We found a lot of significant novelties at the Northwave booth of this year’s Eurobike. In a nutshell 2019 will see the introduction of shoes for platform pedals for those who prefer not to use a clipless system, most road and XC shoes will all be completely revamped and the renowned Italian brand will expand its vast clothing range towards casual style MTB clothing.
There are many branches of cycling where clipless pedal systems are rarely or never employed. For example, BMX riders and extreme mountain bikers prefer large platform pedals, moreover, practicality and simplicity overrides are other factors in leisure cycling and commuting. And there are those, who just do not like the idea of the fixed pedal-shoe connection. For this not so insignificant number of riders, choosing an advanced cycling specific shoe is not that easy, since manufacturers concentrate their product ranges on the clipless market. Due to the size of the market, this is especially relevant in Hungary, so a suitable footwear offering stability, efficiency and safety on a flat or platform pedal is far and few between. In 2019, Northwave enters this segment of the footwear market, introducing not one, but two new models called the Clan and the Tribe.
For both of these new niche shoe models, Northwave has paid particular attention to durability, as they are often used for extreme cycling activities, involving large impacts on shoes. In addition, the Italian designers put a great effort into the creation of a sole with adequate grip and rigidity to aid stability and efficiency.
Between the two models, the Clan is the more advanced, which is reflected in both the upper and sole. The latter consists of three layers: starting with a lightweight, vibration-absorbing EVA foam, then a rigid middle TPU layer is added with special elastic zones aiding adaptation to personal anatomy. Finally the Clan’s sole features a particularly adherent outer layer. This was developed in conjunction with the French rubber specialist, Michelin. Aptly named Gecko+, it is said to be the most durable material on the market, nevertheless it’s tactile, offering excellent grip in both in dry and wet conditions. The design of the Gecko+ was inspired by the top-of-the-class Michelin Jet XCR tire. The upper part of the Clan is made of a specially developed, ventilated synthetic material, reinforced in some important areas to aid durability. The Clan will be available in 3 colors.
The Tribe model’s sole is somewhat more simple and a bit more flexible than the top-tier Clan, nevertheless it also received the Gecko+ sole developed in cooperation with the French rubber specialist. It also features the same tread pattern. Apparently the upper design is also different, there is less protective material, and there is some compromise in ventilation according to the Northwave literature. So the Tribe is better suited to street wear, general cycling and daily transportation, while the Clan is oriented to the more stringent requirements of extreme cycling disciplines. The Tribe is fashionable, an excellent alternative to both regular footwear and the sport-specific clipless shoes, and it’ll be available in 5 colors to best match any type of clothing
In 2019, the new Extreme Pro will become the top-of-the-line road shoe model at Northwave. Both the shoe’s upper and sole are completely new development. The XFrame 2® represents the ultimate level in the upper, which guarantees a perfect pressure-free fit — just like its famed predecessor. In addition, Northwave returns to the dual SLW2 fastening system, which is good news for narrow-footed road cyclists, avoiding the difficulty of precise adjustment. (For wide or normal foot, both the previous and the new systems work equally well.) The design of this new flagship road model is unique, and both classic color and black and white version will be available.
The sole is a story of it’s own. It employs the new hi-tech PowerShape Carbon technology, featuring a 100% carbon base with the highest rigid rating of 15.0 on Northwave’s stiffness index. Apart from the stiffness, it introduces a new arch support – similar to the Revolution model we tested previously – in order to provide maximum energy transfer while pedaling. The Extreme Pro is expected to satisfy the most exigent, performance-oriented road cyclists, it’s a long-awaited model with a classic design.
In 2019, Northwave’s flagship XC shoe will be the Ghost Pro, sharing the same XFrame 2® upper construction with the Extreme Pro, along with necessary reinforcements in the vulnerable locations required for MTB riding.
The sole technology has also been enhanced in comparison with the previous top-of-the-range model, the lightweight, full-carbon Hyperlight XC base receives a tread designed jointly developed with Michelin. These are actually rubber pads from a special compound, offering both high level of durability and traction, as expected from such a prestigious name in tire technology.
The novelties at Northwave do not end with the above-mentioned top-of-the-range models. The Italian brand’s cycling footwear lineup will receive a facelift, and there are 5 completely new road and 5 XC MTB shoes in the Northwave 2019 lineup. Another major change is that the buckled closure system will completely disappear from the range, limiting the choice to velcro-fastening and the micrometric dial system offering the finest of adjustment. In addition, some popular Northwave models will see a change in name: e.g. the popular Scorpius will be found under the Origin designation in 2019.
Northwave will also introduce a new segment in the clothing range. MTB all-mountain riders preferring the more casual, a loose-fitting style will be able to choose from several brand new jerseys, shorts and t-shirts, which are also available as complete collections. So if you are not a fan of the tight bike clothing used by the competitive riders, the venerable Italian brand provides fashionable baggy shorts and loose-fitting tops.