Specialized has launched the latest shoes in its Recon off-road range – the updated S-Works Recon and the all-new Recon ADV. The S-Works Recon will cost £385 while the Recon ADVs come in at £200.
Previously focussed more on cyclocross, the new Recons are being aimed at the gravel market, with Specialized promising to bring ‘road speed to gravel grit’.
The changes to the S-Works Recon are heavily informed by Specialized’s Torch road shoes, which introduced a wider fit to the brand’s standard shoe shape, as well as an asymmetric heel cup, dual Boa dials and ‘Zoned Reinforcement’ in the upper.
However, the new S-Works Recons blend off-road specific features into the mix too, with extra provisions that the brand says ensure the shoes don’t compromise on fit or adjustment.
The new Recon ADVs introduce a more budget-friendly tier to the Recon range, aiming to marry all-day comfort with off-road performance with features such as ‘Stride’ toe-flex technology and a TPU mudguard layer.
Both shoes are now available from Specialized, though the new wide fit S-Works in not currently available in the UK.
Specialized says it used data from over 100,000 foot scans to inform its change to a wider sole plate on the S-Works Recon shoes, which is this iteration’s most notable update and generally governs the rest of the tweaks.
The change will be applied to the standard size, making it 4mm wider than the outgoing plate, but the brand will also offer a wide fit too, which is 4mm wider again than the new standard fit. The wide version is not currently available in the UK and Specialized has yet to disclose when or if it will be.
The shoes will continue to use the brand’s Body Geometry technology, with fit features such as the varus wedge that tilts the foot outward, a longitudinal arch and the metatarsal button, which Specialized says helps keep the foot in an optimal pedalling position while improving comfort.
New for this model, the S-Works Recon now comes with ‘pontoon shims’. The pontoon is defined by Specialized as the rubber strip either side of the cleat that provides a stable platform on the pedal body when clipped in.
If cleat shims are fitted to account for different leg lengths, the pontoons no longer make contact with the pedal body, reducing the overall pedalling stability, according to the brand.
Therefore Specialized will also offer pontoon shims, that increase the height of the pontoons, to work in conjunction with cleat shims to allow riders to apply their respective bike fits while maintaining the shoe’s stability on the pedal.
The pontoon shims are available in 3mm, 6mm or 9mm and cleat stackers – read: cleat spacers – are also available through the Specialized Rider Care program.
Like the Torch, the new S-Works Recon uses an asymmetrical heel counter – the plastic cup that supports the ankle – to allow for a lower shoe collar. The heel counter has been reduced on the outside of the shoe, which allowed for the outer part of the collar to be lowered, minimising the risk of ankle rub.
Following the update to the S-Works road shoes, the S-Works Recon now also has the latest Boa S3 dials, which Specialized says removed the need for a toe strap thanks to the improved fit and security their placement and cable path offers.
The upper the dials attach to varies in thickness, a feature that Specialized calls ‘Zoned Reinforcement’, which means that more material has been added to reinforce stress areas where the shoe pulls against the foot.
At 280g for a size 42, the new S-Works Recon is a claimed 10g heavier than its predecessor, and comes in at £385.
The brand new Recon ADV is an all-day adventure shoe, entering the Recon range below the existing S-Works Recon Lace Gravel. Though by no means cheap – £200 a pair – the Recon ADV offers a more affordable entry-point into Specialized’s off-road range.
As with the S-Works, the ADV uses Body Geometry technology, but builds on the shoes’ all-round usability with ‘Stride’ toe-flex technology, which the brand claims allows improved flex on steep inclines and while walking.
The feature means the carbon sole flexes more towards the end of the shoe, which Specialized says allows for more forefoot walking traction.
A TPU mudguard, a layer between the sole and the upper previously seen on the likes of the Exos Evo MTB shoe, has been added to give protection from scuffs and stone strikes, while the durometer of the SlipNot rubber tread has been bolstered for to make it harder wearing.
The upper has been laser-perforated for breathability and uses microfibre, which Specialized says improves moisture-wicking and a softer feel.
For more information, go to Specialized.