As one of the most recognizable figures in mountain biking, Cédric Gracia knows his way around a bike. The downhill, 4x, Rampage, and all around mountain bike rider and racer has now turned his attention to the world of Enduro. Given his years of experience, Cédric can be pretty demanding when it comes to his equipment, so changing his footwear sponsor to him was a pretty big deal. Cédric mention that at first, he was a little unsure of what to expect, but after the first meeting with everyone involved, he knew it was going to be exactly what he wanted in a shoe…
If you’re wondering just how much input Cédric had into his signature shoe, he stated that as soon as the project started, he created a WhatsApp group with everyone involved to be constantly in the loop. Working with Michelin on the sole for their first shoe cooperative in the bike industry was a big part of the project as they worked to get the rubber and the flex just right. At first, the rubber at the back of the shoe was too soft so it was made harder. Starting with the base tire rubber compounds, Michelin then tweaks the mixture for use on a shoe since the design and the compound need to match. Then, Cédric had problems with a previous shoe (not a Northwave) with his foot falling off the edge of the pedal, and he wanted to be able to walk in the shoe without the cleat striking the ground. So the cleat pocket and the rubber surrounding it were fine-tuned to his liking. Three different soles later, Cedric was happy with the amount of rigidity provided while still allowing for flex in the toe so the shoe would be comfortable during seven hour days on the bike.
Other must-haves for the shoe included all around durability, adequate ankle coverage, a [vertically]thinner toe box to keep his toes planted, and a rigid toe cap for rock strikes. Cedric also found the SLW2 dial (with an included protective cover) to be a great addition but he needed more ankle compression and didn’t want a second dial so a power strap was added in. Overall the shoe involved five different prototypes and over a year in development.
The Cédric Gracia Enduro Mid shoe will available in two colors with basic black, or Cédric’s signature color which was inspired by the camouflage on his friend’s Lamborghini. Cédric mentioned that they’ve already created a prototype with a reflective version of the same camouflage which may or may not be an option in the future. Available at the end of October, the Enduro Mid will sell for $189.
While the enduro shoe maybe the first collaboration with Michelin on a sole, the Extreme XC is right behind it. The Hyperlight XC carbon sole is topped with dual density Michelin rubber inserts for excellent grip when walking around or peddling. The dual SLW2 dials provide a precise fit and the shoe will sell for $329
Speaking of reflective, the Extreme Road will already be available with the reflective finish for $375. The fully ventilated shoe uses a one piece thermal welded upper with a reflective coated microfiber. The Ultralight carbon sole is Speedplay compatible for the thinnest stack height possible and helps achieve the 235 g weight.
Behind it is the equally green Evolution Plus which adds in a carbon/fiberglass sole (also Speedplay compatible) with a polyurethane upper which raises the weight to 275 g, but drops the price to $200.