Giro Empire Shoes - $219.96

In the perpetual circle that we call life, we're constantly confronted with the 'old' becoming 'new' as the 'new' becomes outdated. And in the instance of cycling shoes, the lace-up closure of the Giro Empire Shoes is the new now. However, this isn't to say that the Empire is a novelty -- far from it. The shoes were actually designed at the behest of the young American prodigy, Taylor Phinney, for the 2012 Giro and Summer Games. The rationale behind the Empire is simple -- utilizing the versatile fit adjustment and low weight of laces provides the ultimate balance of comfort and power. When you think about it, no hook-and-loop or ratcheting buckle closure system can match the mathematical possibilities for a lace's volume customization. Through varying lacing patterns or tensions, you can customize the medial or lateral pull, or the tightness at the forefoot or instep, all at the same time. But, if you're anything like us, your first nagging thought concerns the laces getting caught in the drivetrain -- you're not alone. However, Giro's one step ahead of us, and accordingly, it incorporated a retaining lace garage on the tongue of the shoes. So, the retention system provides a positive conformity with the foot at a fraction of the typical weight. And while the Empire's laces are an obvious differentiator, so are its other design features. Starting at the uppers themselves, Giro wrapped the Empire with one-piece of Tejin microfiber. This contributes to the shoes' sleek profile, but it also reduces weight while the fabric selection increases breathability. That's right, the Japanese Tejin fabric is extremely lightweight and highly breathable. Furthermore, Giro placed focused points of perforation along the Empire's sides and tongue in order to increase airflow throughout the shoe. And in case it gets a little sweaty inside, the Empire also features an X-Static footbed that's anti-microbial, anti-stink, and anti-static. - $219.96