What's Cool In Road Cycling

Cool Gear: Carnac Quartz 264 Shoes

For some time we cyclists have known the name Carnac whether we want to or not. Their shoes, clung tightly to the feet of countless pros, draped over the back covers of magazines, purporting their greatness. Hincapie. Van de Velde. The list goes on. Having never owned a pair, the Carnac product was seemingly synonymous with excellence. I wondered what it might be like to strap into a good pair of cycling shoes…

Well, Santa Claus (via Sinclair Imports) came early for me and dropped off some of the sweetest shoes I have ever put on my dogs – The Carnac Quartz. Oh my. Let me repeat that: Oh My!

The Fit
What can I say? The snug, comfortable fit is something you really need to feel to believe. I’ll admit, it took my feet a few rides to really get snug into the velcro straps, which take some time to relax, and get used to the arch support which I had up until now never experienced, but now since I’ve been training and Racing in the Quartz for about a month, I’ll never go to another pair of shoes.

At the rear of the shoe, Carnac employs what it calls the “Tri Vector” ankle belt, which snugly holds the achilles area without any tightness. This is very true. Tired of getting those cycling shoes that seem to fit great until you put them under pressure and you notice your heel slipping up and down at the back of the shoe? Get into a pair of Carnac Quartz and kiss that problem goodbye.

Another Carnac exclusive is the “Conform’Able” sole. A built-in arch support takes a little getting used to but again, once your foot gets settled in you’ll never ride another shoe. The support is versatile and responsive, and gives that extra support when you’re really mashing the pedals. On the flats, it’s a creature comfort that almost goes unnoticed, but when you get into the hills (as I was last weekend) the arch support really helps balance out the pedal stroke, and helps keep your weight where you want it as you tick over the climb. It provides a nice fulcrum by which to guage where you’re putting your power, and it has proved personally invaluable in that I can meter where my weight is.

The Sole
“The high line road shoes use the “UCS 3ev” aerodynamic, light, airy, very rigid sole, which is compatible with all pedals available on the market, thanks to the UCS inserts and the interchangeable sole stiffener bridges (Standard, Medium or Extreme Rigidity) giving unrivalled comfort and rigidity adjustment.” – taken from the Carnac website. I couldn’t put it any better myself. An amazing mix of rigidity and flexibility, allowing the rider to endlessly tinker with the fit and responsiveness. Any foot can find a home in these babies.

The Make
These top line road shoes are made “from Kangaroo leather, airy Neoprene instep, equipped with glass fibre velcro straps.” That’s what they tell you, anyway, but at this point, with the shoes on your feet, I could care less if they were made from compressed potato sacks. The fit, feel, comfort and look are unsurpassed to this humble reviewer. The Carnac Quartz ARE the sharpest tools in the shed.

The Look
Undoubtedly, the Quartz shoe is one of the sleekest looking numbers on the market. Smooth lines and contours highlight a delicious color scheme. Well placed ventilation areas give the shoe a high profile futuristic look, with the swooping lines of the carbon fiber velcro straps accentuating the overall sexiness of the shoe.

The Quartz are in the $259 to $279 range, and worth every silly penny. You can find out more about these shoes, and the full line of products available from Carnac, at www.sinclairimports.com and https://www.carnac-sport.com/

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