Like Cinderella, Gaerne’s new shoes come out of their shell at night, shedding their understated daytime appearance to shine in the spotlight of car headlamps. It’s all down to their ‘Reflex’ finish.
Essentially the whole of the outer has a Scotchlite-like coating; normally a dull silver colour, at night when caught in car headlights they light up like a Christmas tree. We like this nod to safety – in fact we haven’t tired of seeing our feet looking laser bright when spinning the pedals.
The G.Costes aren’t just about surface bling though. Hidden underneath the finish is a quite excellent shoe. If anything, we like what’s on the inside more than the exuberant exterior.
The shoe’s inner is lined with varying mesh. In the toebox and forefoot it’s tightly woven, allowing these to breathe and be comfortable, aided by the highly perforated outer. Around the instep, outstep and heel, this mesh is more open and deeply padded.
The tongue features even more padding and the same mesh. That makes for a shoe with slipper-like comfort, the big padded tongue letting you ratchet down the straps without pinching. The insole is also very well vented, with a deep heelcup adding to the comfortable feel.
The sole is reinforced nylon with a simple unprofiled design, but with more than adequate markers to aid cleat setup. The pronounced heel bumper also makes them easy to walk in when off the bike. Sole stiffness is impressive too, with no twist or roll even when mashing a big gear out of the saddle. It’s really as stiff as carbon soles found on much pricier footwear, albeit a little heavier: 360g for a size 45.
Quality is excellent, with details like a full metal ratchet adding to the classy feel. And though we thought the Reflex finish would be a little more fragile than a standard outer, that’s not the case, though we have found ourselves taking a lot more care with these great quality race shoes.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.