REVIEW: Skechers GOrun Ride 3

Skechers GOrun Ride 3 Review (Women's)Skechers is one of those companies that you are very familiar with, but don’t necessarily seek out to buy technical running shoes from.  At least that was my thought before I tried out their GoRun line of shoes (which is technically from Skechers Performance).  This line surpassed all my “Skechers shoes” expectations and I could see them rivaling some of the larger companies lines.  The GoRun Ride 3 is more of a stability and/or training shoe than the GoRun 3 that was reviewed HERE (for the record, the GoRun 3 is maybe the most comfortable running shoe I have ever tried…).  The GoRun Ride 3 is a bit less minimal (but still has a low 4mm heel drop!) and has more cushioning than the GOrun 3.


The outsole and the midsole are not obviously distinguished from each other, so I’ll summarize them together.  The GoRun Ride 3 sole is made up of a rubber/foam mix called Resalyte cushioning.  This cushioning is very durable and is supposed to provide lasting support for hundreds of miles (although I can’t exactly confirm this claim, as I haven’t logged over a hundred in these yet).  Along the outsole, there are “GoImpulse Pillars” that are placed in strategic locations to give feedback while running.  I wouldn’t say I felt more feedback than my other minimalistic-like shoes, but the ground-reaction feedback was nice for this shoe being more of a “trainer” shoe.  The four Impulse pillars around the midfoot area are joined in a cross pattern which gives a little extra support to the arch.

Higher up on the sole, it looks like there is additional rubber paneling that runs along the sides of the shoe in the areas that often need the most support: along the inside of the big toe to prevent over pronation and along the outside of the midfoot to prevent supination (that sometimes occurs on initial impact).  Even with the added support, the sole of this shoe is still super light and flexible.  I really liked this characteristic of the GoRun Ride 3; I felt like I was in a shoe that wasn’t limiting my range of motion or feedback from the ground.

The shape of the sole is a little different with its rockered shape (and initially, slightly off-putting to me).  I tend to think of a rocker being just what it sounds like – something that will help you transition smoothly from back to front, think “rocking chair”.  Some people have success in running like this, but I prefer to land midfoot and never really roll through the heel at all.  But I can happily report that I didn’t notice any trouble running naturally, and after a bit of research, it makes sense why: Skechers rockered MStrike technology promotes landing on the midfoot, not a rocking movement – good news for those who want to get into mid or fore foot running!


It is highly likely that the upper can take full credit for this shoe being so insanely comfortable.  The inside of the shoe is lined with microfiber and does not have any dramatic seams or stiches.  I typically do not wear shoesSkechers GOrun Ride 3 Review (Women's) without socks as I am very sensitive and finicky with seams.  The GoRun line of shoes really excels in the aspect of a barefoot-friendly interior.  The first time I put these shoes on was post skiing and I was sockless.  I’m sure my feet were happy to get out of tight ski boots, but the shoes felt super plush and comfortable on my feet (I took out the removable insole).  The tongue is cushioned and soft, but not gusseted.  The inevitable overlapping of materials can sometimes be a cause for concern, but the tongue of the GoRun Ride 3 integrates with the rest of the shoe seamlessly and without any comfort issues.

The exterior of the upper is flexible and breathable.  There is a soft mesh membrane around the toe box which gives extra stretch to the already wide toe box.  I was happy the width of the toe box; my slightly wide foot didn’t feel cramped or like it was swimming.  Overall, the shoe’s upper hugged my whole foot well.  I did notice that there is little to no heel counter, so if you like a really stiff heel bed, this might not be the shoe for you.


In terms of sizing, overall, in the heel, and in the toe, this shoe fit beautifully.  Like I said earlier, this shoe felt like it was hugging my foot with its soft materials and comfortable fit.  While on my longer runs, I got a little rubbing on the side of my big toe, but I have a feeling this is more due to the added stability factor of the shoe rather than the actual fit.  Since the GoRun Ride 3 is a stability shoe, I think it provided my foot with too much over pronation support (I don’t typically run in a stability shoe).  Besides the rubbing in that specific place, these shoes fit and felt fantastic while running and just wearing around.

Skechers GOrun Ride 3 Review (Women's)Ride

Okay, I was a little weary to go running in a “trainer” shoe when I am used to shoes with a little less support and sole.  I felt like it might be “too much shoe” and would slow me down.  Well, it turns out I was wrong.  The shoes felt light on my feet and I had no problem keeping a fast (for me) pace.  Striking mid-foot with the 4mm heel drop was effortless and helped me easily keep my cadence high.  Sure, there is a little more sole and cushion than I am used to, but instead of feeling cumbersome, it provided a nice base for impact and push off.  And, unlike I often see with a trainer or more traditional shoe, I did not feel like any energy was lost due to sole cushioning.

Like I stated in the fit section, on my long runs I ended up feeling some pressure and rub on the inside of my foot around the big toe.  Most likely this is due to my running style and the level of support the GoRun Ride3’s give.  For my longer runs, I would probably gravitate towards a shoe with a little less stability (maybe the GoRun3’s!) and perhaps wear the GoRun Ride 3’s for my shorter runs.


If you were uncertain of trying out these shoes because they aren’t made from one of the bigger named brands, don’t be!  The GoRun Ride 3 holds its own.  It is a well designed and constructed shoe that offers a nice amount of stability while staying light and nimble feeling.  It weighs in at 6.4oz (a womens 7) and runs at a very affordable price of $80.  You are getting an insanely comfortable and technically sound shoe for half the price of other companies.  Stability was maybe a bit much for my neutral foot, but feet are like snowflakes: no two are the same.  If you are looking for some light-weight stability in a quality shoe, I would recommend lacing up with a pair of the GoRun Ride 3’s.

REVIEW: MT (Mountain Trainer) Trail Running Shoes from Topo Athletic

REVIEW: MT (Mountain Trainer) Trail Running Shoes from Topo AthleticSince the natural or minimalist running movement came about, there’s been a somewhat tenuous relationship between the desire for a shoe with natural ground feel yet enough protection to not expose your feet to rocks that would make a hobbit cry for mommy. Finding a happy medium with these elements in mind is something that is seemingly right up the alley of former Vibram CEO, Tony Post and his relatively new shoe company, Topo Athletic.

