I'm getting ready to replace tires on my all-rounder, a CAAD7, and I'm contemplating going for larger tires to try to find a better balance for my riding habits. I put on Continental's Gator Hardshell tires because I despise hate hate getting flats, and to that end I've been really happy with the change, with no flats over the last two years of riding. It seemed like a good move over the Gatorskin because it's the same idea but more.
I ride mostly roads and paved trails here in Germany, though it's not uncommon for me to find myself on groomed dirt and gravel paths through the woods. On these, I've noticed that the narrow width and hard compound of the Hardshells leaves much to be desired. So I'm thinking that if I go to a wider tire that still has anti-puncture properties (in this case, Duraskin and a double Vectran-breaker), while improving both comfort and tracking on non-paved surfaces. I've also read that the GP 4 is a slightly narrower-than-advertised tire, which means that 28mm makes more sense to me than 23mm or 25mm to ensure that I'm actually getting increased width.
Am I on the right track, or are there other recommendations? Given that I'm in Germany, my two options are Schwalbe and Continental, with others like Vittoria being so peripheral that I'm not really interested. I know next to nothing about Schwalbe tires, having always ridden Continental, but if there's a tire there that can balance ride comfort, puncture resistance, and maintain or improve on speed, I'd love to hear about it.