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.
Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle 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.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
'You feel like a numpty every time you do your first race of the year,' Pidcock pleased with first cyclocross race back
The Brit finished seventh, close to the podium spots but a long way off winner Wout van Aert who romped to victory
By Jonny Long •
Tech of the Month December: Snapped bars, flying chains, failing sealants – these are the top stories of 2021
We take a look back on the stories you clicked on most throughout the year
By Stefan Abram •