Late last year we took a look at the RR from Topo. With it’s Boa lacing system and it’s split toe design, that shoe was a lightweight, speedy departure from traditional shoe design and one that may give some people pause before picking up a pair. While I gave that shoe a great review with it’s solid construction and huge nod to biomechanical function, many people were still a bit thrown by the split toe (unnecessarily so, in my opinion). With that in mind and wanting to take their natural running concepts off road, Topo bypassed the complete split toe, used multi-density EVA on a level platform and the off-road beauty, the Topo MT was born.


According to Topo, the MT, “offers the ultimate hybrid experience by pairing the best features of a trail and road shoe”. Having like the ground feel of the RR, I was curious how a shoe with a lot more material underfoot would back up that claim. First, the lugs of the MT are not cleat-like at all. They’re quite flat though the do have a decent amount of depth giving them plenty of grip. On the road, the flatness of the lugs makes for a very full-foot feel and quiet ride (more on this in the ride section below).

My testing of this shoe has been on dry trail, muddy trail, snow and ice. The outsole sports multiple flex grooves that allow the foot to bend and move as it needs to. This is something that, for me, makes the traction that much greater especially on dry trails. As with all non-studded shoes, there’s not much in the way of grip on non-chunky ice. On the powdery snow that we get here in Colorado though, I found the ground feel and lugs did a good job of keeping me upright and moving forward. On muddy trails, I did find my shoes getting quite caked over though they did clear out easily with several kicks to a dry rock.

The blown rubber of the outsole does extend fully along the underside of the shoe. it’s flex grooves are well designed and don’t catch additional debris or cause instability. With somewhat of a nod to its split toe pedigree, there is an extra deep sagittal flex groove where the split tow would be in other models. While it certainly doesn’t have the freedom of movement as its tabi-esque predecessors, this groove does give a bit more movement to the big toe.


Ever since their first shoes came out, even if you weren’t a fan of the split toe, you couldn’t deny Topo one thing: quality. The midsole of the MT is one place where the quality materials of the upper and outsole meet and in some other shoes, is simply passed over. In this shoe, the midsole is what makes it. Made of a triple density EVA the MT does not have a rock plate. It gets away with this because the different layers of EVA act as a multi-stage impact protection. This means that and sharp rocks or objects on a trail aren’t simply butting up against a stiff rock plate that is likely deadening the ground feel of the shoe. What’s happening is that these baddies are being slowed down (in quick order, mind you) before they get to your foot. For me, this meant that I was definitely aware of objects underfoot but rather than being super sharp of uncomfortable, I felt them well enough to adapt my body to move around them smoothly. Add to that their 2mm drop and you’ve got something pretty slick.

While I don’t have the miles on them (about 60 as of now) to be able to truly comment on the lifespan of the EVA, I would venture to say that not only is the 3-layer setup of these shoes protecting the feet but it’s likely that itsREVIEW: MT (Mountain Trainer) Trail Running Shoes from Topo Athletic also minimizing the breakdown of the individual layers of EVA, thus extending the wear of the shoe. Again, this is purely hypothesis but it would would seem that would be the case to a degree.


As with their other models, the upper is probably the biggest showcase of the quality of the Topo MT. For starters, the strapping on the upper is something I’d not seen before. While it may appear heat welded/bonded to the shoe, it’s actually 3-D printed on! This saves in weight and allows the interior to be that much smoother and comfortable. This printing makes up the support structure and it also gives the toe of the shoe protection as it extends the bumper. Between that and the fact that there are virtually no stitches on the upper, there’s a nice weight saving.

The gusseted tongue of the shoe doesn’t just have the typical singular lace guide about halfway up, but it has another above that that does a fantastic job of keeping the tongue in place, even when you’re on technical terrain. On the interior, the MT rocks an extremely comfortable, seamless liner. Now, this is something that I should share that’s kind of a quirk of mine. More often than not shoes have either too much or too little foam in the collar and tongue for me. I find myself wishing there was just a tiny bit less or a tiny bit more in some place. In this shoe the amount of foam on the collar and tongue is perfect to me. There’s just enough padding around the collar at just the right density to feel comfortable against my foot without being bulky. The trade-off for this wonderful fabric/foam combo is that it tends to hold a bit more water than one might like. Combine that with the fact that the top layer of EVA is a bit higher than the actual footbed and things may get and stay a bit damp.


The sizing of the MT is spot-on and for its durability and construction this shoe is nice and light! My size 11’s came in at a pleasant 8.6 ounces and I’d like to remind you that this is a trail shoe.  Through the midfoot there is ample room for snugging down on a more narrow foot as well as allowing room for those with wider feet. The heel of the shoe doesn’t have much of a heel counter but with its nicely shaped cup, has a very stable feel. The toebox of the MT is exactly what I like to see in a shoe. There’s plenty of room for the small toe to move around and the vertical and horizontal space for the other toes is just right without being sloppy. The 3-D printed support structure also gives the upper shape adding to the spacious feel.


On roads the MT really does feel like a comfortable road shoe. The combination of the flat lugs and the flex grooved outsole give this tremendous ground feel for its stack height (19mm heel, 17mm forefoot). On light trail it really does a nice job and I must say that I’m liking the 3-D printed on support of the upper. On more technical (loose dirt/gravel hills and mud) it behaves as you’d expect. Since there are no real cleat-like lugs the traction isn’t going to be as great but it still holds its own.

REVIEW: MT (Mountain Trainer) Trail Running Shoes from Topo AthleticThe ride of the MT has a great full foot feel. Since basically the entire outsole touches the ground, that translates into wonderful communication with  whatever surface you’re on. To me a large portion of having a good trail run is being able to know what’s going on underfoot and I feel that this shoe does a nice job of that.


Here’s the thing about the MT that truly threw me. With its quality construction, triple density EVA, durability and relative new-ness in the market, I fully expected these shoes to top $150. However (and I kind of feel like Billy Mays (R.I.P.) here) the MT is only $100! Seriously. Even though I know this is the price I can’t believe it. I mean, wow.

I think the Topo MT is a great trail shoe for pretty much anyone. Add to that the fact that even Topo itself refers to this as a kind of “hybrid” and it’s going to be something that you won’t feel bad about taking for a spin on the road. Not that Topo has completely ditched the split toe, and not that they should, but this is certainly a shoe that will be much more approachable to those who might have balked at earlier models. With their innovation and dedication to good biomechanics, I’m excited to see what Topo rolls out the door next!

REVIEW: Pearl Izumi EM Trail N1

Pearl Izumi EM Trail N1 ReviewSince moving from New york City to Boulder, Colorado in 2011 I’ve had the amazing experience of getting to run more trails that I ever thought I’d be able to. Combine that with Gearist and I get to spend a lot of time, in a lot of different shoes, on a lot of cool trails. When wear testing/reviewing though I am sure to go on the same trail a couple of times as a control. This gives me the chance to truly get a feel for the shoe I’m wearing in both a subjective and objective way.

