Specialized's new 120 SL shoes are the hot rod of the trail boot world, combining tall ankle protection with minimal weight and a super-stiff pedal efficient carbon fibre sole. Specialized's Body Geometry shoes feature various cunning lumps and bumps with associated 'more speed, more comfort' claims to go alongside them.
These certainly fitted like our favourite shoes from the second we put them on and gave us no grief whatsoever despite their first ride being the 12 hour Dusk Til Dawn relay. The three lower straps give a secure but pressure point free fit and the upper wrap can be left loose if your ankle feels constricted. With only a few mesh sections high up and rubber bumper patches reinforcing the synthetic leather, they can take a fair amount of weather and rock rubbing in their stride. Plastic toe bumpers handle stubs too, and the very tall inside ankle gets a flexible rub protector to stop crank and chainstay knocks. Power transfer through the carbon sole is as good as any race shoe, and the combination of soft compound Umma Gumma rubber and optional toe studs is as grippy as you could want. Our only gripe - besides the colossal price, naturally - is that they wear out pretty fast if you walk on them a lot.