Specialized S-works Ares Road Shoes Review – Ready for Battle


With the release of the S-Works Exos in 2019, Specialized are taking the game up another gear with the all new Specialized S-Works Ares. Pitched as the fastest road shoe ever made, developed entirely around the Specialized sprint riders. Though Specialized believe it’s the all round road shoe, to complete the collection of four top models.

Finish line, town line, throw down, any time. Specialized designed the S-Works Ares to be the most efficient and powerful performance shoe ever made. Decades of Body Geometry development met obsessive innovation working with the best athletes in the world to reimagine the race shoe. It’s 1% faster than any shoe they’ve ever made before, and at the finish line, that’s all that matters.


The Shoe

The S-Works Ares certainly look the part. Named after the Greek god of war, or more properly, the spirit of battle. That’s certainly what they are. Layers of various materials make up a tongueless sock lined inner made from 3mm air mesh fabric and varying layers of rigid outer, ready for when the time comes to lay it down. Four different colour schemes complete the aesthetic.

When the moment comes for an attack in the hills, a long solo move, or a full gas sprint for the line, every watt counts, which is why Specialized designed the S-Works Ares to be the most efficient and powerful performance shoe ever made. Specialized combined decades of Body Geometry development with obsessive innovation working with the world’s best athletes to completely reimagine the race shoe.


The Technology

An entirely new, patent-pending closure system, Dyneema®-reinforced tongueless sock, and ultra-stiff FACT Powerline™ carbon outsole eliminate foot roll, reduce pressure on tendons, and transfer every ounce of power to the pedals for unprecedented performance and comfort in the S-Works Ares.

Specialized’s entire goal with the S-Works Ares was to maximise comfort but increase performance along the way. One of the main areas for improvement were the hot spots across the top of the foot. By removing the tongue and adding the overlapping materials, the new design reduces pain even when the shoe is fully tightened.

This is helped by the new Boa dial design on the S-Works Ares. The Boa dials of the S-Works 7 pull the cables from one side, whereas the new Li2 dials pull both cables simultaneously. This helps spread the pressure across the top of the foot.


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 personalised 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 stiffest and lightest FACT Powerline™ carbon plate maximizes power transfer: Stiffness Index 15. That’s certainly the stiffest they’ve made yet, though we’ll have to wait to see just if that can translate through to power on the world tour level.

The Verdict

These shoes really are world class. Light, stiff and comfy, but as always premium products come at a premium price. If you can see past the price tag we’d definitely recommend trying to get your hands on a pair!


  • 94%
    Value - 94%
  • 99%
    Performance - 99%
  • 99%
    Durability - 99%
  • 98%
    Aesthetic - 98%