Specialized S-Works Sub 6 Shoes review

Lace-up shoes are becoming more and more popular. The Specialized S-Works Sub 6 shoes are said to be light, stiff and aero

Cycling Weekly Verdict

A great looking pair of high performance shoes. Hard to fault.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Very light

  • +

    Aero/low volume

  • +

    Stiff sole

  • +

    Flat lock laces

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Like all lace-up shoes the fit cannot be adjusted on the move

  • -

    Cut of heel cup might be too high for some

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

The Specialized S-Works Sub 6 shoes are effectively the American company's popular S-Works 6 shoes - as worn by World Champion Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador - with Boa dials swapped for laces.

By using laces Specialized claims to have reduced the weight and volume of the shoes. Also, compared to ratchets, straps and Boas, Specialized says the Sub 6's lace-up closure system provides superior comfort and connectivity to the pedals.

>>> Are lace-up cycling shoes here to stay?

The Sub 6 look great, they are definitely pleasing on the eye. You could be fooled into thinking they are a very simple, but on closer inspection they are packed full of tech.

The upper has lots of little holes for improved ventilation and breathability and the narrow reinforced heel cup keeps your foot secure- although the cut of the heel might be too high for some and takes a while to get used to.

Specialized Sub 6 shoes (4)

The laces reflect the great attention to detail- they are wide and thin; sit in grooves to keep the volume of the shoe to a minimum; and a thick rubber band across the middle of the foot stops the laces blowing about or getting tangled in your chain ring.

The toe box is wide to fit those with broader feet and thanks to the super stiff carbon sole it feels like there is good power transfer to the pedals.

Specialized Sub 6 shoes (7)

To further improve aerodynamics the shoes come with sleeves to cover the laces - Warp Sleeves. The theory is that keeping the laces flush to the shoe creates a smoother profile to slip through the air- however, it takes a fair effort to get the sleeve on and off (although it gets easier over time).

Specialized Sub 6 shoes (3)

>>> Giro Empire SLX shoes: review

With Specialized claiming the Sub 6 are 35 seconds faster over 40km than the S-Works 6, they are aero as well as lightweight and comfortable. We have been so impressed by the Specialized S-Works  Sub 6 that they were victorious in Cycling Active's High Performance Shoe group test.

The only real negative, which applies to all lace-up shoes, is that you can’t adjust the fit on the move.

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