Gaerne G.Chrono shoes – review

The best compliment that can be paid to the Gaerne G.Chrono shoes is that you barely notice them while riding.

That’s because they’re exceptionally comfortable – and for three main reasons. The upper is extremely supple, the double BOA lacing allows for a precise fit and they’re very, very light. They come with an unashamedly heavyweight price tag, however, at £299.99. The shoes are handmade at Gaerne’s factory in the Veneto region of northern Italy – and Italian flare comes at a cost.

The Gaerne G.Chrono shoes retail for £299.99

Take a careful look at the professional peloton and you’ll see a number of riders wearing the G.Chrono shoes, unveiled last year to celebrate the Italian firm’s 50th anniversary. In fact, Radioshack-Leopard-Trek veteran Jens Voigt last week posted a picture of himself dressed to kill with a G.Chrono to hand.

The G.Chrono’s are significantly lighter than the company’s previous top-of-the-range model, with claimed weight just 275g per shoe for a size nine – a 25 per cent reduction.

Weight has been saved by swapping the double velcro strap and ratchet for a dual BOA – but the switch is more significant than that. I’ve long been a fan of the BOA lacing system, which uses a small dial to adjust a stainless steel cable which runs around the shoe. It make for a precise fit, with pressure evenly spread around the foot, and it’s a cinch to make on-the-fly adjustments, even when wearing oversocks. The use of a double BOA, pioneered by Specialized on their S-Works shoes, only improves the level of adjustment, helped by a rigid carbon fibre heel cup which has been given a non-slip treatment to ensure maximum stability, and, while footwear can be a very personal choice, the G.Chrono shoes fit like a glove.

The upper is made from a synthetic material, rather than leather. It’s thin and extremely supple which, combined with the double BOA, means it wraps itself around the contours of your feet to make for a very snug fit. The absence of bulky velcro straps also streamlines the shoe and, although we have been testing the G.Chrono through winter, allows for a number of  mesh ventilation panels on the main body of shoe and the tongue.

The G.Chrono’s are 25 per cent lighter than Gaerne€’s previous flagship shoe

Of course, in the peloton comfort means little without the performance to match, and the G.Chrono shoes use a full carbon fibre sole which, while super-thin to save weight, is also exceptionally stiff. Gaerne say the use of such a thin sole allows the foot to be positioned at a minimal distance from the pedal to ensure maximum power transfer from man to machine.

Otherwise, the shoes have non-slip rubber inserts on the front and rear of the sole to make them easier to walk in, and to also protect the carbon fibre sole when putting your foot down at traffic lights. The shoes are available in black, white/blue and white/red, as well as the white/black of our test pair, and while the shiny finish may not be to everyone’s taste, it will adds a bit of bling to any race or sportive start line. The G.Chrono’s also come with a shoe bag, which has proved useful when travelling overseas, and a zipped pocket inside the bag is comfortably big enough for pedals, multi-tool and the like – handy for keeping riding essentials together in one place.

All in all, these are a superb pair of race-day shoes which offer a near flawless fit and a stiff sole to back it up. They’re a premium offering which are among the most expensive non-custom moldable shoes available but the pro-level price tag is accompanied by pro-level performance.

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Price: £299.99
UK distributor: Hotlines UK

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