The Factor ACC uses the same Easton EC90 ACC carbon fibre sole as the Empire ACC and the result, as you’d expect, is a sole which is super-stiff and impossible for me to flex in any discernible fashion either off the bike or when laying the power down in a road race on it.
The sole follows the same design path that we have seen previous from in Easton’s partnership with Giro and it has a very flat profile. That is to say there is no direct support from the sole for the arch of your foot, rather Giro rely on their ‘SuperNatural Fit Kit’ to provide any additional support you might need.
That’s not necessarily an unusual approach, and is justified by the team at Giro by claiming that the flat sole bed and adjustable arch support gives the user the best possible fit. Three types of arch support are provided with the shoes and it’s certainly nice to have the option to fine-tune the fit straight away, rather than having to purchase separate, after market supports.
A velcro strip on the underside of the sole makes changing the supports a breeze and, all in all, it’s an effective system. Whether you can get the right amount of support from the flat sole and Fit Kit is much more personal. If you have flatter arches you may be more comfortable in the shoes, compared to somebody with very high arches, where a curved carbon sole may offer more support and stiffness. However, those personal fitting intricacies aside, it’s great to see this level of consideration from Giro.
The replaceable heel pad is another nice touch but I do think there could be a touch more rubber at the back to start with as it’s already fairly tapered, and at the very back of the shoe there is nearly no room for wear.
The proprietary Evofibre microfibre used on the upper of the shoe has a leatheresque finish and certainly lived up to its billing of being breathable. It freely lets air pass through, even with a Belgian bootie and merino sock on it winter, so it’s likely these will work to good effect in the height of summer, even if I venture off our green and pleasant land and take them on a trip down to the Alps. The surface is also very easy to clean. An optimistic trip out into the Surrey Hills without overshoes on a damp day led to a fair amount of road grime being sprayed onto the shoes but after a quick wipe down with some mild detergent and warm water they were quickly restored to their bright white glory.
The MR-1 buckle offers a slightly more refined level of adjustment over the MR-2, effectively pulling the main strap by 2mm as apposed to 3mm. This helps tune the fit so your foot feels comfortably snug rather than a touch numb or too loose. It builds into a slightly heavier system than on the range topping Giro Prolight SLX shoe, which just has three velcro straps, but does feel very secure and still releases very easily by pressing the second button on the buckle. The slimline clasp is also pretty easy to slide under an overshoe.
The middle strap has an offset ‘D’ ring which in theory should helps to avoid any pressure points on the side and top of your foot. The best I can say is that I barely noticed the shoes in use, and having tightened them up at the start of several long rides I never had to release any tension in the shoe mid-ride, and neither did I feel the need to tighten them ahead of the town sign sprint point on the club run.
In terms of weight, the Factors weighed in at 330g for a pair of size 44 shoes, which is a little heavier than the Empires, which in turn tip the scales at 262g (and that’s in a size 45). Still, The Factor isn’t a heavy shoe by any means, it’s just not the lightest in the Giro range. That honour is reserved for the aptly-named Empire SLX. Buckles and velcro straps weigh more than laces it seems.
Finally, if the white with black colourway of our test shoes doesn’t appeal then there is also the matte black and gloss black combination, as well as a rather fetching red and white option. Stylistically the shoes have been something of a hit with all those who have seen them. Oh, one last thing. The shoes also come in a carry case, which, in reality will probably get chucked to the back of the cupboard, but could be handy when racing or travelling abroad.
The Giro Factor ACC shoes provide day-long comfort, a super-stiff sole and easy adjustment in a package which is a very attractive proposition for racers and club riders alike.