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NORTHWAVE EXTREME PRO
Power transfer is the name of the game for the Northwave Extreme Pro shoes. The new PowerShape Carbon 15 sole uses 100-percent unidirectional carbon to set a new standard for how stiff a sole can be. It’s so stiff that Northwave is setting it as a “15” on its 15-point stiffness index. That’s a pretty confident statement right there. Beyond the stiff sole, the PowerShape arch support has been designed to increase the efficiency of each pedal stroke by supporting the foot more effectively and avoiding hard pressure on the sole during the down stroke. But all that power is useless without a good fit. The XFrame 2 system in the upper provides a snug fit that eliminates pressure points, while two dials allow the instep and forefoot to be adjusted independently. The shoe is available in black and white or in a women’s specific version. $430 (approx.); 260g (size 42); northwave.com
MEMORY PILOT WATTSTYLE SOCKS
The humble sock seems to carry more than its fair share of controversy among cyclists. How tall should your socks be? And what about color? While there are no definitive answers to these questions, many much more important aspects of socks are overlooked. The Wattstyle socks from Memory Pilot put a lot of consideration into what a good sock should be. It’s thin and breathable where it needs to be, to allow maximum airflow and prevent bunching, but it is also thicker in areas that see more wear like the toes and heel. It’s gently compressive, including a supportive band at the arch, without being restrictive. And vertical ribbing on the back of the sock adds structure and a bit of padding in the event of a pedal slip. But getting back to those less important questions, we think Memory Pilot gets it right with the 8-inch height and colorful stripes. $20; memorypilot.com