Flash is an elusive quality. It makes something stand out, yet too much is, simply, too much. Pro gear is typically flashy, both as an advertisement for the producer as well as the rider. If it errs on the side of excess, that's ok, as it just makes the product even more noteworthy. The Factor is Giro's flashiest road shoe and the second one in the lineup. It's one that might even be preferred over the Prolight SLX. It's hard not to notice the red-and-white model. We don't know if it's the pinstripes or the striking contrast between the high-gloss Red and high-gloss White, but this is a color scheme that puts Sidi on notice. If you made it to the technical details, you'll see that it has a buckle at the top of the shoe rather than the Velcro strap of the Prolight SLX. We'll admit, we're like most folks, and we love the control and security of buckle systems.After the buckle, there are more subtle differences between the Prolight and this. The Factor Shoes use the slightly heavier Easton EC90 carbon-fiber sole. Though it's not quite as light as the EC90SLX sole of the Prolight, it's equally thin at 6.5mm. Overall, the shoe is still pretty feathery at a claimed 255g for a size 42. The upper is slightly-thicker Teijin microfiber, 1.4mm thick, with an equally rich finish. It's not leather, but it feels really plush in the hand and looks great. The threaded inserts and buckles are steel.Otherwise, the design of the shoe is largely the same as the Prolight. Very few panels, smooth interior, padded and vented tongue with a notch for your tendons. Giro went through 16 different lasts before arriving on a shape that they felt would be optimum for fitting most folk's feet. They decided when they plunged into shoe design that getting the last right was their first task, as once the last is created, the cobbler is pretty much stuck with that shape forever; it's the last.Part of this fastidiousness is seen in the placement of the top strap. They slaved to find the right length so the sweet spot of the strap was really comfortable and fit just about everybody. One way to do this is design the buckle anchor so it has two positions, an upper and lower. Giro did this; the two positions are different by 1cm.A big thing to know about the upper shape is that it was designed with the idea that people can install their own after-market or custom insoles. This means minimal construction around the heel cup and a neutral, flat (as opposed to canted or bathtub style) sole in order to better accommodate different insoles and a larger range of foot widths.Giro also includes their SuperNatural Fit Kit with the Factor Shoes. This is their aftermarket insole solution. They made them as thin as possible at the heel and ball of the feet so you don't feel like you're foot is being lifted out of the shoe by the insole. The base material is EVA foam, so you'll crush the insole where your foot pushes against it, or "set" it if you want to get technical, over the course of
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