by Jeff Britton, PCI #1205
Central Point (OR) Police Department
In September, I had the opportunity to attend Interbike in Las Vegas, where I met up with Charlie Summers and Mitch Trujillo. To say we were acting like kids in a candy store would be the understatement of the year, but we had work to do: finding new products that we could use in the public safety cyclist world. Amongst the many new friends and contacts that I made at the show was Heidi Meyers from Louis Garneau USA. Heidi showed me a bike shoe that she felt would be effective for bike patrol, the HRS-80 Lite Trainer. I agreed to test the shoe on patrol, and about a month later, I received a package from Heidi containing a new pair of Louis Garneau shoes.
I have experimented with several styles of shoes for bike patrol. I have found that anything with SPD works great on the bike, but can cause some issues if you have to walk on tile or wet concrete. Some shoes have too much flex and cause foot pain after riding awhile, and some are way too stiff. The shoes I currently wear work great, but they have an aggressive sole which makes it difficult to slide in and out of toe clips/straps effectively.
The Louis Garneau HRS-80 shoe is black with a mesh body and rubber outer sole. It looked good with a bike patrol uniform. The bottom of the shoes has a removable plate for SPD cleats, and there are several wire mesh screens for ventilation. The lacing system is a BOA type fastener. HRS stands for Heel Retention System, which helps maintain the foot’s position during the stroke.
The new Lite Trainer is deceiving at first glance. It has the normal appeal of a sneaker, but the technology of a cycling shoe. With an EVA and ultra light rubber outsole perfect for gym floors and a recessed cleat, you can actually walk in this cycling shoe. The laces offer a snug fit. Ventilation is offered through both a mesh upper and ventilated insoles.
I wear a 10.5 US size and the sizing was European 44. The shoe felt true to size and was comfortable. I was able to walk and run without feeling like I was wearing an awkward bike shoe. The rubber sole was not aggressive, so I had no problems getting in and out of the pedals. Dismounting and remounting the bike was easy. The shoe was still comfortable after several shifts on the bike and the ventilation was excellent. It seems like a great shoe for summer, but in the winter, the amount of ventilation might make your feet very cold.
The BOA shoe laces tighten the shoe up snugly, and there is a button release to take pressure off the laces if you initially get them too tight. Once tightened, the BOA system retains the same pressure.
I took the plug out of the sole and attached a SPD cleat for off-road riding. I rode about 18 miles of single track on a dry, hot day, and the shoes worked great. The tread was just aggressive enough to walk on dirt without slipping and again, the ventilation kept my feet as cool as possible while riding. The SPD cleats clipped in and out of the pedals easily and because the sole has a low profile, no shims in the cleats were needed. I took another ride on a wet, rainy day and the bottom vents caused my feet to get wet fairly quickly, and the less aggressive tread made walking on the mud a little slick, but not bad.
Overall, I was happy with the shoe and feel it would be an excellent choice for public safety cyclists. The black shoe matches most or all uniforms, and the option of using them with or without SPD, it should fit all riding preferences. The cost of the shoes is around $90.00.
Here are some specs from the Louis Garneau website:
• EVA and ultra light rubber outsole
• HRS-80 System
• Fastener with laces
• Sandwich mesh upper
• Puller at heel with reflector
• Ventilated insole
• Visual display of cleat position compatible with SPD cleats
• Weight (size 41/1 shoe): 334 g/11.9 oz
Jeff Britton is an IPMBA and LEBA Instructor and has been a bike patrol supervisor for the last six years. He loves cross country riding and is addicted to downhill riding in Lake Tahoe and Whistler. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2011 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of IPMBA News.