Northwave Spider Plus 2 Shoes - Review

Jun 3, 2015
by Richard Cunningham  
Northwave Spider Plus 2 shoe

Northwave's take on a versatile, high-performance cycling shoe for the all-mountain/enduro crowd has a sole designed in collaboration with Michelin tire. The colorful tread pattern of Northwave's Spider Plus 2 features the "X-Crossbow" reinforcement that is said to provide just enough rigidity to enhance pedaling, and ample flexibility for off-bike excursions and to keep the feet securely on the pedals when the rider is not clipped in. The uppers are "thermo-welded" using a sandwich process that binds breathable mesh with a tough, pre-cut, synthetic material into one outer layer, molded to the shoe's final shape. The process requires very little stitching and results in a good looking product.

Northwave adds a little space in the Spider Plus 2's toe box for more comfort when bashing over bigger hits, and protects against rock strikes with a reinforced forward section. Molded heel cups keep the foot stabilized in the shoe and inside, you’ll find an anti-microbial insert. Retention is via a single, hook-and-loop "Powerstrap" over the instep and Northwave's low-profile and user-friendly S.L.W.2 (Speed Lace Winch 2) cable lacing system. Similar to the BOA, the lace is tensioned by turning the S.L.W.2's ratcheting dial. The user can then reduce tension in single increments by depressing its release wedge, or completely disengage the laces by lifting up on the wedge lever.

A screw-down plate covers the shoe's SPD-style cleat interface for those who choose not to clip in, and Northwave's designers set the interface back a generous distance from the classic road and XC racing position to emulate the pedal placement of gravity riders, if that is how you roll. Sizing ranges from 34 to 50, with half sizes from 39 to 45. As mentioned, the toe box is wider than a classic cycling shoe, while the rear of the shoe is a comfortable, snug fit. Weight for our size 42 was 820 grams and the top-line Spider Plus 2 is only available in the flashy, anthracite, yellow and orange colorway. MSRP is €130, $219 CAD (USD TBD).
Northwave Spider Plus 2 shoe
Lifting the wedge-shaped tab of the Speed Lace Winch completely releases the laces. Press down on it to unwind the dial one click at a time

Ride Impressions

Northwave launched its first shoes back in 1993 in two colors, one shoe orange and the other yellow, so it comes as no surprise that the Spider Plus 2 is one of the flashier designs in the AM/enduro category. Its sleek, thermo-welded upper and wide toe box give it the look of an off-road running shoe, which was a bit of a put-off for me initially, perhaps because the Spider Plus 2 didn't have the "serious" looking profile and conspicuously over-the-top reinforcement strategy that is typical of the enduro genre. Wearing them, however, quelled all doubts, as Northwave's amply padded and wonderfully profiled uppers resulted in the most comfortable fitting shoe I can remember wearing since I reluctantly retired my 1990-circa leather Sidi's (Sidi is the brand by which most shoe makers secretly judge their fit). The feel is snug, with a little wiggle room up front. The Powerstrap closure is a tiny bit clumsy to operate, but the Speed Lace Winch system has a positive action and is intuitive to operate. Use the lacing system to achieve a snug overall fit and then carefully tension the hook and loop strap to set the heel of the foot into the back of the shoe.

I slammed the Mavic cleat to the rear-most position, assuming that because Northwave's designers came from a road and XC background, they would have overlooked the importance of proper cleat set-back. Evidently, a guy named Cedric Gracia assisted the design team and, for the first time, I had to move my cleat position forward in the slots of a cross-over type all-mountain shoe. Good work, Northwave.

Ventilation is wonderful. With relatively few intake ports, the Spider Plus 2 feels very cool at moderate trail riding speeds and it dries quickly after being submerged. Northwave pegs the weight of a size 42 at 414 grams, which turned out to be quite accurate and results in a very light feel on the bike. There were no hot spots and the shoe required no break in period to achieve its best-in-class fit. Under power, the X-Crossbow sole delivers on its promise of just-right firmness with enough stiffness to assure riders used to stiff, old-school XC racing shoes that their leg power is being directed efficiently through the pedals, while offering enough flexibility for riders who have come off of flat-soled shoes to feel unconfined while maneuvering the bike in dicey situations. Walking traction is better than good, with plenty of grip for slippery hike-a-bike sessions, but not so much that the sole is too sticky to drag a foot to arrest a big drift. The sole is shaped to make walking a non-issue, and there was no perceptible heel lifting.

Issues: I did not test the Michelin sole on flat pedals. That said, I question the X-Crossbow sole's shiny plastic center section as a potential negative. Why incorporate a slippery patch in a place where it could cause trouble for a rider who, in the heat of competition, is trying to recover from an error and get back on the pedals? Another potential negative is mud packing into the hollow sections molded in the heels of the soles. A high pressure hose cleaned them up well enough, but considering that this shoe is intended to be worn in adverse conditions, one has to wonder why the holes exist at all?
Northwave Spider Plus 2 shoe
Overlapping tread provides walking grip while allowing the shoe to slide over the pedal when engaging the cleat.

Northwave Spider Plus 2 shoe
Holes, presumably placed to absorb shock, trap mud in the heel.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesNorthwave's Spider Plus 2 shoes are a lighter-weight and mega-comfortable option for AM/enduro riders who may be willing to give up some of the durability of the military hiking boots with cleats that are being presently sold as enduro-specific footwear. So far, the Northwave shoes are holding up well, with minimal scuffing, and the S.L.W.2 dials being tucked out of harm's way to the extent that they have not seen any serious impacts to date. I admit that I was skeptical that Northwave was attempting to pass off a running shoe with a technical lacing system as an all-mountain design, but the Spider Plus 2 turned out to be the real deal. I'll be riding these for a while. - RC

Author Info:
RichardCunningham avatar

Member since Mar 23, 2011
974 articles

  • 58 2
 They look like sketchers
  • 3 2
  • 8 3
 those colors! must be an enduro shoe!
  • 3 0
 So much technology in such a 1980's Alpine Stars "ClownPuke" color scheme. Look for them on sale next year in bulk. Hope they fit my foot well...
  • 3 0
 Haven't you heard of the newest discipline? Enduro Mall Walking!
All kidding aside they do appear pretty functional and I'd have to believe they are comfortable. Like they took a trail running shoe, put a stiff shank in the sole, and then gave it a color scheme that would not be out of place in a pre-school classroom. Plus its got a PowerStrap!!!
Maybe they should license out the rights to use a buzz-lightning logo on there? Nahhh, his colors are more tasteful.
  • 28 0
 Last time I checked the most all mountain/enduro riders didn't get their fassion sense from Jogger moms...
  • 3 0
 it legit looks like a sketcher. the problem with that is i feel like it'd be too high and a thick sole and feel too high over the pedal. huge chance to role your ankle it seems
  • 21 1
 Let the hate comments begin
  • 14 3
 worthy hate comments, too
  • 3 2
 Andre Agassi is still apologizing for wearing shit like this in 1992. Dude has won everything in tennis since, but all anyone remembers about him is the stupid crap he would wear. Do you want to have that kind of burden?
  • 21 2
 Great for disco dancing
  • 7 1
 Do they come with a black light? Holy neon!
  • 5 1
 they should add these flashing lights that some kids shoes have, would look like "boost activated"
  • 17 6
 Sorry but I cant agree with all these comments here.
1) I dont usually ride my MTB to funerals so my gear does not need to be black!
2) I ride clipped in so i want my outsole to be as good for walking (other than the stiffness) as possible and not for flats which i dont have.
3) They look like you could spend a day in them in really hot climates without feeling the need to cut of your feet when driving home in your car because the smell is so strong it makes you think you have complete hockey team siting in the rear seats, yes, looking at you 5.10-rubber-boots.

I really think these are the first shoes that are going the right direction for All-Mountain-riding.
Only downside i can find right now is that you cant get them in the states anyway.
  • 15 0
 Full. Double. Rainbow.
  • 1 0
 Al the way brotha
  • 9 1
 I have to chime in here....all this disdain and ridicule over the color and "fashion" of these shoes yet bike companies sell us neon greens/yellow/blue bikes and riders buy them with glee, decorate them and proudly show them on the forums here at PB.
One of the most popular bikes of recent...the Santa Cruz Nomad was reborn in teal and purple...and you see them all over the place!
Personally I'm bored with the whole "murdered out" look of all black bikes(I sold my black frame). I recently built up a bright green/yellow Transition and added all the blue stuff I could and it looks frikkin' sweet! Oh, and I have The Tick as my mojo riding along(extra style).
Kits and jerseys are super colorful so why can't shoes have some splash of energy??
The sheep can be sheep Smile
  • 2 1
 My HT (Scott Scale) is a black frame with black fork and I still think it looks dope!!
  • 13 2
 If I wanted to look like a runner... I'd be a runner.
  • 12 1
 The shoes your mom bought you
  • 1 5
flag jrocksdh (Jun 4, 2015 at 7:53) (Below Threshold)
 Which caused u to quit riding and start skating/surfing...unless these are female specific?
  • 8 1
 No accounting for aesthetics I guess. It's cool that they work, but maybe you could make them a little less garish?
  • 6 1
 I just noticed these shoes in the coverage of the Tweedlove EWS round and they definitely piqued my interest. For what it's worth, @seraph, they've got a more subdued color choice in the non-SLW version:

It looks like there's a high-top as well.
  • 5 1
 The other day, I was in an arena and somewhere between the Lion Tamer & the Trapeeze Act, I saw a guy getting out of a tiny tiny car.......I think he was wearing these shoes......and so were the other twenty guys that got out of the tiny car after him!!
  • 1 0
 I think I remember those Alpine Stars......wasn't that back when Boy George was an avid cyclist??

And here is the inspiration for all of them.........
  • 3 0
 Don't really care for the looks, but if they fit better than the other shoes I could get, I'd probably buy them. I'm more interested in comfort and performance than looks. Sadly, with half sizes only going up to 45 that probably wouldn't be the case, as other times I've tried on Northwaves, my toes were against the front with a 46, and a 47 was sloppy loose, with a lot of heel movement. Make a 46.5, and all these folks whining about the color can bitch about it as I'm passing them Smile
  • 8 2
 A little too flashy... I'll keep my 5.10 kestrels
  • 3 0
 I Like them alot they scream Pizazz. I can see the buckle failing on a rock and rendering them useless, I.m going to buy them anyways because there's nothing out there like them.
  • 6 0
 Apparently some people are afraid of colour in their lives..
  • 6 1
 Do I have to wear compression socks with these?
  • 6 4
 OMG . Those are soOOo 1996 ! Surely NorthWave designer is blind ! HIDEOUS looking shoes, dont care how they fit, dont care how they perform, they look like crap, will never buy
  • 1 0
 @richardcunningham I see this shoe having appeal to some riders, but what are you calling military hiking boots? I see plenty of options aimed at enduro that are basically more walkable xc shoes...

My guess is that however amazing (or terrible) this shoe is, more will see use in spin class than on trails.
  • 2 0
 Had all diferent cycling shoes, from Sidi, Shimano, Diadora and many more aroud 50 shoes and the best of all was Northwave. Hands down the best. Got 3 pairs of the same shoes, amazing in all aspects and good price
  • 1 0
 Anyone have any reports on durability? My 5.10 Kestrels have delaminated once and are tearing up my feet hiking, and my Terraduros are comfy but I already have a warranty replacement on the way for their delamination problem. If these work I don't care if they're ugly.
  • 1 0
 Not impressed at all..
I have them since last september, they have been used a lot but not in a hard way.
SLW2 braid lace broke already 3 times, now I'm waiting for a replacement but I'm not confident that it will be better than the original.
After few days of use left shoe toe "rubber" textile has delaminated from the mesh texture, I had it glued by my shoe repairer.
X-Crossbow sole also shows some delaminations, and I walked very little and mostly on soft terrain.
My old Northwave Mission Pro were a lot sturdier than these.
  • 2 2

