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The Specialized S-Works 7 Lace is the long-awaited alternative to the Boa-dial original

Specialized introduces another derivation of its top-tier S-Works 7 shoe, and it might just be the most popular yet

Specialized S-Works 7 Lace road cycling shoe

Specialized has released the new S-Works 7 Lace shoe. It has many of the same technologies and features as the brand’s popular S-Works 7 shoe, but uses a lace-closure system instead of the regular model’s Boa dials.

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Specialized says the addition of laces creates extra suppleness and adaptability in an otherwise uncompromisingly racy shoe design.

While still at the top end of the cycling shoes market, the inclusion of laces drops the price significantly from the existing S-Works 7 shoe. The S-Works 7 Lace will retail at £300, some £70 cheaper than the shoe it’s based on. Retail prices in other territories are yet to be confirmed.

The S-Works 7 Vent was the first spin-off of the original S-Works 7 shoe and was designed primarily for hot weather conditions and indoor training.

It is more expensive again than the new Lace model, costing £399.

The S-Works 7’s predecessor, the Sub6, was a popular shoe. This one is likely to be equally well received.
Sam Challis / Immediate Media

The switch to laces also makes the S-Works 7 Lace the lightest shoe in the S-Works 7 family.

A pair of size 43s weighs 458g, which is 20g lighter than the original design and 40g lighter than the S-Works 7 Vents in the same size.

The same, but different

Closure system aside, the S-Works 7 Lace is essentially the same as the original S-Works 7 shoe in design.

It uses the same Powerline carbon sole, which tops Specialized’s arbitrary stiffness index with a score of 15, the same Padlock heel cup and a similar engineered mesh, no-stretch upper.

The Lace’s construction is much the same as the Boa-equipped original, using the same Padlock heel cup feature.
Sam Challis / Immediate Media

Specialized says it uses this material in varying quantities in the uppers of all its top-end shoes because of its flexibility, yet resistance to stretch, and durable nature.

In the S-Works Lace, the upper is cut such that the laces can offer 12 separate points of tension adjustment across the rider’s midfoot.

The Lace’s Powerline carbon sole is unwaveringly stiff.
Sam Challis / Immediate Media

Specialized says this should help the shoe accommodate a wider range of foot shapes, as well as making the upper more supple.

According to the brand, the removal of all the plastic hardware necessary to situate Boa dials on the regular S-Works 7 and S-Works 7 Vent shoes improves comfort levels, as well as helping the shoe to come in lighter than its Boa-equipped brothers.

Better late than never

For fans of Specialized, the introduction of a lace alternative to the regular S-Works 7 shoe has been a long time coming, given that the brand’s Sub6 lace alternative to the S-Works 6 design was so popular and arrived at the same time as the regular option.

The shoe’s heel bumper is replaceable, which is a nicely practical touch.
Sam Challis / Immediate Media

Nonetheless, the recent introduction of Specialized’s S-Works Recon Lace gravel shoe was a clue that a Lace option may soon be available for the Recon’s road-going counterpart.

It could be said that Specialized introducing yet another premium shoe design leaves its range looking somewhat top-heavy, with the brand now boasting five separate road shoe options over £300.

The generously long laces are kept tidy with a tongue-mounted elastic loop.
Sam Challis / Immediate Media

Admittedly, the classic appeal of a lace-up shoe is different to the strict performance orientation of the S-Works 7’s previous derivations.

The marketing material accompanying the launch of the S-Works 7 Lace shoes certainly seems to support this notion. Riders could be seen on Specialized’s Aethos rather than its racy Tarmac.

Specialized says, that each of its top end shoes caters for a slightly different niche, and if a customer is willing to spend that kind of money on a cycling shoe, they need to have the choice to find the perfect option for them.

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that given the popularity of Specialized’s last top-tier lace-up road shoe, as well as the purported comfort benefits of this latest Lace design, the brand’s logic in this case won’t be scoffed at.

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The all-white design is beautifully clean.
Sam Challis / Immediate Media

Specialized S-Works 7 Lace specs and prices

  • Weight: 458g (size 43, pair)
  • Closure system: Laces
  • Sole stiffness: 15
  • Cleat compatibility: 3-bolt
  • Replaceable heel/toe bumpers: Yes/no
  • Colour options: White, black, coral
  • Price: £300, international pricing TBC