Northwave Extreme RR shoes
Northwaves Extreme shoes are a good option for racers who have high-volume feet.
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Northwave has created a stiff race shoe with the Extreme RR. It’s light and stable (though our test pair was heavier than the advertised claims), and the wrap-around fit accommodates a range of foot shapes. It earns high marks for its focus on all the things racers need, but it misses the mark slightly on comfort and adjustment.
The No-Slip heel works wonders. It’s comprised of directional fibers that make it easy to slip the shoe on but keep your heel from pulling upward once you’ve snugged the retention dial. It’s a small detail that puts a spotlight on how easy it is for a cyclist’s heel to move around, wasting energy through movement. There was almost no movement at all at the heel, and while we could give partial credit a deep heel cup, the No-Slip material certainly helps.
If Northwave shoes have felt too narrow for you in the past, the Extremes might be up your alley. My narrow feet wandered slightly in the toe box, so if you’ve got moderately wide feet, the Extremes will fit well. My foot would have been comfortable in the shoe as well if the cable cinched down more tightly over the forefoot, which I couldn’t seem to make happen.
Boa closures are so ubiquitous now that you might not notice Boa’s absence from Northwave’s Extreme RR shoes. Yes, it has a closure system that looks a lot like a Boa, and while the SLW2 system works similarly, it’s different enough that you might get tripped up at first. It tightens like a Boa by turning the dial, but loosening the shoe happens by either pushing the silver button for micro-adjustment, or pulling on it to release the dial completely. It works well when tightening with the dial, but you might have some issues with micro-adjustments and release if you’re wearing bulky gloves.
It also doesn’t tighten evenly over the entire foot. It snugged up near the ankle but not nearly as much as I wanted it to over my toes. That’s the result of the cable pulling only from one location rather than from multiple origin points. It’s possible this won’t be an issue for many riders, especially those with low-volume feet, but it was distracting on my high ankle/low forefoot. High-volume feet might find less of an uneven feel from front to back.
It’s always difficult to review shoes because different feet will find different degrees of comfort in each pair. The Extremes aren’t quite up my alley because of pinching near the ankle while the front of the shoe felt loose. I would have liked a second adjustment dial toward the front to address this. That said, they probably work better for high-volume feet with low ankles.