Having really enjoyed the Pearl Izumi EM Road N1, I was quite excited to get their dynamic offset technology dirty and see how it performed.


The trail I use for my control is one that I’ve run in myriad different conditions. I’ve run there when it’s bone dry, when it’s muddy and when it’s snowy. I’ve run on both dry and wet long grasses and on rocks, from pebbles to boulders at least double my height. The great thing about this trail is that if a shoe has a weakness it’s exposed pretty quickly but it’s also a place to really push the limits of a shoe.

The first run I did with the Trail N1 was on the trail when it was about 50/50, dry/muddy. As I made my way up the mountain I could already begin to feel the quick transition and the smooth ride of the dynamic offset (which we’ll talk much more about in the midsole section). The blown rubber lug system on this shoe is not one that stands out as being super aggressive but the way in which it works with the rest of the shoe is where it shines.

On the dry, dusty surface the lug system did a great job both up and downhill, never requiring me to slow down for any of the more parkour-esque (in my mind) cuts and leaps I was working with. I mentioned a minute ago that the trail I use for my control is one that will reveal weakenss in shoes. One of the key ways that it does this is through its mud. The dirt on the trail is very fine when dry which, in turn, results in some REALLY slick mud. When I was forced to de-beautify the Trail N1, it was in this slick mud. The lugs did a nice job of keeping things under relative control and I really believe that the only thing that would have done better is something with a very aggressive cleat.

One thing I think should be pointed out is that PI touts a “self-cleaning lug pattern”. I was curious about how this would work and it took me a second to realize it’s function. When you’re running through mud and gunk, the lugs – like any lugs – will get clogged and may result in a slick bottom. However, when you do make it back to dry land, the lugs do shed mud quite quickly.


In our review of the Road N1 from Pearl Izumi we went into their Dynamic Offset technology. With it, the drop/offset is different at different points depending on where the foot is exerting weight at the time. With the Trail N1,Pearl Izumi EM Trail N1 Review PI advertises the drop as being 1mm. To me, it feels close to that though maybe a tiny bit more (maybe 3?). I know I’m splitting hairs here but with people being super picky about tech specs of shoes, I figued it worth mentioning. It’s also worth saying that on a trail the weight is often loaded onto the foot differently than on the road and so it’s not as big a deal.

As with the Road N1, the midsole of the Trail N1 uses PI’s 1:1 foam which makes for a ride that’s not overly firm and not super cushy either. Again, like the Road N1, the shape of the outsole/midsole of the shoe has almost a rockered look (without feeling like a true rocker) that accounts for a crazy smooth ride. Also in the midsole is a rock plate that protects the foot without sacrificing flexibility.


Finding the right balance between comfort and durability is something that is challenging for trail shoes. On one hand you want a shoe that offers plenty of room but doesn’t have buckling in the fabric that could easily lead to tears. Then you want something that is rugged enough to survive hard, rock and debris filled miles but without feeling like you’re wearing cardboard on your foot. The upper of the Trail N1 has it pretty well nailed.

The upper is a double-layered mash that externally keeps out the big junk but has a fine enough backing to keep out sand and the like. It manages to do that while being a true single piece construction. Though not as stretchy as the upper of the Road N1, the Trail N1 does use the same shape which is a great fit for the shoe. The support and strapping elements of the upper are heat bonded and quite minimal, extending from the midfoot, back. The bonded, seamless toe cap if flexible but heavy enough to protect toes and feet from trail hazards and clumsiness alike.

Probably one of may favorite aspects of this shoe – that should be filed under the, “the seemingly insignifigant things are often the coolest” department – is the tongue retention system. The tongue, which is made of of non-absorbing, perforated SBR foam, has the usual lace guide loop about halfway up. On top of that though, there are two loops on the sides of the tongue toward the top. When the laces are passed through these loops that tongue won’t even dream of moving around. Rounding out the upper is a fairly rigid heel counter that compliments the cup in the rear of the sockliner and makes for a solid rear foot fit.


Sizing in the Trail N1 is exactly where it should be and I had no need to over-tighten or over-loosen the laces to make up for my foot. Through the midfoot the shoe fit me very comfortable and the almost featureless inside of the upper made for a hug-like fit. Perhaps by listening to runners or maybe simply by looking at th way the foot is shaped, Pearl Izumi has done a nice job woth the toe box of this shoe giving it ample, comfortable space.

Pearl Izumi EM Trail N1 ReviewRIDE

The E:Motion line from Pearl Izumi is one that has really made a splash with it’s smooth ride. While many people look to cushioning to keep down wear on the body, PI’s dynamic offset uses its shape and fit to do the same. In the Trail N1, this is no different. The ride is ultra smooth and the ground feel is really well done.

Now to explain (if I can) my favorite part of the Trail N1’s ride. When running trails, particularly on super uneven and technical surfaces, the foot is constantly adapting to what it feels underfoot. No two footfalls are the same. It’s the nature of the Trail N1 and its Dynamic Offset that it gives a ton of ground feel and sense of where the foot is relative to the surface. If I need to land on my heel for some reason, the transition to the forefoot is fluid and quick. If I need to land on a hard side cut, the regressed toe spring give the shoe a shape that keeps me in contact with the ground enough to know exactly where I want to go next.


At 9.6 ounces (men’s size 9) the EM Trail N1 is a pleasantly light-ish trail shoe. Also, while it is $115, that price is pretty standard for a good trail shoe and it’s really durable to boot so the cost-per-mile is very appealing. While I do think that some people would like to see a model similar to this with a bit of a more aggressive lug, I think that would disrupt the character and feel of the shoe.

Pearl Izumi has had quite a good response with the E:Motion line and for me, this shoe fits right in there with its counterparts. With a new Pearl Izumi Road N0 (that’s a zero) on its way to Gearist HQ we’re stoked to check out this smooth ride in an even more slimmed down body.

Review: Skora Phase Running Shoe

Skora Phase Review -“RUN REAL”, that is the slogan for Skora Running. When the minimalist movement came calling, there were – and still are – a lot of opinions on how shoes should be built and function. Some of those shoes are simple pieces of rubber attached to the bottom of the foot with barely-there strapping a-la the Tarahumara, while others are large pieces of layered EVA foam with a zero drop platform. Skora dispensed with what everyone else was making and attacked the principle of running “REAL” with their own brand of minimalism. Today we’re going to take a look at the Skora Phase (men’s).


