Giro Imperial Road Shoes Review

Giro's most performance-focused shoes ever, the Imperial, also happens to be the most stylish and sophisticated model in the brand's current line-up, writes Aaron Borrill

Giro Imperial road shoes
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Cyclingnews Verdict

Giro's most stylish and sophisticated shoe to date


  • +

    Stiff and light

  • +

    Achingly beautiful

  • +

    Your mates will envy you


  • -

    Mesh-reinforced uppers are not ideal for winter temperatures

  • -

    Not the cheapest option in the segment

You can trust Cyclingnews Our experts spend countless hours testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Ever since entering the cycling shoe market in 2010, Giro has become an increasingly popular brand among cyclists thanks to one man -  Eric Horton, Giro’s creative director, who has single-handedly ensured every model range is lighter, stiffer and more stylish than before.

It all started with the Empire SLX - a lace-up, lightweight offering that kickstarted the retro revolution as well as Giro's assault on the upper echelons of the premium shoe segment. Minimalist in design and lightweight in function, it featured the now-famous Easton EC90 SLX carbon sole and paved the way for the Prolight which pioneered the Giro-developed Techlace system, a featherweight proposition aimed at the elite-level cyclist.

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Aaron Borrill

Aaron was the Tech Editor Cyclingnews between July 2019 and June 2022. He was born and raised in South Africa, where he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. Throughout this career, Aaron has spent almost two decades writing about bikes, cars, and anything else with wheels. Prior to joining the Cyclingnews team, his experience spanned a stint as Gear & Digital editor of Bicycling magazine, as well as a time at TopCar as Associate Editor. 

Now based in the UK's Surrey Hills, Aaron's life revolves around bikes. He's a competitive racer, Stravaholic, and Zwift enthusiast. He’s twice ridden the Cape Epic, completed the Haute Route Alps, and represented South Africa in the 2022 Zwift eSports World Championships.

Height: 175cm

Weight: 61.5kg

Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB