A new video posted by Deceuninck-Quick Step shows a close-up of some yet-tobe-released S-Works shoes.
In the video, which unveils the new 2021 team kit by Vermarc, Sam Bennett fastens a pair of pristine, white, as-yet unseen Specialized shoes.
Specialized released the S-Works 7 two years ago and we know they’re potentially due an update in the near future.
Whereas the S-Works 7 (opens in new tab) shoes use two Boa S3 dials in line on the outside of the foot, the new shoes place one upper Boa much higher further onto the top of the foot, while a lower dial is closer to the toebox than before. There don't appear to be any Velcro straps at all.
There are no wires in evidence on the outside – possibly Specialized has devised an internal cable routing system like Bont – but the topmost section of the upper seems to be be able to move independently of the lower, with a large cutout section that take out a slices of the Specialized logo. As Bennett tightens the dial in the video, the slack is taken up by the inside of the shoe, from the arch upwards, in the style of the Giant Surge Pro (opens in new tab). It seems likely the wires, whether external or internal, are on the inside of the foot.
The uppers extend higher up the front of the ankle, possibly for a more secure hold than the current shoe provides for those big power sprint efforts, particularly as Bennett, the green jersey winner in this year's Tour de France, wears them in the video.
Specialized has broadened its range in the past, designing shoes for specific elements of riding: in 2019 it launched the Exos climbing shoe, which at 99g was claimed to be the lightest shoe in the world, while for the very hottest days there's the S-Works 7 Vent, released earlier this year.
We only get a glimpse of the back of the shoes as Bennett rides off, but the heel cup is black, likely carbon-fibre, wrapping the sides and back of the heel in a single sweep.
With a Specialized launch in our calendar for mid-January, could these be the new kicks the US brand is about to launch?
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism.
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Mercian Classic fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
And the vital statistics:
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