Review: Garneau Carbon Team Shoes, Xylitol Chill Factor & All Weather Possibilities
Remember the chilly Carbon Pro Team shoes Garneau released last December? A test pair arrived in March and we’ve been trying them out in the recent heat wave.
Garneau gave these puppies an “Ice Fill” insole, fancy tech words meaning they’re treated with Xylitol, the same sugar alcohol sweetener that’s infused in chewing gum for cool frigid breath. Bite down on them and they don’t do much. But supposedly, whenever your feet perspire the sweat released converts the insoles into little refrigerators. For additional cooling effects, the soles have two air vents. That’s for summer. For winter, a different insole gets inserted to keep heat within the shoe. With interchangeable insoles these shoes can be an investment for all seasons.
LG claims weight at 238g per shoe in size 41. That’s not as light as the 200g per shoe Northwave Extreme Tech shoes in size 42 that we’re reviewing, but not super heavy either. Good thing is, the Carbon Team shoe is packed with features. Equipped with Garneau’s lightest outsole, the very thin X-Lite, a lot of power transfer is promised. The heel cup has an internal polymer system called HRS-300 that secures the foot to reduce slippage. Pricing is $329.99 in sizes 38-48 (in half sizes from 41-46) with a choice between black or red.
Read on to see if Garneau stood up to the test…
The test sample that arrived came in size 47, the equivalent of a US 13. Tyler rocked them on a ride and decided they didn’t give his toes enough room. So he passed them off to me. I’m a US size 12/12.5. They fit snug as a bug so I recommend you size up when buying.
Feet are secured with three straps, two velcro and one snappy ratchet. With this design, my feet were kept exactly where I wanted them every ride without any slippage. In order to do this though, I tightened the straps as tight as they went making the toe of the shoe slightly cave in on itself. You’ll notice that in the first image. Though a minor aesthetic flaw, the good thing is if your feet are super wide they’re going to fit just fine. Also, heavy socks won’t make them too tight on the sides in winter.
Two insole sets are included – LG’s 30g “cool stuff insole” and the 33g “hot stuff insole”. Cool stuff is suited for warm weather riding because it’s perforated with over 100 tiny holes for air ventilation. Hot stuff, conversely, is great for cold weather because body heat is kept within through a solid non-perforated construction.
They’re stiff, very stiff. I look for this in road shoes and despite the thin sole, I didn’t notice any give regardless of force applied. Two vents line the carbon sole – one in the toe, the other at the ball. Cleats are compatible with Time, Look and Speed Play. Mine were equipped with the Shimano 105 cleats. No hot spots developed while I was riding, a huge plus.
A size 47 with the Xylitol insole is 346g. With the cold weather insole equipped, weight is pushed to 349 per. Arch to instep was secured perfectly. There wasn’t any discomfort in the heel.
The tongue is completely ventilated, a feature that kept my feet super chilly but surprisingly secure.
Now for that Xylitol tech – it’s not magical, but still very noticeable.
After about 10 miles, the sensation kicks in. The cooling effect isn’t overwhelming. In fact, it’s pretty subtle. I only really noticed when I dug my toes into the insoles. A cool sensation was released through thin cycling socks into my toes. If I were to describe it, it’d be like digging your piggies into the outside of a burlap sac full of ice. I took advantage of this on longer rides because in the dead heat of summer every bit of chill matters. I didn’t feel the chill on the rest of my feet because there wasn’t slippage in the shoe and I physically couldn’t dig any other part of my foot into the insole.
In our initial post, the insoles sparked some curiosity. Wondering whether the effect would fade off after time like chewing gum does, I wore these shoes on a ton of rides this season. The Xylitol effect never did fade, which is awesome. The shoes still look great and my feet stayed comfy, secure, and rigid the entire time. That speaks wonders for Garneau’s construction.
I complain about one thing – sizing, sizing, sizing. Yeah, we’re all pretty bad about sizing mistakes but the only reason I’m even wearing these shoes is because they were entirely too small for Tyler, who wears the advertised size. They are small, very small, so watch out. When I wear heavy socks with them, I feel a bit cramped in the toe box but not on the sides of my feet. Although they look pro, are filled with tech, and feel great, these shoes will be worthless if your feet don’t fit.
Despite that grumble, I give them a 5/5. Stiff, versatile, comfy, secure, and not burdensome. It’s possible to wear them in both winter and summer though you’d probably want shoe covers when the mercury drops. Packed with goodness, LG’s Carbon Team Pro Shoe could be that shoe. Right now it’s working great for me.
Check them out here.