These are the widest shoes I have ever worn. I even used the Lake website and measured my feet and these were in the range. But I have to cinch them pretty tightly to minimize the heel lift. Thicker socks help, also. I will use them in Winter more with heavy socks and somewhat less aggressive riding. They are very comfortable, well-made, and adjustable with the dual BOAs. You may have to grind out some of the sole material around your cleat to make entry easier for SPD. The channel is very narrow and hard to align. I like them, but they are not for racing because they are heavy and the fit is loose. Get standard or normal wide sizes for that.
I read a ton of reviews about the S-PHYRE RC-902 (or 901) cycling shoe in cycling forums all over the Web. The praise was universal, but I was a bit skeptical given the $425 list price. Nonetheless, recently took the plunge when the shoe was briefly on sale at WBW. Glad I did. Fits like a custom made glove. The dual BOAs provide exquisite control of the fit, which can be independently varied to match the peculiarities of each foot. One of my feet is slightly larger than the other, so having this level of control over the fit is miraculous. Along with the dual BOAs, the wider Shimano toe box and heel grip strips make for a super-comfortable fit and riding experience. The shoes transmit power beautifully - I can hammer at >600W, or cruise at 200W with the shoes accommodating both situations with ease. And the shoes look fast just sitting on a shelf. I am a size US 10.8 on one foot and 11 on the other. I bought a Shimano size 46, and think that I would be even more suited to a size 45.5, but the 45.5 rarely shows up in any color other than black.
Shoes are really a difficult purchase for me. I agonize over the decision because uncomfortable feet can just wreck a ride. And shoes (especially good shoes) are really expensive, and not returnable once you put cleats on them. So, I thoroughly test shoes at home (on carpet) before I commit to the purchase. I have about 200 miles on these now, and I am not disappointed. First of all, these have got to be the most comfortable cycling shoes I've ever worn. Maybe the most comfortable shoes period. The uppers are very thin and form perfectly to my foot, yet they also hold my foot very securely. The shoe's tongue and over-arch area is extremely comfortable as well, with no chafing or binding so far. I'm convinced this is in part because of the laces. In the past, I was a devotee of the dual boa dial. Boas are great because you can adjust them on the fly, and two boas allows you to adjust the toe box separately from the arch. But I found myself constantly fiddling mid-ride as a result. In my opinion, laces work much better. Somehow, a lace system always seems to equilibrate to the perfect even tension across the whole shoe. Mid-ride fiddling just never seems necessary. Another thing about the uppers is the amazing ventilation. I was very skeptical of this initially, figuring that all that ventilation would effectively make these shoes into "sandals", resulting in wet socks and uncomfortable feet if there was even a hint of rain. That has not been the case so far. The ventilation has a kind of mesh that allows warm, sweaty air to escape even as it allows light amounts of water to basically run off. Using a spray bottle, I tested this by lightly spraying the shoe with a mist for about a minute. Most of the water just ran off the surface, but even the water that hung around quickly disappeared. And my sock never got wet. I've done a few hard rides since and I was surprised by how dry my socks were at the end of the ride. Now, to be clear, these are not rain shoes. And if it's under 45-deg, I would definitely wear shoe covers. But honestly, I would do that for almost any shoe'even my much heavier mountain bike shoes. I'm also impressed with how stiff these shoes are. If I used the Specialized S-works SL7 as a stiffness benchmark, I would say these are about 95% as stiff. Not quite as rigid as the benchmark, but pretty damn stiff! Additionally, these shoes have a very comfortable heal with a fair amount of padding, but excellent grip that keeps my foot firmly planted. Another great thing about the sole is the adjustable arch in the insole. I have pretty average arches, but I used the high arch setting and found them to be both more comfortable and to provide better power transfer in that mode. The combination of comfortable uppers, grippy heal, and really stiff Easton carbon soles creates excellent power transfer for the shoe. The final positive is weight. These shoes are really light. Again, using the SL7 as a benchmark, these are noticeably lighter. I did not expect that to matter, but on long climbs you can tell. To be honest, the Empire SLX was not on the initial short list. Nate in Customer Service convinced me to give them a try, he said it was his favorite shoe. Thanks Nate, for the excellent recommendation!
I was shocked they were not made in China, that alone made me smile. I've only used these for approximately 400 miles and here is my opinion, made in Romania, looks to be top notch assembled, very comfortable, well worth the money.
I have spent less money on uncomfortable shoes that brought me to here, I needed a road shoe for the vector 3 pedals to go groading in and these are very nice, I will find out how they will handle the abuse the Alba shall receive.