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Your complete guide to Specialized’s road shoe range

Specialized offers footwear to suit every budget. Find out which is the best choice for you and the riding you do

Specialized makes some of the best cycling shoes across a whole range of disciplines, and here’s your guide to the road models.

If you’re interested in mountain bike and/or gravel shoes, head over to for your complete guide to those

One of the main reasons for the popularity of Specialized’s shoes is the brand’s Body Geometry concept. What’s Body Geometry? Well, the official line is that “Body Geometry products are ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to increase performance, improve comfort, and reduce your chance of injury”.

Specialized S-Works Ares 1

Body geometry covers saddles, grips and gloves as well as shoes – the contact points between you and your bike. 

When it comes to shoes, the Body Geometry features to look out for are a Longitudinal Arch, a Varus Wedge, and a Metatarsal Button (see Tech terms explained, below). Between them, these are designed to avoid hot spots and numbness, increase your power output, and lessen the possibility of picking up a knee injury. Of course, comfort and performance are directly connected; you’ll never set a new personal record on the bike unless you’re feeling good. 

Body Geometry has been around since the 1990s so Specialized has a lot of experience and expertise in this area, and it continues to develop innovations.

Check out How To Choose Your Cycling Shoes to find out about the latest tech.

One final thing to bear in mind is that the availability of spare parts adds to the potential lifetime of your shoes. You can get replacement heel lugs/treads, footbeds and Boa (see below) closures if your current ones get damaged or wear out, so you don’t need to shell out on a completely new pair.

Tech terms explained

Dyneema A fibre that’s said to be 15 times stronger than steel on a weight for weight basis. Specialized uses Dyneema in many of its higher-end shoe uppers because it’s strong, lightweight, and doesn’t stretch. 

Specialized Longitudinal Arch

Longitudinal Arch This is a feature of a Body Geometry footbed that stops your arches from collapsing as you pedal to avoid wasting power.

Specialized Varus Wedge

Varus Wedge This is 1.5mm of angled support in a shoe’s forefoot. The idea is to align your foot, knee and hip to increase power and improve comfort.

Specialized Metatarsal Button

Metatarsal Button A small raised section in the footbed lifts and separates the bones of your forefoot as you pedal to put less pressure on the nerves and arteries in that area and prevent hotspots. If you’ve ever had hotspots you’ll know that they can stop you in your tracks.

2021 Specialized S-Works Ares shoes - toes.jpg

Boa closure Boa fit systems consist of a strong wire lace, low friction lace guides, and a click dial to control the tension. They’re easy to adjust on the fly and any damaged parts can be replaced if you ever crash.

Specialized S-Works Vent Road Shoes £399

2021 Specialized S-Works Vent (1)

The S-Works Vent road shoes offer loads of cooling thanks to an engineered mesh upper and tongue, and what Specialized calls a ‘Vented Mouthport’ toe box that draws air in and allows it to circulate around your feet. You also get a vented carbon outsole, so if you want shoes that are capable of keeping your feet sweat-free and comfortable on hot, high-intensity rides, check these out.

The S-Works Vent shoes offer a narrow heel to prevent any lift back there and a relatively wide toe box that provides plenty of space upfront. A layer of Dyneema Mesh in the upper helps to hold your foot firmly.

Read more about Specialized’s S-Works Vent road shoes here

You get typical Specialized features like a Body Geometry Longitudinal Arch, Varus Wedge, and insoles with a Metatarsal Button, along with machined alloy Boa S3-Snap dials that allow for simple adjustment on the fly.

Colour options White
Sizes available 36-48
Cleat pattern Three-bolt
Weight 466g (pair, size 42)
Buy if… You want high-performance shoes that offer maximum airflow

Specialized S-Works Ares Road Shoes £375 

2021 Specialized S-Works Ares shoe (1)

The Specialized S-Works Ares shoe isn’t as well ventilated as the S-Works Vent (above) but it offers excellent retention and superb comfort. 

Central to the design is a soft integrated ‘sock’ – reinforced with super-strong Dyneema fibres and positioned between layers of synthetic and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) materials – that wraps all the way around the upper foot to provide support for the whole pedal stroke. This helps when you’re pulling on the upstroke in a full-gas sprint so these shoes are great for all-out intervals, and they’re equally good for long days out on the bike.

The PadLock external heel cup is solid without being uncomfortably stiff while the foot-wrapping closure system spreads the pressure evenly to avoid discomfort and ensure you don’t need to cinch the Boa Li2 dials super-tight for a secure fit.

With Specialized’s stiffest and lightest FACT Powerline carbon plate to maximise power transfer to the pedals, these shoes pack in a high level of performance.

