The Louis Garneau Copper T-flex is a high quality shoe that performs day in and day out. It is a simple shoe that simply works, the fit is comfortable, the closure system is excellent, and they vent well yet stay surprisingly warm in cooler weather. They are not without their issues though, as they do run small, so be sure to size up or try a pair on before buying. While plenty stiff, if you’re looking for the stiffest shoes out there, these are not them. Finally, while the BOA system does work very well, our testers would appreciate a third Velcro strap over the toe box for additional flexibility in dialing in fit.
The Louis Garneau Copper T-flex features a carbon outsole that is quite stiff. It also features what Garneau has dubbed the “Power Zone,” a slightly higher arch support which supposedly increases power transfer by keeping the shoe more conformed to the rider’s foot. Whether this holds true or not is up for debate, our testers didn’t seem to notice this increased arch support and power transfer. The shoe also features a small “heel retention membrane” on the inside of the heel that is supposed to help minimize power loss. This is a nice feature, as it does keep the rider’s heel locked in place. There is no slop with the rider’s foot in the shoe, so power is transferred quite nicely. As with all the shoes in this category, they are quick and snappy when called upon.
The Louis Garneau Copper T-flex is a very comfortable shoe, plain and simple. They feature what Garneau labels as a “racer fit,” which apparently translates to dainty feet. They certainly run a bit small so try them on prior to buying. Garneau features a sizing chart on their website for each of their shoes, which contains a Fit Guide to get the “LG Measure,” which we wholeheartedly recommend doing if buying online. The upper of the shoe is a light microfiber that conforms to the foot well, and is quite light. Our testers did not report developing any hot spots while riding, so tackle those long days in the saddle with confidence. The Copper T-flex also features Garneau’s Coolmax insole, which really does work. The shoe was comfortable in a wide range of weather and riding conditions.
The Copper T-max features two BOA IP1-S dials, with a nice lacing system. Simply put, the BOA system works, and works well. The IP1-S feature the quick release system, and give 1mm of adjustment that allows the rider to fine tune the fit. Adjustments on the fly are no problem. As with the Pearl Izumi, these shoes lack a third closure point over the toe box. The lacing pattern of the BOAs does cover the toe box however, resulting in adequate retention in that area, but the midfoot and toe box are controlled by the same BOA dial. This limits some of the adjustability for particularly persnickety riders, however, once the shoes were properly adjusted testers rarely needed to make changes while riding. The upper did not stretch during rides, even on hot days, which is always a plus. As stated, micro adjustments are never an issue with the BOA system, simply reach down and give the dial a quick spin and you’re good to go.
The construction of these shoes is top notch, with almost no wear visible after our testing period. The upper looks nearly brand new, and the bonding on the sole still looks solid. Garneau is known for their quality construction and durability and these shoes appear to be no different in that regard. With proper care, there is no reason to believe that these shoes will not last years.
The Louis Garneau Copper T-flex is a remarkable shoe in this regard. They stayed comfortable in a wide range of temperatures and conditions. On those fall days where it is cold in the morning, but sweltering in the afternoon, the shoes stayed comfortable the entire time with the same pair of socks. It really is something of a miracle. The do not have large or numerous vents, and our test shoes are all black, so how they stayed so cool is a mystery, but it appears that the Coolmax insert does work. If you are a heavy sweater, or want a shoe that can handle a wide variety of conditions, these are worth a serious look.
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HOW WE TESTED
To conduct this test the shoes were tested over a season of riding in Western Montana, on all types of trails, including plenty of hike-a-bike slogs and long days in the saddle. All of these shoes are very high quality and would serve people well for day-to-day riding, but after a season on the bike, we discovered a number of subtle differences noted in each of the individual reviews.