Specialized’s highly rated and deservedly popular entry-level road shoes had a major makeover for 2020.
They have lost their three-Velcro-strap closure system and said goodbye to their commuter-friendly two-point cleat fitting. At the same time, they’ve gained a Boa L6 dial and cord for micro-adjustments and shed about a claimed 50g a pair.
Specialized has also kept a lot of what made the Torch so popular. The injection-moulded nylon composite sole is still reasonably, if not excessively, stiff.
Measuring six on Specialized’s 13-point stiffness index, it balances rigidity and comfort well, but if you’re after something stiffer from Specialized, you’ll have to look further up the Torch range.
There is a single sole vent at the toe, similar in position to that on Specialized’s S-Works shoes, and if it’s good enough for the pros, the rest of us should manage.
A reasonably sized rubber heel bumper and toe support aid walking, while raised markings on the sole help with cleat placement.
Part of the Torch’s comfort is down to the Body Geometry insoles and footbeds, which are “scientifically tested to boost power… and reduce the chance of injury”.
Yes, it is a bold claim, but these really are a superbly comfortable pair of ride-all-day road shoes at a reasonable weight (530g in my size 42), and with perforated uppers and a well-padded and perforated tongue.
Sizing tends towards the generous, the toebox is quite spacious and there’s ample padding at the heel. But it is a shame for commuter and leisure riders that these Torches have lost their SPD compatibility.