Specialized's new flagship off-road shoe the Recon

Designed for serious gravel, cross-country and cyclocross riding

The new S-Works Recon shoe from Specialized is clearly designed for the off-road rider who’s main concern is power, efficiency and weight, with its sleek looks, carbon outsole, BOA fastening system and titanium alloy cleat nut.

The Recon is Specialized’s new flagship off-road race shoe and has been designed for gravel riding, cyclocross racing and cross-country mountain biking.

Stiff and sturdy sole

Unsurprisingly, the outsole is carbon, with a FACT carbon plate, which Specialized says maximises power transfer. It has a Stiffness Index of 13.0 and is designed expressly for mixed-terrain riding.

The base features tread constructed from Specialized's proprietary SlipNot rubber for added traction
The base features tread constructed from Specialized's proprietary SlipNot rubber for added traction

The heel and toe treads, which aren’t replaceable, use Specialized’s proprietary SlipNot rubber, which is also used in the its mountain bike shoe range. SlipNot rubber is designed to provide traction both on the pedal and on the ground, and a strip of this rubber extends up towards the midsole region for extra grip.

There is an additional section of tread at the ball of the foot too, on either side of the cleat area, as well as two removable toe studs

Finally, the shoes feature a two-bolt cleat pattern with titanium alloy cleat nuts that fit the majority of clipless MTB pedal systems.

Secure upper

Specialized has opted to use a Dyneema Mesh fabric in the construction of the upper. Dyneema is a trademarked fibre that can be formed into sheets, fibres or fabrics and has a range of useful features. It's also 30 percent lighter than nylon or polyester, 45 percent lighter than aramid and 15 times stronger than steel for equivalent weights, according the producers.

The Dyneema mesh is sandwiched between a four-way stretch mesh and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) to provide zonal support, with stretch-free areas where required for comfort and efficiency.

Specialized worked with BOA to create new alloy dials
Specialized worked with BOA to create new alloy dials

The heel construction, which has a noticeably stiffer outer material, is designed to cup the heel. Specialized calls this its ‘PadLock’ heel system and claims that it noticeably improves acceleration — presumably by ensuring minimal movement of the heel within the cup.

Conversely there is more room built into the toe box area for comfort, and anyone who rides off-road will be pleased to hear that there’s a protective bumper around the front of the toe to protect both the shoe itself and the toes within from impacts.

Bespoke BOA closure system

The BOA system is a familiar one on high-end road and certain off-road shoes. The dials allow for quick and fine fit adjustment, controlling the tension on the fine wire which runs across the top of the shoe.  

There are two BOA dials on the new Recon shoe, which are a new design created specifically for Specialized called the S3.

The dials are made from CNC’d alloy which helps to reduce weight on what can be a major source of mass on an otherwise lightweight shoes. This material also improves the longevity of the system, though they also come with a BOA lifetime guarantee.

A degree of cushioning on the inside of the tongue should help distribute the pressure from the BOA wires across the top of the foot.

The new S-Works Recon shoes are the flagship off-road shoes in Specialized's footwear lineup
The new S-Works Recon shoes are the flagship off-road shoes in Specialized's footwear lineup

Weight, price and availability

Specialized gives the Recon a claimed weight of 270g per show in a size EU42. The size EU45 / UK10.5 / US11.5 we've received came in at 334g per shoe on our scales, or 668g the pair.

The Recon is available in either black or red from Specialized direct, Specialized dealers and selected local bike shops and online retailers.

Sizes available range from EU36 to EU49.

RRP is £325 / $425 / AU$TBC.

Aoife Glass

Women's Cycling Editor
A mountain biker at heart, also drawn to the open road. Likes big long adventures in the mountains. Usually to be found in the Mendip Hills or the Somerset Levels in the UK. Passionate about women's cycling at all levels.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Rocky, rough and a long way from anywhere.
  • Current Bikes: Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2015, Juliana Furtado 2013, Canyon Roadlite AL
  • Dream Bike: Juliana Roubion, Liv Avail Advanced SL
  • Beer of Choice: Red wine for the win!
  • Location: Weston Super Mare, Somerset, UK

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