Just how much can a pair of dancing shoes improve your ride quality? Well, quite a bit if those dancing shoes are the Specialized S-Works Road shoes. These Boa-equipped road bike shoes are the ultimate in on-the-fly adjustability.

Specialized S-Works Road Shoes Features:

  • FACT 12.0 carbon sole uses high modulus carbon fiber with TorsionBox construction to optimize stiffness and weight in our thinnest outsole yet
  • Full BG features in outsole and BG+ High Performance Footbed combine to reduce hot spots and improve knee/foot alignment
  • New lightweight Boa┬« S1-M incremental zonal closure allows on-the-fly adjustments for a dynamic fit; L/R shoe forward rotating to tighten.
  • Two independent Boa dials optimize closure in each zone: Top dial locks the ankle and heel down, while mid-foot dial snugs the arch and forefoot
  • Replaceable high-strength braided steel lace
  • Open-back lace guides for easy on/off
  • Replaceable heel tread with internally recessed bolts for safety
  • Light, tough, and water-resistant Micromatrix upper for supple comfort
  • Ultra-vented tongue for breathability
  • 3-bolt cleat pattern fits Shimano SPD-SL, Look, Time, and Speedplay
  • Approximate weight: 235g (1/2 pair #42)
  • Colors: Black, Red/White, White/Black (tested)
  • MSRP: $360

Specialized S-Works Road Shoes Review

I’ve tested and reviewed several types of footwear that feature the Boa Lacing System. In the other instances, it has been nice to have and has provided some value, but had some trade-offs too. In the case of the Specialized S-Works Road Shoe, I’m having a hard time finding fault with it and am really enjoying the on-the-fly adjustability and comfort they provide.

Talking through the shoes first, there’s truly nothing like a good, stiff pair of cycling shoes. For either road or mountain biking, you owe yourself to get a good pair of shoes with lightweight and stiff carbon soles. Believe me… it makes a HUGE difference in pedaling efficiency and overall feel.

The FACT 12.0 Carbon outsole is a work of art and provides instant power transfer with every pedal stroke. These badboys are ultra-stiff — not once have I found myself thinking that the shoes are robbing me of any of my efficiency. As I’ve hopped back to my standard-soled Specialized Comp MTB Shoes for comparison, I want nothing more than to slip back into my carbon-soled shoes. It is definitely worth the price of admission.

Speaking of the admission price… the S-Works Road Shoes are going to take some budgeting, but save those pennies because this will certainly be $360 well spent.

While I’m very impressed with the overall feel of these shoes and the instant power transfer, I did have an initial hiccup with the Boa system that was completely user-error. I rotated the knobs the wrong way, thinking I was tightening them. As a result, they never ratcheted down. After a few emails, I quickly realized that I was to blame. Yeah, don’t be dumb like me.

On the bike, I really, really appreciate the Boa lacing system. Both the upper and lower ratchets cinch down by rotating forward, so it’s easy to remember. And, since one click in and one click out offers micro-adjustments, you can dial your feet in without even thinking. I could tighten or loosen on-the-fly, almost in stride — try that with any other strap type.

I also appreciate the Body Geometry construction and insoles and have taken advantage of the upgraded BG High Performance footbeds for increased comfort and control. I’m most comfortable with either the standard + or ++ footbeds. The +++ have too much arch for my tastes.

Good S-Works Road Shoe

  • The Boa lacing system is the star of the show
  • On-the-fly fit adjustments are a cinch
  • FACT 12.0 carbon sole is stiff and responsive
  • Body Geometry construction keeps things aligned — I’m a fan
  • The replaceable heels extends the lifespan of these shoes
  • A variety of color options to keep everyone happy
  • Breathability is superb

Bad S-Works Road Shoe

  • Don’t be dumb like me and rotate the Boa ratchets the wrong direction
  • One Boa ratchet didn’t have the positive engagement as the others
  • Really narrow feet may find the aftermarket BG insoles a necessity to take up volume

Bottom Line Specialized S-Works Road Shoe

Tell you what… these aren’t Specialized’s top-of-the-line road shoes for nothing. A snug, slipper-like fit, Body Geometry bits and a double-ratcheting Boa lacing system put these in elite territory.

Buy Now: Visit Specialized.com

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. Pingback: The Gear Guide: Best Gear of 2011 - FeedTheHabit.com

  2. Pingback: Specialized S-Works EVO MTB Shoes Review - FeedTheHabit.com

Leave A Reply