A few Months back we visited a Michelin press event where the multinational company took us through all their innovations and developments including how they work across multiple industry sectors with their know how. One of the products that jumped out at us was the Spider Plus 2 All Mountain Shoe. We contacted Northwave and they sent us a pair to test out on our All Mountain steed at Punta Ala. The Spider Plus 2 took us through a few months of riding and we’ve tested it in a range of conditions and have broken down the test into a range of sections that cover each factor we considered when testing.
Aimed at All Mountain riding, the Spider plus 2.
Sole: X-Crossbow Michelin (based on a famous tyre sold)
Upper: Ultralight PU
Upper Construction: Multilayer Thermowelded construction
Closing System: S.L.W.2 + strap
Heel: Integrated heel system
Colours: ANTHRA-BLACK-ORANGE, BLACK-GREEN FLUO
Weight: 414 gr
Opening the box for the first time we were pleased to see an easy to use cleat system. With no need to get inside the shoe to adjust the mounting plate, simply remove the blank and position your cleat in the correct position. The shape was ideal for our mainly midsized cage pedals that we have been using. Engagement was easy to find and direct. In rough conditions the shoe was easy to locate on the pedals and just lock in. The sole is very grippy and finding the correct location on the pedal was easy. The shoe easily grips the cages of the various pedals we have rode. The opening was also recessed enough to avoid that awful clicking sound when walking.
A closeup of the cleat pocket and mid sole.
The pedal engagement was optimal, especially with mid cage Enduro style pedals. Crank Brothers Mallets provided additional levels of grip and connection.
The insole that shipped with the Spider Plus 2 was integrated into the shoe. Our tester had a rather wide foot and with the sizing provided (EU 45) there was plenty of room with the shoe gripping in the right places. The heel support was ideal with the right cut away section for the shape of our ankle. On the first ride the to psole was stiff initially of the shoe before it adjusted to our foot shape. The main closure strap and the S.L.W.2 closure system was secure and allowed micro adjustments. After time in the pedals we re-adjusted the straps once, the shoe maintained its fit. The toe box was well sized and snug enough. We did not have the numb rigid feeling that we have experienced with some shoes in the past. The shoes gradually felt more and more comfortable over our time in them.
The closure system was secure and super easy to use. The power strap stayed tight at all times.
Details of construction show a well made shoe that will resist what you throw at it with out paying a comfort price or weight penalty.
With a PU upper the risk of moisure retention is high, but Northwave have added selected mesh inserts across the whole upper that give a sense of flexibility in addition to breath ability. In wet conditions, the shoes dried out quickly after our ride sessions. They felt warmer than our previous Shimano shoes and slightly less breathable but they are a tougher and offer more protection thus this is to be expected.
Certain areas of the shoe have panels for circulation. The rear of the shoe is more solid, yet retains some air movement panels.
The design of the upper toe and outboard side reinforcing was ideal for All Mountain use. Despite the rugged nature of the shoe the toe box area did not feel clumpy and heavy. The feel in the front and inner heel area was secure and supportive. Although not all enclosing like some shoes, the inboard side was robust enough to resist pedal arm strikes and the toe box was solid enough for a few heavy foot out misplaced knocks.
The inside of the shoe is simply robust and as good as it gets at this price and weight.
Michelin employed a lot of their know how with sole design and the great thing about the Spider Plus 2 is how comfortable it is to walk in on trail and also on hard surfaces. The side support of the sole was amazing with tyre like knobs providing great side grip along the length of the shoe. The sole twists enough that off camber rocks and hike a bike sections are rather comfortable and your foot feels fairly free to go with the surface you are standing on.
The rear of the shoe is like many modern sports shoes. The whole sole can twist but retains enough rigidity to be transfer power when pedaling.
Grip in all conditions was outstanding. No matter the conditions, the soles heavy side tread pattern was perfect, it was always possible to retain a solid grip even when walking in off camber situations. Northwave and Michelin spent a lot of time working together to make a solid trail rider’s shoe and we’ve spent about four months riding them. Long term durability was excellent, the possibility to go up a tough rocky mountain certainly exists with this shoe. We don’t find them bulky and considering our history as a flat pedal rider, the Spider Plus 2 gives a great comparable feel to using flats. When we tried the shoes with Crank Brothers DH mallet, we felt that the combination was pretty ideal. The grip is outstanding in all trail conditions we tested in. The ability to walk almost perfectly when compared to normal shoes was a pleasant surprise.
Our tester found that these are the best clipless shoes that he’s used in combination with larger platform clipless pedals. The cost is right for the quality construction and durability. Also, the fact that the closure system is easier to use than normal mud caked laces added to the ease of use and confidence about the overall quality.