Hit the trails with the Northwave Sparta S.B.S. Shoe, and your toes will benefit from this kick's superior fit, support, and breathability. AirMesh inserts on the upper ensure you feet don't overheat, while the stiff sole ensures you don't waste energy unnecessarily. The SBS ratchet system lets you dial in a snug fit, and when you're beat after a long ride, the simple-to-use lace release button will set you free.
Strengths: Fits well, top ratcheting strap length is adjustable with velcro, ratchet mechanism is brilliant for making small adjustments while riding
Weaknesses: Ratchet mechanism is susceptible to binding after exposure to heavy mud/water/crud, ventilation is poor, takes a long time to dry after getting very wet.
Purchased these to replace my Specialized Sport mtn shoes that I'd used for almost 5 years. They fit very well, although I needed a size 43 in these instead of a size 44 in the Specialized shoes. They seem to be well made and constructed of quality materials. I like that they will accept toe spikes, which aren't included, but come with small plastic tread spikes installed. The tread has felt grippy on a variety of surfaces, even when wet. Haven't yet had any issues with debris build-up around my SPD cleats. There is lots of adjust-ability in the closures on these shoes, and the ratchet mechanism is designed with a one-click release button that loosens the top strap by a single tooth/position in addition to the main full-release button for removing the shoes. This one-click button, along with the ratchet tightening lever make on-the-fly no-look adjustments super easy. However, if you get these shoes more than a little wet or muddy, the one-click button tends to bind and not operate properly. I haven't had any issues with getting the ratchet strap undone completely in such conditions though. The ventilation of these shoes is in my mind their greatest flaw. You won't actually feel any airflow until you start hitting fairly high speeds, and tends to make the feet feel hot. On one of my first rides with them I was shin-deep in a water crossing at one point, and it took until the next day before the shoes were completely dry again. Other than that, I think these shoes are good so far, and hope that they'll last me as long as my Specialized pair did.