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This shoe is astonishingly light but it’s not just a one trick pony – it’s stiff-soled and super-comfy too.
When we say ‘light’, we’re talking about 520g the pair – and that’s for a big old size 45 (UK 11). To put that in perspective, it’s 100g lighter than the already pretty darn feathery Mavic Zxelliums (nominally a size larger, but actually a similar fit). Specialized reckon these are the lightest production road shoes out there with a mechanical closure (more on that later) – and we’ve certainly not used any others that come close.
The uppers are made mostly from Micromatrix which is a tough but pretty soft and comfy synthetic material, while tiny perforations and mesh panels let plenty of cool air in to keep the environment fresh inside. The tongue is well-vented too and generously padded. There’s actually not much padding in the rest of the shoe – just a minimal amount around the foot opening – so these don’t initially feel as inviting as some other shoes, but you appreciate just how comfy they are as your ride goes on.
Closure comes courtesy of two Boa S1 dials (Boa being the name of the independently produced lacing system) which act on super-strong line. They provide simple micro-adjustability in either direction – one click equals about 2mm of lace-pull, if you’re into the detail. Loosening the closure is as easy as tightening it, and you can do it all one handed from the saddle. It’s an excellent system that provides a secure feel and even tension right down the front of your foot.
There are very few seams inside and you certainly can’t feel any through your socks, while Specialized’s insole is our all-time favourite. This is down to the raised section that runs down the middle – the ‘metatarsal button’ – which we find really effective in preventing debilitating hot spots (we’ve been suffering loads lately, for some reason, but none in these shoes). The insole and the ergonomic outsole provide good arch support too.
Speaking of the outsole, it uses high modulus unidirectional carbon fibre and it’s really stiff. You can try to bend it as much as you like but there’s virtually no flex in any direction. A toe bumper up front helps stop you scuffing the upper as you walk while the heel tread is easily replaced if you wear it down. You wouldn’t want to stroll too far in these, though – tottering to and from the garage and into a mid-ride café is about the limit. A little mesh vent provides under-the-toe air conditioning while a textured finish prevents your cleats (3-bolt pattern) from shifting once you’ve fastened them in place.
In use, these shoes feel great. They’re stiff, they hold your feet securely, they’re well-ventilated and they’re comfortable. We’ve done some big rides in these – loads of century rides and a 200-miler – and they’ve felt good all day long, so that’s one less thing to worry about. What more could you want? Well, a low price, we guess. Sure, £200 is a lot to pay on a pair of cycling shoes, but compared to the top end models from many brands, that’s not a bad price.
Who should buy these? Anyone looking for light weight and plenty of long-ride comfort – racers and wealthy sportive riders will get the most out of them.
Stiff, comfortable and extremely light, these are great shoes for the performance minded
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Make and model: Specialized Body Geometry S-Works Road Shoe
Size tested: 45, black
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 39 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.