Louis Garneau 2LS Course Shoes
The Course 2LS perfects fit, increases comfort, reduces weight, improves power transfer, operates fast, and provides long-lasting durability. The Boa Closure System “dials-in” to a more precise fit by evenly distributing pressure and reducing pressure points. The Boa reel system offers infinite degrees of fine-tuning and with dual reels on the Course 2LS shoe, varying amounts of security and tension can be provided by individual dials to the cuneiform bones and metatarsal bones. The Course 2LS Shoe has a patented multi-vent system that intakes air via vents in the sole, channels airflow through the sole of the shoe via two internal channels, and evacuates the air through another vent in the sole. The Ex0-Jet Carbon Outsole is constructed of hot melt carbon which means that the carbon fibers used have been further processed making them not only lighter but thinner. For the end user, this creates a shoe that is lighter, stronger and closer to the pedal. Increased power transfer is achieved not only through the Carbon HM outsole but the HRS-300 system. This system has a heel that is injected with nylon. Injected nylon is an amazingly resistant material that has an extremely low coefficient of friction so it perfectly secures the heel in place, optimizes fit, and reduces loss of power from slippage. The seamless microfiber upper is ventilated with the use of steel mesh.
Exo-Jet Carbon outsole with patented multivent system
HRS-300 reinforced injected nylon heel
BOA L5 double rail quick attachment system
Microfiber and mesh upper
Polyurethane spandex inside heel cup: Enhances heel support
Ice Fil Ergo Air Cool Stuff blue double density EVA and Hot Stuff red antibacterial insoles
Cleat position indicator compatible with SPD-SL, TIME, LOOK and SPEEDPLAY cleats
Shoe bag included
Retail - $360
Dual Boa Dials
Louis Garneau calls themselves the cyclist solution. I can see why they call themselves this as they truly do have a solution for everything cycling. They make quite a bit of product, and the Course line is geared toward racers. The whole lineup uses top of the line materials for a combination of light weight and performance. I might have taken me a while to try my first Louis Garneau product, but i have become a fan the more I review.
The Course Shoes have been my go to shoe through the summer and fall. I have been using them on a bunch of my rides ranging from 20 to 100 miles. I tested them with Shimano SPD-SL cleats and Ultegra pedals for those who are interested.
The Course are the top of the line Road Shoes for racers and those looking for the sharp end of the spear. The first thing you will notice with these when you first see them is the double BOA ratcheting system. This system allows you to separately adjust the upper and lower areas of the shoes. BOA is a wire ratcheting system that tightens as you rotate the dials. This allows for micro adjustments and easy adjustments on the fly. The top dial controls the top third of the shoe while the bottom dial controls the lower 2/3. One thing that might be missed on these but is important is the tongue. The tongue is padded and on the stiffer side. This keeps the wire from digging into the top of your foot.
The upper is made of microfiber and mesh, which are a good blend of durability, structure, and breathability. There are two mesh vents located over the toes and the upper also has several perforations along the foot. The outsole is Louis Garneau's ERGO Air Exo-Jet Carbon sole. The sole is both very stiff and lightweight but what is really cool about it is the venting system built into it. There is an intake jet located just below the toes to let air come in and then a vent located under the midfoot to let the air back out. On both the toe and the heel there are protective pads to protect the carbon and make for easier walking. The outsole has markings for all the cleat types to help you get them aligned just right.
In the heel, it has been reinforced with HRS-300 reinforced injected nylon. This helps hold the heel in place. On the inside there is a polyurethane spandex heel cup that has a unidirectional friction to hold the heel in place, which also prevents a loss of power. The rest of the interior is a soft microfiber for comfort. What is really cool is Louis Garneau gives you two different insoles. The Ergo Air with Ice-Fil to keep your foot cool and the Ergo-Warm that is anti bacterial. The only downside to the footwear is that to my knowledge; none of the materials are renewable. At least the company focuses on human powered activities.
I really like how these shoes fit. I will just say that this is one of the better shoes for my feet. I tested a size 43 which translates to a size 9.5 US according to Louis Garneau. I am normally a size 9, but I find these perfect. For that reason, I would say these run maybe slightly short. Other than the fit has been excellent. The toe box is on the wider side which I really like. I like barefoot style running shoes, so I like to have a wider area for my toes. The toe box is not the only area that contours to my foot well. I found that both through the midfoot and heel the Course Shoes also fit great. There is enough room in the midfoot but when coupled with the BOA closure system you can snug them up to your liking. The heel is of course not adjustable, but I never felt like it needed to change. It was snug around my heel, and I did not experience any slipping.
I really like how the BOA system has tow separate dials. I find that I like to have the top section tighter than the lower section. At least with the top section tight I feel like my foot is secure in the shoe. When cranking hard I still do prefer to have the shoes tight, that is what is great about the BOA system, you can easily adjust them on the go.
The most important thing is going to be performance. I am not a rider who generates a lot of power so commenting on the stiffness will be hard for me. I did not notice any loss of power due to flexibility, so they seemed plenty stiff to me. I felt that they did a good job transferring the power I do have to the pedals, and as I mentioned above, they were comfortable doing so. What Louis Garneau did great with the Course Shoes is how adjustable they are. It is hard to do too much with cycling shoes, but they have found a way to do a couple of things. The BOA system makes fit adjustments easy. You can also use whatever pedal system you like but will need an adapter for a four-hole system. The other adjustable part of the shoes is the insole. The ErgoAir model is perforated and works with the built in vents for breathability and has Ice-Fil for cooling. The other is the ErgoWarm which is antibacterial and does not breath as much in an effort to keep your feet warmer.
Speaking of breathability, the Course Shoes are pretty good. The upper not as much as some others I have, but what sets these apart is the Jet Flow Channel that moves air under your foot. There is an intake vent under the toe, and a long vent that runs a good portion of the underfoot. So while the upper may not be very breathable, the sole makes up for it, in my opinion. I think by doing it this way and offering the two insoles they have made a shoe for multiple seasons. I know I have been able to use the shoes in temperatures from freezing to 100 degrees, and they have been good. I did wear toe warmers for the coldest days.
I have put in over 500 miles in these thus far in testing, and the shoes are still looking good. The sole is showing some minor scratches as are expected from normal use. The upper still looks brand new, and I fully expect the BOA system to last a long time. I would be super impressed if I could break a steel cord. If I do that I fully expect to start averaging much higher speeds.
Overall, these have been one of the best shoes I have tested for several reasons. The most important thing for me has to be fit, but I am not going to sacrifice performance to get it. I will just try another shoe. With these, I have found a pair that works for not only my foot shape but also has many of the other things I want. I really like the BOA system. It is easy to use and great for micro adjustments. It is also good for triathlon as they are easy on and off. Since I do long distance triathlons, I want something quick but comfortable, so I think BOA road shoes are that great compromise. The breathability and year-round performance are another thing I really like about these. The Louis Garneau 2LS Course Shoes retails for $360, which is expensive so being able to use them year round is important. I would definitely recommend these for someone who is a serious rider or one with a bit of disposable income. These are some solid shoes.
Jet Flow Carbon Sole
HRS-300 Heel Cup with Sticky heel
Upper is not very breathable