Some of the very best cycling shoes around, for both amateurs or pros, are made in Italy
[On the cover: Gaerne shoes- credits Bettiniphoto]
Outdoor sport is no longer merely an imposition due to the pandemic restrictions but has become a lifestyle that brings us closer to nature, to the benefit of both mind and body. More and more people have taken up walking, running and cycling, either for recreation or as an amateur sport.
Figures for 2021 show that there has been an unexpectedly large rise in sales (and prices) of bicycles in particular – from muscle bikes (mountain bikes suitable for all terrains) to e-bikes.
This is no doubt partly thanks to the fascination of the Giro d’ Italia, which will finish at the end of May: this year, with the support of ITA- the Italian Trade Agency, the race has put the spotlight on the world of “made-in-Italy”, allowing us to (re)discover medieval towns and villages, quality hand-made products and local arts and crafts. Sport and “made-in Italy” is therefore a winning combination, particularly as far as sports accessories are concerned.
Italy has a long tradition of making professional cycling shoes that combine performance and comfort. One such example is the Gaerne G-STL model, a concentrate of innovation from the upper to the sole, featuring the Anatomic Heel Cup 1.0 which, together with the Tarsal Support System 1.0 technology, ensures the foot remains in the perfect position, a closure system with eight fixing zones and dials for making micro-adjustments to ensure a precision fit. The internal anatomical insole with tarsal area support guarantees comfort and pedaling efficiency. The light, ultra-thin Gaerne EPS Light Weight Full Carbon Sole 12.0 ensures that every watt of power is transferred to the pedals; four air vents guarantee ventilation inside the shoe. The sole has an anti-slip insert in the toe and an interchangeable pad in the rear. The shoe is also available with a Carbon Speedplay sole.
CARBON G.STL worn by Gaerne sponsorized cyclists at Giro d’Italia
(Team Bardiani CSF and Team Qhubeka Assos)
The same winning combination of lightness and comfort can also be found in the Sabena Crono CR1 shoe. The 6-layer carbon sole ensures that every single watt of power is transmitted to the pedals, an added plus on top of the anti-slip lining and laser-designed side openings for ventilation. The innovative Multi-Contact Closure System, developed in Crono’s R&D department, features an extremely enveloping closure that distributes pressure over 8 points and eliminates the discomfort of the frontal tongue. The Boa Fit System and Solestar sole complete the shoe’s performance-related properties.
ManentiShoes pays homage to a great protagonist of this sport, Marco Pantani, with a line of hand-crafted shoes made specifically for the cycling world – the result of decades of experience in the footwear industry and a passion for cycling. Every pair has the signature of the champion from Emilia-Romagna on the side and, in the attention to detail, use of quality materials and technical features such as their integrated adjustable closure to guarantee maximum elasticity, represents the quintessence of Italian craftsmanship. As the result of an agreement between Manenti Shoes and the Marco Pantani Onlus Foundation, part of the proceeds from every pair of shoes sold will go to the Foundation.
Models from the Manentishoes Marco Pantani 2022 collection (graphics by designer Valentina Poltronieri)
Although they do not make cycling shoes, another company with ties to the Giro d’Italia, is SCARPA. The firm, which produces climbing boots and outdoor shoes, is an official supplier of this edition of the Giro and has, for the occasion, supplied the entire staff with a special limited edition of its Mojito Bio sneakers. Made entirely of plant-based materials, the Mojito Bio is 100% biodegradable – which means that, at the end of its life cycle, it is able to decompose ten times faster than a normal shoe, thus reducing the impact on the environment. This year, the partnership between the Asolo-based business and the Giro d’Italia has developed further. For the first time, the company has become an official partner of Ride Green, an eco-sustainable project dedicated to protecting the environment through the collection, recycling and recovery of waste that aims to raise awareness on sustainability in every town and locality the Giro passes through. So, as you can see, even sport is capable of thinking and acting in a sustainable fashion!
Mojito Bio by SCARPA for the Giro d’Italia 2021