Giro Apeckx II Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
It can be true that cycling is an expensive sport, but it doesn't have to be. The Apeckx IIs are super affordable and will get you out on the road cranking out the watts without sacrificing too much in the way of marginal gains. They're heavier than the premium shoes, but they make awesome training shoes that you can tear up and abuse without too much guilt. That also makes them great for entry-level riders. They're tough, so they can take the beating, but they're also at the price range where it won't you cry if you take a little spill and rip off a fastener. We think these will suit a good number of riders, but take a look at the rest of the review to see if you're one of them.
We looked at about half a dozen measures and assigned performance scores after testing and research. The remainder of our review will break down each of the measures and discuss attributes of these shoes and compare them to other top shoes on the market. Read on to see how they do.
The bonded and welded mesh upper do a great job of flexing and moving with the foot, so the fit is snug and natural. Even the flex of the DuPont Zytel sole helps relieve some of the tension on the foot, though it obviously reduces power transfer and generally reduces performance. The classic ratchet and velcro fastening feel like a nice foot hug. Most riders on a strict budget or just getting into the sport will get a lot out of comfort and performance out of these.
But we would be lying if we said these were the most comfortable shoes out there. For that, you can expect to pay a premium. If you're looking for a seriously premium model with excellent comfort, take a look at the Top Pick for Lightweight Shimano S-Phyre RC9 SPD-SL.
When you hear entry-level in cycling, it should come as no surprise that the gear will not be the lightest on the market. The Apeckx IIs don't surprise us - they're the heaviest in our lineup, coming in at 23 ounces or 652 grams. They use a thicker microfiber upper that improves comfort, but adds the grams. The DuPont Zytel nylon outsole goes a long way to improve stiffness without adding a ton to the cost, but it does add the weight on.
If it's lower weight you're after, the premium shoes will meet that desire. The Scott Road RC SL and Louis Garneau Course Air Lite II dominate this category, weighing 261 and 265 grams, respectively.
With the Giros, you get what you pay for. These are great for spin class, new riders, and those on a tight budget. It does just fine for what it has. The microfiber upper does a good job of keeping the foot still and stable without too much give, so most of the movement from your foot is directed into the pedal. The DuPont Zytel nylon outsole also offers a lot for a composite outsole, but it's not going to satisfy the serious rider with a bigger footwear budget. As we said, spin was a reasonable place for these, but even there, simulated climbing and sprints were noticeably weaker. Out in the real world, categorized climbs seemed to show lower wattage, but that could have been carbon bias or unrelated fatigue.
If you want to go to the top of the shelf, there are lots of options. Consider the Best Bang for the Buck Louis Garneau Course Air Lite II, which has all the stiffness and performance of premium models, but at a much lower price. The top of the line here is found in the current and previous Editors' Choice winners: the Fi'zi:k Infinito R1, Scott Road RC SL, and Sidi Wire Vent Carbon. These models are carbon-intense with nearly immovable uppers.
This model is great for a classic design. It features three fasteners: one ratchet at the ankle and two velcro straps across the midfoot and toe. It's a reasonably effective system, but it certainly isn't as clean or showy as the high-flying models like the Shimano S-Phyre RC9 SPD-SL. The truth is that these work just fine for most rides, they're just not fancy and they're less easy to adjust mid-ride. If fancy is your aim (and isn't that the deal with cyclists?), there are a handful of nice, fancy options that we really dig.
We had the best rides with theScott Road RC SLs and Shimano S-Phyre RC9 SPD-SLs. Both models use bi-directional Boa dials with extra cleats across the toe anchors. If those don't quite do it for you, the Sidi Wire Vent Carbon* had even more options for adjustments, including over the heel to really lock it down.
The Apeckx II is a pretty solid shoe that should last riders a few seasons. They use a tough microfiber upper bonded to a stiff DuPont Zytel nylon outsole. It's not the strongest combination of materials, but for a low budget intro shoe, it'll do the job and more. It avoids mechanical problems by using two Velcro straps across the toes and midfoot and a compact N-1 buckle to limit the possibility of catching it on hazards.
If you're after something a bit tougher, you should be prepared to invest a bit more in the shoes. In the case of the Lake CX402, a lot more, but you're getting a shoe with a super thick K-lite kangaroo leather upper and a super solid carbon fiber sole. If you want shoes that are even tougher, you need to take a look at the Scott Road RC SL, which is an almost entirely carbon fiber shoe.
These are just fine for riders just starting out, riders looking to get in on that upstroke and control game without breaking the bank, and those who just want a functional pair of spin shoes.
Their retail is a pretty reasonable ask. They're good shoes, but they'd be more competitive at a 10-15% discount.
Though the Apeckx II didn't pick up any awards, it's still a solid shoe that won't set you back a ton. Some of the premium road bike shoes like the Lake CX402 and Sidi Wire Vent Carbon run well north of the Giros' going price. You can almost buy a pair of Giros for your entire family and the dog for the price of one pair of either of the premium models. New riders and those looking for a bargain that will last a while, take a bit of abuse, and still kick out the power will be happy with these.
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