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You know a rarity when you see it. And in the whitewashed world of cycling shoes, a trained pair of eyes tend to gravitate towards anything that appears different. Enter the Northwave Rebel R3 S.B.S. Shoes. We can't help but stare at its low-profile design, but even outweighing this, we can't help but want to hit the trail in them.

Northwave's Rebel R3 features its Speedlight 3D Carbon outsole. This outsole has a construction that balances weight with rigidity. To achieve this, Northwave begins with a nylon chassis and then fills it with a fiberglass and carbon composite. After that, it's co-injected to a thermoplastic polyurethane shell. Overall, the combination of the materials guarantees rigidity, while allowing a dynamic flex in targeted areas. This way, your feet won't feel berated when you're forced to walk a trail section, or in the case of cyclocross usage, shouldering the bike. Additionally, the chassis creates a comfortable interface with the uppers, allowing a small amount of spill-over for when your feet swell or you experience strong torsional forces on the ground.

You'll also find that the chassis works in harmony with the shoes' rubber studs. Basically, the studs have been minimally placed in order to reduce weight. However, this wouldn't be possible if dirt and mud were able to build up on the outsole. So, Northwave engineered a center channel design that, with the assistance of the key positioning of the studs, sheds mud away for an ideal grip with the soil.

Moving up the shoe, Northwave made the uppers from a durable, yet breathable, polyurethane material. This creates a conforming upper that doesn't skimp on protection from trail hazards. And for extra ventilation, Northwave included Airmesh inserts throughout the upper. The location of the inserts follows what Northwave call its Airflow System, where the lower vents channel in air to exit at the rear, and the side vents supply a constant source of fresh air over the foot. For retention, the Rebel R3 uses two hook-and-loop straps to control the volume of the shoe and Northwave's S.B.S. retention buckle to regulate security pressure. This ratchet relies on a micrometric system that's been designed around the concept of precision. So, you can incrementally and precisely control the tightness of the instep, either before the ride or on-the-fly.

At the heel, you'll find Northwaves Omega Heel design. This is part of the Airflow System concept, but its rigid construction also provides protection and an increased power transfer. In fact, the Omega heel has been molded as to shape to your heel. So, on hard upstrokes out of the saddle, your heel won't slip, and accordingly, your pedal stroke's efficiency is maximized.

The Northwave Rebel R3 S.B.S. Shoes are available in whole and half sizes from 37.0 to 47.0 and in the colors Black, White/green, and White/red/black.

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