Northwave launches the Rebel 3 x Epic Series – the Cape Epic MTB stage race has an official shoe

Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe in black with yellow detail
Northwave has launched the official Cape Epic mountain bike shoe (Image credit: Northwave)

To mark the start of the 2023 ABSA Cape Epic, Italian brand Northwave, renowned makers of some of the best mountain bike shoes, is launching the Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe, the new official shoe of ABSA Cape Epic

The Cape Epic is, without doubt, an iconic mountain bike stage race, and this year's race starts with the prologue on 19th March. Followed by a further eight stages around the wilderness of South Africa. Totaling 648 km of racing and a mind-blowing 15,475m of climbing. It's one of the most coveted titles to add to a racer's palmares, but also a goal chased by your everyday cyclist, lucky enough to grab an entry and seeking an epic challenge racing alongside world champions and Olympians.

Since 2004 the paired male and female mountain bike event has attracted a who's who of mountain bike racers and has been won by the likes of Nino Schurter, Lars Forster, Kate Courtney, Sina Frei, and Anna van der Breggen. This year's lineup features another stellar list with Nino Schurter, Lachlan Morton, and Mitch Docker featuring amongst the men's elite and there's a packed international women's race that includes the UK's, Sophie Johnson.

Mountain bike rider wearing the new Northwave Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe

The Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe is ready for the Cape Epic challenge (Image credit: Northwave)

The Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe will be worn by stage winners in 2022, the Canyon Northwave Team duo of Andreas Seewald, the former marathon MTB world champion, and Czech racer, Martin Stošek who together won stage one of the 2022 race.

Northwave and the Epic Series have come together in a three-year partnership, and the Italian brand sees itself aligned with the challenges that the epic series brings and particularly the Cape Epic. Founded more than 30 years ago, Northwave has provided shoes and technical apparel to cyclists taking part in some of the toughest mountain bike and endurance races around the world. We explore some of the stand-out features of the new Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe on the eve of the Cape Epic.

Close up shot of the Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe

The Rebel 3 features the Northwave patented X-Dial SLW3 dual closure system (Image credit: Northwave)

Designed ready for the epic?

Northwave says the Rebel 3 x Epic is designed for both endurance-based marathon and cross-country mountain bike racing. They have made the upper of the Rebel 3 x Epic with perforated microfiber to help promote breathability, aimed to cope with the heat of South African wilderness. There is also additional reinforcement at strategic points on the upper to ensure the best synergy between protection, weight, and durability.

The uppers have a neat and minimal design with purposely left space for personalized artwork or logos, and the Rebel 3 x Epic Series has a special color scheme, with black and amber yellow featuring the Northwave and Epic Series logos. 

Mountain biker descending wearing the Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe

Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe is designed to cope with the South African heat (Image credit: Northwave)

Precision when its needed 

The shoe has the Northwave patented X-Dial SLW3 dual closure system that they say gives fast and precise closure, and a claimed perfect fit guarantee. Paired with the Biomap Unibody upper which is seamless it aims to avoid friction and interference with pressure points on the foot. The X-Dial SLW3 dual rotor is designed to offer a unique ultra-fast closure but it also allows step-by-step micro adjustment and full opening with the press of the same button. 

A stiff carbon sole for stiff competition

The Carbon XC12 sole is designed to give an excellent power transfer, while the extra flex should make it an excellent performer for endurance racing, and those long days pushing the pedals. Northwave says the sole achieves a score of 12.0 on its stiffness index (out of a maximum of 14 for xc shoes) which is mainly thanks to the full-carbon insert positioned in the pedal support. The sole's inserts are also said to be strategically placed only where they’re needed to provide balance, traction, and outstanding durability without wasting a single ounce of weight. 

Northwave Rebel 3 x Epic Series shoe side on in black

The shoe has a special color scheme featuring the Northwave and Epic Series logos (Image credit: Northwave)

Pricing and availability

The new Rebel 3 x Epic Series is already available and will be at all of the Cape Epic race villages during the race, and at with a suggested price of $221 / £185 / €209. 

Our Tech editor Guy Kesteven, who currently has an ankle the size of an African elephant after a recent crash will be bringing a full test report on the Rebels 3 x Epic shoes as soon as he can get them on.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Based in Edinburgh, Paul Brett is a staff writer for He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm