Review: Northwave Hammer CX Winter MTB Shoes
February 11th, 2015
February 11th, 2015
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
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The Northwave Hammer CX fits the bill perfectly for anyone who is looking for a waterproof winter MTB or cyclocross shoe. Northwave understand that winter gear still needs to be light and effective when the going gets cold and wet (and muddy!), especially with the recent surge in popularity of winter off-road marathon, cross country and CX races. Gone are the days when you need to choose between a high performance shoe or a winter boot.
A pair of Hammer CX shoes come in at an impressive weight of 800g for a UK 10 (EU44) and Northwave offer half-sizes from UK 4.5-13.5 (EU37-45). This weight compares very favourably to Specialized S-works MTB shoes, but at a more affordable £149.99 (rather than £249.99 for the S-Works), not to mention the added bonus of being warm and waterproof.
The soles are made from fiberglass and nylon, which gives these shoes and incredibly stiff sole for such a light shoe. This means that they are great for sprints if you’re using them for cyclocross, but also won’t sap your energy when you’re hill training in the winter. The grips on the sole are great for soft ground, particularly grass, but you may have to adopt more of a waddle if you find yourself walking on hard-packed terrain. Not only are you treated to a neoprene sock that is attached to the sole of the shoe, but also you get an upper shoe layer that is designed to prevent the absorption of water. The cleat on the sole has an EVA waterproof layer too. It took around 2 hours of committed riding through mud and puddles before my feet started to get wet, but they stayed toasty warm (with a pair of normal cycling socks) for around 4 hours. This was twice as long as my riding companions with normal shoes and neoprene overshoes. There are small vents in the upper to allow a little breathability, but without letting too much back in, and the upper Velcro straps offer an exceptional fit whilst distributing the load across your foot. Conclusion The Northwave Hammer CX is an incredibly light and stiff shoe that is clearly designed for performance and has taken into account the demands of winter racing. If you like a bit of give in your shoe, or plan to be running or walking on anything other than soft ground, these may be a bit overkill for you, however, if you plan to give it full beans in a winter mountain bike race, or are doing a cyclocross season, you need these in your life.