Light, stiff, and comfortable; these S-Works shoes are a common sight in the pro peloton, and you’ve only got to ride them to the end of your road to realise why.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

Specialized S-Work Road Shoe

Pros:

  • Faultless power transfer
  • Improved fit compared to old model
  • Good adjustability
  • Stealthy good looks

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Difficult to get on and off

Product:

Specialized S-Works 6 road shoes

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£280.00

As you might be able to guess from the name, the Specialized S-Works 6 road shoes are the sixth incarnations of the Californian company’s top of the range footwear, and those years of development certainly don’t appear to have gone to waste.

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Worn by Albert Contador on his way to Giro d’Italia glory and Peter Sagan during his successful World Championship challenge, it’s no surprise that power transfer is one of the strong points of the Specialized S-Works 6 road shoes. The FACT Powerline carbon sole is a completely new addition from the old model and is uncompromisingly stiff, while the thin footbed makes sure that nothing is lost in this area.

specialized s-works 6 road shoes boa dials

The two Boa dials combined with the Velcro strap offer a secure fit and plenty of adjustability

However the key to the excellent power transfer as actually elsewhere, in particular the narrow heel, which really clamps your foot in place to prevent heel slippage. The slightly shiny area on the inside of the shoes is also made from a thermo-bonded fabric which is apparently impossible to stretch, and must also have contributed to keeping by feet firmly in place even when pulling up on the pedals in a ridiculous style in an attempt find a weakness in these shoes.

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One problem with the old S-Works shoes was that while the rest of the Specialized shoe range had a fairly standard fit, the S-Works shoes had a very narrow toe box which could mean discomfort on longer rides for riders with wider feet.


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Thankfully this sixth generation goes some of the way to solving this problem. The toe box is still far from the widest on the market, but is at least brought in to line with the rest of the Specialized range, making it much easier to make the step up if you own one of the American company’s cheaper models.

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This improved comfort on longer rides is also helped by the choice of retention systems on the Specialized S-Works 6 road shoes. Like on the old models, Specialized has used a combination of two dials with a velcro strap across the toes for extra security. And these are the  latest Boa dials, meaning that you can both tighten and loosen in increments, allowing you to get the perfect fit whether you’re out all day in hot conditions, or preparing to unleash a race-winning sprint.

specialized s-works 6 road shoes

The Specialized S-Works 6 road shoes also look as good as they perform

If there is one flaw it is only a minor one, namely that the secure fit means that you have to loosen those Boa dials off all the way before extracting your foot, which is something you could do without at the end of a hard race. The price is also hard to ignore, but if you’re after one of the best pairs of cycling shoes on the market, then it’s a price worth paying.

Verdict

The Specialized S-Works 6 road shoes are possibly the ultimate performance cycling shoes. The power transfer is faultless, there's plenty of adjustability, and the fit is much improved compared to the old model. The only downside is that this performance doesn't come cheap.

Details

Sizes Available:39-45
Colours Available:Black, Red, White
Weight:211g (43)
Contact:www.specialized.com
  • Derek Biggerstaff

    I think you might have misunderstood my point.

  • MongooseMan

    I see that conservation of energy is a concept foreign to you.

  • MongooseMan

    Actually, it will have flexed – perhaps not to a degree perceivable by you visually. That’s why I wrote “flexes a lot”, and not “flexes”.

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    At last, reason!

  • Stevo

    Correct. Applying the same reasoning, I replaced the springs and shock absorbers in my car with thick iron bars. The fuel savings are massive.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Do they make different widths ?

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    So I picked up a thick iron bar and tried with might and main to bend it but it just wouldn’t flex at all. I therefor concluded I had not expended any energy.

  • MongooseMan

    If the sole flexes a lot, then you’re losing transferred power. If it doesn’t, then you’re not.

  • Jeff Marticotte

    If the boas are the same as the old ones, you can unclip the wire from the inside of the shoe and just reclip it next time you put the shoe, that’s what I always do and this way you don’t have to release the boa cable all the way

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    How did you measure the “power transfer”?