Northwave Hammer SRS Mountain Bike Shoes Review (2014)


Northwave’s charge in what regards cycling equipment continues, and spearheading this assault are the Italian company’s cycling shoes. Looking to reach an optimum balance between functionality and good looks, or at least an appearance that makes them stand out, the brand’s mission proves tricky, but this doesn’t stop it from doing a good job, even in terms of mid-level products such as Hammers SRS.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s good to know that Hammer SRS are available in several color schemes, some of them more flaring, and some more discreet. In this case we had on our hands their black version, a color that was disturbed only by a white Northwave logo, other small inserts every here and there, and some touches of green coming from other parts of the shoe. I must say black shoes aren’t my thing, and, as a personal opinion, I don’t think this color does them justice, but, as stated earlier, it all comes down to taste, so some will find this more appealing than I do.

Approximately belonging to the mid-level category, or even above it, as a big number of lower mountain bike shoes not having a ratchet system is hinting they are all below the Hammer SRS, these shoes rely on a potent closing system, composed of 2 Velcro straps and a SRS system for each item of the pair. The SRS (Slim Ratchet System) counts on allowing a very accurate fit thanks to its small interval between the buckle steps, a feature which also enhances comfort, while the straps are positioned asymmetrically in order to precisely follow the shape of the foot. So, you have a lot of configurations in regard of fit tightness, but these also ensure a superior comfort level for they don’t squeeze your feet inside the shoes.

If the sole is one of Hammer SRS’s strong points, it’s up for debate, as this part’s fabricated out of a nylon chassis filled with fiberglass. While the Speedlight 3D Sole can be considered relatively stiff, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it matches the performances of a carbon one. On the other hand, maybe Northwave never actually planed to offer Hammer a stiff sole, but had in mind for it to embody a solution for recreational riders and adventure-seekers who need the reliability of the closing system, yet can do without a sole that can turn out to be too uncomfortable. However, in this latter case, the company still needs to work on the rubber studs employed, as they tend to timely wear out, and not even their low weight can bring some solace in this respect.

Northwave hit the spot concerning comfort, both the upper part of the shoes, and the footbed having what it takes to be considered above mid-level. I dare remind once again how vital choosing the right size is, because a pair of shoes either too large, or either too small will prevent you from enjoying the product’s features to their full extent. As for Hammer SRS, even if they don’t take the form of your feet after extensive usage like higher-placed models do, its heel system keeps this body part in place without altering blood flow, nor causing unwanted strains. The footbed also excels in terms of lightness, and offers too a nice feeling when your pushing hard on the pedals. Maybe I didn’t bring up this matter particularly until now, but you may have noticed that the Hammer SRS also focus on lightness, a feature that can belong to both comfort, and performance. All the elements of the shoes are competitive from the weight point of view, and this subsequently ensures a great on-ride experience, yet keep in mind that a small number of rides is enough to damage them. As a matter of fact, the materials used to manufacture them have some moments when they seem to be a little surpassed by the demands of a real mountain bike trail.

So, Northwave’s Hammer SRS are a pair of mountain biking shoes that any avid rider should have. Maybe not in particular, as they only encompass some valuable features, not bringing anything new or representing any leap in this regard, but they do include a list of elements that, when out riding on the trail, demonstrate their utility, and contribution to a nice experience.

Weight: 356gr./shoe (712 gr./pair)