Northwave Veloce Extreme road shoe review - taking a ride in Filippo Ganna's shoes

I'm no closer to a world record than I was before, but my feet are happy

Northwave Veloce Extreme shoes
(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Like other performance kit, high end road shoes promise you a few extra watts but at the cost of a lot of your hard earned money and most likely, the comfort of your feet. On paper, the Northwave Veloce Extreme road shoes are exactly that. The shoes were developed for Filippo Ganna and boast an impressive array of stats you’d expect given their association with a man who holds both the hour record and Olympic gold. Stiffer, more power, more stability, less effort and a price tag of $429.00 / £360.00. What I wasn’t expecting is the Veloces to also be the most incredibly comfortable shoe I’ve ever ridden. If I had this kind of money to spend on shoes, without doubt these would be the ones I'd buy.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Incredibly stiff

  • +

    Great comfort

  • +

    Adjustable fit with insoles

  • +

    Great adjustability from Northwave's dial adjusters

  • +

    Good looks

  • +

    Evidenced increase in power for less effort

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Dial adjusters won't suit all

  • -

    High price

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

The Veloce Extreme is Northwave’s new top-end road shoe. It’s already had a year on the Grand Tour upon Fillipo Ganna’s feet and now available to the non-world record riders amongst us. How will it compare to the rest of our best cycling shoes?

Northwave Veloce Extreme shoes

The Veloce's stiff carbon sole wraps up the heel and around the arch for increased stiffness and stability

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

Construction

Aside from being Ganna’s footwear of choice, the headline features of the Veloce Extreme are the stiffness of its unidirectional sole (the stiffest carbon sole that Northwave has ever produced), its ‘high tail’ which wraps over the heel cup giving the shoe more stability, and its greater arch support.

Northwave's testing on a range of different cyclists showed the new sole produced an 'increase in foot stability', a whopping 15 per cent decrease in ‘effort’ as measured by Rate of Perceived Exertion, and an increase in power of four per cent (in comparison to its previous model).

Northwave Veloce Extreme shoes

The tongue is integrated into the upper for a snug 'wrapped' fit

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

The tongue is integrated into one side of the upper which allows it to wrap over the top of your foot for a snug fit. The two Northwave SLW3 dials tighten with rotation and loosen either with a single click or by lifting the tab for a full release. Final fit adjustment comes through the insoles, both 3mm and 5mm thickness are included.

Northwave Veloce Extreme shoes

Special shoes deserve a special bag

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

Other features include small ventilation holes in the upper and vents in the sole. Heel pads are replaceable and the shoes come with their own neat bag.  

The shoes are available in either black or white in sizes EU 36 – 48.

Northwave Veloce Extreme shoes

Two SLW3 dials cinch the shoe firmly

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

The ride

The Veloce’s are expectedly a little stiff to get on but the two dial adjusters and a laterally offset tongue open up to give plenty of space. The tongue and innersole have just enough give in them to provide plenty of comfort and I haven’t experienced any areas of the shoes that have felt unduly firm against my foot or caused any hotspots. 

Northwave’s dial adjusters cinch up easily and the release catch makes toggling them tighter or looser really easy, even on the fly. I know some users aren’t so keen on needing to hold the catch open to fully release but I get on well with them and find the mechanism really intuitive.

Northwave Veloce Extreme shoes

Vents and replaceable heel pads in the stiff carbon sole

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

Before you start riding, the stiffness of the shoe isn’t hugely noticeable - certainly it’s not to the detriment of fit or comfort or even the ability to walk to your bike. But once on the pedals, the support and direct feel of the shoe is incredible; the pedal, crank and bike just immediately responds. I’ve been wearing fairly high end shoes up to now, but the difference in sensation and reactivity is akin to spinning on my commuter compared to jumping on a stiff race bike.

But what’s impressed me most about the Veloce is that its incredible stiffness doesn’t seem to come at the cost of comfort; if it wasn’t for the bike feel I wouldn’t think I was wearing really stiff shoes. In fact, they’re probably the most comfortable shoes I’ve ridden in recently. It’s with this comfort in mind that Northwave’s claimed reduction in effort makes sense.

Northwave Veloce Extreme shoes


(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

The value and conclusion

The price tag of the Veloces is hard to ignore, $429.00 / £359.99 is a lot of money. But they’re not the only shoes at this price point, Bont Vaypor S ($415.00 / £325.00), Specialized S-Works Ares ($484.00 / £390.00) and Sidi Wire 2 shoes ($499.99 / £390.00) are all similarly priced.  

If you’ve got this kind of money to spend on shoes, it would be well spent on the Veloces. They seamlessly combine understated style with performance and comfort. Despite their stiffness, they are incredibly comfortable and ones you can happily wear for all day social rides and crit races too.

Specification

  • EU 36 - 48 with half sizes in 39 - 46 range
  • Available in black or white
  • Weight - 576g as tested (size 40)

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