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Northwave Evolution S.B.S. Shoes

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Item # NTW0040

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Item # NTW0040


As soon as we saw the Northwave Evolution S.B.S. Cycling Shoe we were fired up to take it out for a spin. Just look at all that mesh! Along with a ton of ventilation, the Evolution features Northwave’s exclusive Wood-Lasting Insole. Northwave takes advantage of wood’s natural vibration-damping qualities to reduce the fatigue that results from your muscles being rattled for hours in the saddle. It’s this kind of innovative thinking that’s propelled Northwave to the top of the cyling shoe food chain and is likely to keep it there for quite a while.

Northwave used BioMap (Biomechanical Mapping) analysis to design the Evolution S.B.S. Cycling Shoe. Athletes are tested extensively to help Northwave design products that work in perfect synergy with the body’s systems. This testing ensures optimal fit, comfort, and performance. Biomap testing contributes to every design aspect of the shoes, including cut design, seam positioning, and material selection. What all this means is shoes that work with your body to optimize performance. What it really means is that you go stronger, faster, and farther.

One of the most annoying problems with a lot of the shoes we’ve demoed is their tendency to feel loose about an hour into the ride. The S.B.S. (Step By Step) ratcheting system eliminates this problem by providing stable closure that won’t come undone or loosen up while you ride. It allows you to dial in a precise fit so you can maximize pedaling efficiency without having to deal with hot spots and blisters. The Tenso Strap system lets you make fast, precise adjustments to the fit of the shoe while you’re still on the bike. Northwave is even able to ensure proper strap alignment by using over-injected material on the sides of the Tenso strap that guides the strap into place while you make quick adjustments.

The carbon fiber soleplate is much lighter than other, less costly sole materials. It also allows Northwave to reduce sole thickness for direct power transfer from your foot to the pedal. The Wood Lasting Insole is made with bonded layers of wood that reduce vibration and a thermoformed wooden arch provides support and a natural feel. The Evolution also features Omega Heel, which provides traction off the bike and features rear vents that work with the front and side vents to allow air to flow through the shoe.

Overheating is a dead issue with Northwave’s advanced Aerator ventilation system. Large mesh vents on the toe and the sides of the shoe allow cool air to enter while hot air passes out through the Omega heel. The ventilated Performance Pro footbed allows air to flow all around your foot to keep it cool and dry during a ride. the breathable microfiber upper lets your foot regulate its temperature naturally.

Northwave Evolution S.B.S. Shoes come in Black, White, White/red, and White/blue. They are available in whole sizes 39 to 48 and half sizes 39.5 to 45.5.

  • Wood intersole adds stiffness and comfort
  • Three-layer carbon fiber sole provides excellent power transfer and minimizes power lost to shoe flex
  • Two hook-and-loop straps allow for precise fit while shaving weight
  • Omega heel cup helps lock your foot into place for efficient pedaling

Tech Specs

(main) carbon fiber, (intersole) wood
Cleat Compatibility:
3-hole road
Recommended Use:
Cycling, racing, training

Size chart


Northwave bike shoes are sold in EU sizing. Find your EU size with this chart, keeping in mind US conversion is approximate.

Bike Shoes
US MenUS WomenEU
3 5 34
3.75 5.5 35
4.5 6 36
5.5 6.5 37
6.5 7.5 38
7 8 39
7.25 8.25 39.5
7.5 8.5 40
8 9 40.5
8.5 9.5 41
9 10 41.5
9.5 10.5 42
10 11 42.5
10.5 11.5 43


11  12 44
11.5 12.5  44.5
12 13  45
12.5 13.5  45.5
13 14  46
13.5 14.5 47
14 15  48
14.5 15.5  49
15 16  50

Community & Reviews

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Here's what others have to say...

2 5

Does not form to feet at all

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These shoes are very uncomfortable, and they do not conform to your feet at all. There is zero give in the front end of the shoes.

Unanswered Question

Why did you raise the price?

