When Louis Garneau re-designed their flagship road shoes, they pulled out all the stops. Heck, the new Course Air Lite’s even come in Ferarri red, so you can be sure to wow your buddies on your next group ride.
Louis Garneau Course Air Lite Features:
- Carbon Composite HM X-Lite outsole
- Built-in outsole ventilation
- HRS-400 reinforced heel cup
- BOA IP1 double rail quick attach system
- Microfiber and mesh upper
- One-way anti-slip Spandex keeps heel in place
- Interchangeable Ice Fil Ergo Air® Cool Stuff blue and Hot Stuff red antibacterial insoles:
- Cleat position indicator compatible with DURA-ACE, SPD-SL, TIME, LOOK and SPEEDPLAY cleats
- Includes shoe bag
- Anatomical race fit
- Approximate weight (size 42/1 shoe): 7.8 oz/222 g
- Price: $379.95
Did I mention they come in Ferrari red?
For starters, these shoes look absolutely fantastic. When I first laid eyes on them, I was drawn in — thinking of just how much faster red shoes would make me feel. I kid you not — the red color does make you faster (I’m sure of it). Kidding aside, the red color is the winner — I like them and I’ve gotten plenty of oogles to prove it.
Aside from the sexy looks, next on my list of wins with the Course Air Lite’s is the double-rail BOA IP1 ratcheting system. These are the best closures on the market and make adjustments a breeze. The function of the ratchets is intuitive with inward rotation providing a tighter fit and outward rotation loosening them. Instead of thinking “righty tighty, lefty loosey”, it’s an easy and natural twist inward with either hand.
I find that I adjust the upper/lower ratchet in response to my swelling feet on a long climb — not something that can be done with other closure systems. Maintaining the proper fit throughout a ride is only possible with this style of closure and I take advantage of it on nearly every ride. Since fit can be adjusted on-the-fly, the already lights-out fit of these shoes is made even better.
More on the fit… Louis Garneau provides insoles that feature a metatarsal button to spread the forefoot out and increase blood flow and it works. It’s a simple thing, but it makes a big difference. And, Garneau includes a winter and summer-weight insole so you can easily adapt to conditions. I’ll aslo note that the asymmetrical tongue places the pressure in the right spots on the foot without any uncomfortable pressure points.
The shiny uppers do a great job of shedding road grit and grime and remain as good looking as the day they were unboxed.
Now onto the carbon outsoles. These are wicked-stiff and provide fantastic power transmission. If you’ve never tried a pair of carbon soles, you’re missing out. And, if you’re a believer, these will take that up one more notch. It’s also fantastic that they include markings for all major cleats — making it easy to place my Speedplay Zero’s.
While you won’t be running any marathon’s in these, it’s nice to know that the heel lugs are replaceable should you wear them out.
The only blessing/curse with the BOA system is that while they remain easy to adjust even while wearing shoe covers, but they do tend to pop open both while installing and removing them — a minor inconvenience, but worth noting.
- Stiff soles transfer power aplenty
- Great breathability
- Intuitive BOA closure pattern
- Easy to adjust on the fly
- The red color just feels fast and looks awesome
- Foot-cradling comfort
- Seems to walk more comfortably than my S-Works shoes
- In and out with ease
- Heel locks securely in place
- BOA closure can pop up easily when taking shoe covers on/off
- Narrow last makes for tight fit unless you size up
The Bottom Line: Garneau Course Air Lite
It’s obvious that I like these shoes — a lot. From the hot red color to the two-way BOA closures and a super-snug and comfortable fit, the Course Air Lite’s offer a level of performance you’ll only find with top-shelf shoes.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com
Garneau has nailed it with the Course Air Lite. These shoes are fast, responsive, lightweight and breathable -- plus the racing red color is drop-dead sexy. So long as you're OK with a narrow last, these shoes are as good as they come.