Though overshadowed by the release of the Specialized S-Works mirror saddle, the new S-works vent road shoes are the latest footwear to come out of the Californian design lab. Whether it’s a sweltering climb at the Vuelta or a toasty afternoon in your hometown, Specialized developed the S-Works 7 Vent to keep you comfortable on even the hottest days.
Though almost identical to the s-works 7 road shoe to look at, the S-works 7 vent comes with new features like the Vented Mouthport toe box and an all-new engineered mesh upper. The S-Works 7 Vent delivers exceptional ventilation and aides in sweat evaporation.
Pair that with World-Tour-proven features like our Body Geometry Longitudinal Arch, Varus Wedge, and personalized insoles with a Metatarsal Button, the PadLock™ heel, a FACT Powerline™ carbon outsole, and machined alloy BOA® S3-Snap dials, and you’re set for any ride or race, no matter how high the mercury rises.
The key to more comfort, less injuries, and higher power output comes from our ergonomically designed, scientifically tested Body Geometry Features—Longitudinal Arch, Varus Wedge, and personalized insoles with a Metatarsal Button. When used in harmony, these three features align the hip, foot, and knee, while also limiting medial/lateral knee movement and maintaining good circulation down to your toes.
The Vented Mouthport toe box pulls air in through the front of the shoe and channels it around your feet, while the entire-new, engineered mesh upper and tongue let that air flow freely throughout the shoe—aiding in both cooling and sweat evaporation. Along with the engineered mesh in the upper, Specialized added a layer of Dyneema® Mesh to keep strong-hold of your foot, ensuring pro-proven power transfer.
The space-grade Dyneema material used through the upper is claimed to be 15 times stronger than steel. This stops any stretch through the shoe and leaves a very durable exterior. It’s clear that Specialized truly are backing the motto “every watt is sacred”.
Specialized have utilized the same 66-gram FACT Powerline™ carbon outsole found in our EXOS line. With its mesh-covered ventilation holes, the sole furthers the shoe’s cooling properties, all while dropping weight to 230 grams (1/2 pair, Size 42).
For power transfer, our PadLock™ heel construction cradles the heel to ensure optimal power transfer. In fact, it’s been scientifically-proven to improve acceleration. Pair that with two independent, alloy BOA® S3-Snap dials backed by the BOA® Lifetime Guarantee, and you can fine-tune your level of foot-hold on-the-fly.
Titanium alloy cleat nuts can rotate to position pedal/cleats 5mm rearward give you plenty of flexibility to set up and fit the shoe exactly as you wish. The classic three-bolt cleat pattern fits all major road pedals.
With regard to the fit of the S-works 7 vent, Specialized have kept all the functionality we loved in the S-works 6 and normal 7. The Longitudinal Arch, Varus Wedge, and Metatarsal Button all remain. 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. They support the inside of the foot keeping the knees aligned and the glutes engaged.
The seams that are bonded together, rather than sewn, cleaning up the lines and contouring to the foot giving the new design a new and improved aesthetic. The custom CNC’d alloy BOA® dials also add some panache, but they also feature durable spring clutch internals and precise, one-millimeter micro-adjustments that let you perfectly dial in your fit.
Out of the Box:
The S-Works 7 vent padlock heel allows the shoe to slip onto the foot much easier than the aggressive heel counter found in the 6. The toe box comes with plenty of room, if you through the 6 was slightly limiting, the 7 has fixed the issues. The Dyneema material has a little play along the inside offering an extra level of comfort that wasn’t previously seen.
The shoes certainly feel snug exactly the same as the original 7, and only £25 more than the current RRP. Though we’re not convinced the S-Works 7 vent is designed for the British weather. Rain showers will be straight through the vents as will the puddles left from the day before. Perfect for training camp or tie spent abroad, and the three days a year we get sun in the UK.
On to the Bike:
The S-works 7 vent certainly don’t lose any power when you press down on the pedals. It’s great to see the sole of the Exos come across for the ultimate power transfer. The sole of the shoe feels incredibly stiff and there’s absolutely no watts lost. From start to finish we felt like we could go at the pedals and the shoe just wouldn’t budge.
As with the original S-Works 7, extra tightness in the dials makes the shoe feel very close to the foot. We often found the s-works 6 to have pinch points so never fully tightened the dials, that’s an issue that’s been completely redesigned in the 7 and stayed. The newly revised tongue and upper aesthetic hugs the shoe closely giving the perfect medium where comfort meets power.
Specialized have taken the S-Works 7 up a notch. Though not on the same performance level of the exos, this shoe will be fantastic for the warmer climates. Plenty of ventilation and exceptional power transfer, though only £100 cheaper than the Exos. It’s hard to see the S-Works 7 vent taking front and centre in the s-works shoe line, especially in the UK climate.