By Zack Vestal
The Tour de France always showcases a wealth of new products. This year, we’ve seen helmets, shoes, saddles, pedals, and even a road frame or two. We’ll have a look at each over the course of the next few days.
Specialized Body Geometry S-Works road shoe
Specialized’s top-of-the-line road shoe gets a facelift for 2010, with a lighter, stiffer sole, more ventilation on the upper, and a new Boa lacing system — all with a claimed weight of 225 grams.
Specialized says that it’s the lightest production shoe with a mechanical closure. Not only is the weight reduced, but sole stiffness is boosted over the 2009 version. New mesh panels on the toe box, tongue and outer mid-foot offer improved ventilation.
One of the more distinctive features on Specialized shoes is the Boa lacing system, which employs a ratcheting reel to tighten or loosen a cord (lace) that wraps around most of the shoe’s upper. Tightening the Boa reel cinches the cord. On the original Boa LSR, pressing a button released tension on the cord to loosen the shoe. Lake, Scott, Shimano and Specialized used versions of the original Boa lacing system.
For 2010, Boa has a new lacing system called S1, which Specialized has built into the new S-Works shoe. As with the original, the Boa S1 still cinches a single lace to create uniform closure and provide on-the-fly adjustability, but it uses a smaller, lighter, lower-profile reel. Furthermore, instead of pressing a button to release the reel and unwind the lace, the S1 dial turns right or left to tighten or loosen the lacing. This new feature makes it more micro-adjustable than its predecessor, which would only release the reel and not permit incremental loosening.
Specialized built two Boa S1 reels into the new shoe, one on the upper forefoot and one lower on the toe box, with the goal of offering independent, incrementally adjustable fit throughout the entire shoe.
Fabian Cancellara and Gustav Larson are both wearing the new shoe in this year’s Tour.
Look for the S-Works shoe this fall.