Somewhere in the deep recesses of my basement lie a couple of pairs of Gaerne road shoes from circa 2001. It’s odd that they should still be kicking around, as most of my shoes from that era have either long-since been passed along to others, or relegated to the heap. Perhaps, subconsciously I can’t bring myself to toss them, as they were one of the few shoes available back then that offered a full carbon sole with a mechanical closure, and their performance was stellar. Whatever the case might be, they’re still sitting around like relics.
While Gaerne has continued making premium cycling shoes over the last two decades, the Italian brand has had somewhat of an unstable footing in the US market, causing their products to be missing in action so to speak.
But, Gaerne recently found a new partner on these shoes, Albabici, one of this country’s premier distributors of high end cycling products, particularly those of the Italian persuasion. Knowing the good folks at the California-based firm, I decided to reach out to them at the start of the summer to arrange for a review of Gaerne’s flagship G.STL road shoe.
The key features that punctuate the G.STL include a lightweight microfiber upper with laser-drilled perforations for heat dispersion, the brand’s INFIT DUAL FCS Fitting Closure System with BOA IP-1 micro adjustable dials for precise fit, a non-slip heel cup with an EPS foam insole and a ventilated, low-stack carbon sole that’s given the highest stiffness rating of 12.
But, perhaps the most important aspect of the shoe is Gaerne’s TSS technology “Tarsal Support System” that’s designed to envelop the foot thanks to an asymmetric, variable thickness tongue and flap design.
Fit, Materials and Construction
The fit of the G.STL is spot on, offering ample room in the forefoot and toe box that’s consistent with sizing, while Gaerne was keen to take the middle ground when it came to arch support, building in just enough to accommodate a wide-range of anatomical foot shapes without forcing correction. This is no trivial matter, as some cyclists require special inserts or custom foot beds because of pronation or other foot pathologies.
I personally have dogs that are flatter than spit on a plate, requiring custom orthotics that some shoes in the past couldn’t accommodate because of too much built-in arch support or not enough room.
Regarding the materials and construction of the G.STL, the shoes posses both an artisan like quality, yet there’s a modern feel and function about them as well. I liken it to Geppetto working alongside a team of current-day designers using sophisticated tools and software.
How does the G.STL perform?
From the outset, my feet took to the G.STL as though they had been custom made for my dogs alone. In fact, the combination of the sole having just the right amount of support, combined with Gaerne’s supportive insole, enabled me to dial them in without the need for my custom orthotics.
Out on the road, the G.STL provided a level of stability and power transfer that harked back to what I loved about its predecessor, albeit with even greater comfort and performance, never giving up anything in the way of stiffness and composure, even on the longest rides and under the harshest of riding conditions.
Perhaps, the best way to sum up the G.STL, is it represents the culmination of everything Gaerne has learned over the last twenty-plus years, brought up to date by the latest in design and innovation, while still maintaining a sense of old-world artistry.
Oh, and the Matte-Iridium colorway is glam enough to make even the members of Roxy Music envious.
The G.STL sells for $449.95, which is available in a range of sizes from 39 to 47 (half sizes in 41.5, 42.5, 43.5, 44.5 and 45.5), with additional colors in matte white, matte light blue, matte black and matte grey.
You must be logged in to post a comment.