I would have considered these Northwaves but I ended up picking up a set of Pearl Izumi X Projects. They have been holding up really well. I highly recommend them.
  • 1 1
 Not to jump on the runaway hate-train, But...
as author mentions, a big thumbs-down for plastic piece at mid-sole. I've owned running shoes with this device (at least two different types -- don't ask me why I didn't learn the first time) and they invariably turn into a cracked magnet for sand and debris that squeaks EVERY time your foot touches the ground.
RC you nailed it with the further ridiculousness of putting any such "slip-slidin-away" segment on the sole of a mountain bike shoe.
  • 3 1
 I have a pair of Northwave Artic Commuter MTB (Gortex equipped) and they are freaking awesome!! Two winters on them and a handful of cold weather races and I love them!
  • 1 1
 everyone's already said everything, except the Speed Lace Winch. that's not a shoe lace, that's a piece of string. looks like it will break in days on the trail. i'll stick with my Shimano AM45s
  • 2 0
 Doesn't matter what color your gear is when you're fast as f*ck...just sayin
  • 1 0
 Why the insistence on boa? One more shoe i'd have to cut up to make it fit.
  • 1 1
 This is my only complaint, really.
  • 2 1
 I don't care what colors I will never by north wave shoes that match colors left to right.
  • 1 0
 I don't get the wide'd rub the chain stay for sure......I don't mind the other NW colourful kicks.....
  • 1 1
 I had nickelodeon shoes back in the 90s with the same color scheme. These shoes are just as bad as the unicorn vomit TLD crap all the park bros wear.
  • 1 0
 I feel like my feet would be soaked in seconds here in the PNW. Even in summer... @Richardcunningham any wet feet issues?
  • 1 0
 Oddly enough, it has been raining in SoCal, so yes, I can report that they fill up quickly (squishy socks and all) but dry out just as fast.
  • 1 0
 I might buy these to compliment my all black bike and my all black riding gear.
  • 4 4
 Enduro just makes everything so cool again...seriously though if you clip in you want these admit it.
  • 4 2
 my eyes!!!
  • 3 2
 90's called…want their shoes back. haha
  • 1 1
 Hey get Olivia Newton John to wear them in her remake of Let's get Physical Video! Perfect!
  • 1 1
 Maybe more appropriate in this video?
  • 1 1
 only if they had a spin class version
  • 1 1
 nothing wrong about that video... as long as you turn down the audio...
  • 1 0
 My moms shoes but I'd still rock them...fug it
  • 1 1
 Since when was Stride Rite in the mountain bike industry? Do they light up too?
  • 1 0

Why not add the word 'Turbo' on there as well?
  • 1 1
 I picked up 2 pair of Teva Pivots for $44USD/pr last year. Great shoe, and enough black I can wear em with my suit.
  • 1 0
 super cool, will be ordering a pair. f it.
  • 2 2
 More colorful than a rainbow am45 for life
  • 3 3
 I think I'll stick to my 5.10s and Sombrios.
  • 5 5
 Looks like a pretty good shoe but the colours are absolutely fagish....
  • 1 0
 On second glance they actually don't look to bad. The whirle wind of colour is mainly on the sole. The shoe is basically grayish black with some orange and green acents. Kinda looks like my bike. Lol.
  • 1 1

  • 1 1
 "Trying to whip in my New Balance kicks"
  • 1 1
 Ghastly looking things. Style over function?
  • 1 1
 You could enduro your way to cross fit... Do you even cross fit bro?
  • 1 1
 These will work great for riding my bike to the yoga studio in my lulus.
  • 1 1
 When it's ugly, just say it's comfortable !
  • 1 1
 horrible, please mtb industry go away from this...
  • 5 5
 Vomit worthy
  • 1 2
 Your uncle must have hugged you alot back then.
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