Specialized has released a laced version of its S-Works Recon gravel shoe. The update offers a higher number of points of engagement, and for those keen on a retro look, ticks the aesthetics box too.
Swapping the two Boa dials on the existing S-Works Recon hasn't shaved off weight, the new version comes in at 280g in a size 42 vs 270g in the Boa enabled model.
The lace closure has allowed Specialized to remove a lot of the 'extraneous hardware' from the top of the shoe, which could reduce hot spots of irritation for riders prone to discomfort.
Like the current S-Works Recon, this is a carbon soled shoe, featuring at '13' on the brand's own stiffness index. The index isn't comparable to any other brand's rating scale, but if you know the S-Works road shoes, those are rated '15', which gives you an idea. There's woven carbon on the outside surface which the brand says protects against bumps.
A 'SlipNot' rubber heel and toe tread pattern, plus external toe cap, aim to help with hike-a-biking, and there are replaceable toe spikes that can be swapped out pending where the mud of the day falls on the sludginess scale.
The upper is constructed from a welded mesh/TPU with Dyneema. It's not clear if Specialized has done anything to the laces to prevent stretch when wet - so we'll have to save that assessment for testing.
As per all of the Specialized Shoes, these utilise Body Geometry features, including a built-in Longitudinal Arch support and +1.5mm forefoot Varus Wedge, which aims to prevent foot collapse and promote good knee alignment.
A Metatarsal Button also spreads the toes, to prevent numbness there. Pending where you want to place your cleats, there's a Ti-alloy t-nut with extended slots that provides an extra 5mm of choice.
Colour wise, these are initially available in Oak Green, Black and 'Aloha' (blue with a Hawaiian inspired pattern), white will launch later in the year. Cost wise, they'll set you back £300/$575 AUS /€330/$325 USD.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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