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Giro sent us an early pair of the new Empire VR90 MTB shoes a couple of weeks ago. Out of the box they fit just like the rest of the Empire line, so we didn't see much need to share that. But, now with some ride time, some weights, and more thoughts, it's time to share.
Unpacking them was as eventful as unpacking cycling shoes is going to get. They come in their own shoe bag, which is a nice touch others rarely take the time for. Boxed with an extra pair of laces (hi-viz laced up, black laces if you want to tone them down a bit) as well as a set of spikes and Giro's own Supernatural Footbed Kit.
Out of the box things stay pretty exciting. Comparing the new VR90 with the Vibram outsole to the previous version (I have the bright blue as well as the Camo LTD versions, all in 45), the new VR90 is about 15g heavier per shoe. A claimed weight of 315g was quite accurate I assume as my 45 came in at 345g compared to 330g for my previous generation Empire MTB shoes. But, put those up next to the Code from Giro, and the VR90 actually comes in over 10g lighter than the Code.
Clearly I'm a fan of Giro's line of shoes, I own more than 10 pairs. I could go on and on about the fit and comfort, but that's personal and I know that. What I'm really interested in finding out is if the addition of the Vibram outsole really gives the rider. Now that these are in open production, rather than limited runs, what will your $300 get you?
photos and words by Brandon Elliott