Which Northwave cycling shoes are offered? Get the skinny here. While the Northwave Aerator is getting most of the attention, there are four other Northwave cycling shoe models. How about a short summary of each?
Northwave Aerlite – The Flagship
There are actually two versions of the Northwave Aerator cycling shoe. There is the ‘three strap’ and there is the version that has two straps and a tightener buckle. I’ll go over the common aspects of the two shoes and touch on any unique features later.
Carbon sole- No doubt you know all about the necessity of a stiff sole so that the power from your massive thighs is transmitted to the pedal without so much as an foot/ounce of wasted energy. Northwave calls their stiff sole the ‘TLS System Carbon Sole’. By using carbon (in leuh of lead or scrap iron, for example) they are able to provide rigidity and lightness at the same time. There are handy little lines on the bottom of the sole so that you can accurately line up your cleats just where you want them. The foot/pedal distance is minimized to optimize the pedaling biomechanics.
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Web Power Cage Upper- These mesh uppers utilize a variety of densities on various parts of the shoe to maximize ‘breathability’ without being too stretchy. You certainly don’t want to lose any energy in your upstroke because a floppy upper resembles the upper on a ‘Nike Free’.
In order to achieve this firmness, the Northwave cycling shoe upper has been injected across the ball of the foot with a stiff plastic, holding your foot firmly in place. The objective is to provide a good balance of stability and aeration.
Ultra Y Heel- Northwave has created an injected heel that has a stiffened area which ‘grips the heel’. This allows the heel to be lighter while still providing the snug fit necessary for optimum cycling. By saving this weight you can feel free to carry a couple extra popcicle sticks with you on the ride.
Closure Systems- One version utilizes the traditional three Velcro strap closure and the other version of the Aerator makes use of the ‘Step by Step’ system. These are easy to visualize. The Velcro strap system is like on most cycling shoes. The ‘step by step’ system resembles the closure system on some ski boots. The ‘step by step’ version even has a special release button.
Revenge – Road ‘Pro’ Shoe
These road Northwave cycling shoes utilize the same carbon sole as does the Northwave Aerator, the same Ultra Y heel and the three velcro strap closure system. They have what is called an ‘Airflow System Upper’.
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Twister – Road ‘Performance’ Shoe
Sole- This sole is described as a Dupont composite fiber thermoplastic material. Sounds like some pretty important stuff. The claims are the same- increased stiffness and reduced weight. Once again, there is a claim of a reduced foot/pedal distance to optimize pedaling biomechanics.
Closure System- The Twister uses the ‘Step by Step’ system that is described above.
Cork Foot Bed- A cork foot bed is incorporated into this shoe to increase the comfort. Since this isn’t the hardcore ‘Pro’ series I guess a little comfort is OK.
Airflow System Upper- While it’s a different color (Blue/White or Titanium/Silver), this upper is the same as the Revenge.
Ultra Y Heel- Frequently used throughout the Northwave cycling shoes line.
Tribal – ‘Multi-Sport’ Shoe
Finally, something different to write about in the world of Northwave cycling shoes! Catering to the tri-athlete, this shoe features a quick entry and a few other features. Quick entry is essential because a guy could really blow a gasket seeing the swimmer that he just dropped gain an advantage just because he can’t get into his Northwave cycling shoes without a hassle.
Sole- This shoe utilizes the Dupont composite fiber thermoplastic material that’s used in the Twister.
Heel Lift Stop- This consists of a shape retaining polyurethane (see last picture at bottom of this page) that molds to the heel and keeps the heel firmly inside the shoe. This is different than the Ultra Y Heel. The heel loop pictured on the left aids in getting the shoe on. There is also some ‘walking friendly’ material, as seen on the right, added to the bottom of the heel so transitions aren’t as slippery.
LORICA Upper- This upper is made from LORICA and is designed for easy entry. Designed to be used without socks and even with wet feet, this upper is ‘foot friendly’. LORICA is softer than the mesh and plastics that are used with other road shoes.
Closure System- Uses two opposite Velcro straps and a heel loop in the back for ease of entrance.
Comet – Women’s Shoe
Here’s a model made especially for women.
The Sole- The sole is made of Zytel Dupont thermoplastic material. The attachment system is laterally adjustable and once again the shoe/crank distance is minimized.
Closure System- This shoe utilizes a two strap Velcro system. Better than duct tape, not as good as a three strap system.
Upper- Uses the Airflow System Upper.
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