fast transitions – TriSports University The place to learn about triathlon. Mon, 19 Mar 2018 22:27:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 fast transitions – TriSports University 32 32 Product Review: Pierce Footwear T1 Triathlon Shoe Tue, 06 Jun 2017 21:39:07 +0000 Written by Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS is a family owned business in Tucson, Arizona which retails a wide range of products from athletes’ favorite brands. They provide personal service and recommendations for all levels of athletes as well as support the growth and quality of the sport across the country and in […]]]>

Written by Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS is a family owned business in Tucson, Arizona which retails a wide range of products from athletes’ favorite brands. They provide personal service and recommendations for all levels of athletes as well as support the growth and quality of the sport across the country and in their backyard.

Pierce Footwear is a newer company who entered the shoe domain a few years ago and they have gained traction in sections of the market due to the ease of donning the shoe. As a World Champion Duathlete it can be assured that the founder George Pierce knows something about getting in and out of shoes quickly. A fresh pair of Pierce T1 shoes arrived at my door mid-winter during my build for the Boston Marathon. Every athlete knows what that means! They need to be taken for a spin and the unique closure system needed to be tested. However, shoes cannot be judged by one run. During my review process, I took some time to try them in different places. Even in some races, terrain can be a combination of asphalt, concrete, dirt trail, grass, and track which is why these shoes required me to put them through the paces (pun intended) and to take some time for me to come to my final review.

First Impressions:
The T1 by Pierce are bright with a large one piece material cover and latch closure. Pierce has done away with a traditional tongue and lace system. These shoes have a side closure system that feels like a wide soft strap across the top of your foot with a latch you attach to the outside of your foot. The tension is adjustable at the top and bottom by adjusting which hole in the rubber latch you connect to the top or bottom hooks allowing individuals to set a personal tightness level that will stay the same each time the shoes are on. The shoe is light, with a neutral feel, does not heat up your foot, and goes on very easily.

The Running Tests:
Getting the shoe on:
  When placing a foot into the shoe it feels comfortable and roomy, adjusting the latch to hold your foot snugly and comfortably at the top is easy and works great.

  1. Hitting the Road: The T1 is light, grippy along the toe and heel in multiple conditions and feels responsive if not fast, but also a bit unyielding. My foot does not sink and settle into the midsole for the classic plush ride that I am accustomed to on my non-racing neutral training shoes. Due to the closure system and being a triathlon shoe, an athlete may be planning to only race and do workouts in these shoes which would limit the importance of the soft ride that may keep the foot comfortable for higher mileage weeks. These shoes have all the feeling of a specialized race shoe with a specific purpose, but may be suitable for certain runners for everyday training. With the closure system I was not worried about a shoe becoming untied or having to adjust tension as I ran which is a large plus.
  2. Adding on the miles: The shoes held up well as I mixed them into my rotation while training for the Boston Marathon; I usually rotate three pairs of shoes during marathon training so it was easy to get some miles in on the T1 shoes on multiple surfaces. The first difficulty I incurred when I ran farther was the shape of my foot and the shape of the shoe around the proximal metatarsal and navicular region of my feet. For me, that part of the shoe is too loose and it is non-adjustable, this required that I wear socks for all of my runs in the T1 which I do not do when racing in a triathlon. When I did try to run without socks, I quickly developed a hot spot on the inner arch. On a shoe with a lace system it is possible to snug up the arch while leaving the toe box wide; the T1 fit me fantastically on the top of the foot and the toe box is wide and comfortable, but my mid-foot did not have the same level of support. That being said, each foot is different and if you believe you have wide or normal-width feet the shoe will probably fit you well throughout.
  3. Triathlon specific: I was able to consistently get in and out of the shoes in less than 10 seconds with a transition run-up. See the video below for the display of the ease of getting into these shoes and getting them tightened.

The Fit:
To determine the size of Pierce T1’s that will fit you best, first select a current running shoe that you enjoy the fit, especially the inner length. More information is available on the Pierce website along with the chart. You will be measuring the length of the insole of the shoes you want to use to mimic sizing.

When you receive the shoes you can quickly adjust the strap on both ends to get a comfortable snug fit around the top of the foot and the rest of the shoe is there waiting for you. Nothing else to do then but run!

