GARNEAU CYCLING COURSSE AIR LITE II SHOE: ONE SHOE, MULTIPLE WIDTHS
Louis Garneau, a French-Canadian brand, might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about high-end road shoes. They’re not a newcomer to this market, but they have been in the business of selling road shoes since the 1980s. garneau cycling latest top-tier road offering is the Course Air Lite II. It won a Gold Award at Eurobike 2017 for its long list of innovative features. The shoes have neat expansion zones that can accommodate a wide range of foot shapes.
There are many features to choose from
garneau cycling X-Comfort Zone is a new approach to addressing width issues. This panel wraps around the small toe, which can cause irritation. Louis Garneau cycling claims the Air Lite IIs are able to accommodate feet from dj business cards B to D+ thanks to this panel and a perforated panel at the medial.
The Air Lite IIs are a standard, pro-level pair of road shoes. However, they do have a few nice features.
What’s the fit?
The Air Lite IIs are a narrower fit than regular-fit Specialized S-Works shoes, Shimano S-Phyre, or Giro Empire shoes. Although it may feel tighter, the shoe’s expansion zones allow it to stretch where it would feel like it was being pinched.
I can often fit an EU43 without too much room, and many EU42.5s are a bit difficult to use. Garneau Cycling shoes are slightly longer than I expected. This is evident in the fit of my EU42.5 samples. They are half a size larger than Giro or Shimano.
After adjusting the fit, I decided on the medium arch wedges. They provide a similar feel to an inner sole from Specialized.
The Air Lite IIs were easy to wear and I experienced no irritation or discomfort during testing. They have a snug, yet flexible fit that gives them a performance feel. Also, they are very supportive when you need it. Although there are lighter shoes, the Air Lite II’s offer a competitive alternative.
Although the cleat inserts can be made from titanium, there is a dearth of printed markings. Air Lite IIs have only simple fore-aft-side cleat markings. The latter are barely visible when a Shimano SPDSL cleat is installed. This is a stark contrast with premium shoes that offer multiple angle markings to make adjustments and setup easier.
Louis garneau cycling isn’t shy about marking the rest. The uppers of all the shoes are clearly marked with the “X-Comfort Zone”, “HRS-400”, and “Power Zone” logos. Although the text is not too large, it still looks a little cheesy. I prefer a cleaner aesthetic that only the Garneau logo is visible. Garneau could certainly learn from the Shimano or Specialized offerings in this area.