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Lightweight and stiffness is the order of the day when it comes to Giro Factor road shoes. Built on the same lasts as the range topping Prolight SLXs. the Factors are designed to suit virtually every foot in the land.
At this price point you've usually got two options for strapping the shoe to your foot – Velcro straps and buckles, or a dialled lace system like Boa. Giro have gone for the buckle and Velcro option but with a few tweaks. The lower steel buckle is in a pretty standard place but the upper buckle is positioned more to the centre to avoid pinch points and increase comfort. The straps themselves are actually part of the upper so as you tighten them you are pulling the top half of the upper over your foot rather than just thin straps, this removes any localised pressure points. The buckle itself has two positions, an upper and a lower, adjustable by the removal of a screw. This also allows a degree of flotation so that it settles perfectly in position on the top of your foot.
The uppers are Teijin microfiber, a manmade leather-style material which is very soft and pliable to the touch. It also looks very hard wearing. The toe and heel box are reinforced for longevity and shrug off marks and scuffs with ease. Plenty of small holes at various sections in the material take care of breathability and there are two sections of mesh at the toes to aid airflow.
Now for the pièce de résistance: the Easton EC90 carbon soles. These babies are not only immensely stiff and light but the stack height is just 6.5mm so your foot is very close to the pedal. The sole itself has a beam section running from the three-holed cleat area to the heel while the bare minimum of material is used on either side.
Out on the road you're certainly going to get noticed, even in these white, silver and red versions that are probably the most subtle. The Factors also come in a bling red & white or shiny black which scream 'look at me!' For a little extra you can get the Rapha Condor cycling team version.
The uppers take a little bit of time to bed in, as with any shoe, but once they have moulded to your foot shape they are hugely comfortable. The strap positioning and float on the buckle really aids comfort while still holding your foot secure for high power efforts. The most noticeable difference, though, is the weight, or the lack of it: these weigh just 255g for a size 42. I spend a lot of time riding fixed where the average cadence is about 100rpm; you can really feel the lightness compared to my usual Shimano shoes.
The heel cup is designed just right to offer support yet it's low enough to sit just below your achilles so there's no chance of aggravation on longer outings, while Giro's own customable insole allows you to attach a range of three arch supports depending on the shape of your foot.
All these comfort-adding attributes really make the difference on longer rides of 5–6 hours or so and while I did experience hot spots on my feet when out for this long, it is a small price to pay for the mix of comfort, lightness and power transfer.
Of course, over £200 is a lot to pay for a pair of shoes but these will pay dividends in the long run. The wipe clean nature of the Teijin material means they'll look good for a long time and as the uppers stretch and contour to your foot shape, the Factors are like wearing your favourite slippers with cleats on.
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Make and model: Giro Factor Road Shoes
Size tested: White - Size 45
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Giro say, 'The Factor delivers ultimate power transfer with all-day comfort needed for long rides and maximum effort.'
That is pretty much bang on as they certainly deliver in both respects.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Teijin upper material is breathable, hardwearing yet very supple, plus the Easton sole is a thing of beauty.
There is not a stray thread, blob of dried glue or anything to make the shoes look anything but high-end kit.
Light, stiff and comfortable.
Hard to tell long term from just the test period but after 1000-odd miles all the marks and scuffs have rubbed straight off with a damp cloth. They've bedded in nicely as well.
They would score a 10 but I know the Prolights are lighter
The odd hotspot from the sole is the only downside I experienced. This only affects you if you're really putting the hammer down.
Expensive... but worth it in my eyes
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Faultlessy. The best shoes I've worn.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The looks and the overall finish of the construction.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, to be honest.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 32 Height: 180cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Ribble Gran Fondo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!