772g per pair, size 44, inc cleats and studs / Full-length carbon midsole / Redesigned BOA rotary closure / Red body geometry insoles included
Firstly an admission: if my girlfriend came home and told me she’d just bought a pair of shoes for £170, I wouldn’t be annoyed as such, but I would think she had completely lost her marbles. That’s a ridiculous amount of money for a pair of shoes, right?
OK, that out the way, I can now start coming up with exactly the sort of excuses she might come up with, except of course this is a far more serious matter as it concerns bike riding.
Slipping my foot into the S-Works shoes for the first time, I felt like Cinderella stepping into her famous slippers: like Cinderella’s, these shoes fitted like a glove — a combination of the Body Geometry footbeds and lightweight, BOA secured upper — and they were also uncompromisingly stiff, just as I imagine young Cinderella’s glass footwear must have been.
Fortunately for me, Specialized has realised the folly of Cinderella’s slipper design and has incorporated a retention device into the upper so that the S-Works remain firmly attached to your feet. The BOA retention device has really come of age for 2008 and spreads the load so evenly across the foot, you’d think the shoes were custom made for you. The upper is very thin, making it light and supple, but minimal amounts of mesh have been used so your feet rarely get cold — the temperature had to be well below five degrees to prompt us to fish out the overshoes.
The carbon sole is undeniably stiff, but such is the comfort provided by the supplied Body Geometry footbeds and the upper that we never suffered from any hotspots, even on longer rides.
Specialized isn’t the only manufacturer making high-end shoes, but we think these are among the best and well worth the money — especially if you take the option of a fitting when you buy the shoes from a trained Specialized dealer. They may not have the custom fit of Shimano’s M300, but we really can’t imagine finding a comfier shoe, even with Shimano’s custom option. At around 130g per pair lighter than our previous shoes, they’re an obvious choice for racers, but we’re also pulling them out of the wardrobe for the majority of fast trail rides. And the stiffness is so good, they’re even getting more than their share of road miles. Oh, and not forgetting, they go with all my outfits, and grey never goes out of fashion.
MBR RATING: 10/10