Specialized S-Works MTB Shoes

swork_mtb_shoe_image

For almost two years I have been riding with the Specialized S-Works MTB shoes. There are so many great things about this shoe it will be hard to list them all but I'll give it a try. For starters, I have never had a cycling shoe other than the S-Works road shoe fit my foot so well. The Boa system does an excellent job of spreading the pressure of the lacing across the entire top of the foot, eliminating pinch spots and hot spots common with the traditional strapping system. I never have an issue with numb toes, the metatarsal button right under the front foot pad helps spread the toes and keeps the circulation going. My feet always stay nice and cool with the great ventilation. Even in cold conditions, because the blood circulation is so great with these shoes, it has been unusual for my feet to feel overly cold.

Just to get an idea of the rigors I put these shoes through, I'm not talking about just wearing them for that after work one to two hour ride or the laid back weekend adventure. These shoes have gone with me across some of the toughest mountain bike endurance races around the Rocky Mountain Region. I've had to be saddled in these shoes for tens of thousands of feet of Rocky Mountain climbing and sometimes hike-a-bike across or up or down broken boulder fields. Racing sometimes for as long as eleven hours (which was a really rough day of racing for me, more like survival). Through all of this physical pain and torture I cannot ever recall that my feet hurt or felt bad, broken toes aside.

Speaking of broken toes, in the photo you can see damage to the silver shoe on the left. This was from an unfortunate accident racing probably a bit too fast on unfamiliar single track and catching my foot on a tree stump hidden the the shadow of tree cover. The shoe is still wearable! Three of my toes did not fair so well though.

Another great feature is that the lugs are replaceable. The black pair in the picture I recently replaced the lugs which had been worn and torn from numerous hike-a-bike situations.

Of all the great things I can say about these shoes I am going to try something different for a while. The Boa lacing system is both a strong point and a weakness of the S-Works shoes in my opinion. While the Boa secures the shoe in the most comfortable way possible, I find the Boa is a little high maintenance. About once a month in the regular season I would need to replace the laces and the tensioner. On a couple training rides I've had laces break. For some this sort of maintenance may not be an issue, but over time the cost of replacing the Boa and laces can cost as much as a new pair of (lesser) shoes. For this reason I give the S-Work MTB shoe only 4 out of 5 cogs. Who knows though, the season is just barely starting and I may switch back.
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