Generally we like to review the outsole and midsole separately. However, in the Phase the two are one in the same thanks to Skora’s R02 system. According to Skora, R02 is:

 Made of revolutionary IBR (Injection Blown Rubber), that offers better abrasion resistance, grip and compression-set than injected EVA with lower density and weight than rubber.

The biggest selling points of this system are its nod to durability and weight. If you’re doing minimal, do it right and get all the extraneous things out of the way. The outsole features a fairly simple tread with patters of  projecting nubs from the midfoot forward and the inverse of that in the rear of the shoe. Under the forefoot and toe area, the nubs give way to a cleaner and flatter section that, to the foot, feels quite simply like the foot on the ground. The sockliner of the phase is as simple and flat as they come but with small raised bumps on them. This is to give a bit more grip inside the shoe but it also manages to increase ground feel (more on that in a second).

Before I get into my impressions of the outsole/midsole I’d like to say a few words about gait. When we run, if we’re efficient, it’s not really about what part of the foot lands/touches/strikes the ground first. While that is certainly where the debate has been over the past few years, what any objective student of gait will likely tell you is that what IS important is where your foot first makes contact relative to the rest of your body. In other words, have whatever part of your foot touching the ground first, so long as it’s as close to under your center of mass as possible. This is what 99% of people do naturally when barefoot and it also has a MASSIVE effect on how long a shoe will last.

As I mentioned above, one of the biggest advantages of the R02 system and its IBR is durability. I currently have about 60 miles on my Phase’s and they look as though I have MAYBE worn them for two short runs. Now, I really try to pay attention to my technique and so I get a lot of life out of shoes anyway but the fact that these hardly shoe any wear is impressive. While it almost goes without saying, the ground feel of this shoe is great. With so little material in between the foot and the groundSkora Phase Review - (the stack height is 11mm) that isn’t deadened by overly cushy EVA, the foot feels very in touch with what’s going on. Additionally, those little bumps on the sockliner, they add another dimension to the ground feel for me as they tend to take advantage of the fact that the bottoms of the feet are so packed full of nerve endings.


The upper of the Phase stays true to its minimal roots. A single layer mesh is fine enough to keep out debris but also allows for plenty of breathability. The tongue is built directly into the lateral side of the upper in single piece construction. Strapping on the shoes is laminated on and provides a LOT of reflective elements on all sides for those runners who like the dark. The lacing is super asymmetrical which give a distinct look and feel on the foot. There is no real heel counter to speak of though the outsole does extend up the rear of the shoe a bit to add shape to the heel. The collar is only padded for about 2 inches right at the back of the shoe for comfort for the achilles.

My question with shoes that have such great outsole/midsole durability is almost always, “Will the upper hold up as long as the rest of the shoe?”. Since I’ve only got 60 miles in the Phase and from the looks of it, I would think that I’d have no problem hitting 1000 miles, I’m not so sure. The construction of the upper is very sound and I do like the fact that there is only one seam on the inside and even than is very flat. I’m a big fan of asymmetrical lacing as I feel like it really frees up the navicular area. That question about the upper lasting as long as the rest of the shoe. I’ll be sure to let you guys know if I find out!

Skora Phase Review - gearist.comFit

Skora uses a “REALFIT” last that is really nicely shaped to a fairly natural foot shape. This makes for a really nice toe box and great overall fit in the upper. If you have a lower volume (narrow) foot I could potentially see where you may find thee Phase a bit roomier than you’d like but the throat and laces appear to have plenty of room to tighten  down. Sizing for me was right on and I was comfortable in socks as well as the one time I went without.


In my opinion, much of the ride of a minimalist shoe is left to the individual wearing it. The purpose of the whole thing is for the shoe not to be in the way of foot function of technique but rather, to enhance what the runner is already doing. This Phase does that. Out of the box the Phase has excellent ground feel and allows for good proprioception. Once you remove the sockliner (which is 3mm) however, the ground gets even closer and the foot feel just about everything. The comfort during the ride is solid and looks to the body to provide natural, functional cushioning.


Pricing on the Phase brings it in at $110 which may seem like a lot for something that is meant to be so minimal but consider the durability. With that in mind, the bang for your buck should be quite good, especially if you’re a really efficient runner. At 7.7 ounces the shoe is certainly light though there may be some room for improvement there. I think the R02 system probably makes it heavier that it would be if it used a more traditional EVA foam construction but then, would it be as durable? Probably not. Sometimes you simply have to take the good with the bad and I’d prefer to have something durable that to shave a couple of ounces off of an already light shoe.

Minimalist shoes are not for everyone. I do think that everyone should try them though because much of the time our bodies are craving that connection with the ground that we’ve long since lost. The Skora Phase is a shoe that is going to make current minimal/natural runners happy and make those on the fence give it a serious look. If you want a shoe with a lot of cushioning and gizmos to get it there, this is not it. However, if you want to feel the ground and make yourself an overall stronger runner, this is a shoe that you should seriously putting in your quiver.

REVIEW: On Running Cloud Running Shoes

REVIEW: On Running Cloud Running ShoesOn’s Cloud running shoes prove that chocolate isn’t the only superior product coming out of Switzerland. The company’s three Swiss co-founders produced their first shoe design in early 2010, and within 18 months, On could be found in running stores in 18 countries. After I stepped foot in the Cloud for the first time, I understood why On shoes are becoming so popular. The Cloud is one of the company’s newest additions, and the most lightweight. It looks sleek and performs magnificently as an everyday running shoe. More than anything I was impressed by the shoe’s incredible comfort. After several runs and some full days on my feet in the Clouds, I couldn’t spot a single thing I didn’t like about the shoe.


The Cloud’s outsole is made with Zero-Gravity foam. The patented CloudTec sole sports eight sets of rectangular segments, each with a horizontal aperture that is widest at the shoe’s center (9 cm) and decreases in size towards the front of the shoe, with the smallest at 5 cm. On calls these segments “Cloud-Pods” and they serve two purposes: 1. To cushion the foot when it hits the ground by compressing vertically and, 2. To allow the foot to use the ground as a firm surface to power off from when the Clouds are compressed. The segmented pattern also allows the shoe to bend easily and move naturally with the foot’s configuration.

