Shoes are often overlooked by riders, as many would rather put their hard-earned cash into upgrading their bikes rather than purchasing a new pair of kicks. While we happily condone new bits and components for your bike, we believe upgrading your shoes is just as valuable to your overall riding experience. Specialized knows this to be true, and that’s why it went the extra mile when developing the new S-Works Recon shoe. Our test crew decided to put these premium cross-country shoes through the wringer to see if it is really possible to step into performance.

Tech features: Specialized takes great pride in its Body Geometry products that use the power of science to validate design. The Recon shoes show attention to detail throughout, starting with custom, CNC-machined, alloy Boa dials that offer a quality tactile feel as soon as you tension these shoes to your feet. Specialized then added FACT carbon plates to minimize weight and maximize stiffness. A Padlock heel construction, along with non-stretch materials, was used to help keep riders’feet secure and comfortable. The shoes were then topped off with a SlipNot rubber heel and toe tread along with removable toe studs to ensure off-the-bike traction in the nastiest conditions. These high-end shoes drive a premium price of $425, but at 601 grams for the pair and a dialed finish, you get what you pay for.

Field test results: We were lucky enough to test our shoes in a wide variety of conditions, from our familiar dusty trails to some muddier trails further from home base. Our test shoes were predominately used with Shimano XT pedals and offered a predictable connection throughout our testing. The independent Boa dials, along with Velcro toe straps, allowed for micro-adjustments and provided comfort right out of the box. In fact, this came as a bit of a surprise, considering many XC-oriented shoes require a proper break-in period before they begin to get comfortable. This was far from the case with the S-Work Recons. The combination of a roomy toe box and a secure hold on our heels provided long-lasting comfort throughout our rides. Trail riders might want to lean towards a burlier shoe with more protection, but those looking for a true cross-country shoe will likely find the Recons offer everything they’re looking for. At the end of the day, our testers could only poke holes in the premium price tag. That said, these shoes provide stiffness and power to each pedal and would be a worthy upgrade to your gear bag.


  • Stiff soles transfer power well
  • Lightweight feel
  • Custom Boa dials are rad


  • Come with a premium price
  • Only suited to passionate XC racers Star


specialized s-works recon shoes


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