Specialized has today unveiled the S-Works EXOS 99 which at 99g per foot for a size 42 claims to be the lightest production road shoe ever made.
Limited to just 500 pairs (ever, according to Specialized), the EXOS 99 makes heavy (or rather, light) use of Dyneema Mesh fabric for minimum weight and costs a decidedly decadent £600 / $700 for the pair.
There are no ratchet straps or Boa dials, just good old fashioned laces. The sole uses Specialized’s lightest FACT Powerline carbon to maximise stiffness.
Are the 99s a little too rich for your blood? Well then the everyman S-Works EXOS is for you. These cost a mere £450 / $600 and weigh a claimed 150g per shoe for a 42.
Construction is similar but there’s less of the Dyneema and a Boa dial should make for easy adjustment.
Whichever pair you choose, these are extremely light shoes and while the price is stratospheric, it doesn’t come close to the high water mark of Mavic’s insane Comete Ultimate shoes launched back in 2017.
Will you be sporting EXOS for the 2019 season?
Original story published January 10 2019 continues below.
A new and as yet unreleased climbing shoe with a lightweight upper from Specialized has been spotted at the Tour Down Under.
The unreleased shoe shares a similar profile to the S-Works 7, which was launched during last year’s edition of the race, but features almost no upper structure and a single Boa dial on the tongue.
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The two Specialized-sponsored teams in the WorldTour — Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck – Quick-Step — look to be wearing a new pink-to-orange fade edition of the S-Works 7 shoe along with matching socks at the race.
So far, we've only spotted a single Bora-Hansgrohe rider wearing a new pair of lightweight shoes, which are finished in a similar design. The rider in question was also seen fitting a set of Body Geometry SL footbeds to the shoes.
The toebox and structure of the upper on the new shoe looks to be completely replaced by a much thinner material, perhaps constructed entirely using the Dyneema Mesh material used in some components of the existing S-Works 7 shoe.
Initially developed by the American space agency, NASA, for use in parachutes, Specialized was the first cycling brand to utilise Dyneema in a shoe and did so for its incredibly high level of strength and its lack of stretch.
The Specialized Powerline carbon sole used in the S-Works 7 shoe was also the stiffest shoe sole the brand had ever developed, so, in conjunction with a Dyneema upper and secured correctly, the new lightweight shoe should produce excellent power transfer despite the lack of structured support in the upper.
However, some of this stiffness may have been lost because the shoes appear to have a cut-out section in the sole, presumably to shift more weight off the shoe.
Instead of using the two custom Boa S3 dials as seen on the S-Works 7 shoe, the new lightweight shoe appears to have a single Boa L5 dial, although this isn’t completely clear from the photographs we managed to shoot of the shoes.
The Boa dial is fitted to the tongue of the shoe as opposed to earlier shoes from Specialized, where it is fitted to the outside area of the shoe. This will likely provide a more equal distribution of tension with the single dial and possibly also improve the aerodynamics of the shoe.
The new thin material combined with halving the amount of Boa dials will certainly reduce weight and while this is purely speculation, the new shoe will likely be marketed as a climbing shoe, or potentially one of the lightest shoes on the market, if put into production.
Specialized has not yet announced any details of the shoe, but we have contacted the brand for comment and will update the article with further details as soon as we can.
If stiffness levels and power transfer performance can be maintained from the S-Works 7 shoe in the new shoes, could this new minimal design be the future of cycling race shoes? Leave your thoughts in the comments.