Once upon a time Sidi, the venerable Italian brand, was one of the very few offering a high quality narrow cycling shoe — the Genius. It was the only shoe in their entire line of road shoes — and by no means the most flashy in basic black — but for those of us with narrow, low volume feet, Sidi was a savior. I’ve had to pairs and the fit was perfect all the way around.
For whatever reasons, including the global rise of fat feet, Sidi has discontinued any narrow models but has kept the “mega” wide shoes (they offer two options).
Thank goodness, it appears another Italian cycling brand has stepped up with a shoe for people with skinny dogs: Northwave’s Extreme Slim. It’s a narrow version of their well-regarded Extreme shoe and it comes in white only but it’s still a rescue line. For a full review on the Extreme, here’s a good one from pezcycling.
Because I’m so goddamn grateful to Northwave, I’m cutting and pasting their entire bulleted description of the Extreme Slim.
• Ultralight Carbon 14 sole made of 100% unidirectional carbon with a stiffness index of 14.0 for top power transfer
• NW Speedplay adapter compatible for the lowest stack height between foot and pedal
• Micro-perforated BioMap unibody upper made of ultralight microfibre that morphs to the shape of the foot
• Highly reflective coating on the upper provides unparalleled 360° visibility even in poor light
• Double SLW2 dial, the only one with step-by-step and full release in a single button plus an extra strap for exceptional pressure distribution
• Integrated heel system containing directional fibre prevents any slipping
• Performance Regular footbed provides greater support
As I’ve previously noted in a bitter rant, there’s a total vacuum in the market for narrow cycling shoes. Which, given all we hear about the incredible personalization of all consumer goods, kinda strange and unexpected. Unless you’re prepared to shell out some serious money for a niche manufacturer like Lake, where you’re basically paying extra for a custom shoe, you’re kinda screwed.
Yes, in general, some of the euro brands to run on the narrow side. I’ve gotten a pretty decent fit from a pair of Mavic shoes by using a fatter Superfeet arch support and a padded insert on the top of my arch to fill the shoe up. I have used a pair of Mavic Pro Roads for years and they’ve done me a solid.
Now I don’t have an immediate burning need for a new pair because I’m still coasting on my old narrow Sidi Genius 5’s that I alternate with the Mavics. But the second it comes time for replacement, I know where I’m headed. Hello Northwave.
The question is whether I’ll be able to find them anywhere and what they’ll actually cost. I did the dealer search for San Francisco and there were no results for any shop that sold them in the entire city. Which seems crazy, like maybe their mapping function doesn’t work well. A quick search on price brought back a wide range of prices above and below $300.
But the mere fact that I know the Northwave Extreme Slims exist gives me comfort. One way or another, I’ll find them and make them mine.