Knit Shoes Aren’t Just For Runners: Giro’s New Xnetic Knit Footwear Brings Comfort and Ventilation to Cycling

Words and pictures by Bicycling Magazine, Giro, and Performance Bicycle

We’re on the ground at Eurobike this week with our friends from Bicycling Magazine! There are so many great things to talk about, and we’ll try to cover a few interesting things over the next few days!

First up are three new Giro knit style shoes, which now offer something for every kind of rider!  We first saw these beauties in the Spring, but had to wait until now to share them with you!


We’ve seen knit uppers in running footwear, but the development has been slow to move to cycling, which puts unique forces on the foot. A cycling shoe needs to keep the foot stable to push through a pedal stroke, while also retaining it for the upward motion afterward. While knit footwear for cyclists seemed like a good idea for the same reason it appealed to runners (namely breathability and sock-like comfort) the construction wasn’t there to stand up to the demands of cycling physics. Until now.


Giro’s new Xnetic footwear features a DWR-treated knit-fabric upper, which breathes better than traditional materials and hugs your foot more evenly. The upper of the shoe is built around a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) “exoskeleton” to provide stability for smooth, consistent pedaling. Styled after Giro’s Empire and Republic shoes, the trio of Xnetic options offer different features for a range of riding styles.

For the more road-oriented rider, the Xnetic Empire E70 integrates the TPU skeleton internally for a sleek, unified look. It features a lightweight Easton EC70 carbon sole, which is as stiff as the brand’s mid-range Raes Techlace shoe. While not necessarily the stiffest or the lightest, this shoe promises solid power transfer for hard rides and light racing—and will be more forgiving when walking than a pure race shoe.

The same sole is mated to a more aggressive upper on the dirt- and trail-oriented Xnetic Empire VR70, which features a taller knit sock and an external TPU casing for better foot and ankle protection. This shoe gets a Vibram sole for the occasional rocky scramble, as well as toe and heel bumpers to fend off debris. The Empire VR70 is compatible with common two-bolt cleats.

Finally, the Xnetic R Republic is a great, more affordable option for riders hoping to do more commuting and the odd adventure ride. With more subtle styling, these will look great with jeans or a kit, and feature a durable nylon sole. They also come with Giro’s reflective laces to keep you visible in low light.

All shoes come with Giro’s comfortable, lightweight, and no-fuss lace-up closures. The Empire E70 weighs 250 grams and retails for $200, while the VR70 weighs 380 grams retails for $350. The Republic R Knit weighs 310 grams retails for $140. All weights are for a European size 42.5.


Stay tuned for more updates from Eurobike over the next few days!

Words and pictures by Bicycling Magazine, Giro, and Performance Bicycle

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