Specialized S-Works 7 Shoe initial impressions

Latest high-end kicks from Morgan Hill tick all the right boxes

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Specialized S-Works 7 Shoe

The new S-Works 7 Shoe aimed to maintain the performance of its predecessor, but do so in a more comfortable package.

With the professional road racing season ramping up for another year, Specialized has a pair of new weapons for its slew of sponsored riders — and you. Today, the California-based maker of all things two wheels unveiled its new S-Works 7 road shoe and S-Works Evade II aero road helmet. In each case the S-Works designation indicates these are top of the line products, and that’s reflected in the price. The new high-end shoes run $400 a pair, while the new wind cheating helmet will set you back $250. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about the shoes. We have a separate post discussing the new aero helmet here.

Specialized S-Works Evade II Helmet

Peter Sagan is among a host of pros who’ve been riding the new shoe since the 2018 race season began.

What’s New

While the previous S-Works 6 Shoe got high marks on the performance scale, it wasn’t the world’s most comfortable cycling footwear. Fit was ultra-snug (especially around the heel), making them tough to slip on. And the toe box was a tad tight for some riders.

The S-Works 7 Shoe attempts to remedy these issues, maintaining the same efficient performance, but in a more plush package. Power transfer is enhanced thanks to the stiffest and lightest FACT Powerline carbon plate Specialized has ever made. Stiffness index is 15; it was 13 in the last shoe.

Specialized S-Works 7 Shoe

Among the most significant upgrades are the new BOA S3 dials.

To enhance comfort Specialized has opened up the toe box a tad, and is employing what it calls PadLock heel construction, which is designed to cradle and secure the heel without crunching it. They also modified the tongue, preserving blood flow and comfort. And are using an upper material called Dyneema Mesh, which is sandwiched between layers of four-way stretch mesh and TPU to create some no-stretch zones. The idea is that you want a little give in certain areas to enhance comfort, but no stretch elsewhere to maintain the secure fit discerning road riders are looking for.

Also new are the custom S3 BOA Dials, which both look great and perform well. They’re made of machined alloy and have grippy knurled edges that are easy to get hold of when you’re on the move. Inside each dial are spring clutch internals and the dials can be adjusted in either direction in 1mm increments. These new dials also come with a lifetime guarantee.

Specialized S-Works 7 Shoe

The revamped heel is a little less constricting than its predecessor, but still does a solid job of securing your foot.

Footbeds are the same Body Geometry that Specialized shoe wearers have grown accustomed to. And if those don’t work for you, Specialized has entered into a relationship with semi-custom insole maker MasterFit, a well-known brand in the alpine ski boot industry. For an extra $90, you can get a custom insole made for you on the spot at most local Specialized dealers. The process takes about 30 minutes.

Press play to find out more about how this new shoe is made.

What About the Outsole

During the press presentation, Specialized went to great lengths praising the process of creating the outsole for the S-Works 7 Shoe. It started, they say, by collecting pressure map data from riders. This is achieved in part through the use of Retul Match, which is an in-store computerized customer support system that allows for quick body measurement collection, helping buyer and seller to make sure the right products and sizes are selected. That includes a foot imprint.

This pressure map data is then applied to a digital version of the shoe, which in turn is optimized to create the ideal support structure for the outsole, says Specialized. That optimized information was then used to define the starting point for shoe’s actual structure. Once this information is all merged together, carbon manufacturing commences, with a new whittled down outsole popping out the other end. Through it all stack height remains a wafer-like 5mm, assuring a solidly connected feel with your pedals.

Specialized S-Works 7 Shoe

Outsole construction process outlined.

Size and Color Options

Though we spotted some other colors during a press launch in January, for now the Specialized U.S. website lists three color options: black, white, and a flashy Hyper Green/Acid Lava. Sizing runs from 36-49, with half sizes from 38.5 to 46.5. Riders with wide feet will be pleased to know there is a wide option, though for now its listed as out of stock for all three colors. But hang tight, they should be arriving soon.

Specialized S-Works 7 Shoe

We love this minty number, but it’s only for the pros for now.

What’s the Weight

Specialized claims a size 42 comes in at a wispy 224g per shoe. Our test pair of 43.5s are an impressive 244g per shoe. Other notable features include titanium alloy cleat nuts that can rotate to position pedal/cleats 5mm rearward; non-slip, replaceable heel tread with internally recessed screws for security; and the usual three-bolt cleat pattern that fits all major road pedals.

Initial Impressions

Being that we’re in the middle of winter in Colorado, I haven’t had a chance to log any meaningful test miles. But as mentioned above, the new S-Works 7 Shoe is certainly more comfortable than its predecessor. And we can only presume that performance will be as least as good at the S-Works 6. If that is indeed the case, then these new kicks are a worthy successor to the Big S road shoe crown and should be tried on if you’re shopping for new high-zoot road shoes this spring.

Specialized S-Works 7 Shoe

At launch there will be three color options, available in both standard and wide sizes.

To learn more head over to www.specialized.com.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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