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The Gaerne Carbon G .Stilo Spd-SL Road Shoes 2017 are a fantastic pair of high-performance road shoes. They keep the best elements of the previous model and add to them, with more on-the-fly adjustment and improved ventilation.
There must be something in the water in Maser in the north of Italy that breeds high-end shoe makers. Both Sidi and Gaerne are based in the small town, with their factories being within 1km of each other. Both also outfit some of the world's top professionals, with Sidi providing shoes for Sky's multiple Tour de France champion Chris Froome and these Gaerne Carbon G.Stilo kicks on the feet of Lotto-Soudal sprinter Andre Greipel.
The G.Stilo's uppers are made from a thin micro fibre material which has a lattice design for vents throughout the front of the shoe, including on the tongue. This, combined with smaller vents on the bottom of the shoe and a larger vent in front of the heel cup means that there is impressive air flow through the shoes, which helps to keep the heat down when riding.
Closure is taken care of with two Boa IP1 dial systems, which tighten the kevlar reinforced wires on the shoes. Unlike the previous model, these do not have a velcro strap towards the front of the shoe, which means there is more adjustability on the fly through the multi-directional Boa dials.
The system is designed to create equal pressure on both sides of the shoe to make it more comfortable. It seems to work well and these are very comfortable shoes. This is helped partly by a simple piece of velcro on one side of the tongue which keeps the tongue in the same place throughout. That seems like such a basic touch, but one that honestly makes a big difference to comfort.
The shoes have a nice supple quality at the back of the heel which stops unwanted rubbing on the achilles and there is a strong carbon heel cap which creates not only support but also helps with power transfer.
The shoes use a similar (may even be the same) sole as the previous model. It has a really low stack height and supreme stiffness, which made a difference to the power I could put through the pedals. I found that I beat a few of my PRs on some of my most frequently used climbs because they really do allow a considerable amount of power to go through the pedals.
The sole also has a front buffer and heel protector. The front buffer is not replaceable, but the heel protectors are. Given that wear on the rear is guaranteed to be more than the front, this seems like a relatively good idea. The shoes are also available with a sole that has four threaded holes for Speedplay cleats to mount without an adapter.
Gaerne have used their Efficient Pedaling System (EPS) on these shoes, which is designed to keep your feet in the most efficient pedalling position. I am not totally sure what that position is, so can't judge whether that's the case. However, I can say that they certainly keep your feet secure and they have an excellent fit. This is due to both a dual-thickness insole and layup on the full carbon sole.
The shoes weigh 590g for a pair of size 43s, a decent weight when you consider the tech that's gone into them. They are around 30g more than the similarly priced Fizik R1Bs, 15g heavier than a pair of Sidi Shots, and 14g more than a pair of Giro Techlaces. You can certainly get shoes that are lighter, but few will offer the same all-round performance.
With an RRP of £319.99 the G.Stilo's are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. However, these are top of the range shoes and if you want the best you need to pay for it. Although they are expensive, if you have the money and are looking for top-of-the-range shoes, they should certainly be under consideration.
Overall the Gaerne Carbon G .Stilo Spd-SL Road Shoes are top of the line shoes with top of the line performance but a top of the line price.
Top level shoes with fantastic fit and rigidity, but a top level price tag
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gaerne Carbon G .Stilo Spd-SL Road Shoes 2017
Size tested: 43
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A high performance shoe that's good enough for the pro peloton
Gaerne say: 'The new full carbon sole 'GAERNE EPS LIGHT WEIGHT FULL CARBON SOLE' guarantees absolute lightness and rigidity.he ultra-thin thickness of the carbon allows the foot to be positioned at a minimal distance from the pedal, thus allowing maximum power whilst pedaling without loss of energy. Two channels positioned in the sole ensure perfect ventilation to the foot during use. Non-slip rubber inserts in the front and back of the sole provide security whilst walking. The rear insert is replaceable. Sole is compatible with all clipless pedals.'
All of this seems accurate, the sole is thin but incredibly rigid, ventilation is strong and fit is great.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Air ventilation system
Comfort fit tongue
High comfort insole
Really well made and the bits that normally wear out quickly (ie heel buffers) are replaceable.
Really strong performance, incredibly stiff sole, fantastic ventilation and great fit.
Replaceable heel buffer is useful, plus despite it being thin, the microfibre upper seems durable with marks easily wiping off.
Great fit, the Boa and EPS systems hold the foot in place brilliantly.
The 43 I tested fitted fine. Also available in all sizes between 39 - 46
Slightly heavier than some of its competitors, but when you consider that these are worn in the pro peloton, they aren't exactly leaden.
Excellent comfort, not hot spots, tongue stays in place, and loads of vents kept my feet nicely cool throughout.
These are expensive, but are comparable to other elite level shoes, so probably at about the right price point.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Wiped clean really simply with a wet cloth.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, stiff sole meant power transfer was excellent, Boa system kept everything comfortable, and ventilation kept my feet cool.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The stiffness of the sole is fantastic, meant that I was putting maximum power through the pedals at all times.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They have a high price point.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Mercian King of Mercia or Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.