Northwave Nirvana MTB shoes review£165.00

Enduro styled footwear

BikeRadar score3/5

Northwave produces a deep range of race shoes and a more casual styled trail selection. The slightly armoured but still race geared Nirvana fits in between as ‘Euro Enduro’ shoes.

Northwave isn’t shy about its “Born to challenge the fearless, the most extreme and reckless users” aspirations, but the details are less spectacular. The main changes to the NW race shoes are additional ‘Super Shield’ thermaweld bumpers around the toe and outside forefoot, plus a reinforced heel. The SLW2 (that's Speed Lace Winch) tensioning dial on the side uses a manual release catch rather than a Boa dial. That makes it a slow double-handed pain to undo but stops accidental release if it gets a knock from a passing rock.

The carbon reinforced nylon sole has toe and heel tread and a hard plastic sole centre. It’s thinner, to get you closer to the pedal for decent bike feedback, but still stiff. The mostly seamless upper keeps things light and Northwave’s Biomechanical Mapping fit is supportively snug.

Go steady before a sprint, because pulling the toe straps or winch too tight cuts off blood flow remarkably quickly. Large amounts of venting on the upper and vents in the sole mean this is a warm weather shoe, but it dries fast if it does get wet.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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