Gaerne has a reputation for quality and the new Carbon G.STL is the brand’s premium offering featuring an all-new, one-piece microfibre upper that’s laser-drilled to provide breathability.
The upper surrounds the semi-rigid heel cup, and slims and broadens around the shape of the foot.
This makes for a shoe that feels very stable, especially when combined with the Boa Li2 dials and eight fixing points for the laces, which allow even tensioning. The latest Li2 dials offer micro-adjustments in either direction and are more user-friendly than rival dial systems.
The shoe’s shape has just enough height to add volume, but it’s also a slim design.
If you have wider feet you may struggle and, size wise, they come up a little small. I stepped up to a 46 from 45. Gaerne offers a wide size range of 39 to 47, though, with half sizes available between sizes 41 and 46.
Foot retention is excellent and I found the extensive heel cup very reminiscent of Sidi’s designs. The G.STLs hold your foot rock-steady, even when sprinting out of the saddle.
The outsole is stiff enough to not budge, even when I was working at my hardest – not really surprising when the sole is rated 12 out of 12 on Gaerne’s stiffness ladder.
The sole also has excellent venting with forward-facing holes channelling air into the shoe, and mesh vents allowing hot air to escape. However, the upper is quite closed, so I’ve found myself reaching for these on cooler days.
The grip-tape coated cleat plate has well-defined markings, with the sandpaper-like surface holding your cleats tight.
The sole is noticeably thin at the cleat plate so the feeling of a direct connection with the pedal is great. At 576g a pair (size 46) they’re pretty light for a more traditional design too.
Gaerne also offers a direct-mount Speedplay-compatible sole if you’re a fan of that minimal pedal system.
Gaerne Carbon G.STLs bottom line
They’re very comfortable despite being so stiff and they look every inch the premium road cycling shoe.
With replaceable heel bumpers and serviceable Boa dials these shoes, while expensive, are built to last.