Giro picks Knits for new Empire road and MTB shoes

Empire E70 Knit and VR70 Knit bring popular street style to cycling

Nike and others have sold countless athletic shoes in recent years with lightweight knit uppers, and Giro has taken notice. The cycling brand just launched three Xnetic Knit shoes that have TPU skeletal support for cycling and DWR treatments for water repellency.

Giro reintroduced laces to modern cycling shoes with the Empire, and the new Empire E70 Knit features the same closure system but with a pliable, breathable upper and an Easton EC70 carbon sole.

While the knit upper looks like that of a running shoe, the feel is quite different. Giro worked with the knit manufacturer to tune the mix of polyester and nylon for a material that has some give, but also some supportive structure.

Giro brand manager Eric Richter said that Giro experimented with varying levels of stretch. "Our first knit prototype had no structure at all. It felt neat in the hand, but it was not efficient for pedaling," he said. "After they knit these yarns, the fibers go through a heating process, and the nylon fibers melt and fuse to the polyester. We worked until we had a knit that had enough support but felt uniquely supple." 

The shoes also have a TPU skeletal support structure on the underside of the knit.

The Empire E70 Knit will sell in men’s and women’s options this fall for $200 / €229 / £199 on and in stores.

A size 42.5 Empire E70 Knit weighs a claimed 250g.

The Giro Empire E70 Knit will be available in men's and women's styles
The Giro Empire E70 Knit will be available in men's and women's styles

For cyclocross and mountain biking, the Empire VR70 Knit adds a Vibram rubber outsole over the EC70 carbon, plus a rubber toe guard and bonded TPU heel.

The TPU support system is bonded externally on the VR70 Knit, and a stretch-knit cuff reminiscent of soccer/football cleats is used to keep debris out of the shoes.

The Empire VR70 Knit is a reinforced version for ’cross and MTB
The Empire VR70 Knit is a reinforced version for ’cross and MTB

A size 42.5 VR70 Knit weighs a claimed 380g.

Suggested retail for the Empire Knit VR70 is $250 / €249 / £219.

A TPU skeleton is bonded on the outside
A TPU skeleton is bonded on the outside

Finally, a $140 / €159 / £139 Republic R Knit with reflective laces is targeted and commuters and touring riders. The 2-bolt cleat shoe weighs a claimed 310g in size 42.5.

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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