I’ve had the good fortune of reviewing Garneau’s top-end road shoes over the last few years, starting with the Course Air Lite – leading up to their Course Air Lite II.
Along the way, I’ve regaled the shoes as being some of the most comfortable, best performing kicks in the high-end road segment, embellishing their qualities with cliches like – “they gave me a sense of having an iron foot in a velvet cycling shoe”.
Well, last year Garneau upped their game with the introduction of its latest flagship road shoe called the Course Air Lite XZ, which features the Canadian brand’s award winning X-Comfort Zone technology that’s designed to allow the shoe’s upper to expand up to 6mm in order to accommodate B to D+ foot widths thanks to a ventilated elastomer-spandex insert, while conceding nothing in the way of support.
“X-Comfort Zone is a dynamic, non-constrictive fit for the foot’s natural toe splay, which improves power, reduces injuries, and creates unsurpassed comfort. It also keeps the front part of the shoe more flexible to accommodate larger feet,” boasts Garneau.
In addition to the X-Comfort Zone technology, the Course Air Lite XZ is further punctuated by a high-density, seamless upper, Garneau’s Ergo Air Transfo 3D insole with 3 adjustable arches, a full-carbon sole with patented air channels and a four-part lacing system that tensions via premium BOA Li2 dials.
Unfortunately, supply chain issues stemming from the pandemic initially delayed the release of the Course Air Lite XZ during 2021. But, in recent months, full production was eventually met, allowing the nice folks at Garneau to send me a pair for review.
So, how does the Course Air Lite XZ perform?
There’s a saying, Don’t let Perfection be the Enemy of Good, so given that both iterations of the Course Air Lite proved to be such excellent shoes, I was a little concerned that the properties that made them so good may have been lost simply out of Garneau’s desire to make a new product. Not the case!
Aside from the fit feeling a smidgen smaller, the Course Air Lite XZ delivered all of the same accolades as its predecessors, but with a perceptible degree of refinement, wherein the upper conferred a more “enveloped” feel thanks to its new design and materials, while the retention system seemed noticeably more detailed courtesy of a revamped lacing format and upgraded BOA dials. Ventilation was also improved by way of new mesh zones and sipes along the forefoot.
Perhaps, most importantly, these improvements in the areas of comfort and support equated into the Course Air Lite XZ having a noticeable increase in power transfer as well, a conclusion that wasn’t reached by a mere jaunt along my favorite backroad, but rather after weeks of traversing the villages and hamlets of old New England towns.
Indeed, the Course Air Lite XZ provided a level of stability and power transfer that places them amongst the very best road shoes that I have reviewed, never giving up anything in terms of comfort or composure, even on the longest of rides and under the harshest of riding conditions.
Not surprisingly, all of this comes at a price, as the Course Air Lite XZ fetches a hefty $459.99.
Hesitant to pay that much?
Try telling your aching, throbbing, tired feet caused by your current cycling shoes – otherwise.
You must be logged in to post a comment.