Specialized’s new Recon Lace will leave everyone asking ‘what shoes are those’, apparently

New top-flight gravel-specific shoe from Specialized

They aren’t the first, and they won’t be the last, but Specialized has a new gravel shoe, the S-Works Recon Lace.


They’re an addition to the Recon line, which already includes Velcro, single-Boa and double-Boa closure variants, and are aimed at gravel riders who want a ‘timeless’ look and believe that the lace closure provides the greatest flexibility and fit on offer.

Specialized Recon Lace
The S-Works Recon Lace is the latest top-end shoe from Specialized.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The shoes have a carbon sole and include all of Specialized’s Body Geometry features, which aim to properly align feet, knee and hip joints for a more efficient, comfortable ride.

Specialized S-Works Recon Lace details

Starting from the bottom, Specialized’s S-Works Recon Lace gets the same carbon outsole as the Boa-closure S-Works Recon, which has a stiffness rating of 13.0 on the brand’s scale.

What this means, without a given industry-wide scale of stiffness, is that the shoes are really, really stiff – basically top-end road race stiffness. This, in theory, means excellent power transfer to the pedals with no flex from the sole robbing energy.

The sole has a woven carbon outer layer, which is said to protect it from impacts, and is decked out with TPU lugs covered in Specialized’s ‘SlipNot’ rubber, to give grip when you inevitably have to push the bike up or down muddy slopes. They also provide a bit of guidance and stability around the pedals. Toe spikes can be added for the muckiest of conditions.

Both the toe and heel areas get some additional protection from rock and log strikes, though the rest of the upper is lightweight and well ventilated.

It’s constructed from welded mesh/TPU and Dyneema (which we saw most recently on the Specialized S-Works Exos shoes). Specialized says that these materials mean the upper is soft and flexible, adding comfort, but won’t stretch.

If you like an acronym, well, Specialized calls its closure system L.A.C.E. or Laterally Adjustable Closure Engineering… or laces.

So, why laces? Specialized says that this gives riders the ability to perfectly hone the fit of the shoe across the foot for greater flexibility with the position of lace tension over the foot.

Each side of the lace closure has six threading holes, with the top four – those most likely to frequently see the lace moving through them as the shoe is tightened or loosened – receiving reinforcing eyelets.

Specialized lace
The details count.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

As mentioned, the S-Works Recon Lace receives the Body Geometry treatment. This consists of three main features.

The ‘Longitudinal Arch’ is built into the outsole to prevent arch collapse. This can be paired with customiseable footbeds to provide additional, custom-shaped support for your foot.

There’s a 1.5mm Varus Wedge, which raises the inside edge of the foot. This gives better knee and hip alignment, which Specialized claims can improve power output and can add an average of 10 seconds to your time to exhaustion during maximal efforts

Specialized Body Geometry sole
Specialized’s Body Geometry certainly seems to make for a comfortable shoe, in our experience.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Finally, there’s the Metatarsal Button. This lifts and separates the bones of the forefoot, which is said to reduce hot spots and numbness by improving blood flow and reduce the compression of nerves.

We rather like this 'Aloha' colour option.
We rather like this ‘Aloha’ colour option.

Specialized S-Works Recon Lace availability, pricing and weight

Oak Green, Black and ‘Aloha’ colours should be available now, with White arriving in late September.

Shoes will be priced at £300 / €330 / $325.


Our size 44 shoes come in at 608g for the pair, not including cleats.