Northwave started out making snowboard boots and moved into cycling shoes in 1993. Since then it has emerged as one of the top innovators in the industry. The Northwave Striker SBS Mountain Bike Shoe is a perfect example of the how this Italian company is taking a different approach to design and setting new standards in the industry. Not only are we impressed with the quality and light weight of the Striker, but we were also struck by how much attention has gone into every aspect of the shoe.The SBS (Step By Step) ratcheting system provides stable closure that won't come undone or loosen up while you ride. It allows you to dial in a precise fit so you can maximize pedaling efficiency without having to deal with hot spots and blisters. The ASR 2 (Ankle Strap Regulation 2) system is an adjustable EVA foam strap on a lightweight toothed band that can be centered on any ankle shape for greater comfort. The carbon composite Speedlight 3D soleplate is much lighter than other, less costly sole materials. It also allows Northwave to reduce sole thickness for direct power transfer from your foot to the pedal. Northwave uses only natural rubber in its soles because natural rubber provides superior grip on wet or muddy terrain. The Striker also features Omega Heel, which designed to provide traction and protection and features rear vents that let hot air leave the shoe. In fact, overheating is a dead issue with Northwave's advanced Aerator ventilation system. Large mesh vents on the toe and the sides of the shoe allow cool air to enter while hot air passes through the Omega heel. The ventilated Performance Pro footbed with lightweight anatomical arch support allows air to flow all around your foot during a ride, and the breathable microfiber upper lets your foot regulate its temperature naturally. Northwave Striker SBS Shoes come in Red/black, Black/green, Black/grey, and White/black. They are available in whole sizes 37 to 47 and half sizes 39.5 to 45.5.
Strengths: Dump heat incredibly well. SBS closure. Super comfortable.
Weaknesses: Dump heat really well.
First off before I get into why I love these shoes, I was a bit misled by the HNR site that they have a carbon sole, THEY DO NOT.
That being said, I still love them. The sole is still really stiff and the lugs don't seem to slip or be as slippery as the DOM5 from Sidi. Being the only other shoe I've owned they are the comparison. The insole is a really comfortable one and it allows me to wear them all day long and not get hot spots or feel like I'm cramped in the toebox. The insole also stays in place all day, no sliding around and being uncomfortable.
They dump heat by the gallon. The whole toe is one big vented area with the back having a small vent hole over the Achilles tendon. It's a great thing for long summer days in the saddle, not so great now that it's winter; you'll be pulling out the booties before all your friends if you make this the only pair of cycling shoes you own (like me). But, as there are a lot more hot days than cold where I am (Raleigh, NC) I really like how well they regulate heat.
I haven't owned them for very long (3mo) so I can't comment too much about longevity, but I will. They have dirtied up a bit and are no longer a bright green but more a muted yellowish, besides that--and I don't care about that--they look and feel brand new still. No strings or seams coming out, toebx is still intact and that was a part of the shoe I was worried about coming apart. I put in a ton of miles on these since I use them for commuting and mountain biking and I don't own a car. They have held up amazingly well for all the abuse I run them through on a regular basis.
The SBS ratchet system is awesome too. I was--at first--a bit skeptical and thought it might be a gimmicky thing but I love it. The ability to back off the ratchet by one step means it takes almost no time for me to dial in the fit exactly the same on each foot every time I put them on. If the decision had to be made, these over the DOM5's every time. And I loved my Sidi's.