While everyone’s feet are very different, there’s no getting past the value of a great pair of cycling shoes — for mountain or road. Louis Garneau remains one of the top brands in cycling with a full lineup of products — including some kick-butt shoes like the T-Flex 2LS.
Garneau T-Flex 2LS Features:
- Carbon T-FLEX outsole for optimum power transfer
- Removable, low-profile toe studs
- Dual density lugs for rigidity and traction
- T-FLEX technology flexes slightly at the toes
- BOA L5 dual closures
- HRS-300 reinforced injected nylon heel cup
- Mesh and microfiber upper
- One-way heel cup fabric keeps foot in place
- Standard SPD cleat mounts
- Reflective heel
- Includes shoe bag
- MSRP: $349.95
Stiff Kicks for CX and MTB
After a summer of testing several road shoes, it was definitely time to shift gears and spend more time on the local singletrack. With the Garneau T-Flex 2LS MTB shoes in tow, I’ve been able to test them for cyclocross, mountain biking and road/gravel riding. As Garneau’s top-shelf MTB shoe, the T-Flex 2LS leaves nothing on the table in regards to performance. Rounding out the package is a stiff carbon sole, BOA lacing system and an outsole with traction galore.
Let’s talk price first. At $349, the 2LS is a great value and is $50 cheaper than the top-end shoes from other brands. That’s a good chunk of change, but why and how has Garneau seemingly undercut their competitors? Some of that price difference does stem from the use of BOA L5 closures instead of IP1’s. What’s the difference? Well, the IP1’s are BOA’s top-of-the-line dial; offering micro-adjustments in both directions and a pop-up release. The L5 only offers micro-adjustment for tightness (not loosening) and also pops up for a quick exit. Product features are chosen for a myriad of reasons, but are primarily driven by the bottom line. Yes, I’d prefer IP1 closures, but the L5’s are no slouch — you just have to dial in your fit and stick with it because loosening can only be done in broad strokes.
These shoes come in a racy last that’s narrow, but very foot-hugging. Do keep in mind that you’ll likely want to size up a half to a full size with these. As a size 10.5 myself, I opted for the 44.5, but could have gone with 45’s since the toe box is pretty narrow. Throughout my testing, I’ve not experienced any numbness or hot spots, but I would have liked just a little more wiggle room in the toe box. The one-way fabric heel cup reminds me of backcountry climbing skins as it doesn’t allow your heel to move upward at all — it’s locked in, baby.
I’ve had these set up with Crank Brothers cleats, but any other 4-bolt cleat will also do. Tread clearance has not been an issue and clip-in/out has always been uninhibited and smooth. Those treads are serious too — with excellent traction in all conditions, including sloppy CX courses. They shed mud and dirt fairly well (at least in the cleat area) so as not to interfere with the next desperate clip-in.
What really stands out with these shoes is the sheer stiffness of the soles. Power transfer is uninhibited as ever pedal stroke goes toward forward motion. Even on long road miles on the Santa Cruz Stigmata, the T-Flex 2LS’s deliver solid power and comfort. As far as the T-Flex system goes, this shoe does not flex in any way, shape or form. What you get is a slightly more rockered toe for a smoother walking stride. You’re not going to go dance the Samba, but these do walk really well.
On the breathability side, I’d say these could use some improvement. During summer MTB rides, my feet got a bit toasty, but this fall, I’ve appreciated the extra warmth during evening cyclocross races. I think Garneau opted for durability over ventilation here so keep that trade-off in mind as you wear these shoes for years to come.
On the vanity side, I’ll say that these shoes do lack some sexyness. Again, that’s a personal preference, but I’d like to see these a little more blingy as is the norm for the best shoes on the market.
- Boa lacing system offers precise fit
- Stiff outsole for excellent power transfer
- One-way heel cup for a locked-in feel
- Great traction
- Treads don’t interfere with pedals in any way
- Wish they used BOA IP1 ratchets
- Very narrow last (wide feet may need to look elsewhere)
- More ventilation is needed
- Ho-hum styling
The Bottom Line: Garneau T-Flex 2LS
These shoes have all the trappings for solid performance on both singletrack and CX courses. With excellent traction and oodles of stiffness, you’re going to get lots of pedal power and traction when hopping over barriers or through sand. Styling is a bit pedestrian, but these have taken abuse in stride — looking new still.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com