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The Giro Sentrie Techlace shoes are light, and offer two modes of tension adjustment – two lace-and-Velcro straps, plus the traditional Boa dial. Whether this suits you will depend on how often you faff with your feet, but for most I reckon these will be light, fast and comfy.
Two years back Mat reviewed the Factor Techlace and liked what he wore. The Sentrie Techlace here is lower on the price scale, a wee bit heavier, using less-premium materials and the Boa dial only tightens in 1mm increments – release is 'macro' or all at once, meaning you can't hunt up and down for the perfect fit. The design philosophy is the same, though: instead of a single Boa cable pulling the whole shoe tight in one go, you have three different areas across the foot, each adjustable individually.
Now, three-strap Velcro adjustment is available on pretty much every shoe, right down to the lowest price points, so what's special about the Techlace system?
At first glance the Techlace system doesn't do much that ordinary Velcro can't do. But underneath the little plastic tab at the base of each strap there's a hidden compartment that holds the two ends of each lace. By opening this and popping out the lace ends, you can thread in a new lace for a custom fit that lets you use the whole of the Velcro closure.
With a normal Velcro strap you are almost certain to have it end up not engaging the whole of the opposing Velcro – it will be either a bit shorter, or a bit longer, to give you a snug fit. So one way weakens the hold of the strap, the other leaves excess strap in the breeze, adding unneeded weight and, most critically, sartorial impudence. Speaking of matters sartorial, you can purchase the laces in many different colours, meaning you could go for a red, white and blue combo if you were of a patriotic bent – other national colour schemes are available. Extra laces seem not that easy to come by – I found them online from Germany for €9 per pair in seven different colours and varying lengths from 215 to 370mm. Giro's website really hides these customisation options well, apparently coloured Boa dials are available too.
So with the ability to custom-tune the fit of each lace, you can get the perfect setup with the Velcro strap exactly how you want it. I'm a size 45 in most shoes and was reviewing a pair of 46 Sentries. I run pretty cold, so having more room for thicker socks was the aim here. The Sentrie didn't restrict my forefoot (good), but the frontmost-lace came up a bit long when snugged down. Likewise, the second middle lace was actually a bit short – so I'd see myself actually buying two different lengths of replacement laces, to get both straps exactly right. Possibly even swapping them over between thick-sock and thin-sock seasons as needed to maintain a perfect fit.
On my size 46, the front laces which double back on themselves measured 350mm, the middle laces were 245mm. My left foot is marginally larger than my right, something that showed up in differing left-right foot Velcro tab placement for the same fit, so I could see myself ordering four different lengths of lace, for the perfect left-right strap placement... The colour-combination possibilities are off the charts.
This may seem like a bit of a faff – but this is a preferable option to me over dealing with flappy or short velcro, or all-in-one tension Boa cables, or laces that are impossible to adjust on the fly. Of course, if you never feel the need to adjust your shoes over a ride then this level of customisation might be a tad excessive – but even if you just want to dial the fit and leave them set, the Techlace system has you covered. I hardly ever adjust my front strap, and the middle one was mostly used for shoes-on-shoes-off purposes. But occasionally on a long ride I wanted to tweak the middle fit, which was of course easily doable in addition to the Boa dial.
The Sentries also feature Giro's 'SuperNatural' customisable arch support, and come with three different thicknesses of arch insert that attach under the footbed with Velcro so they don't move about. Giro recommends taking them out on the first few rides, to try out different combinations. I found the medium to be just right, but I'm generally OK for arch support in all my shoes, casual or sporty.
Other replaceable options on the Sentries include the heels and the cleat inserts (both about £10 a set), should you end up wearing out or stripping anything. When you're spending £220 on a pair of shoes, it's nice to have these options to prolong life.
All this wizardry is grand, but out on the bike you pretty much forget it and get on with mashing the pedals, power transferring effortlessly through the stiff-as-a-board carbon composite EC70 soles.
When really ripping it on the upstroke, the snug fit across the foot and the deep heelcup give lots of confidence, whether it's a town-limits sign sprint or a prolonged steep ascent.
The absence of wide straps across the forefoot is claimed to aid breathability, and the well-padded tongue is indeed riddled with holes visible through the laces. I'll reserve judgement for after a 30-degree day this summer, but it does look like the Sentries have 'keep-feet-cool' covered. As with any shoe, you need to actually try them on to see if they suit; if you have a good fit, likely you'll not be disappointed out on the road.
Although £220 isn't to be sniffed at, I'd say it's pretty good for a higher-end performance customisable shoe – the Shimano RP9s are the same price, a bit lighter, with less customisation/repairability. They're the same weight as the top-line £350 Sidi Shots.
Overall the Sentrie Techlace is a comfortable, light shoe, with oodles of configurable and replaceable options. Whether you need all that will dictate whether you see £220-worth of value in them. At the time of writing, several major online stores have them for £135 – an absolute bargain in my mind.
An immensely customisable, repairable shoe that's lightweight and good at power transfer
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Sentrie Techlace shoes
Size tested: 46
Tell us what the product is for
They are shoes for people seeking the perfect fit, or customisation, while not sacrificing performance.
Giro says: "The Sentrie Techlace™ offers elite-level performance with the comfort of laces and the convenience of a strap. The Techlace system replaces D-rings and other hardware with laces, providing a more supple feel across the forefoot, and the laces can be easily replaced if damaged. The Boa L6 dial offers 1mm adjustment increments when tightening and easy pull-to-release function for quick in and out of the shoe. The Sentrie Techlace is constructed with a lightweight bonded and welded breathable upper and an Easton® EC70 carbon composite outsole. Inside the shoe, our SuperNatural Fit footbed features adjustable arch supports to personalize fit, comfort and pedaling efficiency."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Giro lists these features:
Techlace™ + Boa L6 dial (1mm + with macro release), Toe and heel microfiber reinforcements, Welded and bonded upper
Easton ® EC70 carbon composite, Steel hardware, Replaceable walking pads
Super Natural Fit Kit with adjustable arch support, Aegis ® anti-microbial treatment
245 grams (size 42.5)
They look very well made.
The power transfer and comfort are excellent.
Bit worried about gloss white's ability to keep looking good, but all fine so far.
With the customisable laces and footbed, a good fit is almost guaranteed.
I'd say you want to go larger. My typically 45 feet didn't allow either of the centre straps to sit flush.
Pretty light for the money.
On longer rides the ability to adjust was most welcome.
I'd say at RRP they are good value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They wipe down fine, but white is tricky.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty pleased with them – if I'd paid £220 I wouldn't be disappointed. Comfortable and supportive where/when needed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The customisation options, leading to better fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The look is a bit of a mess, probably unavoidable with all that going on.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
£220 is pretty good for a higher-end performance customisable shoe – the Shimano RP9 is the same price, a bit lighter, with less customisation/repairability. They're the same weight as the top-line £350 Sidi Shot shoes.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Near-infinite customisation options and good repairability, plus stiff performance and on-the-fly adjustability all add up to a great score. At the online discounted price they'd be a 9.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is: Velocite Selene
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling.
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.