While manufacturing ski-boot liners way back in 1971, little did Gianni Piva know that he was starting one of the biggest worldwide sports brands. The Italian family-owned brand would be recognised as a global player across three main areas, Snow, Bike and Lifestyle.
From ski-boot liners to OEM boots for the big snowboard manufacturers, they were being driven by the Snow Board market and its rapid growth. The team at Northwave were super-keen snowboarding riders too and developed the shoe that snow boarders, surfers and other cool cats wanted, the Espresso. These shoes were similar to a skate shoe but with a deeper sole, (called the big-boy) which looked a little like snow board boot soles. Espresso’s were a cultural icon of their time and designed for everyday use.
1993 – MTB
Mountain sports popularity was picking up in the early 1990’s, the Mountain Bike scene was really a big part of this – there was cross-over between mountain activities through the seasons . This was the perfect time for Northwave to launch their first MTB shoes. The first northwave shoes really stood out, they featured two colours, this was a big deal at the time. Most shoes were still black and looked pretty similar.
Following the international launch of Northwave, the company set up corporate offices in Seattle, USA. Big wins in MTB began to get the brand noticed in the off-road riding world, Paula Pezzo’s success at the 1996 Olympic Games Mountain Bike event in Northwave shoes, showed that the brand could compete at the highest level in MTB footwear. Road cycling shoes were also a focus of Northwave in the late 90’s. In 1997, Italian rider, Ivan Gotti, won the Giro D’Italia in Northwave shoes.
Once the big names in MTB and road cycling were wearing Northwave, the wins and popularity grew. From Mario Cipolini winning the 2002 Milan San Remo and the World Championships in Northwave, to Tom Boonen’s stellar 2005, winning Paris Roubaix, “x TDF Stages and the World Championships wearing Northwave Aerator shoes, Northwave were big league in road cycling footwear.
Northwave were an established brand and worked with other worldwide brands. They teamed up with Michelin in 2015 – to develop shoe soles together. They also worked with Speedplay in which they perfected their cleat / shoe interface. The Northwave clothing range expanded and developed each year. Providing options for riding in all seasons and in all riding conditions for men and women. The footwear range also expanded similarly to include the popular Celcius shoes. These feature extra cold weather protection and insulation for winter road, MTB and commuting.