I was very impressed with how easily the shoe moved with my foot in all directions. The paired segments are split by a deep central channel that gives the shoe incredible flexibility in a medial-lateral direction. All segments have horizontal grooves for grip, and the very back and front Clouds are topped with a rubber for solid traction when the heel and front foot are in contact with the ground. The shoe performed well on wetOn Running Cloud Review roads, but I cannot testify to the traction on muddy or leaf-littered surfaces.


The Cloud boasts a minimal neutral midsole; the 16 Cloud-Pods of the outsole attach to a full-length EVA Speedboard with anterior-posterior cuts that let the sole respond to the foot and distribute force to all pods. This terrific design cuts out the need for a bulky midsole that would compromise the mass of the Cloud.

Some arch support is noticeable, but more than anything, the upper wraps around the arch, angling in at the strobel board. This is one of my favorite characteristics of the shoe because it is what makes the overall fit of the shoe so comfortable.

The Cloud has an impressively small drop (6 mm) from heel to forefoot. The sock liner is about 6 mm and is sturdy without compromising flexibility. The liner also has grooves at the forefoot, arch, and some that encircle the heel. The hard strobel board below runs the length of the shoe.


A substantial part of the upper is made from breathable mesh that is still dense enough to keep out nuances like pebbles and dirt. The toe box is contoured with a felt fabric that also extends to the four extra lace loops. The shoe doesn’t have a lot of vertical space in the toe box but the outsole is so flexible, the shoe moves easily with the toes. The toe box is suitably wide enough to give my toes just enough room to spread out as far as they’ll go.

On Running Cloud ReviewThe tongue is its own piece; it attaches at the toe box but it’s gusseted, attaching near the shoe’s collar. It’s made with a perforated felt on the dorsal side and a soft fabric ventrally that feels very comfortable when going barefoot.

Beginning at the arch and extending to the heel is a tough, wear-resistant overlay to which the laces attach. It’s sturdier than the mesh at the forefoot and helps to retain the shoe’s shape. The collar is made with the same soft fabric as the underside of the tongue and it extends on both sides of the inside shoe to the midfoot.

Instead of an individual heel counter, the shoe has shaft enforcements around the entire heel that help to support foot placement within the shoe. A flexible heelstrap drapes around the posterior upper, extending 10 cm on either side of the shoe. It’s meant to adapt to the foot’s movements, while still providing support for foot placement.

On symbol reflectors are located at the tip of the toe box, at the heel, and on the lateral and medial sides of the arch.

The shoes come fitted with an easy-entry lacing system, but a pair of typical laces can be found in the box if you are looking for a tighter or more individual fit. Four additional lace loops on the anterior part of the shoe allow you to create a tighter fit at the forefoot.


As a minimal shoe, the Cloud hugs the foot just the right amount. My feet are pretty average and I love how the shoe feels like it was made specifically for me. It’s wide and tight at just the right places so sizing was spot on for my feet. This seems like a great shoe option for those with narrower feet, especially because of the slightly pinched upper at the arch.


When it comes to cushioning, the Cloud lives up to its name. It provides great cushioning but still allows the foot to feel and power off the ground. Despite being a minimalist shoe, I was impressed at the number ofOn Running Cloud Review hours I could spend on this shoe without having aching feet. I am prone to developing blisters in snug shoes so I was unsure what to expect when I took the Cloud on longer runs or on my hilly route. Despite the slightly tighter fit, I had absolutely no problems with the shoe on either run. The shoe performed so well on my runs, I wore it on long days at work that require me to remain active on my feet all day.


My runs with the Clouds were very enjoyable. I used them mainly for short recovery, hill, and long training runs. I was impressed at its versatility in suiting my needs during all of these runs.  The Cloud has more going on than your typical minimalist shoe, but without compromising flexibility or weight. The US women’s size 7 Cloud weighs an impressive 5.8 ounces and retails for $110. In the shoebox you will even find an owner card with your personalized Owner ID that you can use to register your shoes on their website. The On Cloud is an equally terrific investment for veteran or rookie minimalist runners.

Is Mixing Men’s and Women’s Fashion Shows a Good Idea?

The fashion industry is in crisis at the moment. Designers far and wide are talking of a broken system, while many labels – including Burberry, Gucci, Vetements and Public School – have recently announced that they’ll be merging their men’s and women’s collections together, in spite of the traditional calendar that keeps them separate.

On the outset, it makes perfect sense – fashion shows are expensive, and the lines between men’s and women’s clothing are getting blurrier by the day. However, any shift to the fashion schedule is bound to have huge ramifications on the people working in the industry – mainly for the buyers who keep stores stocked with clothes and the editors who keep publications filled with eye candy and reading material.

I hit up a few friends and associates to find out what their thoughts are on this latest development to the fashion industry’s current growing pains. Jian DeLeon is Highsnobiety‘s editor-at-large and trend forecasting agency WGSN’s resident #menswear expert, Eliza Brooke is a Senior Reporter for women’s publication Racked, and Jill Wenger is the founder and CEO of unisex concept boutique Totokaelo.

How do you feel about the merging of men’s and women’s shows? Is it a good thing?

Glen Luchford’s Gucci Spring/Summer 2016 Campaign

Jill Wenger, Founder & CEO, Totokaelo: It seems to be becoming necessary in order to keep up with various collections and deliveries. As a buyer, the efficiency of combined markets is nice. I imagine there will be more overlap in concept and fabrics between mens and women’s collections, so that the runway presentation is cohesive. It aligns with the gender bending that’s happening in retail stores, too.

Eliza Brooke, Senior Reporter, RackedI think for a brand like Gucci, merging men’s and women’s shows makes a ton of sense aesthetically. Alessandro Michele has both men and women wearing things like pussy bows, transparent lace shirts, and colorful floral suits, so a joint show is only going to emphasize his take on androgynous dressing. (And, as a side note, I think it’s dope that Michele’s version of androgyny skews toward more traditionally “feminine” styles, since in so many cases androgynous dressing means women dressing more “masculine.” I think overturning the assumption that male is always the default is great.) For other brands, a merged show might not be quite as visually (or philosophically) impactful, but could be useful in saving money, since runway shows can be incredibly expensive — which is a particular challenge for younger brands.

Jian DeLeon, Editor-at-Large, Highsnobiety & WGSN:  It was bound to happen eventually. Fashion, at its best, is reflective of a society’s values, and pushes culture toward an aspirational place. It’s why a lot of the designers deemed influential or “good” have created provocative work that evokes emotions on either end of the spectrum. It’s why I love when people who aren’t into fashion are like “What the hell am I looking at?” – because that means it’s working. The last thing that envelope-pushing designers should want to be is safe.

