The first Northwave shoe dedicated to gravel, stylish and with interesting details; how does it behave in real situations like the Tuscany Trail?
As we all know, gravel is now the fastest growing sector of cycling; thanks to the versatility of gravel bikes, you can explore trails, dirt roads and cover many miles quickly on the road. It is the multi-purpose bike par excellence, especially for a territory like Italy, rich in secondary roads and dirt roads. Since the gravel is spreading like wild fire, more and more companies are deciding to offer products dedicated to this type of users; of course, it is not an easy task, especially when it comes to shoes. In fact, being able to create a gravel shoe that is in the right “sweet-spot” between rigidity for cycling efficiency on the road, flexibility to walk without problems, comfort to be able to ride for several hours, lightness and strength to face challenging dirt roads is not easy. Therefore Northwave has decided to present its first shoe designed for gravel: the Rockster.
The Rockster are available from size 36 to 48, have the closure with laces and a comfortable elastic band to keep them stable, the sole is carbon-reinforced polymer, has rubber inserts for grip and comfort in walking and two studs on the toe to help grip on steep or muddy terrain. The upper is made of synthetic leather with laser-cut holes to improve breathability and elasticity of the upper, on the toe and heel there are TPU supports to increase wear resistance in the most stressed points and protect fingers from accidental impacts, such as with stones raised from the wheels. The interior is made of microfiber and is very breathable. The colour available is white with gray details, really nice and elegant.
How do they behave?
The first thing you notice is the lightness of these shoes: they weigh only 310 gr. each in size 44. At the end of the day, lightweight shoes are a great advantage, the feet are less tired and, even if we have to face stretches on foot or we stop for a beer with the companions of the tour, we do not feel our feet heavy. For those who look more for performance, they are a good gain in terms of overall weight and, if we think about how many times we turn the pedals, the gain is significant.
The size is consistent and the shoes fit well without pressure points, thanks to the perforated upper that, in addition to ventilation, gives a certain elasticity, especially thanks to the laces. In fact, the lace-up closure allows you to distribute the tension well at all points of the shoe and eliminates annoying points such as those that can arise with plastic snap closure. They are also very stylish and give a high-end look to the shoe. The only sore point of the lace-up closure (of all the shoes that have it) is that it can’t be adjusted while pedaling, then you have to stop and re-lace the shoes in case you want to adjust the closure. Honestly, we had no such problems with the Rockster, especially because the laces do not loosen and hold very well.
The sole is quite stiff, 10/14 according to the Northwave shoes classification, and allows to transmit all the necessary power to the pedals. However, at the same time, it is not as stiff as a carbon sole, and this is appreciated when you get off the bike, especially in damping vibrations when you ride on gravel terrain; Northwave’s choice is right; at the end of the day, your feet are less tired!
The rubber inserts in the sole help a lot when walking and we have never had problems, neither on dirt roads nor on hard or slippery and treacherous terrain. The TPU supports on the upper are well placed and protect the shoe, the foot and toes well from any bumps. There is a faux leather insert inside the heel that helps hold the foot in place, and it works very well, the heel doesn’t move and stays in place at all times. The overall fit is stable and firm without having to tighten the shoe.
Last but not least, the breathability is great and even if we end up with our foot in a puddle, the shoes dry very quickly and drain the water well.
In conclusion, with the Rockster, Northwave has hit the mark for a well-balanced and well-made gravel shoe. We were pleasantly surprised by the lightness and overall comfort of the shoe, given by a combination of factors (no pressure points, breathability, right stiffness of the sole, excellent walking) that make the Rockster a perfect shoe for routes like the Tuscany Trail. Last but not least, the really interesting price for such a high quality and detailed shoe: 159,99€.
You can find it directly from the Northwave website by clicking HERE