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review

Northwave Extreme Pro 3

8
£296.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Very stiff, high-quality shoes with excellent dual dials, though could be a bit lighter
Excellent dual dials
Extremely stiff
Good ventilation
Heavier than rival shoes
Get dirty easily
Can take a while to wear in
Weight: 
638g

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The Northwave Extreme Pro 3s are a very stiff pair of race shoes, have an excellent dual dial closure system, and are well ventilated. They are a touch heavier than the competition, though.

If you're looking for new shoes check out our guide to the best road cycling shoes, while our best cheap cycling shoes buyer's guide rounds up our top budget choices.

> Buy now: Northwave Extreme Pro 3 for £296.99 from Northwave

The Extreme Pro 3 is the top-end shoe from Northwave, ridden by the likes of time trial specialist Filippo Ganna.

Sole

As you'd expect for a shoe with 'Pro' in the name, these have a carbon sole with a rigidity rating of 15. (Why don't all companies just use 1-10?) Northwave doesn't say whether 15 is its stiffest, but I found the sole really stiff and solid, and it never felt like any of my precious watts were wasted when transferring power through the shoes and into the pedals.

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - sole toe.jpg

The sole is well shaped and the arch is supportive. Despite the stiff sole I didn't notice any aching or soreness while riding on the rutted roads of the south west.

The shoes will accept any three-bolt cleat design, and with an adapter they are compatible with Speedplay pedals too. There are adjustment markings to help you with positioning, and were easy to set up with Look Keo cleats.

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - sole heel.jpg

The heel and toe bumpers are fairly minimalist but give good grip when off the bike and do a decent job of protecting the sole – there is little sign of wear after a few months of use.

Closure

The closure system on these is a pair of X-Dial SLW3 dials, which adjust the pressure in two different zones, higher and lower across the tongue. They are a bit different to the Boas on my regular shoes – they tighten the same way as the Boas but can be loosened by one notch, ie 1mm, by pressing the lever on the dial. You pull the lever back to release fully.

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - dial detail.jpg

You might need to read the instructions, but they are very easy to tighten and loosen incrementally on the move. I really liked this, as during some long rides in hot weather I like to loosen my shoes as my feet swell.

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - dials.jpg

Using the dual dials I could really get the fit just so and I didn't have any issues with heel slippage even when sprinting or climbing out of the saddle up steep gradients.

The dials work with the ARS (Anatomic Reticular Support) exoskeleton, which is designed to optimise the fit and aid power transfer.

I have to say, in the initial few wears I found the uppers very stiff and not that comfortable. I got some rubbing and early signs of a blister and was relieved I hadn't cycled too far from home.

However, after a few weeks of regular use they began to wear in and feel a lot better. The material seems to be excellent quality and I suspect these shoes will last a long time.

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - detail.jpg

The tongue is fairly minimalist and doesn't have much padding but is still comfortable.

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - heels.jpg

Fit & sizing

The shoes are described as a Pro fit and are a touch narrower than other shoes I have tested recently, such as the Scott Road RC Ultimates. They aren't a really narrow fit, though, if you have very slim feet.

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - front.jpg

The sizing for me is spot on; these are an EU45 which equates to a UK11. I usually wear a UK10.5/11 and these were just right. The toe box is a fairly standard size and I never had any issues with sore toes. 

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - toe.jpg

They are available in half size increments across the most common sizes, and also come with an additional insole, one 3mm and one 5mm, to enable you to customise your fit. These were very easy to change. I found the 5mm one gave me a better fit.

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - in soles.jpg

Weight

The shoes weigh 638g a pair in a size 45, which is a bit heavier than some top-end road shoes around this price. For example, the Giant Surge Pros Stu tested were 515g for the same size. It was a little noticeable at times as my usual shoes are also a bit lighter than the Extreme Pro 3s.

The shoes have good ventilation, with a big mesh section and air holes on the upper and three vents on the underside allowing air to flow through. This worked well, and when testing these in temperatures of around 25-28℃ my feet didn't overheat.

2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - instep.jpg
2023 Northwave Extreme Pro 3 - sole toe vent.jpg

Most of my testing was done in late summer conditions, so I haven't tested these in really cold weather. However, given how white these are (they are very white!) and my aversion to cleaning, I'd always wear these with covers outside of summer. As it was, they got a bit dirtier than I'd like, but they are also available in black.

Value

At £296.99 these are towards the top end of the road shoe market, if not right at the top.

Those Giant Surge Pro shoes I mentioned above are £3 more at £299.99 and received an excellent review from Stu who has tested a lot of shoes!

And if you are open to laces rather than dials, the DMT KR SL Road Shoes also received an excellent review, but they're even more expensive at £329.99.

You can find good shoes for a lot less, though, such as Shimano's RC7 road shoes, which scored well and are priced at £189.99. And Steve liked the Northwave Revolution 3s; they're only 12 on the sole stiff-o-meter but are £188.99.

Overall

The Northwave Extreme Pro 3s are a very good pair of shoes. The carbon soles are extremely stiff, the excellent dual dials help to achieve the perfect fit, and after you wear them in they are comfortable. They are just a bit heavier than a lot of similar priced competition.

Verdict

Very stiff, high-quality shoes with excellent dual dials, though could be a bit lighter

road.cc test report

Make and model: Northwave Extreme Pro 3

Size tested: 45

Tell us what the product is for

Northwave says: "If it is the best you are after, Extreme Pro 3 should be on the top of your list for your next bike trip. Stemming from relentless research and constant consultation with athletes of the calibre of Filippo Ganna, Extreme Pro 3 is the sum total of top performance and fine design."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Northwave:

Powershape Carbon 15 sole made entirely from unidirectional carbon fibre with a stiffness index of 15 and a Powershape system that provides the bow arch with support and complete power transfer to the pedal.

Compatible with an NW Speedplay/Wahoo adaptor to lower stack height between the foot and the pedal.

Upper with ARS (Anatomic Reticular Support) structure and an outer PU skeleton which wraps the foot, transferring every watt of power to the pedal.

Double SLW3 dial - the only one with step-by-step release by means of a single button.

The mesh insert prevents overheating even in the hottest summer weather.

A double different-density footbed for a faultless customised fit (3mm and 5mm thick)

Perforated upper for the utmost ventilation.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

These feel really good quality, and clean up easily; it's early days, but signs are good that they'll last a long time.

Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
6/10

Heavier than a lot of similarly priced shoes.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
7/10

Okay now, but took a while for these to feel comfortable.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Price is in line with a lot of similar quality shoes.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

In white these get dirty very easily but are super easy to clean.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

These performed well; the stiff sole makes for great power transfer and they feel sturdy when putting in maximum efforts.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The dual dials are great and easy to adjust. The sole is very stiff and it felt like no watts were wasted on power transfer.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

They took a while to wear in and the first few wears were a bit uncomfortable.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At £296 these shoes are towards the top end of the market, but you can spend more.

The Giant Surge Pro shoes are £3 more at £299.99, and the DMT KR SL Road Shoes are £329.99 – and have laces rather than dials.

You can find good shoes for a lot less, though, such as Shimano's RC7 road shoes, which scored well and are priced at £189.99. And Steve liked Northwave's Revolution 3s, which are only 12 on the stiff-o-meter but £188.99.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, after wearing them in for a few weeks.

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – although there's a lot of competition at this price point.

Use this box to explain your overall score

Overall, these are very good shoes. They are very stiff, making for great power transfer, and the dual dials are excellent for getting a secure fit. It took a while for the shoes to wear in but were comfortable after that. They're a touch heavier than the competition.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 178cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: Specialized Roubaix  My best bike is: Cervelo S3

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Indoor

Add new comment

9 comments

Avatar
Freddy56 | 8 months ago
0 likes

Im a big fan of Northwave shoes. These are past my budget, but I will wait until they are on sale in Chainreaction. O wait

Avatar
Pot00000000 replied to Freddy56 | 8 months ago
1 like

Don't worry, you can always order them from Europe. O, wait 🤓

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Pot00000000 | 8 months ago
1 like
Pot00000000 wrote:

Don't worry, you can always order them from Europe. O, wait 🤓

Look, we all knew that there was going to be some downsides of Brexit with ordering from Europe, but it's a small price to pay so that water companies can dump yet more sewage into our rivers.

Avatar
Cugel replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
Pot00000000 wrote:

Don't worry, you can always order them from Europe. O, wait 🤓

Look, we all knew that there was going to be some downsides of Brexit with ordering from Europe, but it's a small price to pay so that water companies can dump yet more sewage into our rivers.

Yes, yes - and spivs may run freely about stealing from all and sundry, especially the Chancellor, who will even give them a helping hand to filch a few billion here and there. Enterprising, that.

King Spiv is also now enabling murderous motorists to roar about without fear of getting a tut from cyclists as they are squashed and maimed. What a sunny upland paradise we now inhabit!  I've chucked my bikes away in the landfill as unicorn-riding is the new thing. 

Are the car loons allowed to run over the horned horses too , though? I think we should be told.

Avatar
mark1a replied to Pot00000000 | 8 months ago
0 likes
Pot00000000 wrote:

Don't worry, you can always order them from Europe. O, wait 🤓

Had you checked this? It turns out you can order them from Europe, for a discounted £220.99 including VAT and duty.

https://www.tradeinn.com/bikeinn/en/northwave-extreme-pro-3-road-shoes/1...

 

Avatar
Pot00000000 replied to mark1a | 8 months ago
0 likes

To be fair, I no longer live in the uk so I don't give a shit 🤓. 

 

Avatar
mark1a replied to Pot00000000 | 8 months ago
1 like
Pot00000000 wrote:

To be fair, I no longer live in the uk so I don't give a shit 🤓. 

You gave enough of a shit to advise someone else there may be difficulty ordering from Europe though.

Avatar
Pot00000000 replied to mark1a | 8 months ago
0 likes

It's called sarcasm . Maybe an alien concept to you given your clear lack of humour in your previous posts 😘

Avatar
Cugel replied to Pot00000000 | 8 months ago
1 like
Pot00000000 wrote:

To be fair, I no longer live in the uk so I don't give a shit 🤓. 

 

If you did give a one (or even a few) they would be cast into the river or sea for all to enjoy in their unalloyed and undegraded condition. Also, you can be run over by car loons for free, now.

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