February 2/12 11:58 am - Garneau Winter Shoe Review - O Ergo Grip & Glacier
Posted by Editoress on 02/2/12
Louis Garneau cycling shoes have been making more and more headway into local bicycle shops, especially here in Canada. And rightly so - their lineup of shoes are just as innovative as the larger, more popular brands.
Just in time for winter, Garneau sent us samples of their winter cycling shoes - the O Ergo Grip off road shoe and the Glacier road version. Chard Grochowina tried the O Ergo Grip, and I took the Glacier.
O Ergo Grip
Garneau sent me a pair of their ‘0 Ergo Grip’ winter cycling boots to report on. Made specifically for riding in cooler temperatures, the 0 Ergo has some well thought out features and a very appealing price-tag.
A rather clever approach to a winter boot, the 0 Ergo is made from a regular leather lace-up MTB shoe that is housed within a 3mm neoprene outer shell (like some XC ski boots). The shell itself has sealed seams, reflective stitching, and a waterproof front loading zipper. On the tread, the 0 Ergo features well spaced, high density lugs for traction in the snow.
In my opinion, it’s difficult to report on a product where performance is partly based on how well it fits. I can only comment on how well the 0 Ergo’s fit me. My feet are strictly average in every way; they aren’t narrow, they aren’t wide, and I don’t have a high arch. I found the boots to be comfortable. I tested them on MTB rides up to 3.5 hours, and my feet managed to stay warm down to temperatures around -5C. In anything colder then that, I experienced cold toes. If you’re like me, you’ll probably be sporting thicker socks for riding at this time of year. So take that into consideration when sizing; I found I needed to go one size up to accommodate the winter socks.
The neoprene outer shell did its job well; my feet remained dry when walking through wet slushy snow. They even handled a partial creek submersion with no water seepage. On the really cold days, I was able to stow a toe-warmer packet on the inside of the outershell, just over my toes. This added a good deal of warmth and didn’t interfere with comfort.
Snow buildup on the sole was also a non-issue. By having an open lugless space between the heel lugs and forefoot lugs, there was nothing for the snow to grip on to. This is a great feature if you use clipless pedals for winter riding, as there is nothing more frustrating than ice and snow buildup getting in the way of shoe/pedal engagement.
For someone looking for a winter riding shoe that can handle most of what winter throws our way, the 0 Ergo probably won’t be warm enough. I rely on Shimano’s MW81’s to kept my feet warm in really cold temperatures (around -20C is my cutoff point for riding outside).
However, for someone looking for a boot that adds decent warmth and water protection at a very competitive price, the 0 Ergo should not be overlooked. They make for a great fall through spring MTB shoe, or a really great option for those that commute in all types of weather. With a retail price of just $199.99, the 0 Ergo offers exceptional value (comparatively, the MW81’s are $299.99).
While Chad was testing Garneau's MTB winter shoe, I tried out the Road version, the Glacier. The design is similar, with a few little differences. As with the O Ergo, the shoe is based around a standard cycling shoe with an outer layer cover built-in. Rather than neoprene, the Glacier uses waterproofed Thinsulate for protection from cold weather and damp conditions - not quite as heavy duty for the wet and mud, but definitely lighter while still offering protection. Space is provided between the shoe and outer cover for heat packs. The shoe also comes with an insulated inner sole. They accept all major styles of clipless pedal cleats.
The Glacier is a bit of a struggle to get on - you have to undo a velcro buckle strap, unzip the outer layer and then loosen the laces before getting your foot in, and then do the whole thing in reverse to do them up. The high outer layer zips up high enough to cover the bottom of a set of tights, with an elastic grip to hold them in place.
I found the heel cup (with a tendon cutaway) to be a little too high for comfortable walking; however, they were just fine when riding. I rode in conditions with temperatures as low as -7C (windchill) using regular socks and my feet were just fine.
The pricing is the same as the O Ergo - $199.99 - which makes these a very affordable way to extend your cycling season on those colder, damp days when you used to suffer frozen toe syndrome.