The Specialized S-works 6 Road Shoe, the latest of the Specialized range, we put this top end race shoe to the test across a range of disciplines. The lightest, stiffest shoe the Californian company has made yet. It does everything we expect it to if you can see past the hefty price tag.
It’s no secret that when re-designing the seasonal wardrobe, shoes are one of the items regularly changed. Directly transferring the power from the legs through the pedals, performance is high on the priority list whilst picking your new shoes. Although comfort mustn’t be overlooked. Long days in the saddle are made much easier with a gentle, agreeable fit.
Specialized are describing this next generation S-Works 6 shoe with two simple phrases—explosive speed and superior comfort. They’re saying that the speed is as a direct result of great fit and better connection. So it delivers more efficiency and power to the pedal. They insist the S-Works 6 is more than just a shoe. It allows you and your bike to work seamlessly together with maximum efficiency.
The shoes feature a new FACT Powerline one-piece carbon fibre sole. A complete redesign from the previous S-Works shoes. The profile is lower, so less stack height, and the heel is adapted to offer better support for the back of the foot. With a new PadLock heel – a moulded heel cup for reinforcement at the back. There’s no heel lift at all.
The new Dyneema Cubic Light fabric, a fancy name for occasional use at a cafe stop, comes with directional fibres are thermo bonded and strategically placed within the shoe to create ‘no stretch zones’. This is to improve the transfer of energy from legs to pedals when you’re hammering the watts. It only appears through the mid section, with barely any stretch providing a solid base where it needs to, allowing maximum pedalling efficiency. The rest of the one-piece upper is made from a perforated synthetic microfibre with a plethora of ventilation allowing the foot to breathe.
Out of the Box:
First impressions of the S-works 6 shoe don’t disappoint. Sleek, shiny & designed for a more classical look. The aesthetics of this shoe are definitely an improvement. You have a choice of 4 colour schemes to match most outfits, black or white seem the go tos. The sleek construction looks fantastic, you won’t want to hide these away with over shoes.
These aesthetics are slightly over done when putting the shoe on. Due to the newly aggressive external heel counter, the S-works 6 are tricky to slide on over the foot. Paired with the lack of quick-release on the Boa S2 Snap cable reels, Specialized certainly haven’t made this easy. Not ideal for any of you tri lovers trying to slide through a quick transition. Despite the fact the Boa S2 snap cable reels offer far more micro-adjustability than the majority of road shoes.
An early feel suggests heat customization isn’t needed in these shoes as they were snug but not too tight. Very light at 448g per pair (size 42), they barely felt like they were there, although for the best part of £300 you don’t expect a heavy ride. They can be used with the majority of cleat selections, as you also presume.
On to the bike:
Although it has to be said, once out on the road this shoe really performs. The sleek design hugs the foot and can be paired with Specialized Bodygeometry Sl Footbeds. This lets riders with any foot composition jump straight in. The already built in arch support and forefoot varus wedge supports the inside of the foot keeping the knees aligned and the glutes engaged. That being said, it would be nice if these didn’t come with an additional price tag.
Comfortable from the offset with fantastic power transfer, this road shoe is as responsive as it is powerful. Responding to bursts with incredible efficiency, we trialed the shoes for 4 hours with no discomfort or added issues. This lack of ‘break in’ time is very rare for a road shoe straight from the box. The pedal contact through the base of the S-works 6 was phenomenal. The shoe hugs the pedals and the foot allowing concentration to be entirely on the movement of the legs and not worrying about any slip and lost power transfer.
Comfort can be adapted out on the road with easy changes of the tightness of the shoe. This is where the Boa S2 Snap cable reels come in really handy. The ability to loosen the shoe slightly at the end of a long ride can come in helpful for those that begin to feel discomfort. The weight of the shoe was really noticed here, allowing a very smooth pedaling motion. It doesn’t really get much more effortless.
Air flow through the shoe is poor despite the large number of holes in the bottom and the large vent. Although the feet are kept dry and aired even when out riding in 28 degree heat in the south of France. The vent asks questions of the shoes performance through the winter months as the feet certainly wouldn’t remain dry. Although the Specialized defroster shoe is more suited.
A clear thoroughbred race shoe straight out of the concept store, we can’t ask for any more from the S-works 6. Despite struggling to get them on at the outset, they excelled through all the others area of testing.
By far one of the best shoes we’ve ever ridden and a real favourite amongst Cycle Store staff. Comfortable hugging the foot whilst keeping the optimum optimum power transfer, the only striking flaw we could see is the hefty £280 price tag. They’re definitely not on the cheap side.
- Body Geometry sole and footbed are ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and reduce chance of injury by optimizing hip, knee, and foot alignment.
- Our stiffest and lightest FACT Powerline™ (patent pending) carbon plate to maximize power transfer: Stiffness Index 13.0.
- Dyneema® Cubic Tech™ directional fibers are thermo-bonded to create no stretch zones for ultimate connection.
- Independent Boa® S2-Snap dials for on-the-fly micro-adjustment, backed by the Boa® Lifetime Guarantee.
- PadLock™ molded heel and one-piece stroble upper for superior fit.
- Titanium alloy cleat nuts can rotate to position pedal/cleats 5mm rearward.
- Non-slip, replaceable heel tread with internally recessed screws for security.
- Form Fit last with roomy toe box for ultimate connectivity and comfort.
- Three-bolt cleat pattern fits all major road pedals.
- Approximate weight: 224g (1/2 pair, size 42)