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Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Cycling Shoe Review

Last year at Interbike I got a chance to check out the radical and very gnarly Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Cycling shoe.

Northwave Extreme Xcm 2 Gtx Cycling Shoe Review

It’s a combination of an ankle boot and an MTB/XC cycling shoe mashed together to combat cold winter riding and of course cold feet. It’s like having a wetsuit from your ankles to your toes and just looking at them make you feel warm and cozy.

Northwave is one of the few cycling shoe companies that actually caters to winter riding and riders. With the Xtreme XCM GTX, you don’t need to wear booties or toe covers, because it’s all combined into one package.


Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Unboxing

The cycling shoes arrived in your typical cycling shoe box with the cool Northwave logo.

Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Cycling Shoe Unboxing

I received a size US 11 / 44. I normally wear a size 43, but I figured since these are winter cycling shoes I might want to wear thicker socks, so a bigger size was in order.

The Extreme XCM 2 GTX come in Sizes: 39-48, so those with very small feet or large feet may not be able to wear them.

Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Cycling Shoe Size

The shoes come equipped with 2 aggressive front cleats on the sole that are replaceable. Unfortunately, the heel pads of the shoes aren’t replaceable.

Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Cycling Shoe carbon bottom
Northwave Extreme XCM 2 GTX Shoe Review Bottom

The shoes are SPD compatible with a nice looking carbon base plate. Northwave rates the shoes with a Stiffness index of 12, which is about the highest I have seen on a pair of mountain bike shoes.

The toe box is reinforced with a highly abrasion-resistant rubber and the reinforcement extends 360° protection along the entire upper.

Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Cycling Shoe dial

The lacing system utilizes Northwave’s Xframe® patented construction and SLW2 dial dial system. These are the exact same dials that are used in the Northwave Extreme RR.

The Xframe design really seems to wrap around the foot, giving a good amount of tension and keeping your foot in place.

Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Cycling Shoe adjusting dial

While the Northwave SLW2 dials do work, I prefer BOA dials for ease of use. The main issue with the Northwave dials is you often have to use to hands to make adjustments. With BOAs you almost always just need one.


Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX 2019 Review

When you unbox the Xtremes you will notice the quality and beefiness. They are built for roughed adventures. The rubber outsoles feel legit and definitely give the appearance of a solid piece of cyling equipment.


The shoes are specifically designed for the off-road types, you know the ones who love to get sloppy on single track and crazy downhill runs through the woods.

Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Cycling Shoe Gore-Tex

Northwave incorporated Gore-Tex®, as the material of choice to prevent unwanted water, snow, and sleet from entering the cycling shoes. In fact, Northwave was the first cycling shoe manufacturer to use Gore-Tex® and was the first to address the demands for performance winter shoes.

The Gore-Tex is infused in an elastic Rattler® membrane and placed in critical areas that create a wind and waterproof shield.

Climaflex Collar

Northwave Extreme XCM 2 GTX Shoe Review

Northwave uses what they refer to as a Climaflex collar that extends beyond a normal cycling shoe, looking more like a boot than a typical cycling shoe. It’s a combination of soft and highly-insulating thermal Neoprene.

I found the collar to be really helpful in helping to keep the muck out and also keep your feet a bit warmer. Those who like to wear shorter socks may want to wear taller ones when wearing the Xtreme XCM 2 GTXs.

With the Gore-Tex® Duratherm membrane upper, you are guaranteed to have a shoe that is totally windproof and water proof.

Temperature Rating

The Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX’s are rated for -15°C (5°F) & up to 5°C (41°F). Yes you could say they are the warmest cycling shoes made and if not certainly rank up there.

Northwave utilizes an Arctic GTX footbed with a four-layer aluminum and fleece construction works with the membrane to deliver outstanding warmth and insulation.

Let’s just say it is no ordinary shoe insert, it’s designed for cold and it works.


  • The water- and windproof Gore-Tex® Duratherm membrane is the best for wicking away any sweat and keeps your feet perfectly insulated and warm even in the coldest conditions
  • Made with Xframe® patented construction and ultralight next-generation materials, the upper transfers every watt of power and provides the snuggest, even fit with no pressure points
  • Additional thermal layer on the toe delivers unbeatable insulation and warmth
  • Highly abrasion-resistant rubber reinforcements ensure 360° protection along the entire upper
  • SLW2 dial, the only one with step-by-step and full release in a single button
  • The Climaflex collar made of extremely elastic Gore-Tex Rattler® membrane and highly insulating Neoprene delivers unprecedented mobility and protection from the weather
  • Integrated heel system ensures efficient heel retention
  • The Arctic GTX footbed with a four-layer aluminum and fleece construction works with the membrane to deliver outstanding warmth and insulation
  • 360° reflective inserts
  • Weight: 448 grams
  • Sizes: 39-48
  • Color: Black
  • Price: $329.99
Bottom Line

For those that live in cold climates, the Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX Cycling shoes are a no brainer. They are by far the warmest shoes I have ever worn.

You don’t have to mess with booties or toe covers; the GTX does it all.

I did find the shoes to be harder to enter and exit than regular cycling shoes, but given the benefit of how warm they are, it’s a tradeoff I would take any day when the weather is cold.

Check out the Northwave Xtreme XCM 2 GTX and other products in the Northwave cycling line.

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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