Northwave Vs Shimano Shoes [Complete Comparison]

We’ve all been in this situation before, you are looking for a new pair of shoes.

But you get lost between two brands and you’re not sure which one to go with. You’re confused between Northwave & Shimano cycling shoes.

However, today’s your lucky day, we will fix this problem for you, by giving you a detailed comparison between these two brands and their cycling shoes.

By the end of this article, you’ll be sure which one you will go with, let’s not waste more time and get right into it;

Brands Overview

We can’t just get directly into the comparison without telling about these two brands that we are going to compare.

Northwave Overview

Northwave Overview

Northwave isn’t really that old in the industry if we are being honest, it was founded in 1993, in Italy by Gianna Piva.

Since then, it has become one of the best when it comes to innovative designs and high-quality materials.

The company offers multiple choices of cycling shoes for all the different types of riding, from road, mountain, triathlon, and also urban styles.

Northwave cycling shoes come with a lot of features, such as ultralight materials, Boa dial closures, and ventilation systems.

Shimano Overview

Shimano Overview

Here is one of the first companies old generation in the industry, this Japanese company was founded in 1921.

Shimano has a reputation for manufacturing only high-quality cycling components, such as gears, brakes, and pedals.

Now, they’re also known for producing multiple types of cycling shoes, which includes road, mountain, and triathlon styles.

Their cycling shoes have some amazing added features like carbon fiber soles, synthetic leather uppers, and also micro-adjustable buckle closures.

I don’t think anyone of us expects less from such an OG in the game.

Detailed Comparison Between Northwave & Shimano

Today’s comparison is going to be complete between these two big brands.

We’re talking about an original one from more than 100 years ago and the other one is from the new generation.

Let’s not waste any more time and get right into the differentiation.

Shoe Types

Both these companies offer a wide range of cycling shoe models and options for all different types of riding.

Starting with the one from 1993, Northwave ùanufactures several types of cycling shoes as we mentioned above.

Their road cycling shoe collection includes the Extreme Pro, the Revolution, and also the Ghost Pro.

These three cycling shoes come with multiple features that add to the quality of Northwave shoes. 

Such as carbon fiber soles, ultralight materials, microfiber uppers, and a ventilated design that helps provide maximum breathability.

For their mountain bike collection, we have the Raptor, the Clan, and the Scorpius. 

These are designed especially for those rough conditions and come with sturdy soles, grippy rewards, and durable materials which explains why they’re long-lasting.

As for Shimano, this OG too has a lot of cycling shoe options and models for all different types of riding and to satisfy the multiple needs of different cyclists.

When we talk about Shimano road shoes, we can’t go on without mentioning the S-Phyre, the RP9, and lastly the RC7.

These road cycling shoes are known to feature stiff carbon fiber soles, micro-adjustable buckle closures, and let’s not forget synthetic leather uppers.

Shimano mountain bike shoes, like the XC7, the ME7, and the GR9, are made for irregular terrain, that’s why they come with reinforced uppers, durable rubber soles, and Boa dial closure.

It seems like forgot to talk about both brands’ triathlon shoes, in this category we will mention one of each brand.

We are talking about the Shimano TR9 and Northwave Tribute. 

Both of them feature a quick-entry system, and a seamless upper design, they are both lightweight and have a breathable construction.

In addition, Northwave and Shimano offer urban cycling shoes too.

And we can’t just move on without mentioning that they have a casual look, durable materials, and they’re both super comfortable.

They are designed for casual rides.

Sizing & Fit

Almost all of us face this problem, finding the right size that fits you so well and comfortably is kind of exhausting and hard.

These two companies that we are talking about today, both have a wide range of sizes and widths to ensure that all cyclists find the right size and comfortably fitting pair of footwear.

Starting with Northwave cycling shoes, their sizing chart starts from EU 34 to 50. Half sizes are included with many models.

They also offer multiple width levels, from standard, wide, and also narrow for those of you with small narrow feet.

Northwave cycling shoes are known for offering a race-oriented fit, which is snug and comfortable.

However, this may not be preferable for cyclists with wider feet or those of you who like having a relaxed fit.

Shimano size chart being only from EU 36 to 50, this company also offers half sizes with multiple Shimano models.

As for the width, Shimano provides a standard width and a little wide, to make sure you have a comfortable fit even for those of you with wide feet.

This brand’s cycling shoes have a performance-oriented fit, which may not be suitable for those who prefer a relaxed one.

That’s why we recommend trying multiple models to see which one fits your feet and preferences.