And when you look at the progress society has made in the past few years in regards to overall awareness of trans and LGBQT culture, it’s really kind of amazing. The Internet has helped that. Celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, Lady Gaga, and Laverne Cox have really put it in a new spotlight. I mean, ten years ago, most guys thought fashion was a “gay” thing. And now that’s a very dated point-of-view. I think by now most men realize what you wear or being into designers has no correlation to who you love. It’s more like we pick our favorite designers like we pick our favorite sports clubs. It’s a non-factor.

And the more guys get into clothes, the more we’re willing to experiment with different cuts and silhouettes. Especially for the hobbyists and enthusiasts who always want to find the newest thing. Brands have become like bands in that sense, and we all know what musicians like David Bowie did in terms of blurring lines and smashing social norms.

What potential downsides can you see, if any?

Mario Testino’s Burberry Spring/Summer 2016 Campaign

Jill Wenger, Totokaelo: The real design talents will figure out how to make it work.

Eliza Brooke, RackedI’m curious whether merging men’s and women’s shows would mess with the buying cycle. If Gucci shows men’s and women’s during the womenswear shows in September and February, how does that affect menswear buyers?

Jian DeLeon, Highsnobiety & WGSN: Menswear has always been womenswear’s second banana. I mean, it’s the D-Leagues and the women’s shows are the majors. The menswear industry will never go away, but I can imagine it might be hard to implement on a larger scale, at companies where you have specialized buying and design teams that cater to a specific demographic. But at the end of the day, that’s all logistics. What’s happening to fashion is what’s happened to media and music. You have to learn to adapt or you risk falling by the wayside. It probably happened to this industry late because the truth is, a lot of our manufacturing processes and the means by which we buy, ship, and access our clothes hasn’t changed much in the last few centuries. There have been no technological revolutions in how we make product, only in how we can buy it at the digital level.

Are you noticing men becoming more interested in womenswear? How about the opposite?

Glen Luchford’s Gucci Spring/Summer 2016 Campaign

Jill Wenger, Totokaelo:  Clothes are clothes are clothes are clothes. I’m not seeing clients acknowledge gender either way. If they like it, they like it.

Eliza Brooke, RackedI’m not sure that men are becoming more interested in womenswear, but I’d definitely say that women are becoming more interested in menswear — or at least more aware of it. Reporters for more general interest publications can see that the menswear market is growing, so they’re going to write toward that. As a womenswear writer based out of New York, the publications I work at are not necessarily going to fly me out to Europe for the men’s shows, but they will cover NYFW:M in some capacity.

Jian DeLeon, Highsnobiety & WGSN: If you’re a fan of men’s fashion, you probably have some understanding of womenswear. The directional men’s stuff often follows what influential womenswear designers are doing. A lot of guys know who Phoebe Philo is, but probably won’t wear Céline – aside from maybe a pair of sneakers. On the flip side, women have loved men’s clothes from the start. Look at Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, or any woman that’s grown up with sneakers or streetwear culture. These are both predominantly male cultures, but women have always been an intrinsic part of them.

Sweden is one of the world’s most egalitarian countries. And there, designers like Our Legacy and Acne Studios specialize in these androgynous, minimalist silhouettes. But overall, there’s less stigma for a woman to wear a man’s clothes than for a man to wear a woman’s. And when you think about that, it’s kind of silly for there to be a stigma for a guy to wear an androgynous-looking overcoat just because it was made for women.

What do you think of the future of fashion weeks in general?

Jill Wenger, Totokaelo: Fashion weeks mean different things to different people. As a buyer, I end up missing half the shows because I’m in appointments and trying to squeeze in visits to 150+ vendors over the span of 20 days. Having to submit large orders that will impact six months of selling within 24 hours of a three-hour appointment isn’t ideal. In my dream scenario, we would view all the shows one month and submit all our orders the next month!

Eliza Brooke, RackedWith all these change-ups to the fashion calendar, it’s clear that designers are unhappy with the way things are currently working. Future fashion weeks are for sure going to look different, but what exactly it’s going to look like is hard to say. I think brands are just trying out a lot of different formats right now, and some are going to work and some won’t. Everyone’s on one big learning curve together.

Jian DeLeon, Highsnobiety & WGSN: That’s a tough one. Maybe the calendars will merge? That would be a logistical nightmare, though. The point of having separate men’s and women’s shows originally reflected the different retail calendar both markets have. Not to mention, should the weeks merge, travel and hospitality would be a nightmare. As I said before, a lot of larger retailers have specialized teams focusing on a specific market, and I can imagine how insane it would be for a company to have to send say, 20 buyers abroad in one go. I’m interested to see what will happen though.

For more thoughts on the broken fashion system, check out magazine’s in-depth interview with Vetements’ Demna Gvasalia and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele.

Gucci Calls for End to Separation of the Sexes on the Runway

The move toward mixed gender fashion shows is getting a big-name boost — from Gucci. On Tuesday at The New York Times International Luxury conference in Versailles, France, Marco Bizzarri, chief executive of the brand, called for an end to separation of the sexes, or at least to their collections. From 2017, he said, the anchor brand of the Kering group will no longer hold different shows for men’s and women’s wear, but will rather combine the two into a single show, to be held each season.

“Moving to one show each season will significantly help to simplify many aspects of our business,” Mr. Bizzarri said. “Maintaining two separate, disconnected calendars has been a result of tradition rather than practicality.” Men’s wear shows and sales to wholesalers are now held in January and July, and the women’s in September/October and February/March.

The move follows similar announcements from Burberry (which will combine its men’s and women’s shows starting in September), Tom Ford (ditto) and the French brand Vetements (which will have a joint show in January 2017), all geared to close what brands say is a growing, and costly, gap between modern consumer expectations and the traditional fashion system. However, unlike those brands, which have said that they will also immediately sell the clothes they show — or, in Vetements’s case, close to immediately — Gucci does not plan to change its production calendar: It will show clothes that will be available six months later.

Call it show-everything-now/sell-later. It’s more radical than it sounds, because of Gucci’s size (it reported revenue of 3.9 billion euros, or $4.4 billion, in 2015, and has 525 wholly owned stores around the world) and its current position as a trend leader.

“It is really being looked to as a trailblazer in the industry,” said Julie Gilhart, a consultant and the former fashion director of Barneys New York. “That makes this move potentially the most disruptive change yet.”

