Don’t let the fluoro colour put you off; these are also available in black and white or Team Radioshack Nissan Trek colours. Aesthetics aside, it’s the technical attributes of these ultra-light, 559g a pair (size 45) shoes that define them.
The largely stitch-free upper has a smooth, supple surface that sheds water and is easy to wipe clean. There are only four narrow mesh cutouts in the toe and sides, but a host of perforations in the upper and tongue aid cooling and the sole has three mesh-covered toe vents, while paired exhaust vents in the midsole and heel drag heat away via the perforated footbed.
The internal Mantotex thermoregulating membrane is waterproof and breathable, which results in a surprisingly cool shoe on hot days and provides helpful protection when it’s wet.
The shoes feature a textured inner heel section, the material at the rear preventing them slipping. The shaped tongue is semi-rigid and has feathered edges for comfort, a tough nylon outer resisting abrasion from the Speed Lace Winch closure system, which uses a cord from the parachute world. Stronger than steel wire, it’s intuitively controlled by a quick-release rotary dial.
Northwave’s trusty ratchet closure has an adjustable anchor point, micro-adjust buckle, and a button for single-click tension adjustments.
Once the large EVA pad is centred, the Extreme Techs prove very secure, and matched to the ultra-stiff yet slim carbon sole offer enormous efficiency. The sole accepts every three-bolt cleat design and there’s an optional replaceable insert for Speedplay cleats, resulting in a 0.3mm stack height instead of the usual 3mm.
Northwave’s last favours narrower feet, and if the fit suits you, these make excellent high performance shoes for speed demons.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.