Weight, or lack of it, is the first noticeable thing when getting the Extreme Tech’s out of the box. Without cleats, our test pair come in at 264g per shoe, which, considering the amount of technology that has been incorporated in this shoe, is a notable achievement.
Most shoes are made up from multiple sections stitched together, notably the toe box, vamp, quarter section and heel. Northwave have done away with all of this, constructing the complete upper in one piece and leaving no possibility of foot-based irritation from seams. Very clever.
This upper is bonded to a thin but both torsionally and laterally stiff sole. The sole has seven separate vent holes: two pairs in the centre and three forward vents at the toe. Furthermore, Northwave have worked with Speedplay to develop a mounting system for their pedals, highlighted in an earlier article.
The Specialized Boa-type retention system has proven popular and Northwave have used the technology developed for their snowboard boots and used it with this shoe. The SBS system is easily operated with one hand for both tightening and release, the placement of the cabling giving an even pressure across the top of the foot. This is released with the red thumb lever atop the winding button.
Additional to this, there’s a ratchet system to give greater security than the three Velcro straps found on the lighter Extreme model. Coined the “Micrometric” system, it delivers normal ratchet tightening, single step release and full quick release all in one lever. This system can be adjusted on the instep side using a small tool supplied, personalizing the placement of the main section of the strap.
The lining of the shoe is slim but comfortable. With what is generally a wider fitting last than used by some manufacturers, these will still conform to narrower feet and the fit is snug. Finally, a neat touch is the ‘shark skin’ section at the heel. Essentially this strip of fabric is smooth as a foot is pushed into the shoe but grips the sock surface in the other direction, making pulling out harder and thus improving the overall fit.
Northwave Extreme Tech SBS shoe £279.99, sizes 41, 42, 43, 45, 48, 43.5, 44.5, 45.5, 42.5