transfer, with no noticeable flex over the pedals and sprint forces transmitting quickly to the cranks.
These are sold as shoes for enthusiasts and recreational riders, and if that’s your field the Solara’s performance will be more than adequate. But they’re also stiff enough for those looking to step up their speed and training and take part in races or sportives.
In a market where so many women’s designs seem to insist on flowers or streaks of pink, the Solara’s understated colour scheme should be a welcome relief for many female riders. The breathable microfibre upper is white, with some silver and gold details to spice things up, plus larger areas of grey mesh.
Cleat positioning is simple thanks to the clear sole markings, and though we’ve noticed some small cracks starting to form over the surfaces of the Velcro straps after 2,500-odd miles in six months it’s really just an aesthetic issue at this stage.
No, you don’t get heat-customised fit, carbon fibre outsoles, the more exact tuning of a Boa lacing system or super-light weight, but you wouldn’t expect to at this price point. For those who are on a budget or new to the road scene, the Solara is an excellent entry level option.
The solaras are understated in terms of colour scheme: Hannah Welham/Future Publishing