You need to look beyond the trees on the heels of Michael Woods’s shoes to see a forest of symbols. The shoes are a special edition of the Garneau Course Air Lite XZ launched ahead of his July races.
Garneau and Woods go way back. In 2013, Woods raced with Garneau-Quebecor, one of the first teams for the former runner set on building his new cycling career. In 2019, Garneau launched a hand-painted shoe just for Woods before that year’s Tour de France. Now, Garneau and Woods have made a shoe, in limited quantities, that you can buy.
Garneau suggested Woods make his mark on the insole of its Course Air Lite XZ shoes. Which he did. Many marks, in fact. “I felt like this would be an opportunity for the shoe to reflect all that goes on inside of me,” Woods says. “I jumped on my iPad, and just started to doodle ideas. As I drew, I started to think that the insoles of the shoe should be just that – my doodles, drawings of things that are important to me now, of things that were important to me in the past and of things that have made me what I am today. I tried to fill the insole with things, both big and small, that float through my head on my rides.”
Like many Canadian kids, Woods wanted to play pro hockey when he was young. But he knew early on that he wasn’t destined to reach the NHL. Still, his love for that sport continues. You can see it on the insole with the hockey stick, puck and Ottawa Senators logo. Woods’s next sport was running. His Canadian record-setting time for the mile, 3:57.48 – which he ran in Windsor, Ont., in 2005 – is near the big toe on the insole. There’s the “M” for the University of Michigan, Woods’s alma mater. As for cycling symbols, there’s “LBL”: Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where Woods was second in 2018. There’s a nod to his current team, Israel Start-up Nation with “ISN.” On the personal side, his wife’s name, Elly, is surrounded by a heart with an arrow through it. “Max” is the couple’s young daughter.“Stage 17” refers to the Vuelta a España stage Woods won in 2018, which he dedicated to “Hunter,” the stillborn son he and Elly lost earlier that year. “#LowCarbMike” is Woods’s commitment to the environment and his goal of going carbon-neutral.
On the outside, the Course Air Lite XZ remain premier high-performance shoes. In 2017, they took the Eurobike Award for shoe technology. The patented X-Comfort Zone at the fifth metatarsal of each shoe, just below the small toe, can flex as much as 4 mm to relieve pressure during hard rides. Look for the shoes ($500) in at garneau.com and participating dealers.