Verdict from 12 experts and 19 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • A more significant part of the reviews states that the sole of the Northwave Extreme is efficiently stiff yet does not cause any foot fatigue.
  • Numerous wearers are impressed at how comfortable this pair is.
  • Cycling enthusiasts rave about how light the shoe feels, which contributes to the overall comfort.
  • A handful of shoppers adore this model’s design and have referred to it as appealing.
  • Several users appreciate the Northwave Extreme’s ample breathability.
  • This pair is an excellent product that is well worth its price, a number of purchasers have said.
  • The shoe’s upper construction keeps the foot securely in place and prevents pressure points, according to some reviewers.
  • A few consumers love that the Extreme cycling shoe is designed to accommodate a Speedplay adapter.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some long-time BOA users gripe about this shoe’s dial because it is not BOA and requires some getting used to.
  • A few cyclists dislike the fact that the cleat design of the shoe doesn’t feature any adjustment, which limits the range of cleat alignment.

Bottom line

The first shoe released from NW’s Extreme collection, the Northwave Extreme spearheaded an iconic line of road cycling shoes. Equipped with top-of-the-line materials, it is mostly loved for its comfort and lightness without compromising efficient sole stiffness.

As expected, there are a few minor flaws. Despite this, the Northwave Extreme comes highly recommended as a road shoe. Nowadays, getting a pair might be challenging as newer versions have come out.

Tip: see the best cycling shoes.

Good to know

From the Italian footwear brand comes the Northwave Extreme. An eye-catching performance-driven cycling shoe released in 2016. It brings together comfort, looks, and power in one package. This model sits on a proprietary, buoyant outsole called the Ultralight Carbon 14. This sole provides a high percentage of rigidity-to-weight scale.

The Extreme shoe’s upper is crafted using BioMap microfiber, which features excellent ventilation and shaping after the foot. The shoe is fastened through double SLW2 dials and a lower strap to ensure the right fit is attained in every part of the foot.

Maximum power transmission. Equipped with the Ultralight Carbon 14 sole, the Northwave Extreme efficiently transfers every watt of energy to the bike. The sole technology is crafted from 100% unidirectional carbon. It is known for its unmatched lightness and minimum thickness.

Utmost comfort once mounted off the bike. This pair incorporates rubber pads on the toe and heel area. These pads serve a dual purpose: to provide stability and traction for the rider when standing or walking short distances and to prevent scraping on the sole.

Excellent ventilation. The outsole has seven ventilation pockets to keep the foot nice and dry even in the hot weather.

The Northwave Extreme features a standard three-bolt road cleat mount. Some of the pedal models that are suitable for this shoe are Shimano 105 R7000, Time I-Clic and Xpresso, Look Keo Blade Carbon and Speedplay Zero.

Anti-slip surface. Since carbon soles have a smooth texture, clipping onto the pedal might be tricky and could require several tries. Northwave has made a solution to this by applying a somewhat rough patch in the cleat area to avoid slipping and retries.

Speedplay Adapter compatible. Northwave and Speedplay collaborated together in developing an exclusive and patented adapter for NW shoes. This adapter helps reduce the distance between the foot and the pedal to just 0.5 mm versus the traditional 3 mm. With a closer feel to the pedal, maximum power transfer is easily achieved.

The adapter is made of nylon with a thin aluminum plate. It is sold separately.

Breathable upper engineered to work with the natural movement of the foot. The brand developed a micro-perforated BioMap upper with the help of famous athletes. This microfiber upper is designed to operate in perfect synergy with the foot’s natural movement while pedaling.

The placement of seams and construction design ensures an optimal fit, the best comfort, and the most efficient performance.

Highly reflective. The Northwave Extreme road shoe employs a reflective coating throughout the upper for 360-degree visibility in dimly light places. Hence, enhancing the wearer’s level of safety. With your presence accentuated on the road, going on a ride after the sun sets should not be a problem.

Maximum precision and adjustability. Incorporating the brand’s SLW2 dials, this pair offers the perfect fit through the dials’ step by step closure. This means you can quickly tighten and loosen the fit accurately. Up in the toe area, an extra strap helps secure this part and provides exceptional pressure distribution.

Tightening the dial is simple, just turn the dial to fasten in micro measures. In order to loosen the dials, a side button is provided to function in two ways. It could be pressed to release in increments while lifting it allows a complete opening of the shoe. Note that the dials are replaceable.

Integrated heel system. The heel cup of the Northwave Extreme is hiding inside the upper’s structure, displaying a clean and minimal look. Working in conjunction with the inner heel cup is a fabric with directional fibers to keep the heel from sliding out of the shoe.

Cushioned and breathable footbed. The shoe employs the Extreme Air Evo insole, which offers adequate in-step comfort. It also features perforations placed directly on top of the sole’s vent pockets.

  • Upon purchase, the shoe comes with a shoe bag.
  • The SLW in the dial’s name means Speed Lace Winch.
  • The Extreme family includes the GT, Pro, and RR versions. The GT has a less stiff sole with a rating of 12 in the brand’s index. It also employs a single BOA with an unconventional wiring design. The Pro version utilizes several updates such as the highest level of stiffness and better fit to serve pro athletes better. Lastly, the RR also has the stiffest sole but employs earlier versions of upper technologies than the Pro.


How Northwave Extreme ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 38% road cycling shoes
All road cycling shoes
Top 20% Northwave cycling shoes
All Northwave cycling shoes
Bottom 25% reflective cycling shoes
All reflective cycling shoes


The current trend of Northwave Extreme.
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