£139.99 › Comfy shoe that lacks winter warmth
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