The Specialized S-works Trivent 2017 was a long anticipated shoe. The Californian marketing machine have really grasped hold of the triathlon world, working alongside a huge variety of the worlds best. Gwen Jorgenson, a younger Jan Frodeno, Melissa Hauschildt, Javier Gomez, Tim Don, Crowie, Ben Hoffman, the company can boast an absolute plethora of podiums from the Olympics and the ITU circuit, right up to the magical island of Ironman Kona.
The S-works Trivent is the cutting edge of the new S-works range. Updated from season to season to be right at the forefront of performance. Mixing cutting edge engineering and science, with careful aesthetics, they’ve really had a pop at creating the best possible all round shoe. And with the results CV the shoe has gained, it’s tricky to argue with. But the shoe doesn’t ride itself, you only have to glance at the specialized list to understand the exceptional talent the company cater for. It’s easy to appear top of your game when you’re plastered all over the best athletes the world has ever seen.
Specialized’s statement to join the Trivent is as follows. “When seconds count, you need a shoe that can get you through the transition quickly while offering maximum performance out on the road. Designed for elite-level competition, the S-Works Trivent is the most highly engineered triathlon shoe in the world.” But with a price tag of £274.99, it’s not at the cheap end of the scale. Especially when you’ll do the majority of your training in a “normal”, road shoe. But that’s a discussion to be had on another day.
Before we continue I do have to confess, I’m a real firm believer that road shoes are faster than tri shoes. However I was more than willing to put the differences aside to really get stuck into this review.
The Trivent features the revolutionary Tri-Specific Drawbridge closure system, which leaves the heel of the shoe ‘popped’ open and ready for entry in the transition, while the Launch Clip puts the shoe in the level position for the best flying start possible. Couple this with temperature-regulating construction, a stiff and efficient sole, and Body Geometry ergonomics for great fit and performance, and you’re one step closer to your best time ever.
The Body Geometry sole construction and footbed: ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to increase efficiency and reduce chance of injury. This works by optimizing hip, knee, and foot alignment. These are at the forefront of the shoe market and have been thoroughly designed to stop the niggles setting in.
An all new FACT™ 12.0 carbon sole uses high modulus, unidirectional carbon fibre and TorsionBox construction to optimize stiffness and weight. To add the this the weight of the shoe is kept down by two lightweight Boa® L4 closure system.
Specialized are claiming a smooth internal lining for “sockless” riding fit and comfort. Ideal for the short, high paced triathlon where seconds in transition really are imperative. Mix with this there’s an open tongue design for breathability and drying with toe Velcro® closure. We thought this might have a negative impact on the power output whilst using the shoes. The rest of the upper part of the shoe is made with water-resistant Micromatrix upper for supple comfort. The shoe tips the scales at approximately 280g for a single shoe at size 42.
Out of the Box:
Straight from the box the Trivent looks ready to perform. Only available in the slick black that specialized so often use for the S-Works range, we thought that more could have been done for the colour scheme of the shoe. Although with engineering right at the forefront of the design, this wasn’t the first thing on our mind.
If you’ve never ridden in tri shoes before, then they certainly feel different. Very aired to allow the foot to dry once out of the water, the comfort of the shoe is still right up there. The shoe is specifically designed to allow you to optimize the ease of the flying mount. So sitting on your kitchen floor putting the shoes on won’t really give a feel of what that’s like.
In my own personal experience, the specialized Trivent shoe makes this mount incredibly simple. The defining element is the drawbridge heel. The heel completely drops down so that your foot can slide right into the front of the shoe. Held in place by the two magnets on the back of the shoe, this makes for a very smooth transition, not found in any other shoe. No more faffing around trying to grab the heel to slide your foot in.
The BOA dial closure system hugs the foot and keeps you secure. One thing that is better than a traditional road shoe is the way the heel hugs the foot through the closure system. And the final result? The Trivent locks the foot in place more firmly than any other shoe on the market, although there is a slight bit of tug through the top of the foot. With absolutely no room for movement from the foot, it certainly feels secure.
Mixed with the Specialized SL footbeds the all round comfort and ergonomics off this shoe really are exceptional. The closure isn’t any quicker than a velcro shoe, but the microadjustability and security of the strap leave it’s velcro competitors with a lot to be desired. The Californian super giant are no strangers to the little details. Designing the shoe thoroughly and leaving no stone unturned.
Onto the Bike:
A very carefully placed notch on the inside of the shoe, called the ‘Launch Pad’, is designed to hold your shoes in place perfectly as you dash out of T1. The design has been thoroughly thought out from the moment you grab your bike, to the moment you leave it behind. And it really works. The whole ride feels smooth, efficient and powerful.
Granted, the power transfer isn’t quite as mechanical and perfect as it’s counter partner the S-works 6 road shoe. But is likely just down to personal preference. It’s stiff sole really holds it’s own as you hammer down through the pedals. Unsurprising as the sole is same used in its road based counter part. The shoe is incredibly responsive allowing you to really drop the watts at short notice with no flex at all. Ideal for the surges of a draft legal triathlon.
The ventilation in the shoe can really be noticed. Moisture leaves the shoe incredibly well, mixed with the air flow through the top of the foot we haven’t worn a shoe with better ventilation. You absolutely wouldn’t need to ride these shoes with socks. They’re clearly designed for the barefoot, speedy transition.
The way the heel or the Trivent supports the back of the foot is what really sets this shoe apart from it’s competition. It’s very rare to find a triathlon shoe that can hold it’s own against the majority of the road shoe market. A level of comfort and security that can help you through your race no matter whether you’re pushing the podium or just looking for that new PB, it’s ready to go.
If you can settle your own differences on the argument between a road vs triathlon shoe, then the S-works Trivent could absolutely work in your favour. Specialized have created a real thoroughbred race shoe, designed to do exactly what it says on the tin. The time saved through transition is phenomenal, mixed with the rock-solid connection from the foot through the pedals, it does the job. It comes with a heavy hit on the bank account, although that’s not rare from a top end performer. For anyone into short distance triathlon, trying to get onto the back of the next group up and hammer the watts while you’re there. The Trivent is the one.