When I first pulled the Giro Apeckx shoes out of the box, my reaction was lackluster. The problem wasn’t with the shoe, it was with me. It just took me a month to figure that out. What I didn’t appreciate when I first looked at them or when I first wore them or even when I got back from my first three-hour ride in them was what a value they are. Without really thinking, I had assumed these were the next step down the Giro line from the Factor.
That would be the $224.95 Trans, not the Apeckx. I was wrong.
When I lived in Massachusetts I often rode with a compass. The roads in the Berkshires twisted and turned with so little logic that I’d often find myself at intersections in the middle of nowhere and pull out the compass only to realize, “Oh, that’s east. Wow.”
Finding out the Apeckx retails for $149.95 was a similar experience. It was a helluva a shock, if I’m honest. And I couldn’t resist running this review on the heels of my assessment of the Rapha Grand Tour shoes.
Here’s all I’m going to say about the appearance of the Apeckx: I dig the interplay of black and white on this shoe. Even after riding in sloppy conditions, they are easy to clean up. Okay, I’m done. You’re either going to like them, or not. Let’s move on to the stuff that will get the conversation rolling. They also make a black shoe with silver highlights for those who want a more conservative look.
My 42s are a relatively high-volume shoe. Theoretically, the fit is the same as the Factor, but there are some minor differences in the fit. Some of it is volume in the instep and some of it has to do with the strap just behind the toe box. The strap behind the toe box appears to be slightly longer and more flexible on the Apeckx. I end up with less exposed velcro but also less restriction behind the toes.
Now, I’ve tried the Apeckx with both the included footbeds and Giro’s SuperNatural adjustable-fit footbeds that came with my Factors. The footbeds included with the Apeckx aren’t garbage, but there’s nothing special about them. When I added the SuperNatural footbeds they went from good to remarkable. The sole is made from Zytel—nylon—and is exceptionally stiff, perhaps the stiffest non-carbon fiber sole I’ve ridden. That detail becomes all the more impressive when you look at just how thick the soles are, which is to say, while they aren’t as thin as the EC90s used in the Factor, they are a good deal thinner than those found in many competitors’ shoes I’ve worn.
When I think back on all the shoes I’ve worn over the years, and how many of them retailed for more than $200 and how superior these are to most of them, I’m really impressed. Sure, it’s unfair to compare this generation to the previous, but the mind can’t help but draw comparisons. Honestly, I didn’t think you could get this much shoe for $150.
Here’s my one real criticism of this shoe: Someone inclined to spend $150 on a pair of shoes strikes me as unlikely to spend another $50 (that’s a 33 percent add-on) to ride with the SuperNatural footbeds. And that’s a shame, because with the addition of those footbeds I’d put these shoes up against a great many shoes in the $200 to $250 range. The question on my mind is what it would cost to add the footbeds to the shoes. They are great shoes given their price. But suppose they included the SuperNatural footbeds and charged $180. The improvement in fit and ride quality (not to mention power transfer, because every time your foot flexes and flattens during the pedal stroke that’s a loss in power) would make them easily the best sub-$200 shoes on the market.
A guy can dream, can’t he?