Northwave shoes have always had a high-class air about them. Italian shoes tend to. But it’s more than that. The brand is a fixture in XC racing, and even its all-mountain shoes are sleek and techy. It’s not the kind of brand you’d expect to see enter the rough neighborhood of flat pedal shoes. But it just did. Mamma mia!

The Clan (photo above)

The Clan is a great mixture of strong and sensitive. Its sole is relatively stiff, but also relatively thin. That’s thanks to an advanced hard shank between the outsole and midsole that both adds support and keeps you from feeling your pedal spikes as they push through the soft Michelin-designed rubber. That rubber is soft and grippy, and pairs well with the shallow tread, which is designed for easier pedal re-adjustment.

Minimal, but not too minimal.

The grip portion of the shoe extends from just in front of the heel to just behind the toes, so both ballers and mid-footers rejoice. The shank extends across the same space, so keep rejoicing. The EVA midsole is designed to be lightweight and comfy with generous arch support, aided by the outsole, which extends up along the arch for more backup and better durability. The Clans will invade North America sometime February 2019, but US pricing has not been finalized yet.

The Tribe

Keeping it casual.

The Tribe is a simpler version of the Clan. There’s no shank inside, and the uppers are a bit simpler, with a less-complicated puzzle of mesh inserts. But those uppers are no downer. They’re still light and supple, and have mesh where it counts. And without the shank, these are much more flexible and, thus, more walkable. And the outsole is also more durable, using a harder rubber, also designed by Michelin.

Like more affordable tires, the more affordable Tribe shoe has a higher durometer, and lasts longer.

The stiffer rubber won’t wear out as quickly as the softer compound on the Clans. That’s part of why the Tribe uses a deeper tread for better traction. And since they’ll likely be on the ground as much as on the pedals, the more traditional pattern seems like a good fit for its more traditional use. The Tribe is more affordable than the Clan, but we’re not sure how much more, as its prices also haven’t been finalized for US customers, but we’ll be able to buy them come February.

northwave.com/flat