The Physical Therapy Perspective:
One thing to remember is that every athlete is different, thus, they have a different “normal.” If you are used to supportive pronation control shoes for all of your runs, then the T1 will feel very different under your foot and arch. A new shoe could require an athlete to adjust to the drop, the support, and the general fit. Anytime a runner attempts to make too many changes at once, there is risk that the stress may become too high for the body to adapt to which means there is potential for getting aches, or even worse, injuries. If you do not normally wear a neutral shoe, you should take your time to adjust and to build mileage slowly when switching to the Pierce T1 shoes. The T1 feels like a stiff neutral shoe in its ride, which means it compares well to many of my favorite shoes in ride but also requires a fresh foot to handle the underfoot stiffness. The snug fitting sock-like top takes pressure off an athlete’s tibialis anterior tendon, extensor tendons, extensor retinaculum, along with arteries and nerves that travel the path along the top of your foot compared to laces which can be stiffer and more restrictive, especially as your foot swells in the shoe during a run. Most of us have encountered the discomfort of going for a run with our laces accidentally tied too tight, but this will not be a problem with a pair of T1’s. Overall, the Pierce T1 shoes are unique, performance-specific footwear that provides a fast feel and would be easily favored by those who prefer a stiff, responsive, neutral ride after T2.

The Take-Aways:
Specialized triathlon shoe

  • Lace-less and tongue-less with fast and comfortable closure system
  • Fit is set throughout the mid-foot and toe due to the one piece construction which can leave some parts loose or tight without the ability to adjust as able with laces
  • Stiff mid-sole feels fast and responsive, less forgiving over long distances with decreased conformation to the foot

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About the Author: Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with Manual Therapy Certification and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Colorado Springs.  He works with athletes in their homes and in the field through Parton Physical Therapy (, spends his free time triathlon training with the support of, and enjoys getting lost in the mountains with his wife, Jessica.








Louis Garneau TRI-300 Triathlon Cycling Shoe. Fri, 29 Jun 2012 22:26:12 +0000 Louis Garneau was an early innovator of triathlon cycling shoes. Their new TRI-300 combines everything Garneau has learned in their long history of tri cycling shoe innovation and adds easy custom moldability to the mix. Try them on here. ]]>

By Tom Demerly for

Louis Garneau's TRI-300 joins LG's tri specific shoe line-up at the top of their range with features like heat-moldable custom fit, carbon fiber outsole and a unique donning system.


Louis Garneau continues to establish their position as a technical apparel innovator in triathlon with their new high-end TRI-300 triathlon cycling shoe. The shoe, which sells for $299.95, is a convergence of high end features and benefits into a quick-donning triathlon specific cycling shoe. Garneau’s triathlon cycling shoes have lead this category from early on as one of the very first tri-specific cycling shoe designs with a strap configuration made for multisport. The new shoe expands on tri-specific features with a unique system to hold the shoe upper open for quick donning in T1 along with ventilation, aerodynamic and custom fitting features.

The Pedal/Shoe Interface.

The TRI-300 uses an all carbon fiber outsole called “Exo-Jet”. Like SIDI, a unique feature of the LG TRI-300 is variable stiffness over the length of the shoe sole. This changing stiffness in the shoe sole provides stiffness over the area were the cleat is mounted to insulate the foot from feeling the cleat through the sole of the shoe. The rear of the shoe is slightly more flexible to prevent foot numbness and fatigue. This variable stiffness carbon fiber sole also allows large openings for ventilation and drainage, a key requirement especially for long distance triathletes. The use of the carbon fiber allows the vents to be designed into the shoe sole without compromising the performance of the sole.

The entire outsole on the TRI-300 is carbon fiber with the stiffness of the sole tuned to be stiffer over the cleat mounting area. Large vents facilitate drainage and movement of cool air through the shoe. A standard 3-hole pattern with index marks makes working with pedal cleat set-up easy.

The TRI-300 is a three hole pattern sole design, the industry standard. It works with Look, Shimano road, Time, Speedplay and other pedal systems that use or adapt to a three hole pattern. There are a series of lateral and longitudinal reference indices to locate cleats in same place when they are replaced due to normal wear. These index marks also help your bike fitter keep track of the changes they make to your cleat position as they fit you, a thoughtful feature bike fitters will appreciate.

Two key factors in cycling shoe performance are the thickness of the shoe sole (thinner is generally better) and the radius of the outsole. The radius or curve of the outsole is important since not all pedal cleats fit and function well if the shoe sole is too curved or radiused, especially below size 40. Louis Garneau molded the outsole of the TRI-300 to work perfectly with Look cleats, Time RXS and most other common cleat systems across the entire size range.

