Astana Inside cycling with Astana

Northwave Extreme Pro, a modern Italian home for a rider's foot

Once upon a time their product felt like best suited for some meaty feet of a sprinter rather than for a pair of skinny ones like mine. Things have changed dramatically.

Today they wrap around your bony conductor of efforts with neither a pressure point nor a loose zone to mention. More’tedover, there is a “ slim” version for those pros whose feet are as narrow as reasonably can be.

A pair of BOA, right? Wrong. You tighten the shoe by turning them clockwise, but that’s the only similarity. Do you see this metal trigger, tiny enough to be aerodynamic, big enough to feel it with your fingertips even in the heat of the battle, shiny enough to be of catchy Italian design? It works miracles! By pulling it up you open the shoe wide in an instant, by pushing it down you decrease the pressure by that all-important tiny little bit after long hours in the saddle on a hot day.

Ventilation, as confirmed by the rigorous test rides, is also at the top of the game. The riders have had little chance to make sure their feet won’t burn even in broiling heat, as conditions like that are all but forgotten in the first months of this rainy season, but, come the midsummer Tour, it is sure to come in handy.

Yep, the rigidity index is 15. The sole made with unidirectional carbon fiber is claimed to be the stiffest on the market. Not at the expense of comfort, though. You may say there is no mentioning comfort in the top-end racing segment of products. Things change. Top performance is not all about suffering, at least as far as one of the most important elements of the equipment is concerned.

 

 “Il tuo tallone non balla” said the company’s engineer. Your heel won't wobble, or, literally, “won’t dance”. And right he is, even if you dance hard out of the saddle, your heels sit firmly in. The heel cup shaped to hold it without squeezing; initially there was some cushioning here as well, which was substituted, after taking note of riders' recommendations, with this anti- slip layer. The socks stick on like glued, as simple as that.

 

And, last but not least. Aren’t they lovely? From overall impression to the minutest detail as you get a close-up. Ask me why, and you'll get a pretty expected answer. Here it is, just below:

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