We know we’re starting to sound like a broken record, but yet another company has entered the market with a new flat-pedal shoe design. This time it’s the Italian shoe manufacturer known as Northwave. Northwave is no stranger to cycling shoes, with a history that dates back to 1993. The company later teamed up with Gore-Tex in the mid 2000s to offer a full line of winter shoes. Now, Northwave has gone all in on the gravity market, offering two flat-pedal shoes complete with Michelin rubber soles. The Tribe shoe is designed for riders more concerned with style, while the Clan shoe is made with pure performance in mind. Our testers opted for performance and ordered a pair of Clan shoes to put to the test.
The Northwave Clans are built for gravity riding; however, they are not limited to downhill shredding. Any rider looking for a pair of flat-pedal shoes will reap the benefits of Northwave’s design. The Clan shoes offer some standard features, such as an EVA midsole for extra cushioning, along with a TPU shank preventing rotation and adding stiffness. An exclusive Gecko Plus compound, co-developed by Northwave and Michelin, was added to the bottom of the shoes for increased grip on or off the bike. The tread pattern closely resembles Michelin’s Jet XCR tire, but with minor tweaks to make them mesh better with flat pedals. Northwave then took steps to reinforce the heel and toe with additional protection. The shoes use a pair of laces, along with an elastic band to tuck them away. Northwave offers these shoes in sizes 36–49 and sells them for a competitive price of $150. We received a flashy blue and orange colorway; however, most riders will likely opt for the all-black option. Before putting these shoes to the test, we placed the pair on our scale and recorded a weight of 840 grams for a size 44.
Field test results:
Our tester was glad he ordered these shoes in Euro sizing, as they would have been too small according to their U.S. size. He usually wears a size 10, but the size-44 shoes that fit him well was listed as a size of 11. With the right size figured out, our tester slipped into his new shoes and gave the heel loop a tug to make them easier to step into. The laces allowed him to get a snug fit, and, as a bonus, there where additional color options in the box. An elastic band secured the laces to the top of the shoe, preventing them from flapping around.
The soles are probably what you have the most questions about, so let’s address traction. First off, let us say how impressed we are with Michelin’s commitment to the cycling world. The more time we spend with Michelin rubber, the more we like it. We’d even go so far as to say that Michelin rubber is a competitive option capable of going up against the top dogs in the rubber market. Our test rider reported excellent traction with a variety of flat pedals. He went on to tell us that the Northwave Clan shoes offered solid protection and felt light enough for trail riding. They also offered grip during hike-a-bike sections. You many be able to find a lighter-weight pair of shoes, but it would likely come at the cost of less heel and toe reinforcement. Overall, Northwave did a nice job offering a shoe that works in many categories and glues itself to any pedal it touches.
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