North­wave Flash

£139.99 › Comfy shoe that lacks win­ter warmth

Cycling Plus - - CONTENTS -

NORTH­WAVE’S VAST EX­PE­RI­ENCE OF ROAD shoes and win­ter boots brings us the Flash TH, which la­bels it­self as a win­ter shoe. The ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence be­tween the Flash TH and its el­der sib­ling, the Flash Arc­tic GTX win­ter boot (which is £70 more ex­pen­sive), which is a pop­u­lar choice to fend off the rain and cold, is the lack of an­kle pro­tec­tion, but that’s not where the el­e­ment­beat­ing dif­fer­ences end…

The Flash TH is based on North­wave’s NRG Air car­bon-re­in­forced ny­lon sole, while the up­per is mi­crofi­bre with no ven­ti­lat­ing pan­els or per­fo­ra­tions. They’re lined with a Thin­su­late mem­brane with ad­di­tional in­su­la­tion around the toes. The sole’s also in­su­lated in­clud­ing the in­soles, which are North­wave’s Arc­tic, fea­tur­ing a sil­ver, foil-coated per­fo­rated base for heat man­age­ment and brushed top for com­fort. The heel and toe fea­ture ther­mo­plas­tic polyurethane (TPU) re­in­force­ment, al­though the front bumper is too shal­low to com­pletely pro­tect the toe.

North­wave’s Biomap Aero over­lap dis­penses with a tongue, pro­vid­ing a com­fort­able, pres­sure-free and aero­dy­namic up­per. The sin­gle SLW2 dial gives mi­cro ad­just­ment of one small click in ei­ther di­rec­tion, and it’s fast re­lease. The criss­crossed braided cord takes a lot of wind­ing up, but re­sults in su­perbly even ten­sion and a se­cure fit.

Our size 45s weigh 614g and feel in­stantly snug when fas­tened, the cat’s tongue heel lin­ing re­duc­ing slip­page. The soles are av­er­agely stiff, no­tice­ably more flex­i­ble than race shoes, but more than ad­e­quate for train­ing. North­wave claim the Flash TH is suit­able for tem­per­a­tures from 0-15 de­grees, and our test­ing bears this out, but how com­fort­able they feel de­pends on your tol­er­ance to cold.

With win­ter socks on, our feet were al­ways warm enough in the dry. The ven­ti­la­tion from five mesh vents in the sole is con­stant. It re­duces the like­li­hood of over­heat­ing, but could be too cool on freez­ing days. While not water­proof, the up­pers shed spray and light rain well, but that un­pro­tected an­kle left us in a quandary. With most tights on, you have a cooler band be­tween them and the shoe, and on damp days the only way to pre­vent mois­ture hav­ing di­rect ac­cess into your shoe is over­shoes, which may be too hot. That’s why the Flash TH are ar­guably most suit­able in spring and au­tumn. They’re ef­fi­cient, ex­tremely snug and easy to wear, but by them­selves aren’t an all-win­ter op­tion.

WE SAY A niche shoe, best suited to cool, dry spring and au­tumn days

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