Gaerne Carbon G Chrono
To be honest, we didnt see this shoe coming. Gaerne wasnt on our hot list for shoe manufacturers. They are now. The new Carbon G Chrono is a game changer for them. It brings the glove-like, handmade Italian fit and incredible Italian craftsmanship to a higher volume fit, no special wide size necessary. It does it with a full arsenal of fit features and manages to keep the weight under 300 grams for a size 45. Using dual BOA Systems they have managed to fit a wider foot with essentially no compromise for a narrow foot. Very few shoes fit so comfortably across such a wide range of volume. The heel cup uses two inserts to keep it comfortably in place and the full carbon sole is thin and stiff with good ventilation. The tongue is another standout feature, incredibly comfortable no matter how tight you wind your BOAs. Our only quibble? The insole is so flat and thin it feels like riding right on the outsole, but with the prevalence of after market insoles this shouldnt stop you from experiencing these shoes.
Price: $500 Weight: 293 grams (Size 45) Sizes: 39-48
Northwave Extreme Tech
The Northwave Extreme Tech, more handmade Italian magic from a less familiar source, Northwave. These are the shoes the Leopard guys demanded to ride when their team merged with Radio Shack. That is a vote of confidence. Using a technology called Bio Map, Northwave molds a seamless upper that uses stitches only to attach the retention systems. Those retention systems are simply fantastic. The SLW double is a cord pull system similar to, but we believe superior to, the BOA system. The dial pulls cord, while another lever releases it. The buckle uses three separate levers, one to tighten, one to remove the shoe and another to micro adjust the fit, even while riding. Its the best currently on the market and amazingly, with this fit system, the shoe weighs only 279 grams for a 45. Like any high-end shoe these days, the outsole is light stiff and full carbon. Riders with skinny feet may experience some slight folding at the inside fore foot vent as they tighten the shoe down.
Price: $330 Weight: 279 grams (Size 45) Sizes: 39-48 with half sizes from 39.5 to 45.5
Louis Garneau Carbon Pro Team
The latest from the French-Canadians is a flashy patent leather race shoe, worn by Team Europecar. As their premiere race shoe it ticks a few boxes, full carbon outsole, sophisticated retention system and climate specific features. That outsole is called X-Lite and features a very low stack height with through vents. The retention system uses two Velcro straps and a buckle. That buckle allows you to micro adjust fit even while riding. Crank the buckle down, then pop ratchets one at a time to get the perfect fit. Your heel is kept snug with a specially shaped polymer insert and it does its job very well. The Carbon Pro Team ships with two insoles, one with IceFil, that turns sweat to coolant, and another for cooler temps. The IceFil is perfect for riders that suffer from swelling feet in the heat and the Carbon Pro Team as a package is a very good hot weather shoe. LG sizing always runs a bit short, so go up a half size. Luckily, LG offers one of the most comprehensive size ranges in the industry, so you can get it just right.
Price: $330 Sizes: 36 50 with half sizes from 41 45.5.
SIDI Wire Vent Carbon
When the company that sets the standard by which all other road shoes are measured comes out with a completely new model the peloton takes notice. Sure, the all-new Wire Vent Carbon retains some of the Ergo 3s features but the big story is the new closure system. Instead of the three separate closure systems of the Ergo, the Wire gets dual Tecno 3 dials, one at mid foot and one at fore foot. The system allows for perfectly even distribution of retention forces, and with a low friction cable and the ability to micro adjust with the push of a button you can do it all on the fly. The Vent Carbon sole debuted last year has been updated to, with a lighter heel pad and replaceable toe pad/vent cover. SIDI is also entering the insole battle with a layer of memory foam and antibacterial treatment in a lightweight supportive foot bed. Their adjustable heel retention system, next level stuff, has been retained from the Ergo 3. On top of all this SIDI has shaved 60 grams off a pair of Ergo 3 Vents.
Price: $500 Sizes: 39-48 with half sizes from 39.5-46.5. More:sidiamerica.com
Specialized S-Works SL2 Road
Body Geometry is a term that has been bandied about by Specialized to describe saddles, a fit system, even chamois. Theres definitely some fatigue associated with that term. Want to be a believer again? Ride the newest S-Works BG shoe, the SL2. The new FACT carbon outsole is asymmetrical to take advantage of your foots asymmetrical power delivery. Yes, its stiffer and lighter. Of course it gets the BG treatment, a 1.5 cant to put the typical knock-knee rider in better hip-knee-alignment. The toe box has a bit of room for in shoe wedges, to either increase or eliminate the cant depending on your bodys geometry. Dual BOA closures and an added Vlecro strap at the forefoot enable perfect fit across differing foot volumes and the open cable guides make getting in and out easy without having to unwind all the cable. The construction of the upper is a two-stage affair, pliable and supple up front with a high tensile strength heel thermobonded in place. They do all of this at a weight most shoes can only dream of. A note about the BOA, like the Gaerne, dont expect to get more than a season out of the closure system, luckily its cheap and easy to replace.
Price: $360 Weight: 210 grams (size 42) Sizes: 38 48 with half sizes from 41.5 to 46.5. Narrow and Wide available to. More: specialized.com
Peloton Shoe Buying Tip: When buying new cycling shoes dont judge the fit until the temperature of the upper has equalized to your body temperature. Be prepared to sit in them for 20 minutes or more, then adjust the buckles, dials, or straps. That is the fit you can expect the shoe to have on the road.