Specialized has some posh new daps; are they the ultimate ‘cross shoe?

by Tom Hill 0

The Specialized in-house cobblers have been working overtime recently, on the company’s new top-of-the-range “XC” shoe. First up, while the abbreviation might have the letters the wrong way round for this particular site, a good XC shoe generally makes a good ‘cross one. Light and stiff take priority, whatever the shape of your handlebars, or preferred form of racing.

When it comes to bike kit, black means expensive. And these are very black shoes.

The brand new S-Works Recon shoe, which is designed to tick both the stiff and light boxes, replaces the S-Works 6 XC at the top of the tree when it comes to off-road race shoes in Specialized’s range.

Spec and visuals-wise, not a whole lot has changed. Indeed most of the technology (the FACT carbon sole, dual BOA dials & SlipNot rubber tread) remains the same, but there is some added wow, with an all-new upper design that promises more comfort, and a new carbon sole that supposedly increases power output. In fact, Specialized reckons that every inch of the new Recon shoe has been “ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and reduce your risk of injury”. So there.

Two Boas and a velcro strap

Claimed weight for the S-Works Recon XC is a feathery 270g for a size 42 shoe. It’s not far off the lightest shoes that we can think of, with maybe Northwave’s Ghost Pro coming in a smidge under at 260g. Shimano’s flagship XC901 S-Phyre are pretty porky in comparison at 330g.

The sole is manufactured with Specialized’s own FACT carbon fibre, and it’s covered with a smattering of rubber tread blocks to provide more grip and traction when walking around off the bike. In the name of weight saving, a large portion of the carbon sole is left exposed to the elements though, so don’t expect them to look new for long if you’re trudging around on rocky terrain – as Tech Ed Tom found out to his cost when he wore a previous pair of S-Works shoes on the Torino-Nice Rally. From box fresh to knackered-looking in a week of hike-a-bike. Oops. To be fair, it was only cosmetic damage, even then.

Try not to lose your shoes in the mud. They are a bit pricey for that.

Other features include the PadLock heel design that aims to minimise heel-slip when tugging up on the pedals, a reinforced toe bumper to prevent bruised/broken toes in the event of a rock-kicking crash, and brand new S3 BOA dials that are CNC machined from alloy.

The Recon shoes are available through Specialized dealers as of right now, and will retail for a wallet melting £325. You can check out more of the specs below, or head to Specialized.com for further info.

Or rocks. Just keep them on your feet, hey?

Specialized S-Works Recon SPD Shoe Features

  • New superlight XC racing shoes
  • Body Geometry sole and footbed
  • FACT carbon sole
  • Stiffness Index: 13
  • Dyneema® Mesh is trapped between layers of four-way stretch mesh and TPU to create no-stretch zones for the ultimate connection and comfort.
  • Dual Alloy BOA S3-Snap dials
  • PadLock heel construction
  • Titanium alloy cleat nut
  • SlipNotT rubber heel and toe tread
  • Form Fit last with a roomy toe box
  • Two-bolt cleat pattern fits all major MTB pedals
  • Approximate weight: 270g (1/2 pair, Size 42)
  • Colours: Black or Red
  • RRP: £325
Carbon sole/rubber tread

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