4 5

Sizing chart is off

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I?m normally a men?s US 8.5. On the cc sizing chart that puts me at a EU41. I read other reviews that say the shoe runs small so I ordered the EU41.5 (US9). When I tried it on, it was extremely snug both length and width wise. I returned and got the EU42 (US9.5) and it fits perfectly. So as others have posted below, the shoe sizing runs a full size smaller.

As for the shoe itself, it really is stiff and I like the way your heel feels locked in place. The top of the tongue has a stiffer rubber, so you may feel it pressing into the top of your ankle while pedaling. I?ve played around with the placement and it seemed to alleviate this pressure, but I?ve yet to take the shoe on a long ride. Hopefully once the shoe is broken-in it will soften.

4 5

good shoe runs small

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

Great, durable shoe for the price. Definitely runs small. I regularly wear a size 11 in most everything (specialized cycling shoes, all running shoes, vans), ordered the 44, and the 11 and 11.5 (44 and 44.5) were both too small. 12 (45) ended up fitting.

4 5

Good but for shorter rides

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have over 6k of miles in these shoes and when I go for longer 2-5h rides my feett tends to get numb. Especially the pressure point(toes area). Other than that, great shoe. Great design.

3 5

Nice shoe, but...

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small

Having a difficult time obtaining a replacement heel and toe piece and I'm getting no help from BackCountry. I've called and emailed them, but they have not responded. It's a shame because this is a really nice shoe, but if you can't get small replacement wear items, you'll end up spending tons on shoes. Something to think about before purchasing the shoe.

Note: System would not let me update my original review. Also, the 3 star rating is not a reflection of the fitment and wear of the shoe, but I had to choose a rating in order to post this review.

5 5

Toes are much more comfortable in these

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

These road shoes fit better than my other road shoe (Bontrager DLX). I did not want to spend $300-$400 on a pair of road shoes, so fortunately these were 1/2 off and cost the same as my other road shoe at regular price, but better quality and fit.

The toe box on these shoes are wider than the Bontrager shoe and just wider and more comfortable on my feet; this allows me to wear larger wool socks, too. The Bontrager narrow toe box really became evident when riding in cold weather; it just seemed like my feet, especially my toes were bunched up, and it felt like they were falling asleep. If you have really narrow feet, the Bontrager would probably be ok; however, you may want to consider going one size up though.

The NW's SBS ratcheting system is nice, it allows you to make those fine adjustments to the top strap's tension on the fly (i.e. both loosen and tighten) for that more comfortable fit. Example: At the beginning of a ride (say in the morning) when you feet are bit swollen and you adjust the fit based on those swollen feet, but as you ride your feet normalize, with the SBS you can adjust (i.e. tighten) the tension on the top strap on the fly (i.e. while riding). Or you over tighten the strap at the beginning of the ride, but as you ride your feet feel like they are getting numb, the SBS allows you to adjust (i.e. loosen) the strap on the fly. In contrast, I would have to stop to make those fine adjustments with the Bontrager's ratcheting system - allows tightening only on the fly.

What I like:

1. the comfort of a wider toe box and shoe overall
2. the fact that the shoe are almost flat like a normal shoe even with the cleat on it, so walking in the shoes are almost like normal (i.e. don't feel/look like a plane taking off)
3. the cost (only because of the 1/2 off sale)
4. the look and feel
5. on the fly fine fit adjustment both ways (i.e. tightening and loosening)

What I don't like: Only a 1 year warranty.

5 5

Happy Feet

I have about 700 miles in my Northwaves, and I like them a lot. I was looking for a similar fit to Shimano with a wider toe box. The RC folks recommended the Northwaves - and they were right on. Besides fit, these shoes border on plush. The fit is close, but comfy thanks to the padded tongue and wooden insole. My 47 Shimano translated to a 46 Northwave. They were able to get stiff and comfortable into the same package. Brilliant.

AWrite your question here.
Are these...

AWrite your question here.
Are these compatible with speedplay pedals?

Unanswered Question

Do the Northwave fit small for there size?...

Do the Northwave fit small for there size? I am a size 13 and there size for 13 is a 46. I wear a 48 in LG and Sidi.