Technology may be evolving apace, but events like L’Eroica and the continuing popularity of steel bikes show that ‘retro’ is still very much in vogue. Giro’s tech-laden Empires have led the way when it comes to shoes, but Vittoria is celebrating its 40th birthday by updating its classic 1976s.
The 1976 Evo features the same stitched toe-box and punch-holed style upper as the original, but now in manmade microfibre rather than leather, and accompanied by an up-to-date carbon sole inherited from Vittoria’s flagship Ikon shoe. Microfibre is hardwearing and compliant, though to cope with its tendency to stretch when it gets warm, the upper is bonded to a nylon base.
The result is very supportive, with the laces offering excellent adjustability (who needs Boa dials?). The shape is on the generous side of slender, though if you find the ‘bowling shoe’-like fit restrictive, Vittoria offers a wider option.
At 596g for our size 45s they’re reasonably light, while the sole – just 3.8mm thick – is remarkably stiff, which creates a great connection to the pedals and an equally positive power transfer. The sole has mesh vents for breathability and cooling, but if it’s raining water can – and does – get in.
The cleat bolts are set into horizontal sliders, so you get more in-out adjustment over a standard sole.
The 1976s are a bit weightier than Giro’s Empires, but they’re also a good deal cheaper, the fit is superb, the comfort high and the sole offers all the performance you’ll ever need. They’re very well finished too. Our only real niggles are that the old-style super thin laces can be a fiddle to tie and they come up a little short.