Gaerne Wallaby shoes £219

Tweaked fit ensures these carbon shoes are an excellent buy

BikeRadar score 4/5

This is the top-of-the-line competition-level clipless shoe from Italian firm Gaerne. We like the balance struck between outright pedalling stiffness and a little flex for walking. And rather foot-pleasingly, the hand-stitched uppers are close to the slipper-like fit of Sidi’s Dragons.

The twin forefoot Velcro straps are unchanged for 2010, as is the adjustable upper microbuckle strap. The heel is where Gaerne has made the most changes, with a perforated rubber gripper and improved profiling, ensuring a much better fit.

The genuine kangaroo leather footbeds are a luxurious touch that we like a lot. The mid-section of the shoe feels closer fitting, and follows your foot shape more accurately than the 2009 version, which makes the upper fit feel more natural.

The shoe doesn’t have big areas of nylon mesh like some of its competitors do either, so they’re better at keeping you warm and dry, although for the same reason they’re also a bit warmer on sunny days.

Moving onto the sole, where performance-orientated shoes either live or die, it’s business as usual. The previously well-tuned carbon midsole is unchanged, delivering power when needed when on the bike, and enough flex when walking or clambering over stiles that you don’t feel like you’re going to slip every five minutes.

The outsole is a relatively hard rubber, and while hard, wet surfaces can cause it issues, it’ll be fine on most kinds of dirt. Cleat pocket depth is average and we had no issues with using Shimano, Time, Crank Brothers or Look cleats for the entire duration of our three-month test.

We think anyone looking for a race-ready cross-country shoe that can also handle all-day riding will be impressed with the Wallaby’s performance.

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