Last month, RCUK ed. Richard wrote in his blog about his ‘schoolboy error’, which found him riding in shoes that he couldn’t use effectively as he couldn’t find his preferred shoe plate position. Well, since I like my shoe plates or cleats well forward and I happen to have the same size feet as his Pheasantness, the shoes concerned, Northwave’s Aerlite 3’s were passed on to me for a trial.
The basic specification according to the Northwave website is this:
· Three layer carbon-fibre sole
· Wooden “inter-sole”
· Microfiber upper
· Three strap closure system
· Ultra Y Heel
· Aerator ventilation system
· Performance Pro footbed
This particular pair is in the season before last’s white and black with some silver details provided by the aluminium mesh of the ‘Aerator’ system. The Aerlites feature a cork insole upper layer and the most straightforward footbed I’ve seen in a while. The carbon-fibre sole seems very stiff and has a fairly flat profile with three threaded metal inserts to make it compatible with a Look- or Shimano-type three bolt shoe plate. These inserts, which offer some lateral adjustability, are placed just far enough forward to suit my preferred position for shoe plates, although they are then at the full extent of their forward adjustment.
The size 45 shoes fit my feet very well, with the “Ultra Y Heel” heel cup offering a lot of support. They are also subtly adapting themselves to the shape of my feet without stretching. The three straps are made from a softer, more flexible material than usual, providing a comfortable yet secure closure. The cork insole in between the carbon of the sole and the performance foot bed was also an excellent feature. My personal preference when I’m racing is either to wear no socks or very thin ones, so I’m looking for a pair of shoes that will be verging on being to small.
In summary, I think the Northwave Aerlite 3s are a high-quality product and, if they are the correct fit for you, they will make an excellent pair of racing shoes. As the pile of discarded shoes under my bed will testify, it really is worth while trying shoes on and checking if your shoe plates will fit correctly before committing your hard-earned cash to buying them.
Northwave Aerlite 3 shoes; around £130.00, sizes 39 – 48, half sizes 39.5 – 45.5