The hotly contested greatest biking footwear house simply acquired larger with the brand new Specialised S-Works 7 Lace. They characterize the fifth instalment within the model’s rising S-Works shoe portfolio, becoming a member of the S-Works 7, S-Works Exos, S-Works Vent and the S-Works Ares. Aside from the S-Works Exos, which supplied a limited-edition lace-up choice at launch, the Specialised S-Works 7 Lace are the one footwear within the S-Works street line-up to ditch Boa-dial retention. That does not imply they’re any much less focussed – these are S-Works-branded footwear in any case – however their utilitarian lace-up attraction is prone to garner curiosity from a broader demographic, not simply the purist.
Let’s take a better look.
Design and aesthetics
Whereas the modern shoe design components may be very a lot about Boa dials and preserving issues as tight and foot-hugging as attainable, there may be nonetheless a spot for the traditional lace-up – even on the efficiency finish of the spectrum. The Specialised S-Works 7 Lace is a fantastic instance of lace ups achieved proper. It builds on the basics of the common S-Works 7 borrowing the identical blueprint and attention-grabbing particulars, and stitches in a lacing system that does little to remove from the package deal. Actually, the laces add to the visible drama.
The footwear can be found in three colourways: two conventional black or white choices and a extra eccentric ‘vivid coral/solid umber’ mottled sample just like the footwear pictured right here. The design may be very Jackson Pollock-like in utility, that includes yellow splashes that distinction the purple and reds of the coral theme fairly exquisitely. The entire design and means through which the colors work together with one another is playful and helps intensify the honeycomb-like motif of the Dyneema uppers, whereas the gloss-black heel cups, black laces and carbon fibre soles add a refined contact.
In comparison with the black or white footwear which do effectively to intensify the debossed S-Works moniker on the outer flanks, the vivid corals are much less conspicuous of their bragging rights requiring you to examine them intently for the presence of any S-Works references. Apart from on the shoe itself, you will discover S-Works on the aglets of the laces and the outer sole.
By way of practicality and basic upkeep, white is all the time going to show a problem to maintain clear – particularly within the northern hemisphere the place colder, wetter winters can discolour issues – however the busyness of the coral design does effectively to cover any blemishes, stains or grime.
As touched on above, the S-Works 7 Lace is constructed from the identical supplies because the S-Works 7 upon which it’s primarily based. Which means it will get light-weight Dyneema uppers and Reality Powerline carbon-fibre sole. Rated at a stiffness index of 15, it is the model’s lightest and responsive outsole. The massive distinction by way of building (the common S-Works 7 utilises a twin Boa system and Velcro strap) comes within the type of the lace-up retention system. This has helped scale back the load of the shoe which is available in at claimed 236g (dimension 44). Our dimension 42 take a look at pair weighed in considerably decrease at 212g per shoe with out cleats.
The footwear characteristic a three-bolt cleat sample with titanium inserts, a number of fore-aft adjustability and alignment markings to make the cleat-fitting process a better activity. Like its Boa sibling, the S-Works 7 Lace additionally advantages from Physique Geometry tech and will get specifically designed insoles with longitudinal arch and varus assist in addition to a metatarsal button. Specialised additionally presents a mouldable customized insole for individuals who have particular necessities.
Laces aren’t for everybody and those that want to race or are focussed solely on efficiency are inclined to draw back from this retention system in favour of Boa dials – I get that. It is laborious to disregard the comfort of on-the-fly adjustability however laces could be simply as efficient if tightened appropriately and the strain unfold evenly. Specialised made a degree of guaranteeing these footwear supplied a complete unfold of assist by means of the lacing system. Because of this, the footwear provide 12 separate factors of stress adjustment which creates a greater system to comfortably ensconce the foot.
As I identified in my S-Works Ares evaluate final 12 months, a number of the Boa closure programs have numerous bits that weave over one another when closed, which might create hotspots or worsen the tendons on the highest of the foot. A lace-up system is less complicated in execution and gives a greater, much less proscribing match. I am going to get onto the efficiency of the lace system and using expertise within the subsequent part.
Laces win races (not simply to the espresso store)
One of many solely bugbears relating to lace ups is the time it takes to place them on or take them off. To make sure efficient closure, the lacing process could be an arduous and cumbersome activity requiring the person to to tug and pull the laces till stress is unfold evenly throughout the highest of the foot. It takes some time to grasp it however the upshot is a decent and cozy match – the laces are non stretch in utility, which assist dial in simply the correct amount of tightness. As soon as you have acquired all the things sorted the laces could be saved neatly inside a band positioned on the tongue.
From a efficiency perspective, the 7 Lace footwear will not be a lot completely different to any of its S-Works siblings I’ve examined earlier than. After all, the only real is tremendous inflexible and gives a stable reference to the pedal platform however there’s extra to a biking shoe than stiffness index. One of many standout attributes on this regard is the padlock heel cup which helps stabilise the foot on the up stroke of the pedalling arc. Over time biking footwear can develop a crease behind the shoe when the heel space collapses below extra load, and this will create a weak level within the system. The padlock answer has proved to enhance energy supply and ensured a extra balanced pedal stroke. And it really works.
I have been utilizing these footwear for the previous three months in a wide range of circumstances they usually’ve dealt with all of it impressively. The air flow of the Dyneema mesh materials works a deal with in hotter temperatures however nonetheless manages to successfully regulate issues when it is colder, too. Whereas most of my testing has been performed exterior, I’ve spent a while on the sensible coach to determine how they deal with warmth constructed up in a static surroundings and even on this setting, they didn’t trigger any hotspots or discomfort. Total, the match is nice. Not solely is there a roomy toe field up entrance but in addition sufficient house on the perimeters which ought to discover favour with these with broad toes.
The Specialised S-Works 7 Lace footwear will not be for everybody and the shortage of on-the-fly micro-adjustability means these kicks will not discover favour with all cyclists, particularly the diehard racers amongst us. That stated, there’s all the time room for lace-ups in my biking shoe assortment as they provide a traditional look coupled with modern light-weight attributes, to not point out spectacular all-around efficiency.
At £300 / $325, they are not what you’d label as reasonably priced both, however are considerably cheaper than any of their S-Works stablemates. What I like about these footwear is the flexibility – they will do all the things from the membership espresso experience and full-throttle chain gang session to a hill climb – effectively, when you get the lacing retention balanced. Once you do, they’re simply good and, for probably the most half, as efficient as their Boa-equipped siblings.
Tech Specs: Specialised S-Works 7 Lace street footwear
- Value: £300 / $325
- Sizes: 36-49 (EU)
- Weight: 212g (precise per shoe, dimension 42 with out cleats)
- Outsole: Reality Powerline carbon (Stiffness Index 15)
- Retention: Lace
- Colors: 3 (White, Black, Vivid Coral)