Mid-range probably means different things to different people. It might be too low-brow for the elites, but it often means solid performance at a reasonable cost for a majority of users. That’s the case with the Specialized Torch 2.0. With the slow creep of time and technology, these ‘mid-range’ shoes outshine the high-dollar shoes of just a few years ago by a mile. They’ve been my testing platform for a summer of riding in the Northwest. And, for the most part, they’ve shone.
Specialized Torch 2.0 Features:
- Body Geometry sole construction and footbeds are ergonomically designed
- Carbon sole with a 7.0 Stiffness Index is engineered to be moderately stiff
- Rubber heel and toe for off-the-bike traction
- Lightweight Boa® IP1 Fit System for on-the-fly micro-adjustment, backed by the Boa Guarantee
- Mesh and TPU upper for a supple fit
- Three-bolt cleat pattern fits all major road pedals
- Approximate weight: 235g (1/2 pair, Size 42)
- MSRP: $160
Racey shoes for the everyman
The Torch 2.0 sits happily in between the 1.0 and 3.0 (duh), offering up the Goldilocks zone of comfort and performance and cost. The 1.0 uses Velcro straps and a nylon sole, whereas the 3.0 has two Boa fasteners and a stiffer carbon sole. The 2.0 sits pretty with a moderately stiff carbon sole, a Boa closure and a velcro loop over the toe box. The 2.0’s soles are a 7 on Specialized’s internal stiffness scale — that ranges from 13 for their stiffest shoes and compares to 8.5 for the Torch 3.0’s.
Specialized really wants to emphasize that this is a shoe that blends comfort and performance. It’s something that the everyday rider could go out and do a long day in without discomfort, but also won’t hold you back when you want to let the hammer drop.
One of the most important parts of reaching that goal is the design of the sole and footbed. As mentioned, Specialized put a moderately stiff carbon sole in the Torch 2.0, which I thought responded really well when I wanted to push hard or sprint. I don’t think this would hold anyone back, except for elite-level riders or competitive racers who aren’t looking at this shoe anyway.
Another key feature is Specialized’s Body Geometry fit, which comes from their anatomy and physiology research program for that ‘perfect fit.’ The footbed provides a bit more support on the inner edge of the foot and has a higher arch, a ‘wedge’-shaped footbed that supports the inside of the foot to promote joint alignment, and also features metatarsal pads. The Torch 2.0 also has a really nice, generous toe box to give your toes room to wiggle. That adds considerably to comfort in long rides.
I had some issues with fit throughout my testing, but I’m reluctant to pin those issues on the shoes. I have wide feet (size 11 width E) and these shoes were perhaps just not quite wide enough for me, even though I tested the wide version. Particularly problematic is a tailor’s bunion that’s forming on my left foot, and some of my longer rides found me babying the area. Otherwise, I appreciated the arch support and deeper heel pocket, but some riders may find the deep heel pocket problematic and irritating to their Achilles tendon. As with most footwear, I really recommend trying things on in person. Specialized dealers should be well-versed in the fit nuances of each shoe.
The Torch 2.0 has a really clean, sleek profile. This is thanks to the mesh-and-TPU upper. There are some really subtle buckle reinforcements, but on my all-black model the Torch presents a very clean profile. There are plenty of perforations across the toe box, and I found the airflow to be good. These are a great fair weather shoe, and for cold weather I imagine I could ride into the high 40’s with a good wool sock before I started needing a bootie. Everyone’s tolerance is different, though.
The nice thing about the shoe’s construction is that it fits kinda like a sock — it molds to your foot really well and eliminates pressure points. The upper feels very forgiving. A full-length floating tongue contributes to that feel. The tongue also has a really nice padded edge, so even if you wear short socks (yeah, yeah… my socks are short) you won’t have any rubs.
As with all road-focused shoes, these are three-hole models. You can use the markings to ensure proper cleat placement. There’s also a nice sticky rubber heel to make walking a little more secure. It’s definitely less slippery than some other shoes.
- Great fit – feels like a very tailored shoe out-of-the-box
- The carbon sole is stiff enough for a large number of users
- Boa and hook-and-loop closure are an effective combo
- Plenty of ventilation in a roomy toe box
- The price is outstanding
- Some may find the heel cup too deep
- Even the ‘wide’ model weren’t quite wide enough for my size 11 width E’s
The Bottom Line: Specialized Torch 2.0
The Specialized Torch 2.0’s have garnered positive reviews almost universally — this is another one in the books. I have my own quibbles about fit (with my super-wide feet) and you should certainly try these on at your local Specialized dealer, if possible.. But overall, the Specialized Torch 2.0’s deliver a highly refined fit, a solid platform for power transfer and great ventilation. These are a truly standout midlevel shoe.