I’ve been asked to host a spin class at a local gym. The first time I taught the class, I used my New Balance running shoes. Boy, was that a mistake.
One side of the pedals was fit with an SPD cleat, the other was a standard cage with an old toe strap. Forced to use the standard cage side, those pedals felt like they were cutting into the bottom of my feet for the whole hour…painful!
Immediately after the spin class, I started looking for a new pair of high quality spin shoes. Noticing that all of the spin bikes had SPD pedals, my shoe selection was somewhat limited. My requirements were (a) SPD-compatible, (b) comfortable, (c) an abundance of mesh to keep cool, (d) non-slip sole, (e) affordable, (f) not the typical standard clunky looking brown MTB shoe. In my search, I found two that met these requirements.
HIGH VISIBILITY SHOES
The color of these shoes is bright. They are a mixture of Hi-Viz yellow and neon green. Being seen is being safe especially under low visibility conditions! Northwave also makes other high visibility products such as Hi-Viz Jackets, Hi-Viz Vests, Socks and Gloves. And now, the Multi-App shoes are included in their Hi-Viz product line!
TWO SHOE CHOICES
Going shopping, I went looking for a hard-soled shoe that had attachments for SPD cleats. Also important was that I could slip my 2E-wide feet into the shoes – and have a little room frim the shoes squeezing my feet.
The first shoe I found was from Performance Bike. The Louis Garneau Tri Evo Triathlon shoe (pictured below). These are more of a Tri-shoe that you would expect to see snapped into a pair of Speedplay pedals, but, surprisingly, there are also SPD attachments under a pair of rubber covers.
Cool, especially since they were on sale! They were not only on sale but I was there on a holiday where they had an extra 20% off any 1 item, and, I had a $25 gift card. This brought them down to $43 + tax. But, would they fit? I started with the 45’s. I was surprised, they fit perfect – even for my 2E-wide feet.
While I was there I added a pair of SPD cleats to the order. The next day, I taught my spin class using the new Tri Evo’s. Due to their nylon-reinforced outsoles, I felt no pressure from the pedals, and with all of the mesh on the front of the shoes, my feet were cool all spin class.
Only one problem surfaced, my feet didn’t like the insoles. In my opinion, Garneau went a little too light on these insoles, sacrificing padding for light weight. So, the only change I made to these shoes was to toss the stock insoles and replace them with a pair of Icebug’s. Now, that made a BIG difference!
The other shoe that intrigued me was the Northwave Multi App. I contacted Northwave and we discussed the shoe in detail. They asked what size I wore and said they would send me a pair to review and do a write up.
A week later, these arrived in the mail. Unboxing the shoes, I was pleasantly surprised at the high-quality materials and workmanship that Northwave put into a sub-$100 shoe, AND, these met all of my requirements. I removed all shipping material that was packed inside the shoes and slipped them on.
- SPD compatible – check
- Very Comfortable – check
- An abundance of mesh to keep cool – check
- Non-slip/non-marking sole – check
- Affordable – check
- Good looking and not the typical standard clunky looking brown MTB shoe – check
- Deep heel cup keeps feet from slipping
- Adjustable (Velcro) heel also helps keep feet from slipping in the shoe
- Velcro closure straps and top of shoe designed to place pressure on outside of foot, not the top which would cause feet to fall asleep.
- Will fit Men’s foot width B, D, 2E and Women’s 2A, B, D.
- Two large straps, one on the tongue and one at the heel made it easy to slip these shoes on.
- HI-VISIBILITY shoes. It’s all about being seen.
HOW DID THEY FEEL?
Even though both shoes are classified as Standard width, both the Garneau and Northwave fit my 2E feet perfectly. Due to the rubber soles, the Northwave Multi App’s were A LOT more comfortable when walking, especially slippery floors in the gym lobby.
I have to be extremely careful walking in the Tri Evo’s since I’m walking on the cleat – which is very slippery. The Multi App’s are perfect for gym floors since it is like walking in a gym shoe. There is no slipping and sliding since the cleats are buried inside of the rubber outsoles.
Where the Multi App’s excel is during spin class. They are light, stiff and comfortable during pedaling. The only slight nit-pick is that the shoes would be even better by using a stiffer sole that does not transmit any of the pedal pressure to the bottom of the feet.
On a scale from 1-10, 1 being that you don’t feel the pedals at all and 10 being painful, I would personally rate the Tri Evo a 1, the Multi App a 3 and gym shoes a 9. A 3 rating for the Multi App means that I can initially feel a little pressure from the pedals, but, after a minute, no more feeling any pressure.
- Pro-level shoe at a bargain price.
- More of a Tri shoe than a spin shoe, but, still works well as a spin shoe.
- For those that are used to a standard road shoe and want to take up spin, you will feel right at home in these shoes.
- Very comfortable, great fit (even for 2E wide feet), rigid sole, works well on bike or spin bike, lots of mesh (cool), leather upper.
- Heel loop helps with inserting foot, offset Velcro straps.
- Can fit either SPD or SPD-SL type cleats – compatible with Shimano, Time, LOOK and Speedplay
- Includes CoolMax Ergo Air Cool Stuff (blue) – IMHO, not one of the better features
NORTHWAVE MULTI APP
- Designed to meet the growing SPIN market.
- Better for any MTB / SPD application than the Tri-Evo.
- Two large looks make it easy to grab and slip these shoes on.
- 3 Velcro straps, 2 on front of the shoe and one around the heel, make for the perfect adjustment.
- Non-marking rubber soles allow you to walk on gym floors without slipping
- Top material and workmanship all the way!