Sole Technology 

When talking about the sole of a cycling shoe, you’ll know that we started getting into the serious part.

The sole is a critical part that affects power transfer, comfort, and performance in general.

 Shimano and Northwave cycling shoes come with advanced technology to enhance your cycling experience.

Their sole technology differs based on the types of cycling they’re made for.

When talking about Shimano road cycling shoes, you know that carbon fiber soles will be mentioned. 

Shimano cycling shoes are both lightweight and stiff enough to provide efficient power transfer.

However, not all models come with the carbon fiber sole, some feature Shimano’s Dynalast technology.

This one is made to minimize energy loss during the pedaling stroke and to improve pedaling efficiency.

Shimano mountain bike shoes, on the other hand, use tough and grippy rubber soles, which are made to offer excellent traction on unequal surfaces.

Construction & Upper Materials

Many cyclists, especially beginners, don’t care about the upper of a cycling shoe.

Even though this part of the shoe is really important, it is responsible for providing ventilation, support, and also comfort.

That’s why you’ll notice that both Shimano and Northwave utilize multiple materials and construction techniques to make a shoe that is comfortable, durable, and has excellent performance.

Let’s take a look at Northwave cycling shoes first;

Northwave’s road cycling shoe upper is often made using microfiber upper, to provide you with a lightweight, breathable shoe that also conforms to the shape of your feet.

They also have some models that come with ventilation ports and mesh panels to maximize breathability to make sure your feet stay cool during long hot rides.

As for their mountain bike shoes, these shoes usually have a durable and reinforced upper that is strong to withstand the rigors of off-road riding.

On the flip side, Shimano’s road shoes are often made with a synthetic leather upper, to keep the shoe very lightweight, durable, and also easily cleaned and maintained.

Shimano also has its upper technology which is called, Shimano’s Surround upper technology, which offers a secure fit with excellent ventilation.

However, their mountain bike shoes need a tougher build that can survive in rough terrain.

Closure Systems

To have a secure and comfortable fit, you have to get a great closure system which will also help in maximizing power transfer and minimizing foot movement inside the shoe.

Shimano’s road biking shoes usually use a combination of hook-and-loop straps and ratcheting buckles for a more secure and comfortable fit.

Some other models feature Dynalast technology which is Shimano’s and it’s designed to optimize pedaling efficiency and minimize energy loss.

Its mountain bike shoes go with the same hook-and-look straps or ratcheting buckles, and also a lace-up closure for more adjustability.

Northwave’s mountain bike shoes use the same thing too. 

However, their road cycling shoes feature a Boa closure system, this system uses a dial and cable to give you a precise and customizable fit.

But, some models come with the same thing that is used in their mountain bike shoes.

Breathability & Ventilation

These two are necessary when it comes to cycling shoes, if you want to have a great experience you should put them into real consideration.

Northwave cycling shoes have almost always ventilation ports or mesh panels in the upper or sole, to allow airflow.

Some models have a perforated insole, which helps enhance ventilation and to also reduce moisture buildup.

As for Shimano’s cycling shoes, their shoes come with Shimano’s Surround upper technology, it’s a breathable mesh material used to enhance ventilation.

Some models come with ventilation ports in the sole for added breathability.


These two brands’ prices can vary based on the models you go with. However, both Shimano and Northwave offer multiple price points.

So all cyclists, even those who are on a budget, can find a shoe that will suit their needs.

Northwave’s road cycling shoes with a higher-end model and advanced features such as carbon fiber soles and Boa closure system range from 100$ to 400$.

Their mountain bike shoes on the other hand range from only 80$ to 250$, even those that feature reinforced uppers and aggressive tread patterns.

Before we move on to Shimano, make sure you read this article about one of Northwave’s models by clicking here.

You will find a video there too, make sure you see it it may be useful to you.

Shimano’s road cycling shoes are a little cheaper going from 100$ to 350$, with features like Dynalast technology and Surround upper technology.

Their mountain bike shoes are on the same range as Northwave ranging between 80$ and 250$, they also come with reinforced upper and grippy outsoles.


There isn’t much difference between Northwave and Shimano cycling shoes, so you won’t get that lost between these two.

However, each one builds its shoes for a different type of riding activity. Northwave has a reputation for its high-end road cycling shoes.

And Shimano is known for always having new advanced technology, like Dynalast and Surround upper technologies.

Therefore, when making a choice, make sure to consider getting something that satisfies your needs and fits your personal preferences.

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