On its face, unifying men’s and women’s wear makes sense, and not just because most consumers think of men’s and women’s wear as one category (“clothes”). Combining the collections creates obvious efficiencies, most clearly in the cost of a show, which can reach €1 million.

In addition, at a time when men’s and women’s wear are getting ever closer together — with Louis Vuitton putting Jaden Smith in its women’s wear ad campaign in women’s wear, unisex clothing on the rise, and the creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele, often including men in his women’s show and vice versa — combining the two underscores the message of a single brand aesthetic across genders.

“It will give me the chance to move towards a different kind of approach to my storytelling,” Mr. Michele said in a statement.

However, there is an institutional and municipal argument against combining the men’s and women’s weeks. Every fashion week city profits, literally and significantly, from playing host to the collections. Each season brings floods of buyers, critics and support staff into each city, providing a financial boon for related industries. According to a 2012 analysis by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, women’s wear weeks there alone have a “total economic impact per year of $887 million.”

No wonder why, in July 2015, New York Fashion Week: Men’s was introduced, following London Collections Men, which made its debut in 2012. (Previously, men’s wear had its own official weeks only in Milan and Paris, along with the Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence.) The first New York men’s week brought 3,000 people to the city.

It is not yet confirmed exactly when the joint Gucci show would take place, but given that men’s wear now accounts for 35 percent of Gucci sales while women’s represents 65 percent, odds are the combined show would take place during the women’s season.

If so, the absence of a brand like Gucci from Milan men’s week could leave a gaping hole in the schedule for many buyers, and, along with the Internet’s ease of access to shows, may create a convincing argument for some buyers and critics not to attend — or at least it may reduce the number who do.

Mr. Bizzarri said Gucci was working closely with the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, the governing body of Milan Fashion Week, but nothing had been decided yet.

According to Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera della Moda, “Given that the calendar situation is always evolving, it is hard to predict if there will be any negative effects.’’ The important thing, he said, is that the Italians “show powerful vitality as a whole” — perhaps (it is possible to imagine) by being the first to shift to a new system.

One striking thing about Gucci’s announcement is how many unresolved questions there are about the logistics.

Would the house, for example, invite men’s and women’s critics to the same show in September? Queried directly, Mr. Bizzarri said he did not know yet.

What would it mean for multibrand boutiques and department stores sending men’s wear buyers to shows in July? Would they send them again in September? “I don’t know,” Mr. Bizzarri said with a laugh, though given that 82 percent of Gucci’s 2015 sales were in their own stores — and that ready-to-wear accounts for only 11 percent of its sales — perhaps it does not matter.

Still, despite all the uncertainty, he said the decision was easy to make. “It just seemed obvious,” he said. “It’s clear something needs to change. Why not start with this?”

It remains to be seen whether other Kering brands like Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, all of which show on both the men’s and women’s wear schedules, will follow suit. Right now, the group is treating Gucci as a test case, which may only add to the general confusion.

“It would be one thing if it all changed at once,” Ms. Gilhart said. “But everyone’s going off in different directions. It’s like the wild, wild West.”

Testing Nike LunarTempo Shoes at Mile High Run Club

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

I’m a runner who loves ultra lightweight running shoes and ultra soft cushioning. I want to feel like I’m running on clouds and I want my shoe to weigh something in the range of clouds. So I was excited to try the new Nike LunarTempo shoes at a media workout at Mile High Run Club, a treadmill studio in New York City. Nike has billed the Nike LunarTempo as a shoe with “ultralight cushioning for high-speed miles.” The workout at Mile High Run Club would put that tagline to the test.

Nike LunarTempo Shoes

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

Nike LunarTempo in action. (Photo: Nike)

When I arrived at Mile High Run Club, a locker with my name on it was waiting for me, filled with complimentary running gear, including the new Nike LunarTempo shoes.

How did they fare in one treadmill run? The neutral shoe is a bit like running on clouds.

Nike used their Lunarlon foam midsole, which is indeed one of the cushiest rides in town. I currently wear the Nike Flyknit Lunar2 with Lunarlon. That oh-so-soft landing under the heel is one of my favorite things about that shoe, and the Nike LunarTempo didn’t disappoint.

But this time around, Nike has re-engineered the Lunarlon foam to make it even lighter at 6.2 oz for a women’s size 8, more responsive and just as supportive. After a few short wears, I can confirm that this shoes feels fantastic underfoot if you love a soft ride like I do.

Testing Nike LunarTempo Shoes At Might High Run Club

Flymesh and cables (Photo: Nike)

The LunarTempo’s upper is a seamless mesh, dubbed Flymesh, with cables to provide snug support around the arch and midfoot.

The Flymesh doesn’t hug the foot quite as much as Nike’s Flyknit upper, but is still on the supportive side compared to other uppers. Take that as a plus or minus depending on how snugly you like your shoe to hug your foot. Personally, I love that cradled feel of a wrap around my foot. And that mesh is incredibly breathable.

Through the course of a 4-mile treadmill workout, where we changed pace and incline frequently, I loved how responsive the Nike LunarTempo shoes were. As a long-distance update to the Nike LunaRacer, Nike designed these shoes for runners who want to go fast and long, a shoe that can go beyond the track and tempo runs over the long haul.

Testing Nike LunarTempo Shoes at Mile High Run Club

The women’s Nike LunarTemp (Photo: Nike)

Working with the NBRO run crew in Copenhagen, Nike designers discovered that many of them were logging heavy mileage in Nike LunaRacers, but could use even more support on long runs.

“As always, our source of inspiration is the athlete. After seeing how many runners were using the race shoe for their everyday training, we used the insights as a framework for our design solutions,” said Dave Roulo, senior designer of running footwear. “The shoe was designed to deliver comfort, cushioning, and responsive performance in training.”

Testing Nike LunarTempo Shoes at Mile High Run Club

Waffle tread (Photo: Nike)

So the flexible and light LunarRacer frame got the updates above, plus a waffle tread to improve traction and impact absorbtion, and carbon rubber in high-wear areas of the outsole for added durability.

On caveat on the Nike LunarTempo: they run a bit small. The toe box has plenty of room side to side, but is just a bit short in my normal size.

I wear women’s size 9 in the other four pairs of Nike shoes I currently own (Air Zoom Pegasus 31, Flyknit Lunar2, Free 3.0 Flyknit, and Free 4.0 Flyknit). The Nike LunarTempo size 9 was just a tad tight in the toes. I’m more of a 9.5 in these. So beware of a short fit. You might want to size up in these.

