After several posts about new jackets in for the rainy season, a pair of Northwave Extreme RR arrived this month too. And, just in time for some big miles coming up before our annual trip to Maui. The extremes are Northwave’s top-range shoe and their design approach to all-day performance comfort is a X pattern for the closure wire with a single dial. As I’ve said in a previous magazine article about modern road shoes, they should not hurt. Instead, a good shoe should protect your foot and put power into the pedals.
Shoe manufacturers, just like bike engineers, learned that a tuned, more comfortable ride is better than harsh and stiff as possible. Changing riding habits from races to long easier rides on dirt roads means anything too tight and stiff is going to get noticed because it hurts. I can go on but expect in the next few seasons, more tuning at the touch points: bars, pedals, saddles. Just like Spesh just did with their Roubaix, and what 3T does with the saddle dampening on the Exploro.
If you’re into Italian style like me, then these are some damn fancy shoes that I wish had recessed cleats so I could wear them around town like the Rapha Jacket. They cost $399.99 like the jacket does too. Sure, that’s a lot of money, but not when comfort is a primary concern and cycling is your sport.
Northwave doesn’t call it out, but the shoes also appear seamless, which relieves more pressure points. The thing about wire closures is generations of shoes have shown the dial and wire configuration has moved to stop the tourniquet effect on the top of your foot and the tongue from moving around. Giro achieves the same with laces and laces with wires. Northwave does list a stiffer sole in the spec, and I guess they’re doing that because they’ve relieved pressure in the upper. I’ll know after a long ride…..
And, if your feet hurt on rides, the best tip I can give you is get a pair of shoes that doesn’t and don’t wear your shoes too tight.
Cycling shoes should fit like slippers, not bondage devices. Also, see my review of Northwave boots, another fav.
- Light weight
- Stiffer sole than the Extreme
- Single SLW2 dial design that holds even adjustment over the shoe
- Innovative wire routing to eliminate pressure points, even for those of us that wear our shoes really snug
- Two different insole thicknesses to accommodate different foot volumes
- Ventilated soles
- Anti-slip heel cup (It’s not so aggressive as to destroy your socks, though).
- Black or neon yellow
- $399 MSRP