Product review: Gaerne G. Kona MTB Shoe

In the world of triathlon there a numerous options for cycling shoes of all prices, but when it comes to XTerra choices a few and far between. So it’s no wonder I searched high and low for a shoe that would meet my needs and not break the bank. This left the Specialized Trivent Terra ($300) off the table. Moreover, Sidi dropped the Terra shoe from their line up. Enter Gaerne’s G Kona MTB shoes http://www.gaerneshoes.com/gaerne-cycling-shoes-p/kona%20mtb.htm.
As seems to be common these days, the shoes are white vernice, which makes for easy cleaning, but also shoes scuffs readily. The shoe body is a perforated microfiber to enhance drying, with an open tongue design. All this makes for a well ventilated shoe, but also creates an entry point for dirt, sand and anything else, like poison ivy, to get to your feet. I mention this not as a criticism but a consideration, because any good MTB tri shoe is a tradeoff between tri needs and MTB needs; you can also opt to wear socks.
Other salient features include:
• Reverse Velcro closure system feats a wide tongue with plenty of Velcro for a secure fit. The shoes are super easy to get in and out on the bike and off. Clipped into at the pedals, they require minimum practice to master, in transition, I’ve been able to step into the shoe while fastening my helmet; easy. The drawback is that if you have a low instep like me, the end of the strap will hit your cranks and flip up. This has no impact on performance but is still an annoyance at times. The heel cup is
• The heel cup is secure but the loop at the back could be larger to make it easier to use; in all fairness, I haven’t needed it.
• The Gaerne MTB Evolution Sole is stiff and light, however the two more important features are the supple lugs on the shoe that have decent grip and the wide middle of the shoe with key ridges that allow for smooth dismounts while standing on top of the pedal.

In summary, if you’re in the market for faster transitions in XTerra and off-road Du’s, then you’ll want to consider these. They carry with them the same compromises any off road TRI shoes does, but they are much more affordable, which is good because I only race in these shoes. The shoe is well constructed and performs as I wanted during races and definitely shorten your transitions! So, in keeping with past reviews rating the product for what it’s purposes for I’d rate these as an A-. I think they can improve the top strap some and enlarge the rear heel loop. I’d also consider a different color. As a stand along MTB shoe, a B or B+. For more information checkout Gaerne Shoes. http://www.gaerneshoes.com/gaerne-cycling-shoes-p/kona%20mtb.htm

NOTE, the shoes pictured are my actual shoes that have been raced in some of the worst conditions I’ve seen in any races. I typically clean them enough to look presentable. You may choose to be more thorough.

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