Gaerne G.Kobra shoes - Review

Mar 17, 2016
by David Arthur  
Gaerne G.Kobra shoes


Gaerne is one of a number of highly regarded Italian shoe manufacturers, and these G.Kobra shoes are their newest model. They’re offered with a choice of sole material: carbon fibre if you value weight and stiffness, or the less expensive (but still pricey) MTB 3 Density sole on the $339.99 USD version that's review below.

The ventilated one-piece synthetic upper has a couple of small mesh panels and a perforated cushioned tongue, and retention is via a pair of Boa L5 micro-adjustable dials with stainless steel cables. Boa dials are fairly commonplace on cross-country shoes and these are Gaerne’s least expensive Boa-equipped model. Inside the shoe is the company's High Comfort Insole, and turning the shoe over reveals an aggressive tread pattern with the use of something called THSR-ICEGRIP, a material that Gaerne says “helps provide greater grip and abrasion resistance in dry, wet and icy soil conditions.” There’s an SPD-compatible, two-bolt cleat drilling and the provision for a pair of studs to be fitted to the front of the shoe, with studs are provided in the box. Sizes: 39 - 46. Weight: 782g (pair, size 45). MSRP: $339.99 USD. www.gaerne.com @gaernecycling



Gaerne G.Kobra shoes
Two Boa dials clamp your feet comfortably into the shoe


Gaerne G.Kobra shoes
Grippy tead and good range of cleat adjustment



Performance

The MTB 3 Density sole combines nylon and fibreglass to provide a light and thin sole while also reducing the cost of the shoe compared to the $399 USD carbon fibre version, with only a small 42-gram weight penalty to show for it. They're noticeably less stiff than carbon fibre bottoms but, unless you’re racing, this is a good thing. Because while ultimately power transfer isn’t quite as good, the slight flex actually makes them more comfortable for trail rides when you’re not busting out every possible watt on the climbs. When you are forced to walk, even if it's just through the cafe, the small degree of flex makes you feel less like a ballerina, and the tread dishes out limpet-like grip on slippery rocks or tiled floors. The grip can be boosted even more in muddy conditions with the addition of a pair of supplied studs - I’ll save those for the cyclocross races.

I found the size and fit to be excellent, and they're comparable to similar shoes from Specialized and Giro in terms of width around the front of the foot. The insole offers good support, with adequate cushioning, and there’s not a hint of heel lift. The supple upper and lack of stitching contribute to the comfort and I really like the Boa dials because they reduce the potential for pressure hotspots and allow precise adjustment, even on the move. And they’re quick to use while being easier than untying laces when your fingers are frozen. It's just as well the fit is so good because at this price you might reasonably expect a custom moulding option.

The shoes are solidly built, well made, and have coped well with plenty of muddy and rocky riding and some commuting. There’s a small scuff guard on the front that helps to stop the toe section from shredding apart when you dab a foot in a slippery corner, and the upper cleans up well and dries out quickly after getting wet. The ventilation might be nice in the summer, but in the winter testing conditions, they only served to let in all the cold air. There's also enough cleat adjustment available to position them right where you need them.


Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesFor anyone looking for a stiff and lightweight shoe for cross-country or fast trail riding, with durability, fit and comfort high on the list, these are a good choice. Even so, the high price tag might put many people off, especially given that there are many shoes that offer similar performance available for much less. - David Arthur



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45 Comments

  • + 18
 Not a sole around to comment...
  • + 8
 You shoe-dnt be the only one commenting on this post
  • + 7
 Careful now... keep using that language and you'll get booted off the site
  • + 3
 You are Gaerne a cause some trouble if you keep it up.
  • + 3
 You guys really know how to lace together these puns.
  • + 0
 I really have to stretch my tongue to clip in another shoe pun
  • + 3
 I've been down at heel ever since Gaerrne became my arch enemy. Wnen I say down at heel I actually mean insole vent. Sorry. . .
  • + 2
 Bought by pairs of upper class arsoles
  • + 7
 I'm sorry but no shoe should cost $350. How do you even justify spending that much on a shoe.
  • + 57
 You know for that price you actually get two of them so it's actually a pretty good deal
  • + 13
 Tell that to Kanye and his yeezys
  • + 5
 I don't have to justify it to anyone. I can say that because my wife rarely looks at pinkbike. Ironically, Gaerne has the best bargain going for an Italian crafted MX boot.
  • + 1
 She may not look at pinkbike but she'll see that 350$ receipt that could've gone to her Louis Vuitton
  • + 1
 Oh, now $700 goes to her Louis Vuitton. It's only fair. lol
  • + 3
 But if you think of it as $175 per foot, it's much better deal.
  • + 3
 "they're comparable to similar shoes from Specialized and Giro" - except for $200 in price difference.
Seriously, pinkbike riders aren't into all this stupid Rapha type $400 garbage.