The sole of the shoe over the cleat area is moderate. The concave footbed allows the foot inside the shoe to get closer to the pedal axle, reducing unwanted torque. The curvature of the sole allows most cleat systems such as Look Keo (center) and Time RXS to be used without any shims.

The TRI-300 has a lot of detail on the inside of the shoe including features designed to keep your foot cool in long rides. This could be a benefit for hot Ironman distance races where foot swelling during the bike can make the first miles of the run miserable. The insole of the shoe uses Ice Fil, a cooling fiber developed by Ventex that helps dissipate heat and regulate temperature. Ice Fil has become popular in race apparel like triathlon clothing and “arm coolers”. The insole is removable for cleaning, a thoughtful feature considering ultra-distance atheltes have to urinate on the bike and some of it inevitably winds up soaking your cycling shoes. The insole is also heavily perforated to continue the ventilation theme and uses multi-density material to manage the stability of the foot inside the shoe and damp road vibration. While a thick insole like this adds distance from the pedal axle, the comfort benefit is worth it especially at Iron distance. Louis Garneau also mentions the inside of the heel counter is impregnated with Ice Fil cooling fiber to reduce heat accumulation.

The thermoformable custom moldable insole is molded at low temperature (150 degrees Fahrenheit) for a custom fit. The insole uses Ice Fil for cooling along with the generous vents at the back of the shoe.

The “Thermoformable” feature of the shoe allows the fit to be customized by placing the shoe in a 150 degree Fahrenheit oven to soften the “flow packs” inside the shoe. Once softened the shoe can be donned and allowed to cool, creating a molded upper fit. This is may be an advantage for people with oddly shaped feet or bony protrusions at their metatarsal. It also seems to work well among narrow-heeled customers since the flow-pack material seems to displace away from wider areas of the foot toward the narrower areas, adding volume inside the shoe where it is needed. This compares to Shimano’s custom molded shoe program which can only be molded by the dealer with a Shimano heat molding oven and vacuum apparatus. The Louis Garneau molding method is much easier. That said, be careful about leaving this shoe in the trunk or interior of a car on a hot day after a race. The interior of a car parked in the sun can easily reach hot enough temperatures to soften the interior of the shoe. Prolonged exposure will simply re-mold the shoe. It would probably correct itself once you put the shoe on provided the shoe was still warm when you put it on.

The closure system on the TRI-300 is evolved from a lot of experience within LG at building triathlon cycling shoes.

The closure system on the TRI-300 is likely the industry best in a single Velcro closure triathlon cycling shoe. The very wide strap opens away from the bicycle to facilitate quick transitions with the shoe already clipped to the pedal. A heel loop that is very beefy allows the heel of the shoe to be pulled up while on the fly. Notches in the strap hold it firmly open so you can quickly put your foot on top of the shoe coming out of T1 before you slide your foot inside the shoe.

A small velcr tab assists the notches in the tongue to hold the shoe open for quick donning out of T1, a thoughtful design.

A particularly sophisticated transition feature is the small rubber band loop on the inside of each shoe. This small fabric loop allows you to pass a rubber band through the loop and then attach it to the crank arm, rear quick release (as in our photo) or the chainstay of your bike. This holds the shoes level while you are running through T1 on the way to the bike exit. While donning your shoes on the fly is an advanced transition technique you have to practice repeatedly well before race day this feature makes the process easier.

There is a small webbing loop on the inside of the shoe to use a rubberband to attach the shoe to the chainstay for quick get-aways out of T1.

While the Louis Garneau TRI-300 may not be the absolutel lightest triathlon cycling shoe or have the thinnest outsole the small amount of additional weight added by the quick donning features and heat-moldable capability will pay tangible comfort dividends at both sprint and long-distance events.

Louis Garneau has been a leader in the triathlon cycling shoe sub-category since the category was invented. They also have “tweeked” the fit of the shoes with a width and volume that seems to work for the middle 80% of U.S. customers, while some Euro brands continue to be lower volume fitting shoes. The shoe sole design helps reduce vibration and road shock potentially keeping feet fresher during long, hot rides even on bad roads. This is not just an ultra-distance shoe since the closure system speeds transition with the detailed strap design, but you have to be skilled in transitions to make best use of these features. TRI-300 continues to keep LG at the top of this category and, given their recent level of innovation in triathlon apparel and their history of making tri-specific cycling shoes and the first commercially available, approved aero helmet, I’m not surprised this shoe is so good.

Garneau has a long history in triathlon apparel innovation and their TRI-300 continues their authority in the category.

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