Interbike 2015: Northwave and Michelin kick it up a notch

by Marc Basiliere 1

All about traction
All about traction

Quite proud of their recent collaborations with French rubber specialists Michelin, Northwave had a couple of eye-catching shoes on display at Interbike, each aimed at a very different riding style.

From the feet of Gods
From the feet of Gods

First up (and probably of most interest to you, dear reader) is the Enduro Mid.  As we all know by now, enduro is code for competitive casual mountain biking and the Enduro Mid looks set to be good for precisely that.  Building from an existing pro rider Cedric Gracia requested additional inside ankle padding and a special protective ratchet cover (not shown) for his signature shoe.

Cable closure system
Cable closure system

The sole is completely covered by two compounds of Michelin rubber- the darker sections optimised for hiking while the lime are intended to facilitate pedal location grip while unclipped.  Northwave was keen to point out that, where other licensed compounds are typically chosen from an existing menu, Michelin’s cycling rubber blends were developed with cycling in mind.  The SLW2 dial closure had a nice clicky feel when tightening and has a little alloy lever, which can be pushed to release a single increment or pulled to un-spool completely.  The provided cover, if used, should keep the mechanism functioning as-new in the muck.

We asked about the apparently offset cleat mounting (which would effectively provide a wider ‘stance’), but Northwave representatives felt that the cleats aren’t as far from typical as they appear- more that the sole is unusual in extending to the full width of the forefoot.

Does Sir prefer loud, or louder?
Does Sir prefer loud, or louder?

On the other end of the mountain bike spectrum, the Extreme XC comes in at a freakishly light 320g per pair.  This weight doesn’t come at the expense of fit, with three discrete closures provided on each foot.

More Michelin rubber. Just less of it.
More Michelin rubber. Just less of it.

Bibendum has also been at work here, with a soft pedal-locating patch at the midfoot and tougher rubber at the tip and tail.  Toe studs are provided for, but it may be best to stay on the bike whenever possible, given the lightweight one-piece microfibre upper’s moderate scuff protection.

northwave.com

Comments (1)

  1. awful shoes and bad customer service. the last pair of northwave shoes I had fell apart after 6months use and this was standard wear and tear?

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