Specialized designed its Recon Mixed Terrain to be a comfortable lace-up shoe that can handle the rigors of gravel-road bike riding, where Lycra-clad roadies slap a pair of knobbies on their drop-bar bikes and head for dirt roads and gravel trails. We don’t cover road bike gear in this magazine; however, we felt we could hijack these shoes because they work so well for the mountain bike crowd too. The Recon Mixed Terrain is a classically styled shoe with all the amenities we’d look for in any mountain bike shoe, and so we laced a pair up and headed to the trailhead.
The Recon Mixed Terrain is a lace-up shoe with a synthetic leather upper and a low profile. The shoe features a carbon/composite sole for stiffness, a soft rubber sole with plenty of lugs for traction and a Body Geometry footbed for comfort. It also features a Lacelock elastic to keep the laces away from the drivetrain and molded toe-box protection should you stub your toe on a rock at high speed. The shoe’s low-profile design is also fitted with a 3M reflective collar for visibility and is compatible with all SPD-style cleats. The Recon Mixed Terrain shoes sell for $225 and are available through any Specialized dealer. Our pair of size-45 shoes tipped the scales at 843 grams with cleats mounted.
On the trail:
The Recon Mixed Terrain brings the best aspects of a road shoe to the trail with a lightweight construction and ultra-stiff sole to transfer power. The shoe is impressively rugged and durable and has no qualms about being used as a dedicated mountain bike shoe. The rubber lugs are sticky and effective on hike-a-bike sections, although that ultra-stiff sole prefers to be used for pedaling rather than walking. The fit is impressively comfort- able, with a snug forefoot and roomy toe box. We were further impressed with the fit when the laces proved to be stretch-proof; we never had to re-lace the shoes mid-ride. Furthermore, the Lacelock system keeps the laces out of the way, making these shoes a viable alternative to almost all other lightweight shoes that use a buckle or BOA closure system.
The Recon Mixed Terrain offers a fine balance of performance and classic styling that cross-country and trail riders will love. The shoes may look low tech, but that’s exactly the point. We could see this shoe being a favorite for a huge cross section of riders—from bikepacking adventure seekers to casual trail riders to serious cross-country racers looking for something different from the typical, flashy, buckle-and-Velcro wonder shoe. The fit is comfortable, the styling is spot-on and unique, and the shoes proved durable for trail riding of all kinds.
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