The Specialized Recon is aimed at riders who switch from paved to gravel and say "yes please" to the rough stuff. Mixing classic design with comfort, performance and durability, the Recon shines at nearly all aspects of gravel riding.
The grippy SlipNot rubber outsole and replaceable threaded toe studs provide traction for the inevitable dismounts. At the same time, the FACT carbon sole offers the stiffness you’ve come to expect from your usual road shoes.
Although both of these aspects are executed well individually, we found it a little contradictory in practice. Scrambling up a steep incline was manageable with the grip, but it was challenging not being able to bend your feet.
The laces are easily stowed with an elastic loop, but do take a few minutes to get the fit right
The laced design offers a secure fit for everyone and can easily be stowed with an elastic loop mid way down the shoe. However, it does take some time to get the fit right – so be prepared to spend some minutes adjusting the laces to begin with. Once comfortable though, the non-stretch laces do work. Combined with Body Geometry sole and footbed, the Recon ensure all day comfort.
Breathability has also been taken into account with large mesh sections near the toes, however these are great for letting in water when splashing through puddles or fords and the Recon take their time to drain, which on a colder day isn’t ideal.
Replaceable toe studs boost grip when scrambling up a hillside
The classic looks do work, but we find the black version a little uninspiring. Thankfully, Specialized have also made the Recon available in bright ‘orange fade’ and 'yellow curry'. Although very heavy at 719g for a pair of size 43, the Recon is a shoe we’ll come back to year after year for those epic adventure rides.