Other than that, the fit was great everywhere else. The Nike Lunar Tempos were incredibly comfortable and easily handled swift treadmill work. I’ll look forward to testing these more thoroughly on the road.

Nike+ Run Club Workout at Mile High Run Club

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

Mile High Run Club (Photo: Nike)

I’ve been to a few other Nike+ Run Club workouts—on Manhattan’s West Side highway, in Central Park, at the Niketown store in Midtown, and the iconic Icahn Stadium at Randall’s Island. I’ve come to really enjoy them.

Nike+ Run Club Head Coach Chris Bennett has a wonderful style that’s hard-charging but not too tough, and equal parts motivational and educational. Every time I do one of his workouts, I either learn something or am reminded of something I have forgotten, and have a fantastic run. I leave feeling like I can accomplish anything.

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

Coach Chris Bennett rocks the mic. (Photo: Nike)

The workout of the night? 12 x 90 second repeats at marathon, 10K, and 5K pace. When I checked in at Mile High Run Club, they asked me my 5K personal best. After some hemming and hawing—I’m not in PR shape!—they handed me a wristband with treadmill paces jotted down for me based on my best 5K time. In the studio, lines of treadmills facing a mirror awaited with towels and water bottles.

Coach Bennett rocked the headphone mic ‘90s style and talked us through the workout, pumping us up when it was time to hit it hard and bringing us down gently when it was time to rest. And as with most Nike+ NYC workouts, the jams were cranking.

I thought this particular workout was the perfect blend of tough but doable. Since our paces were chosen based on 5K race pace, this would be a swift one for me.

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

Rocking my treadmill workout, and yes, I always wear red lipstick. (Photo: Nike)

Comparatively, I’m a much faster 5K runner than marathoner. My 5K PR is 24:46 at a 7:58 pace. Based on that, I should be able to run a half-marathon in 1:55 and a marathon in 4 hours. Fat chance! I have yet to break 2 hours in a half and my marathon PR is 4:28.

For me, that meant my “marathon” pace in the workout was more like my half-marathon pace in reality. But I was delighted to find that running the easiest intervals at half-marathon pace still felt great. I did the whole workout feeling strong, but not entirely tapped out.

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

English Gardner joined us for the warm-up and cheered us through the workout. (Photo: Nike)

Nike also brought out 100- and 200-meter specialist English Gardner, who owns a silver medal from the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. “To be a runner, you have to be a little bit crazy,” she told us. You said it, English!

If you want to try out a Nike+ Run Club workout in New York City, they’re free and open to everyone. Check it out at

I attended the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco courtesy of Nike as part of a media group. As always, all posts and opinions are purely my own. I’m always honest about my experiences. Seriously. For more information, read my Disclosure policy.

Review: Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes are light, fast & perfect for cyclocross

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weightsA few years back, I tested the Northwave Extreme road bike shoes and liked them…still ride ’em, in fact. So when the chance to test their lightweight, racy Extreme XC shoes came up, I stepped up. Like the road shoes, the 2014 model (tested…long term review, here) came in a really bright color alongside the standard black. For 2015, the green carries over and they added a sweet angular gray urban camo with bright orange highlights. The Extreme XC model also gained a Velcro strap near the toe and a partnership with Michelin to develop grippier outsole traction pads. Otherwise, the shoes are similar in materials and design, enough so that this review bodes well for the current version, too…


Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

The uppers are a lightweight microfiber. The test models had larger perforations across the toe, the 2015 model gets small pinhole perfs across the sides instead. Both have the small mesh vent on top of the toes.

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

Despite the narrow Italian look, the shoes are comfortable without constricting the foot. They’re snug, like a racing shoe should be, but not uncomfortably so. A few small mesh vents on the toe and instep combine with a perforated foam tongue to help the feet breathe. During the summer, they never felt hot, probably helped by the light color and thin upper material. In winter, they’re good with thin wool socks to a point, after which there’s not much room inside them for thicker socks so it’s best to switch to a dedicated winter shoe.

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

Scuff guards on the toe and bottom instep help protect high abrasion areas. They’re thermowelded to the upper, creating a seamless one-piece upper.

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

The heel cup has a reinforced shape inside the bottom 2/3, then sits high on the achilles tendon with a non-slip fabric to keep your foot firmly planted inside the shoe.

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

In more than a year of riding, I’ve never had my feet feel like they were going to lift out.

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

One of the key features unique to their Extreme mountain bike shoes is the narrow, minimalist carbon sole. For 2014 they used Vibram rubber pads in the center section, which saves you when you can’t quite get clipped in and need some traction on the pedals. It also adds a bit of purchase when hiking unrideable sections. For 2015, they switched to a special rubber from Michelin.

Even with a very stiff sole, these shoes are decently walkable, and they run great over barriers and up steep hills for cyclocross.

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

Both model years use a dual ratchet with a release lever. The ratcheting is smooth, even when covered with mud, but the release lever leaves a lot to be desired. Often, I’d have to tighten them a click while holding then pulling the lever, fiddle with it a bit, and then simultaneously pull the cable out while jiggling it. I didn’t have the same issue with this system on the road shoes, so it’s likely just gummed up, but it does mean it takes an extra 20-30 seconds to get the shoes off. To its credit, the system does keep the foot secure and never accidentally loosened.

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

Speaking of gumming up, the continuous strip of tread adjacent to the cleats provides a big area for mud to collect. It didn’t seem to prevent cleat/pedal engagement, but it does mean more rotating mass on each pedal stroke.

The upside is that the tread strips also provide a small platform to rest on the pedals, which helps with minimalist pedals like the Ritchey WCS (cleats shown above) and Crank Brothers Eggbeaters (below).

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

Tow spike mounts come standard, which I should probably install for ‘cross, but the shoes seem to do fine without them.

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

Actual weight for size 47EU (~13US) is 645g for the pair. These came with two sets of insoles, but the 2015 models get a single, newer Extreme Air Evo footbed that gains a little arch support.


Long term, these things have held up very well through more than a year of wet, dry, hot and cold riding on mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes. They clean up easily, are light and surprisingly comfortable…and not just for a race shoe. They’re comfortable compared to any of my cycling shoes. Northwave’s BioMap design claims to put your foot in a powerful position for efficient pedaling, and it seems to work well without causing the fatigue some too-stiff shoes can. They’re stiff, but they don’t beat up my feet. And the carbon sole and treads have held up exceptionally well to the abuse mountain bike shoes usually see.

Shimano R321 road shoes £299.99