The Louis Garneau CFS-300 shoes provide decent comfort and performance and their novel vents help cool your feet in hot weather.
Heat mouldable shoes are becoming more common and the CFS-300's here are Louis Garneau's take on the custom fit option. For once though its not the sole that you mould but the upper.
Open up the box and you'll find more than just a pair of shoes, there are aero toe covers, a choice of inner soles depending on temperature and a shoe bag printed with all the instructions for the moulding process.
Carbon soles are pretty much a given at this price point but its not often you see them with vents like the CFS-300's. Its what Garneau calls 'Exo-Jet', a vent system that takes air in through the front and exits it out through a mesh vent under your arch in a bid to keep your feet cool.
These holes have no effect on performance though. The soles are as stiff as you need for sprinting and other hard, flat-out efforts.
You can mount any three-bolt cleats, and the sole surface is roughened for grip where cleat and sole meet.
To keep them looking fresh, toe and heel tabs protect the sole when you're off the bike. The rear tab is replaceable.
The upper is made from microfiber leather with a 'wet-look' finish which feels very supple, and there are loads of nylon mesh vents to aid cooling.
Your foot is secured by two Velcro straps and a ratchet strap at the top. Pretty standard you may think but there is something a bit clever about the CFS-300.
The middle strap attaches to the HRS-100, better known as the heel retention system. The black section that runs around the shoe pulls in around your heel as you tighten the middle strap. Along with non slip material inside the heel cup the HRS works very well, so well in fact you can run the ratchet strap looser than normal reducing pressure on the top of your foot.
To mould the CF-300s you remove the top strap and bung them in the oven for 20 minutes at 65°C. When they're ready, take them out and slip your feet in wearing your usual socks,then tighten them up as if you're going out for a ride and let them cool. The majority of the upper is mouldable and it can be done as many times as you want.
The resulting fit is pretty good. On my feet, they're not quite as comfortable as Giro Factor shoes but they're good nonetheless.
Some of that comfort is because there is no actual tongue in the upper. The outside of the shoe positions itself under the inside so there is no bunching of the material when you tighten the straps. In effect, you are wrapping the shoes around your feet.
The CFS-300s do seem to come up a little big. Our sample was a size 44 (UK 9.5) and were spot-on, whereas in all other makes I need Euro 45s for my UK size 10's. We'd advise you try before you buy.
Overall the CFS-300's are a pretty impressive pair of shoes offering decent comfort levels and performance. One bonus of all that venting though is with the mercury recently touching 28°C they do keep your feet super cool. You'll need the toe covers and cold weather insoles to keep the chill off for early spring and late autumn riding.
A good all round package but there are lighter and more comfortable shoes out there at this price point.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Louis Garneau CFS 300 Road shoe
Size tested: Size 44
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The CFS-300's are part of Louis Garneau's Road Elite range which is designed as "The coveted essential elements of any cyclist whose passion fringes lunacy" They are top end shoes suitable for performance riding whether that be amateur or pro.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Exo-Jet Carbon outsole with carbon molded arch support
*HRS-100 system reinforced with a 0.6-mm membrane
*100% heat moldable shoe at 150°F (65°C)
*Ergonomic thermoplastic molded toe cup with 2 side vents
*Upper strap with EVA padding fully adjustable laterally and vertically
*Textured wet-type varnished microfiber leather and nylon cycling mesh upper
*Ratchet with lateral and vertical positioning
*COOLMAX Ergo Air Cool Stuff blue and Hot Stuff red interchangeable insoles
*Visual display of cleat position compatible with DURA-ACE, TIME, LOOK and SPEEDPLAY cleats
*Toe covers and shoe bag included
Put together well with no sign of stray threads or excess glue.
Good stiff soles and the heel retention system works very well indeed.
No issues so far.
Decent levels of comfort but not as good as Giro's Factor.
They are out there with 20% off on the internet at the mo making them much better value for money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well they are stiff and pretty comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The looks and the versatilty of temperature .
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No real dislikes, there are just better shoes out there for the same money.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, I'd go for the Giros
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes but along with other suggestions
About the tester
Age: 34 Height: 180cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Ribble Gran Fondo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.