While Northwave may not be a name too familiar to those of us who follow the gravity side of mountain biking, yet on the lycra side of things they are something of a legendary brand. Having launched their first mountain bike shoes in 1993, they were one of the first brands to inject some colour into proceedings and their footwear has been ubiquitous at the sharp end of international XC racing since. Soon after an apparel line followed and their style pretty much defined the "Euro" look for much of the 90s and 00s. Recently they have begun to turn their attention to the less lycra-clad side of things, and we were impressed with their forthcoming Enduro Mid shoe that they developed in partnership with Cedric Gracia. We took a look inside their headquarters near Asolo, Italy, to understand the craftsmanship that goes into these technology-packed shoes.
The first step of designing a new model begins with the raw sketch, the design team then add styling to the layout.
The details from the template are then digitally traced to be uploaded into the CAD software.
One thing that Northwave are incredibly proud of is their technology - they design and develop all the components that go to make their shoes. For instance, the closure system is proprietary to Northwave - designed in-house it is markedly different from other closure systems on the market. One detail they like to draw attention to is the thread that actually closes the shoes - it is a very specific material that is both incredibly light, flexible and strong. This is actually their older system the SLW, on their newer shoes they have the SLW2 which now has a more user-friendly release system that uses a single button to tension and release the closure.