Gravel biking is a way for many to escape the crowds, discover new trails, and visit beautiful places. Gravel bikes can also be tough races. Specialized S-Works Recon shoes were developed for those who love it. cycling flash reviews.
road-like performance, but for mountain and gravel biking; These are the S-Works Recon shoes in a nutshell, according to Specialized. This may sound very simple, but it is not, because off-road cycling shoes must have different qualities than road shoes.
To develop the perfect gravel shoe, Specialized started another development based on data from the bikefit RETÜL system. Over 100,000 foot scans showed that the combination of a standard insole and an extra wide sole was ideal for accommodating different foot shapes. The sole is four millimeters wider than the standard width used by Specialized.
Internally, the sole is provided with an I-profile (as is often the case with steel beams), which makes the sole stiffer. According to Specialized, this means that no additional reinforcements are needed and that the shoes can remain low in weight.
In addition to the sole, Specialized has also redesigned the cleat attachment points, making cleat placement more efficient for personalization while providing a similar feel to a road shoe.
In addition to the various features that should make the shoe as fast and efficient as possible, ergonomics has also been taken into account. Through various techniques, the specialists try to ensure that the shoes keep the feet in an optimal position while pedaling, and also to keep them in line with the knees and hips, which in turn is useful for injury prevention.
Visually, the shoes have a lot in common with Specialized’s well-known Torch road shoes; The material, the shoe tongue and the double BOA make both pairs of shoes very similar. Just like the latest generation Torch, this third Recon is no longer equipped with the small Velcro attachment at the toe height it used to be.
On paper a pair of shoes is steeped in technology, but what about in practice?
Light, stiff, tight
My first impression of the shoes is mainly weight; The shoes—especially for a pair of clay-court shoes—are very light. The scale indicates 321 grams for the shoe (size 44) with an SPD plate, 25 grams of which can be attributed to that plate.
That’s nice, but of course it’s mainly about performance on the bike. The weight also stands out, but more so than the stiffness of the shoe. We can be pretty brief about that: The S-Works Recon isn’t inferior to many top-of-the-line road shoes in terms of stiffness. The power transfer of the shoes leaves a little to be desired.
This also provides a very direct feeling of contact with the pedals as you pedal. On bad trails or a rough single track that could lead to discomfort, but it turns out that’s not the case at all. Partly because the force is so well distributed throughout the entire shoe, I don’t experience any pain or pressure points.
The upper part of the shoe also helps with this. Although it contours the foot well and thus also contributes to a good transfer of force, the material also seems to give a little only when hard hits come from the road surface, so that it provides some shock absorption. The material isn’t particularly soft either, but the entire cup has just enough padding not to cause discomfort despite the tight fit.
Even though the shoe’s toe box should be wider than its predecessor, I still found it a bit too narrow. I should add that I have very wide feet, so for the “average” user the fit might be more comfortable. However, after using the shoe a few times, the shoe adapted to my foot and I felt the fit was more than good.
The bottom of the sole is largely visible carbon, which can of course be very soft. The various rubber inserts on the sole not only provide grip, but also ensure that the sole is not irreparably damaged when walking in the shoe. If you go over the technical singletrack or the tracks strewn with stones, there is still, of course, the risk of damaging the sole.
The BOA Li2 Discs not only ensure that the shoes can be adjusted properly, but also give them an excellent premium look due to the aluminum from which they are made. However, I think they could have been put to better use by running the wire from the ports (especially the lower dial) with an extra loop over the shoe. Now the rotating knobs do not completely tighten the entire shoe, but particularly the points where the knobs are attached. The connection of the boot’s sheer front now leaves something to be desired, although it’s minimal.
This is actually my only criticism of the new S-Works Recon. All in all, they are very high quality shoes that will support your performance on gravel bike or mountain bike without further ado. The price is also accordingly, because at 400 euros the shoes are not only at the absolute top in terms of performance, but also in terms of price.
S-Works Recon shoes are available in five colors: black, white, dark green, purplish red or off-white.
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