Updated Giro Republic
Giro no longer makes the version of the Republic that we tested, instead offering an updated knit version. The Republic R Knit uses a Xnetic knit fabric, which is designed specifically for cyclists to provide breathability and "sock-like comfort". The shoe features a TPU skeletal system to support the knit outer, and there is a new nylon and rubber outsole.
Compare the new R Knit version (first photo) to the original microfiber Republic we tested (right).
The review to follow tells only of our account with the previous Republic, but since that version has been discontinued, we are now linking to the updated Republic R Knit.
Hands-On Review of the Republic
These were a great pair of shoes that should win a diversity award. They come with a two-hole design meant for SPD or Crank brothers, but an adapter can convert them to the standard road formats. However, they're ideally suited to commuting, spin class, and touring, which require more walking than jumping on the bike for a training ride. But just because these shoes are suited to less hammer-intensive riding, it doesn't mean they can't go head to head with the traditional road shoes. Take a look below as they do precisely that, and you can see if they' belong in your gear bag.
The Republics use a molded EVA footbed with a little bit of arch support, which allows the foot to sink into the shoe and feet more natural. They also use thick padding around the heel collar with a micro-suede heel liner that transitions nicely into the rest of the inside lining. This makes a huge difference, and it's the reason we think the shoe belongs in every rider's closet for spin, commuting, and touring. The one caveat here is that the tongue is the perfect length and rigidity to rub against your foot and chafe if you don't have on thick socks or cut the edge of the tongue.
The Giro Republic are great whether commuting or out on a leisurely tour.
The only two shoes that were more comfortable were the Shimano S-Phyre, which is a premium road shoe found in the pro peloton and winner of our Top Pick for Lightweight Award.
These are the heaviest shoes in our lineup, coming in at 22.8 ounces in a men's 44. That might be a concern for weight weenies, but these are fun, classy shoes meant for comfort and practicality, not charging to the front of the pack on a sprint - though any rider who has put in the work shouldn't be using gear as an excuse not to feel shame for underperformance.
But if you insist on weight being your end-all, you're in luck because the Giro Empire ACC is a similar model, and it tops the charts coming in at just 18.8 ounces in a men's 11. You might also like the Shimanos, which came in at 19 ounces in a men's 45, but it is a pro-level shoe and carries with it a heftier price tag.
For what they are, they transfer power fairly well. The DuPont Zytel nylon sole has a little flex in it but is pretty stable. The microfiber upper is flexible to improve comfort rather than rigid to transfer power. These are nice for spin, even if you're standing for 20 minutes because your instructor is some deranged sadomasochist, but we wouldn't intentionally choose these for a day of climbing out in the wild on the road.
These aren't the stiffest shoes out there, but they feel great and work really well for spin.
If you are thinking top shelf, we suggest looking at the Editor's Choice winning Fi'zi:k Infinito R1, which uses hard Techpro microfiber for its upper and a supple full carbon outsole.
Going with the classic lacing design adds a certain hip appeal. Some riders even prefer the way they can get a uniform fit across the foot using laces. The Republics use a nice, open design that allows the lacing to tighten or loosen the upper without having to fight a tough upper that doesn't want to tighten as much at the toe as at the neck.
The New Republics use laces, which means adjustment requires a full stop and you probably need to dismount.
As appealing as laces can be, they don't offer the ease of adjustment or minute adjustment afforded by ratchets, dials, buckles, or even straps. For better on-the-fly adjustment, we suggest looking at the Fi'zi:k, Shimano S-Phyre, and Sidi Wire Vent, in that order.
These come in about average in durability. Their nylon sole should last a good long while, but their fine upper with its exposed stitching and open wings may come loose or deteriorate earlier than is ideal. Furthermore, their toe pad isn't replaceable, which will expose the sole and upper to wear sooner.
These use a perforated microfiber upper and come with four replaceable walking pads and a thick toe pad that helps protect the nylon outsole and extend life.
What usually makes a long-lasting shoe is a tough upper material with a design that protects stitching and cuts down on open flaps, and a robust sole that has replaceable pads that protect the sole and the junction points between the upper and sole. Two shoes that reasonably achieve that are the Lake CX237 and the Sidi Wire Vent Carbon.
These kicks are best suited to jaunts around town, commuting, spinning, and leisurely touring. They use 2-hole cleats, so SPD and CrankBrothers are the most likely options.
These come in somewhere around the lower end of the mid-range, which can be a bit of an ask for a commuter shoe, but we think their great walkability, comfort, and style make them an ideal choice for spin, commuting, and touring.
These go for $150, but they look like they belong on some suave Italian-suited man about town. It's worth having a pair in the closet for spin, commuting, and light touring (booze cruising).
These aren't the ideal shoes for slogging up a 15% grade or spending three hours out in the burning sun, but they excel in the spin room where we can confidently walk our shiny shaved legs through the gym without clip-clopping or needing to carry another pair of shoes. They have a sophisticated appeal, and most importantly, they are as comfortable as loafers. We think there are much better road shoes that will perform at the highest levels, but they won't be as practical or useful as these are around town and in the gym. That's not to say that these are the best choice for serious roadies, but it is to say that they belong in any rider's closet if they putz around town, hit the spin classes, or plan on doing any casual touring.
Local teacher and historian Doug Ziegenfuss shows off the commuter appeal of the Giro Republics.