Shoe Review: The Gaerne vs. the Giro

The Gaerne G.Stilo Summer VS. the Giro Prolight Techlace

Two versions of the ultimate shoe

GAERNE G.STILO + SUMMER

For as long as we have ridden with Gaerne shoes, we have always known four things about them: One, they’re made in Italy. Two, they’re heavy. Three, they’re warm. And four, they’re built to last.

Over the years we have complained about features two and three, so we were curious whether the introduction of the new G.Stilo + Summer shoes would address either issue. The short answer is, a little bit. Previous Gaerne shoes have weighed over 700 grams per pair, and on hot days, they brought the heat like mini microwave ovens attached to each foot. The new shoes are an improvement.

Currently the shoe of choice for German sprinter Andre Greipel and the Lotto-Soudal team, the newest G.Stilo arrived with the same visible level of craftsmanship and solid construction as every other shoe that’s arrived from their small factory in Treviso, Italy.

THE TECH

What separates the Summer version from the standard version are the laser-drilled and vented portholes in the upper that bring added—and much appreciated—ventilation. No, the difference isn’t like going from driving a car with an open window versus full air conditioning, but they do vent better than the previous design.

Highlights of the Gaerne include the micro-adjust Boa dial closures, vented sole, heel cup with grippy material to help prevent slippage and a replaceable heel pad. The insole pad is on the chintzy side. Using four guides for the Boa line, the Gaerne had one of the most efficient closures of any shoe we’ve recently ridden.

PUNCH LINES

  • Still heavy and warm
  • Super-efficient Boa closure
  • Notable durability

STATS

Price: $499

Weight: 544 grams (size 42.5)

Sizes: 41-46 (plus half sizes)

www.gaerne.com

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GIRO PROLIGHT TECHLACE

The Prolight actually made its first wave at the Eurobike show last year when Giro had a single shoe sitting on a scale that read 150 grams. Imagine our surprise eight months later when the production version arrived and it weighed exactly the same. Maintaining that kind of consistent manufacturing prowess is impressive.

But who cares about the manufacturing?! From the minute you pick the shoe up to the moment you slip it on and take your first pedal stroke, you’ll be amazed at how lightweight a shoe can feel.

THE TECH

Giro’s proprietary Techlace Pro closure system is a unique blending of three straps comprised of both traditional laces, which they repopularized a few years ago with their Empire shoe, and the Techlace attachment, which was used on last year’s Factor Techlace shoe.

The Prolight’s upper is built from a custom monofilament fiber that is transparent through the strategically placed cutouts. The outsole is made from high-end TexTreme carbon fiber with a single toe vent on the sole (but no exhaust vent) and a non-replaceable, bonded, soft rubber “walking pad.” For a shoe this light, the tongue was surprisingly pillowy and comfortable. Helping the shoe maintain its slim figure, titanium hardware is used.

The shoes are available in three colors (red, black and white), and as Giro thinks most things through, it was good to hear that the laces are replaceable in case of breakage or a different length is needed. For the asking price, Giro also provides optional arch supports and a useful travel bag.

PUNCH LINES

  • Really, really light
  • Pillowy soft
  • Simple and effective

STATS

Price: $400

Weight: 300 grams (size 42)

Sizes: 39-48
(and half sizes)

www.giro.com

THE COMPARO

Coming from a 50-year history as a celebrated boot-maker for motorcycling, Gaerne’s approach to creating footwear has always been to make shoes that are built tough and last long. Yes, they are expensive and on the heavy side, but that’s because they remain one of the most overbuilt cycling shoes on the market. We’ve consistently gotten three to four years of use out of previous Gaerne shoes, with the Velcro closure being the only feature to wear out.

Unlike Gaerne, Giro was founded as a cycling-specific company. Despite the occasional misstep with clothing (free-road), when it comes to shoes and helmets, they’ve remained a fashion/technology-forward brand. In short, the Techlace is a revelation. If there is a lighter production shoe on the market, we have yet to see it. Surprisingly, as light and under-built as it is, the Giro is still very comfortable to wear.

The $100 difference is up to you and your credit card. One test rider likened the two shoes as so: the Gaerne is like a classic steel frame that is heavy but will likely endure, while the Giro is like a lightweight carbon frame whose best attributes will be felt with each rotation, but likely not as long as the Gaerne.

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