I was really excited to hear that Specialized was going to release a new and fresh new pair of shoes, the S-Works 6 in 2016 and couldn’t wait to get my hot little hands on a pair!
I’ve been wearing the Specialized S-Works road shoe for a couple of years now, in fact, I have owned three pairs over the past three years. I have been wearing them daily and have been put through all conditions. They have been through easily 1000 hours of use, torrential rain, freezing cold, scorching heat, intense racing, easy commuting…and you name it, I’ve done it in these shoes.
Ultimately they are the most comfortable cycling shoe that I’ve worn, they held their shape and colour, remained super stiff, didn’t cause me any pressure points or discomfort and the Boas remained tight. In general, the shoes were just really comfortable to wear even, after 12 months of solid use, which is quite rare.
It is probably no surprise that I with such wear, I have grown to know these shoes quite well and I had a few niggles in the back of my mind that I thought could be improved old to new. For example, on the 2015 S-Works shoe, the tongue would occasionally fold over if I wasn’t careful to straighten it out, the heel lugs were prone to wear off quickly, the heel area could have had a little more support and the toe area was a little tight at first. Now, this was just me being picky after wearing them, a lot!
To my surprise, everything that I thought could have been improved in the new model had been just that, improved! I noticed the changes straight out of the box, I felt like cinderella, the shoe certainly fit! Straight up, we had a new colour way for 2016, crisp white with grey and black panels make the shoe very easy on the eye. Also, a great colour to match with any kit, or sock for that matter.
The tongue has been redesigned, to fit the curve around the top of your foot. This eliminated the ‘fold over’ that I mentioned earlier.The new tongue fits and molds snugly around the top of your foot, even when the Boas are at their tightest.
To my annoyance, the little heel lugs on the old model were prone to wear off, or at least they were for me (maybe I did too much walking around the coffee shop and not enough cycling). The S-Works 6 lugs are a different shape and appear as though they won’t wear so easily…They are made of one piece of plastic. Again, like the old model, the new lugs are again fully replaceable, just in case! I’ve worn my shoes for almost three months now, with no signs of wear, hooray!
The heel area on the S-Works 6 is totally different, it is made from a single piece of molded plastic, which hugs your heel and locks it in place. This improves feel of the shoe on your foot, no slipping, sliding and definitely no fabric stretch happening here. No stretch and movement is also better for power transfer into your pedals. Extra watts = bonus.
The toe box area has been improved too, it is heaps more roomy. I can comfortably wiggle my toes around without touching the top! When comparing the shoes side by side, you can immediately see the difference in the toe area. The S-Works 6 are much higher and a different shape, designed to comfortably accommodate my stumpy toes.
I’m completely in love with these shoes. I’m super impressed that the little niggles that I experienced with the old model shoes had been improved, I’m going to struggle to find fault even after I put in 1000 hours. Never underestimate the importance of shoes in performance and comfort when cycling. Invest in a good pair that fits you well, getting specific orthotics or foot beds can help too. Credit to Specialized because there has been some very specific research and development in the production of these shoes, great to see that improvements have been made!
Now, go out and get yourself a pair.
You can read all about them on the Specialized website here and get yourself a pair at your nearest Specialized dealer!
Shoe size: 37EU
Foot width: Normal
Food bed: Green