Giro's Empire VR90 Limited Edition Cycling Shoes have us tripping. Not because of the pro-level carbon soles, the signature lace-up closure, or even the special edition colorway, which Giro credits to the influence of a dorm room lava lamp. The really trippy part of these shoes is that, in low-light situations, the black field of the camo transforms into a brightly reflective surface, adding an additional eye-catching element to the already loud orange. Though the shoes are more about getting down on gravel and XC races, the added element of safety is always appreciated when traversing B roads at dusk. Despite the reimagined aesthetics, the functional aspects of the Limited Edition remain unchanged from the standard VR90. Underfoot--and most importantly--Giro incorporates the same Easton EC90 carbon fiber sole featured on the Empire's road race version. It's got a low, 6. 5mm stack height that reduces the amount of intervening material between engine and pedal for fast, efficient power transfer regardless of terrain. Hardcore 'cross traditionalists may balk at that stiffness as it historically made running a difficult endeavor, but rest assured that Giro is on it. The Vibram Mont rubber lugged outsole is rockered to facilitate easy walkability and a natural running feel, so the sole won't make you literally trip. This lets you harness the watts of that super stiff sole while punching off the line and out of corners without sacrificing speed or comfort when you're shouldering the bike. In our book, that makes the VR90 a little bit of a unicorn. In addition to its rockering, the lugged sole provides grippy purchase for hard-packed dismounts, quad-searing run-ups, and rocky trail scrambles. If you do happen to miss a clip-in, Giro's added a Mid-Foot Scuff Guard with a grippy, rubber surface to rest against your pedal so you can keep moving forward and stay with your group. Each shoe also includes fittings for two toe spikes for extra traction when you really need t...
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