With one quick look at the Giro Prolight SLX Shoes, you'll know something is different. There are no mechanical closures, a rarity among pro-level shoes. This is in response to the needs of their marquee rider, Levi Leipheimer. Being meticulous about his gear, he wanted Velcro closures rather than a buckle so he could be confident that the shoes would survive a crash; buckles can break and having one go in a Grand Tour is a lousy way to lose a race you prepared all year for.Velcro, great. Simple, adjustable, conforms well to the foot, hard to break: everyone can get into that. But Giro didn't just drape three straps across the top of the shoe. They designed each strap to do something a bit different, so each is angled slightly differently. The top strap holds the heel into the cup, the middle strap goes across the metatarsals to anchor your foot in the shoe, and the bottom strap takes up any loose space in the forefoot. If you take a close look at the medial side of the shoe, you'll see that each strap is fixed on large swaths of material, meaning that you're pulling the entire upper over your foot, rather than creating pressure points under each strap. Another subtle but striking feature is the way the toe box is constructed. One-piece toes look great, but the smooth look often comes at the price of limited adjustability. On the Prolight, the toe area looks conventional, but it allows for a wide range of adjustment on that bottom strap and eliminates the dreaded pucker, even if you have a narrow forefoot.And, because every gram counts when you're climbing 15,000 feet a day, several days in a row, Leipheimer also wanted the lightest possible shoe without losing either stiffness or security. This Easton EC90SLX is the lightest and stiffest sole Giro uses in their shoes. Easton and Giro are divisions of the same company and Giro leaned on Easton engineers here. The result is a super-stiff sole that's only 6.
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