By partnering with Michelin, Northwave believes they have the rubber compound – one of the most important parts of a flat pedal shoe – figured out. The Clan shoe is designed to be stiff but not overly clunky or difficult to move in, with ample padding and protection throughout.
The Clan is part of Northwave’s “Pro” line of shoes. It comes in black, blue, and orange colors and sells for $149.99 USD.
• Michelin rubber sole
• Internal adapted TPU shank
• Reinforced toe and heel
• Rubber sidewall arch support
• Tread on toe for walking traction
• Colors: black, blue, orange
• Weight: 484 grams per shoe, size 43
• $149.99 USD
The Clan is Northwave’s top of the line gravity flat pedal shoe. Northwave developed two different soles with Michelin, the “Gravity Top” used in the Clan and then the “Gravity” which is used for the more sport-level shoe, the Tribe. The Gravity Top sole has a few things that separate it from the lower-end Gravity sole, including its tread pattern, increased arch support, and EVA cushioning.
The tread compound on the shoe is inspired by Michelin’s Jet XCR tire. It’s made to offer a lot of traction on wet and slippery surfaces while still being durable enough to hold up to being repeatedly poked by pedal pins. The tread pattern on the toe and heel is designed to provide traction during hike-a-bike sections of a ride. In the middle of the shoe, where the shoes will sit on the pedals, there’s a smoother flat area with cuts and sipes for locking into the pins and keeping your feet securely in place.
There’s an internal shank that’s designed to keep the shoe stiff and firmly secured around the shape of the rider’s foot. Last but not least, an elastic lace trap is used to keep the shoelaces from becoming ensnared in your chain, or wrapped around a crankarm.
Right out of the box, the Clan was noticeably well supported yet comfortable. My foot is a tad on the narrow side, and I found that I did have some extra room in the toe box, but I wasn’t slipping or sliding around in the shoe. The heel cup is stout and does an excellent job of keeping the foot supported, and there is ample arch support as well. The Clan laces up nicely and the laces stow out of the way with the elastic band. It also does a nice job of helping the shoes stay tied, something that can be a bit of an issue with lace-up shoes, especially if you’re riding jungly trails where branches tend to magically untie them.
On the pedals, the Clan is extremely grippy and offers all of the traction I could ask for, as much as any of the other leading shoes. Even with all that grip, I still found it especially easy to reposition it if my stance wasn’t exactly how I wanted. The middle of the sole being flatter and having more siping than raised tread helps with this. I had no trouble keeping my feet on the pedals when the terrain became rough, and the shoe doesn’t mute the feel of the pedals, something that’s crucial when riding on flats.
As far as walking around and traction off the bike is concerned, the Clan scores top marks for wet rocks and sketchy terrain. The shoe has traction enough for plenty of confidence in hike-a-bikes and isn’t so stiff that it’s not comfortable enough to hang out in post-ride.
+ Plenty of support for long rides
+ Comfortable & well constructed
+ Good traction on and off the bike
– May be a little roomy for riders with narrower feet.