These Gaerne G.Winter Road Gore-Tex road shoes offer the sort of protection you need if you're determined enough- or should that be mad enough? - to keep cycling through really bad weather.
As the name implies, there's a Gore-Tex membrane inside the shoe. This delivers impressive rain and road spray protection, and feet stayed dry even in prolonged downpours, or riding through flooded roads. I didn't find myself in any conditions when the G.Winters couldn't cope with the rain and water.
Of course, all shoes, even the best sealed, will eventually be overcome. But I only noticed water getting in from the top of the shoes on one ride, and that involved flooded roads that gave my wheel hubs cause for concern. It was also four hours into the ride and I know that overshoes would have waved the white flag a lot sooner. The best overshoes simply can't match this level of protection.
A Speed Lace System uses the sort of cord design you get with some outdoor hiking shoes, and is very effective at providing a nice tight fit, without being restrictive. It's easy to adjust the tension just right, and very quick to use as well. Over the top of the shoes is a large flap that stays in place with Velcro, the top part wrapping around the neoprene ankle.
The sole is made from carbon- and glass fibre-reinforced nylon with three cleat hole drillings. It's not as stiff as a full carbon fibre sole but with little flex apparent when pedalling hard, making the G.Winters ideal for those that like to stomp hard on the pedals. Rubber non-slip inserts at the toe and heel aid walking off the bike.
In order to provide adequate protection and keep the rain out, the Gaerne G.Winter Road Gore-Tex road shoes, as do most similar winter cycling shoes, have a high-top design that sees the top of the boot sitting well above the ankle bone. I found this proved restrictive when pedalling, as they essentially lock out the ankle, reducing the amount of ankling that can occur during normal pedalling. It's something I manage to get around by keeping the shoes loose on the foot, and I did get used to them after a good handful of rides.
Aside from my issues of restrictive pedalling, the G.Winters are comfortable. They're good in the rain, thanks to that Gore-Tex lining and the fully covered front.
Not only are they good in the wet, they're ideal when it's cold as well, and provide far better insulation than regular shoes and overshoes. There are obviously no air vents; they're fully sealed and impermeable to the elements. I wore a regular pair of winter socks and my feet have not been cold once, compared to my regular shoe/overshoe setup when I can count down in minutes to the moment my feet start to go numb.
For riding everyday in all weathers and temperatures, whether training or commuting, dedicated winter cycling shoes hold many advantages. They're a lot easier and quicker to get on compared to the wresting required with overshoes, and after a ride they just need a hose down and drying out on the radiator.
Most importantly though, they provide superior wet and cold weather protection and if, like me, you suffer from poor circulation, the high price tag commanded of these shoes will be easily justified by the rain protection and cold temperature insulation.
The Gaerne G.Winter Road Gore-Tex road shoes offer satisfying foul weather protection, adequately keeping the water and cold out, enough to put a smile on your face when cycling in horrid conditions. If that saves you from another turbo session, it's £190 well spent.
Satisfyingly good foul weather protection but slightly restrictive pedalling
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Make and model: Gaerne G.Winter Road Gore-Tex road shoes
Size tested: 46 - Black
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?
GAERNE EPS CARBON HYBRID SOLE is made of nylon reinforced with carbon fibers to grant superior rigidity. The ultra-thin thickness decreases the distance between the foot and pedal, allowing for optimal power output. Non-slip rubber inserts in the front and rear of the sole provide stability off the bike. Compatible with most available quick-release pedals.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Upper material: microfibre, neoprene, gore-tex membrane
Sole: carbon reinforced race sole
Closure: speed lace system & velcro
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Really good extreme weather protection...
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
...but the restricted pedalling spoiled it a little for me.
Did you enjoy using the product? Only in the most horrid weather.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A really impressive dedicated winter shoe with astounding rain protection.
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.