Read our Specialized S-Works Ares review 

Colour options Black, White, Red, Team White
Sizes available 36-49
Cleat pattern Three-bolt
Weight 440g (pair, size 42)
Buy if… You’re after an efficient shoe that’s also extremely comfortable

Specialized S-Works 7 Road Shoes £370 

2021 Specialized S-Works 7 road shoe (1)

The S-Works 7 road shoe offers outstanding performance with superb comfort, fit, foot retention and power transfer.

Specialized harnessed data from thousands of Retul bike fits to hone the shape and design of this shoe, increasing the volume in the midsection and around the front, developing brand new Boa dials, and reducing the stitching in the construction of the upper. 

Part of the reason for the excellent fit is the Dyneema material used in the upper. It's lightweight and strong and contributes to an excellent foothold.

These shoes are hugely impressive, the generous toe box being a big plus for many, and the heel cup prevents lift without causing discomfort. The alloy Boa S3-Snap dials can be adjusted easily on the move while the FACT Powerline carbon plate just won’t flex in use.

All the tried-and-tested Body Geometry tech, designed to improve efficiency and reduce the chance of injury, is present and correct.

Read our review of the Specialized S-Works 7 Road Shoes 

Colour options Black, White, Black/Rocket Red, Basics (Blue/Red), Crimson
Sizes available 36-49
Cleat pattern Three-bolt
Weight 448g (pair, size 42)
Buy if… You’re after top-level performance, fit and comfort

Torch 3.0 Road Shoes £230 

2021 Specialized Torch 3.0 shoe (1)

Specialized’s top-level Torch shoe packs in lots of features, providing an excellent level of comfort, easy dial adjustment and a stiff carbon composite sole.

That FACT sole isn’t as rigid as you’ll find on Specialized’s more expensive shoes, the little bit of extra flex – and we're not talking much – providing more forgiveness.

The upper is made from a combination of TPU and synthetic leather with mesh panels and perforations in strategic places to aid cooling. A thermo-bonded construction reduces weight and gives the shoes a sleek, unfussy appearance.

A padded tongue spreads the pressure from the two Boa S2-SV Snap dials which pull two separate wires across the top of the shoe. The dials allow easy micro-adjustment in both directions.

The fit is really good. There's ample support from the front to the back to ensure your feet don't shift about and the stiff heel cup avoids excessive movement in this area.

Read our review of the Specialized Torch 3.0 shoes 

Colour options Black, White, Hyper (Yellow)
Sizes available 36-49
Cleat pattern Three-bolt
Weight 496g (pair, size 42)
Buy if… You’re in the market for high-performance shoes that offer great comfort and a supportive fit

Torch 2.0 Road Shoes £175 

2021 Specialized Torch 2.0 shoe (1)

The middle option in the Torch range offers many of the same features as the 3.0 version (above), although a couple of key differences are that you get a slightly less stiff carbon sole (7.0 out of 15 on Specialized’s Stiffness Index rather than 8.5) and closure is handled by a single Boa IP1 dial. The upside, of course, is that the 2.0 shoes are considerably cheaper, so you get loads for your money here.

You still get a Body Geometry sole that’s “ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and reduces the chance of injury by optimising hip, knee, and foot alignment”, while a rubber heel and toe provide enough traction for confidence when you’re off the bike.

These shoes also offer plenty of comfort thanks to a roomy toe box and a supple mesh and TPU upper.

Colour options Black, White, Rocket Red/Black
Sizes available 36-49
Cleat pattern Three-bolt
Weight 470g (pair, size 42)
Buy if… You’re looking for a solid design and plenty of comfort at a decent price

Torch 1.0 Road Shoes £99.99 

2021 Specialized Torch 1.0 (1)

The Torch 1.0 shoes have a lot in common with higher-end models, including their Body Geometry ergonomics, but the use of an injection-moulded nylon composite sole rather than a carbon composite one helps to keep the cost down. Unless you're putting out 1,000 watts in a sprint you likely won't notice because it’s still moderately stiff and light.

The synthetic upper is supple and it’s covered in perforations to let cool air in and hot, moist air out so your feet stay comfortable when you’re working hard. A Boa L6 dial allows you to fine-tune fit on the go – it’s a simple-to-use dial system and it’s a real bonus on shoes of this price. 

The tongue is well padded, with a retaining loop that the Boa lace passes through to keep it in place, and we’ve found these shoes to be comfortable even on the longest rides.

Read our review of the Specialized Torch 1.0 Road Shoes 

Colour options Aqua (blue), Rocket Red, Hyper (Yellow), Black, White, Slate/Cool Grey
Sizes available 36-49
Cleat pattern Three-bolt
Weight 580g (pair, size 42)
Buy if… You’re after a good entry-level option with a Boa dial closure

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