Holiday Gift Guide – Giro Prolight SLX Shoes

In about 20 years as a cyclist, I’ve owned five pairs of shoes: Diadora, Carnac, Time, Specialized—and now the Giro Prolight SLX. My first three pairs all used three Velcro straps to secure my feet, and my brief detour from the concept (two straps and a buckle) left me underwhelmed. Buckles break, gunk-up, strip, and flat-out fail. Some of them use protruding bolts that—if your foot’s shaped just right—can press painfully against bones or protrusions. And while, Velcro does indeed have the potential to wear out over time, there’s much less of a chance that your strap will snap in the middle of a century—and if it does, you’ve got (hopefully) two more to get you home.

So given my foot fastening preferences, I was eager to try the Prolight SLX and its three Velcro straps. Anatomically placed at key points across your foot to provide maximum comfort and stability, the SLX’s straps produce a fit that feels as if your foot is being hugged by the shoe—not strapped into it. And in cases when I did feel the need to cinch down for even more support (before a climb or a town line sprint), the straps were easy to grab, pull, and refasten.

But the straps aren’t even the sexist part of the shoe—that title goes to Easton’s EC90 carbon fiber sole. High-modulus carbon allowed Easton to design a sole only 6.5-mm thick, making it light, but also as stiff as anything you’ve ever ridden—if not more so. On my first ride I was impressed by how efficiently power was transferred from my legs to the pedals. It felt as if the shoes were propelling me forward—especially when climbing out of the saddle—a sensation similar to riding with a nice, stiff set of wheels. Titanium bolts complete the package, shaving a few more precious grams. Accessories include a shoe bag and a SuperNatural Fit footbed kit with customizable arch supports and insoles (a tremendous value).

Pros: Velcro straps and Easton’s EC90 sole produce the perfect blend of comfort and performance. And there’s nothing quite like white shoes (they come in black as well).

Peeves: The thinness of the sole means you might have to readjust your saddle height after making the switch. While PRO, white certainly loses some luster after a wet ride or two.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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