Back in September of 2016, we reviewed Garneau’s flagship Course Air Lite road shoe, regaling its virtues with such comments as “like having an iron foot in a velvet cycling shoe” and “at the top of the leader board in terms of comfort and performance”.
Since then, Garneau has launched a new top-of-the-line road shoe called the Course Air Lite II, which they graciously sent us a pair for review this season.
Similar to the Course Air Lite, the Course Air Lite II possesses the same high level of fit and finish as its predecessor, along with the same shiny, washable synthetic cover and plush microfiber upper that we came to admire.
In addition, the new shoe also features Garneau’s HRS-400 technology, which utilizes a nylon-injected reinforced heel cup to prevent slippage, along with the company’s Carbon Air Lite outsole and a micro-adjustable BOA IP1 closure system. Moreover, the same thin profile of the carbon sole (4.3mm) was carried over as well, making it not only ideal for optimal power transfer, but when it comes to calculating precise saddle height, once again there’s no need to compensate for extreme changes in sole/cleat proportions.
So what makes the new Course Air Lite II better than its out-going sibling?
Firstly, the shoe incorporates a new technology called X-Comfort Zone, which is designed to allow the upper to stretch in order to accommodate B to D+ foot widths thanks to a ventilated elastomer-spandex insert, while conceding nothing in the way of support.
Garneau describes it as, “a dynamic, non-constrictive fit for the foot’s natural toe splay, which improves power, reduces injuries, and creates unsurpassed comfort.” “The new X-Comfort Zone technology keeps the front part of the shoe more flexible to accommodate larger feet.”
Another unique aspect about the Course Air Lite II is the addition of Garneau’s Ergo Air Transfo 3D insole, which allows cyclists to choose the level of arch support and ventilation that best suits them.
This is feature that we’ve only found available with a limited number of high-end aftermarket insoles, and never something that came included with a shoe.
So how did the Course Air Lite II perform?
Whenever a new product comes along that replaces one that’s already been deemed excellent, the question becomes whether or not its replacement can preserve the same qualities that initially made the forerunner great, while simultaneously expanding upon those attributes in a positive way.
We are pleased to report that everything that made the Course Air Lite one of the best road shoes we’ve tested to date, not only carried over to the Course Air Lite II, but the addition of X-Comfort Zone technology did indeed enhance comfort and ventilation, while as previously mentioned, conceded nothing in terms of structure and support.
How would we sum the Course Air Lite II?
Like the first iteration, the same high level of comfort and support prevails with the Course Air Lite II, wherein power transfer continues to be rock solid, creating the same sense of connection to the pedals and pure power transfer as before, along with a nice touch of added ventilation. And, we hasten mention, that these conclusions weren’t arrived at by a mere jaunt along our favorite backroad, but rather after weeks of riding and hundreds of miles covered and putting the Ergo Air Transfo 3D insole through its paces.
Oh, and let’s not forget about appearance, which Garneau was sure to include a choice of traditional and groovy colors again, making the Course Air Lite II one of the most stylish road shoes on the market.
You can learn more about pricing and sizing for the Course Air Lite II by visiting Garneau’s website here.
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