Tester: Jon Pratt
More info: Louis Garneau Nickel
Louis Garneau classifies the Nickel as a cycling shoe that is designed for a recreational weekend ride or your relaxed commute. From my experience it is just that. The Nickel’s sole is fairly rigid, providing for good power transfer, but it does have a bit of flexibility for getting off the bike and walking around a bit. It is pretty stiff, so extended walks become slightly uncomfortable.
The sole is SPD compatible and has enough material surrounding the cleat so that it doesn’t click on hard surfaces when walking. The cleat was able to engage and disengage on several pedals without issue. While the lack of any lugs on the sole limits this shoe in hiking situations, there is sufficient grip for most wet or dry urban surfaces.
The shoe features three ventilation holes on the bottom of the sole which pass through to the interior of the shoe. While this can let water in, I did not experience any wetness when cycling in mildly inclement weather.
That ventilation is extended to your foot through roughly 70 holes in the insole. It continues through small holes along the front and sides of the synthetic leather upper. This makes the Nickel a good cool to warm weather shoe, but I could see it getting a bit hot on those sunny summer days. I found it to be very comfortable during my test, where temps ranged from 20-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Reflective logos on the heel and side provide decent visibility, along with those loud laces. Personally I like the look of the neon against the black, but for those who don’t, the Nickel ships with a set of black laces.
The Nickel is available in black, periwinkle (light tan) and truffle (brown). There is also a women’s version called the Opal which comes in black, asphalt and magenta.