The Gaerne G.Speed shoes come in two variations, those with a full carbon sole and the model tested, which has a composite sole. The interesting element of this carbon composite sole is that unlike other composites, they consist of a central carbon area surrounded by nylon material.
This is designed to maintain a level of stiffness close to that you would expect to see in a fully carbon soled shoe and a thinner base, theoretically allowing for more power through the pedals.
The sole fits all popular types of three-bolt pedal systems and the installation of cleats was easy, with three axes of measurement available to help you make sure that the cleat is installed at your preferred angle.
As we have come to expect from Gaerne shoes, the uppers are supple and comfortable to wear for any number of hours in the saddle. It might be a cliché with shoe reviews, but the best shoes really are those that you hardly notice. From the first ride, these could have been shoes that I’d worn for years they were that comfortable.
Ventilation is excellent, with mesh vents above the toes, on both sides of the foot and towards the top of the closure system. There are also additional vents around the heel cup, which allows for airflow through the body of the shoes. They shoes also have perforated holes across the sides to facilitate additional heat loss. Admittedly, this time of year meant that testing these in really hot conditions just didn’t happen, but from the amount of airflow felt I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that these would keep your feet relatively cool in almost all temperatures.
285g per shoe is impressive for a pair without full carbon sole and compare favourably to the more expensive G.Stilos produced by Gaerne, which weigh in at only 10g lighter per shoe. It is worth noting though, that the Stilos include a double BOA closure system, compared to the single one on these.
That single BOA is the primary closure method, using a nylon wire to tighten the shoes around your foot. I’ve been a big fan of the BOA system in the past and the only shoe that I’ve tried with a better fit than these is the aforementioned Gaerne G.Stilo.
But there are a couple of elements to this system that I find slightly frustrating on this shoe. One is a small point that one dial twists one way to tighten, the other twists the opposite. It’s not a major issue but is slightly disconcerting.
The other is that we know that the Boa system can be used to both tighten and loosen as we have seen with the Stilo. This allows for micro-adjustment whilst riding, which is useful as feet do expand in the heat. The system on the Speeds doesn’t allow for this, which for shoes with an rrp of £239 is disappointing.
The price might seem steep for a pair of shoes that don’t have a full carbon sole, but carbon isn’t everything, and the quality of the other elements of the shoe go some way to starting to justify the cost.
I was impressed with these shoes. They’re comfortable, well ventilated and have a good supple upper that provides an excellent fit. The single BOA provides a secure fit, even if there’s not the double BOA of Gaerne’s more expensive shoes.