Northwave Striker SBS shoes £163.95
Opening the shoe box you are immediately hit by a couple of things straight away, firstly that this is an incredibly bright shoe and there is very little getting round that fact. If the Euro Fluoro colour is not to taste, you might be pleased to know that they are available in black too.
Secondly that it is an extremely well thought out and put together shoe; this could well be down to Northwave’s commitment to quality (I would love to tell you what this means!) or down to the fact that it costs almost twice as much as most of us would be willing to pay for a shoe.
So what make it such a good shoe? For starters the fit is great; after growing up in more race orientated shoes and then spending the past few years in trail shoes it felt great to get back into a more racy number. An extended heel cup, a ratchet strap with multiple adjustments and a couple of Velcro straps kept the rest of the shoe nice and snug. According to the manufacturers information the shoe “allows a step by step pressure release of the arch of the foot throughout the ride.” In practice the shoes felt comfy and needed very little during the ride and offered a level of protection not often felt in this style of shoe
On the bike the close fit and super stiff sole meant that every ounce of your power feels like it is going into the pedals. If you’re the sort of person who can just keep your feet up and keep turning the pedals around this is a fantastic shoe for you. However if you’re the sort of person who likes to let it hang loose a little, then these may not be the shoe for you (though you probably realised that). While engagement with the pedal in calm situations was great, when you are trying to stab a foot back on the pedal after a bit of a ‘moment’ you would often find your feet sliding off the pedals. Quick dabs onto wet roots and rocks (even Peak Grit stone) were a fairly un-nerving experience too.
As well as a great fit, they manage to be very well ventilated and offer a reasonable degree of water resistance, let’s say showerproof but not puddle proof.
If you’re after a race shoe that fits well, feels great wet or dry and gets your power to where it need to be, this is definitely a shoe to consider, especially when it is compared to other shoes at this price point. It does ok as a bit of and all rounder, but whilst it was comfy on 6hr + rides, it is probably something that is best reserved for the race track.
Need to know
+ Excellent fit, secure and great power transfer, comfy even on long rides, feels like they are not there. Well vented
– Sole not great on slippery rock and a bit skittish re engaging with the pedal. Not a wet weather shoe. Price