Northwave has released a line of clipless mountain biking shoes it's developed in collaboration with French rubber giant Michelin. Each of the three new shoes features a unique sole with tread patterns and design features derived from Michelin's mountain bike tyres.
The mid-height Dolomites EVO boot pairs a high end Northwave upper with an aggressive and stiff sole that's based on Michelin's Rock'R2 enduro tyre. Subtle badging and a Bibendum mascot at the toe area hint that there's something special going on, but it's only once you peek at the underside you get the full story.
Talon-like areas at the front and rear of the shoe imitate that of its rolling sister and act to provide the same function while different colours are used to distinguish the multiple rubber compounds used. Yeah that's right, different rubber compounds to provide the right balance of grip, durability and flexibility across the sole. These are no ordinary shoes.
Spider 2 and Spider Plus 2
If you're after Michelin sole technology but in a shoe that's more comfortable to walk in then Northwave has its Spider range. The sole used on both the Spider models is badged the X-Crossbow, and borrows features from Michelin's Country Trail and Country Mud tyres with a tread pattern that's designed to minimise mud build up.The Spider Plus 2 makes use of Northwave's SLW 2 dial retention system, while the Spider 2 shoe instead uses a Speed Lace closure.
The shoes are part of a licensing exercise that has also introduced Michelin soles to motorcycle boots and even safety shoes for other brands. We've heard more models are in the pipeline and would definitely like to see Michelin rubber make its way onto a flat shoe sometime soon!
We'll getting our hands on sample shoes soon so stay tuned to BikeRadar for a full review.