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I like wearing colorful gear on the bike. I want people to look at me and think, “Wow, that guy looks fast.” Then all I have to do is make sure they don’t actually see me ride so they can continue thinking I’m fast.

Northwave’s new flagship shoe, the Extreme Tech MTB Plus, comes in a couple of deliciously garish colors that’ll give your eyeballs hiccups of glee. Glee-ups! At their booth at Interbike, I was immediately drawn to this orange pair.

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Or if orange isn’t your thing, there’s always green.

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Those green ones would go really nicely with my Singletracks jersey.

You may notice on these shoes that they have a string-and-dial closure system that looks a bit different from other systems you’ve seen. That’s Northwave’s proprietary SLW2 closure system. It, along with a carbon fiber sole, allows Northwave to get their shoe down to a gossamer 280g per shoe.

You can compare that to some other manufacturer’s cable closure ultralight MTB shoes, and if you do you’ll find that Northwave’s claimed weight is a few grams lower. The other manufacturer’s shoes have a claimed weight more like 310g per shoe, or as they call one shoe: “1/2 pair.” I can’t tell you which manufacturer that would be because of journalistic ethics. All I can say is this: they’re named “Specialized” and the 310g shoe is the S-Works XC at this link which retails for $400.

Did I mention that the Northwave shoe will have a US MSRP of $329? And you can even get it in regular ol’ black?

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One of my least favorite shoe moments is a little thing called “heel lift.” You see, my ankles are poorly formed. Due to the shape of my heel and cankles, my body’s Achilles’ Heel is actually my Achilles’ tendon.

Some cycling shoes are shaped such that I have to make the ankle strap tourniquet tight in order to keep my dumb heel from lifting up out of the shoe on every pedal stroke. It’s not fun. I’ve seen a number of systems designed to combat this, but Northwave’s is so far my favorite.

The heel of the Extreme Tech MTB Plus has directional fabric in it, like a shark’s skin. The fibers of the fabric all point down in the shoe, helping keep your foot in, but not so pointy as to rub your foot. It’s a pretty cool solution.

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If you happen to be in the market for some ultralight MTB shoes, check out these Northwaves. Northwave say they’re the lightest on the market, and we know they’re not the most expensive on the market, which is a rare mix in the cycling world. Get out there and get yourself two 1/2 pair.

Check out Northwave’s web page on the Extreme Tech MTB Plus here, and a rather amusingly overdubbed Italian video on the shoe here.

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# Comments

  • Jeff Barber

    Heel slip is a bitch. With running shoes there are fancy lacing patterns you can use to minimize the slip. With MTB shoes, not so much.

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