Reviewed: 2011 Giro Prolight SLX Shoes

Giro Prolight SLX

Overview

Last year we reviewed Specialized's top-end road shoe, the BG S-WORKS Road Shoe and gave it 4 out of 5 cogs. Now, rarely do we retract our ratings, but after several more months of riding, we hit a fairly dramatic snag. The new BOA Lacing System on the left shoe completely failed. After a few weeks of winding-to-unwind the lace, we simply gave up and shelved 'em. In search of a more simpler approach, we settled on the 2011 Giro Prolight SLX.

What we liked

Having tried the BOA Lacing System with sub-par results, we felt it was time to stick to the basics. And when you talk about basics with road shoes, you can't get anymore basic than velcro straps. The 2011 Giro Prolight SLX ditches the ratcheting buckles and other mechanical closures that are common among the high-end road shoe category, and instead includes just three velcro straps.

In classic Giro style, they didn't just slap on the straps, they methodically studied the foot's dynamics and placed each strap at the appropriate angle--each with their own role to play. The top strap secures the heel into the cup, the middle strap criss-crosses the metatarsals to anchor your foot in the shoe, and the bottom strap takes up any loose space in the forefoot.

Stiff and light

After two solid months of riding the Prolight SLX, I can difinitively say that they are the lightest cycling shoes I have ever worn. The upper is only 1.1mm thick, made of soft, super-thin Teijin AG100 ultra-light microfiber that feels like your favorite ball mitt (the buttery, supple one you dare not sell). Giro put the size 42 at 205 grams! My size 47's with clips weighed in at a scant 277 grams (each shoe). When compared to the Specialized BG S-Works, the Giro Prolight SLX was 43 grams lighter. And if comfort wasn't enough, the folks at Giro loaded up the SLX with Easton EC90SLX high-grade, super stiff carbon for the sole (the lightest and stiffest sole Giro uses).

Lastly, the Prolight SLX includes an ultra-thin, ultra-light EPP footbed for people that don't need additional support, and their SuperNatural Fit Kit for those who need arch support. Giro makes a big deal of their aftermarket SuperNatural Fit Kit insoles, but to be honest, my feet feel just fine in the standard insole (I have high arches).

The snob in us

Honestly, the shoe made us happy in every way. We road in rain, snow, heat, and walked around the coffee shop enough to feel as though we understood the SLX's. The one small nit we have is that the toe area has caved-in with a small dimple in each shoe. Not that big of a deal, and we think that over time, they will disappear.

Our recommendation

If you are looking for a super stiff, light weight road shoe with minimalist straps and a buttery smooth upper, then the Giro Prolight SLX should be on your list. The $350 (suggested retail) Giro Prolight SLX comes in two colors -- Black and White. They're available in whole sizes from 39-48 and half sizes from 39.5 to 46.5.

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