I mean yeah they probably gave you a free pair to test, but at what point do you say, no thanks, lets spend our time testing real gear that our readers would actually use instead?


tl,dr: Go home pinkbike, you're drunk.
  • + 3
 Its all relative... When you are competing at the highest level and your bike is worth over $10,000.. Whats $400 on a pair of shoes. Some people want or need to have the lightest and stiffest gear.
  • + 6
 Specialized S-Works Carbon-$400
Gaerne G.Kobra Carbon-$399.99

...seems pretty comparable
  • - 5
flag ratedgg13 (Mar 18, 2016 at 8:54) (Below Threshold)
 @DJDrysdale406
Well lets not do something stupid like compare things to Specialized...
And fair enough, most brands do have a $400 model, but the fact is that very few people on pinkbike buys them - and definitely not at full price. I doubt many pinkbike readers would buy a shoe over $200 regardless of how good it is.
  • + 3
 @ratedgg13 Looks to me like Specialized's top end shoe is way over priced in comparison........

Specialized S-Works Carbon-$400
Gaerne G.Kobra Carbon-$399.99
Sidi Dragon 4 Carbon $400
SHIMANO SH-XC90 $370
BONTRAGER XXX Mtb $399
Sidi Drako SRS $499
Lake MX331 $380
  • + 2
 And here I was thinking 5.10 are expensive...
  • + 2
 @ratedgg13 I think the Author was saying that the way they fit is comparable to the other brands; not the quality or price of the shoe itself.
  • + 2
 The Cape Epic is on at the moment - one of the contenders Alban Lakata had to borrow a shoe from his number 2 team because his lace system failed. May not have been a Gaerne but it looked very similar. So, if you opt for these and planning on a long back country ride, make sure your no. 2 has the same shoe size.... or be sensible and get a shoe with laces and/or velcro straps:-)
  • + 2
 Almost every bike shop offers a brand that has a $300+ shoe, I don't know what everyone is freaking out about. There are always less expensive options to choose from, no one forces you to buy the absolute top end, but it should be there for the people who do want it.
  • + 2
 One note: it should be a picture of the whole sole and especially heel area. A lot of shoes falls apart at the heel ie Specialized Defroster with light reflector.

BTW: your blocks seems to be mounted way back or is it just the matter of picture Smile
  • + 1
 I think a lot of dudes are trying out more rearward cleat positions.. If I'm not mistaken, @mtbstrengthcoach wrote an article about it?
  • + 1
 @therealtylerdurden Of course it's a matter of personal preference but it looks very rearward on the picture. Finding ideal block position is one tough cookie.
  • + 1
 @EnduroriderPL I put mine all the way back too; makes for a much more stable platform on technical terrain when your off your saddle, more like when you're riding flats. You may lack a bit in pedal stroke but its worth it if you ride rough ground. Try it!
  • + 1
 @SteveDekker thanks for reply. To be honest I don't like to ride flats but I'll try your suggestion Wink
  • + 5
 And the elephant in the room... would you buy these instead of sidi dominator?

The sidis truly last forever.
  • + 1
 I would because of the Boa. I had sidis for years Dominators then Dragon 2's, then my foot changed. I tried on some Gaerne's very cool, but hard to find sizes here. I ended up with the Fizik M3B's also as good as the Sidi, just different, fits my foot better though. All the Italian shoes seem to fit well and last forever; more or less.
Wish one of these awesome Italian companies would make a proper trail shoe though.
  • + 1
 These are by far the least durable shoes I've ever owned. The upper showed wear almost immediately and scuff or get little tears where other shoes would show no signs of damage. Stick with Sidi if you're looking for a similarly styled shoe.
  • + 5
 I'll hold my tongue
  • + 3
 keep it in your cheek?
  • + 2
 I don't know about you, but I don't have a pocket to store words in inside of my cheek
  • + 2
 The wife will go apeshit with the credit card if you buy these fuckers!
  • + 3
 Stick a Gucci logo on the side..she'll then love em
  • + 0
 I would rather buy 5 10 "Kestrel" for 180$ than pay almost twice of that price for the same thing. Besides I already have 5 10 "freerider" and they are perfect!
  • - 1
 $100 for a pair of Mavic Alpine XL
Just got a pair of Giro jackets on sale for $40
Take your $300-400 "cleats" and shove them straight up your butt
  • + 1
 I will stick with my Shimano M183's thanks.
  • + 1
 And here I thought my $175cad 5-10s were pricy
  • + 0
 $340 for a pair of disco slippers! I don't think so!
  • + 0
 They will be a ball ache to clean I would imagine ? ( lacing system )

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