“Whoever wears my shoes, should be proud every day as the Gaerne name stands for quality without compromise”. So said Ernesto Gazzola who founded Gaerne back in 1962. Gaerne still design and make their shoes in Italy and I’ve been using the Gaerne G.Tornado to see how they perform.
Gaerne say their G.Tornado is “functional and rich in technical content”. I think what this means is that while it has many of the features of a top of the line shoe, it won’t break the bank. Those features include; BOA L6 closure, an injection moulded heel cup with internal non-slip treatment, reflective details, replaceable heel inserts and breathable insole. There’s also a choice of two soles, the EPS Lightweight Full Carbon and the EPS Carbon Power, I had the latter.
As I’ve said before reviewing shoes can be very difficult. Your feet are one of the three contact points between you and your bike. Most importantly they are also where all the power transfer goes on. So your shoes are a pretty important item of clothing. Just looking good isn’t enough. They have to be stiff enough to transfer power, yet offer some comfort while doing so.
Foot shapes vary wildly and while some brands offer heat mouldable shoes, fit is a very personal thing. I myself have quite broad feet and suffered for years until I realised brand loyalty s all well and good, but you can’t beat comfy shoes! Traditionally Italian shoes have been known for having a narrower shape than other brands, something I forgot when ordering my shoes…
My G.Tornado shoes arrived in sober, goes-with-anything black, very practical. You can also get them in red, white, silver or yellow, so matching your kit is a bit easier. There are a couple of fluro highlights and a reflective panel on the rear. A little Italian tricolour sits on the edge of the heel cup, proclaiming their heritage.
There is also a G.Tornado Lady model available. This only comes in black and sizes 37 to 42, a 41.5 is available as well. You only get the EPS Carbon Power Sole option with the woman’s model.
Holding them in your hand the microfibre outer feels nice and soft. There are a couple of cut-outs with mesh backing on each side to help keep your feet cool. The outer is also pierced with laser-cut holes, again to aid temperature control.
After their softness the next thing you notice is the large heel cup. This injection moulded piece is designed keep your heel planted and prevent any power loss. The Carbon Power sole is drilled for Look type cleats and has non-replaceable heel and toe bumpers. The EPS Lightweight sole has a replaceable heel bumper.
The BOA L6 closure has a steel wire that passes through three sets of loops. It has a ratchet closure which allows you to fine tune the fit. The release is a simple pull on the BOA. I like the look of the stainless steel lace on the BOA, it looks more substantial than the usual black ones. Only a visual thing, but it just looks nicer to me!
So those are the details, what are the G.Tornado shoes like to wear? Well, as I said I made the mistake of forgetting the Italian tendency to narrower lasts when it comes to shoes. This seems to be common across many brands and it was a rookie mistake on my part. While I chose a size 43, my usual size, I think I could have gone half a size larger. Handily the G.Tornado comes in half sizes from 41 to 45.
It wasn’t so much the length of the shoe that was an issue, only that it was tight across the widest part of my foot. This wasn’t a problem on short rides or races, only when I wore them for more than a couple of hours. Ignoring the width – like I said the length was fine – once they were on they felt good.
The heel cup does a good job of stopping any unwanted movement, I couldn’t feel any slip at all. Combined with the stiff sole, you don’t feel you are losing any power through the shoes flexing or your heel lifting. This is just what you want in this important part of the bike-rider interface; all your power going into moving the bike forward.
The BOA closure is easy to adjust, my usual method is to tighten, then re-tighten once I’ve ridden for a bit. This seems to help the laces move a little, exposing any slack in the system. Tightening on the move is easy and can be done single-handed. Loosening them isn’t as easy as you need to pull up on the BOA knob, releasing all the slack. You then re-tighten the laces, a bit long winded and I think other BOA closures now have a two-way ratchet system.
Once you’ve got the BOAs sorted they do hold your foot securely. Although there is only one closure I didn’t feel I was missing any adjustability. They do a very good job at pulling the shoe in around your foot without any rubbing or chafing going on.
The EPS Carbon Power sole is made of nylon, reinforced with carbon fibres. Out on the road, whether training or racing I couldn’t feel any flex. If you’re a mighty muscled track sprinter and are worried about sole-flex, you could take a look at the EPS Lightweight Carbon Sole. But for us mere mortals the Carbon Power sole is more than adequate.
Sitting squarely in the middle of Gaerne’s five shoe road range, the G.Tornado is perfect for your first ‘proper’ road shoe. In fact if the fit is good, there’s no real reason to spend more. The G.Tornado will perform in every way you could want, racing or training. Shopping around you can get a pair for around £100-£120. That’s not so much that it’s going to break the bank, it’s what you expect to pay for a quality road shoe.
Overall I would say the Gaerne G.Tornado is an excellent shoe. You need to check the width, but then that’s true of any shoe. When it comes down to it, they’re light, stiff and won’t break the bank, what more could you want? Ok, I must admit a red pair would be nice!