Sworks 7 Road Shoe Review
Specialized came out recently with the new 2018 Sworks 7 road shoe, and when the opportunity came up for me to purchase a pair, I couldn't let it pass by, especially with the limited edition Acid Red/Purple colorway showing up.
Although I was mostly happy with my 2017 lace-up Sworks Sub6 road shoes, there were a few things with those shoes that made me excited for the new ones:
- My lace-up shoes were incredibly difficult to get into - the heel cup was very stiff and narrow; it would get in the way of being able to get my forefoot into the shoe
- It felt like the synthetic leather material shrank a bit after a ride out in the rain. When my Sub6 shoes were new, the fit was pretty great. After a couple of months of use, though, I noticed my toes started to feel a bit jammed in the top of the toe box. Wasn't too happy with that, but was able to put up with it.
- The lace-up shoes have an elastic band on the tongue of the shoe to tuck the laces into - it started to rip about 9 months into wearing them. Wasn't stoked on that, considering these are expensive shoes
The new Sworks7 shoe has changed a good bit from the Sworks6 versions (lace-up & Boa):
- New Dyneema® Mesh Material feels closer to fabric
- top of the shoe more supple
- New Boa S3 Snap Dials (found only on the 7s)
- Elastic strap more supple and fastener feels more secure/exact
- Much more roomy toe box
- there definitely won't be any chance of my toes feeling jammed up in these shoes
- PadLock™ heel cup less aggressively stiff
- Doesn't dig into ankle bones
- Easier to get into and out of
- New carbon plate sole
- better shaping, which is supposed to reduce hot spots and provide stiffness in the proper locations
- higher stiffness - Index 15, the highest stiffness used to be 13 (Sworks 6)
My first ride impression:
I took these shoes out for the first time on our local shop Thursday Night Ride. It's a great time. We usually hold 17mph average or so, and there are plenty of times to get rowdy or challenge someone up a hill. :)
I felt like someone had put a motor in my feet. Honestly. I actually said that to someone on the ride. I definitely noticed the increase in stiffness, especially when we were hammering or standing up on a hill.
There's also a ton of air flow through the shoe, most likely thanks to more/larger perforations in the tongue. No hot feet this summer!
I really like the new PadLock™ heel design. Though I never had an issue with the old design while riding, I do know a bunch of cyclists that couldn't wear the shoes because of it. The one issue I did have with the old heel cup design was how challenging it was to just get my foot inside the shoe. That problem is completely resolved now.
With the new Dyneema® Mesh material, the reshaping of the outsole, the new Boas, and the new PadLock™ heel cup, Specialized has made a shoe that fits like a glove, but doesn't constrict your foot. I'm very pleased with this shoe and am quite excited to race with them this coming road season!
Kelly's Technical Info Sources: